September 19, 2018
Our heroine works in an office, where she is the real power behind… well, everything! She works from home part of the time; she only has to go into the office 2, maybe 3 times a week, in order to kick boxes and take names…
So she wants to strike a balance of authoritative, approachable (sometimes), and beautiful (she does have a private life!).
This is her template:
She likes to this of her first cluster as
The Navy with a Twist Cluster
Yes, if she was feeling particularly full of beans she would indeed wear the striped tee shirt with the printed skirt!
Next, she wants something a little bit less assertive – something she could wear on Casual Friday. (hers is one of the offices that observes Casual Friday only occasionally – remember the days?) And those flannel pants will be handy some February morning…
The Softer, Gentler Grey Cluster
Enough with the softness! She must include her serious jacket/dress, as well as a few other things to wear with that most splendid jacket…
The Authority Cluster
She thinks she’s in a good position right now, but she decided to array everything in a tidy way, for a good hard evaluation:
She feels pretty well prepared for difficult work days, so she decides to start looking at softer and prettier clothes to give this wardrobe some balance. Therefore, she finds her soft marled cardigan, adds some silk pants, and builds a cluster that’s easy on the eyes:
The Soft Blue Work/Evenings Cluster
Now, when she looks at her wardrobe, she sees a veritable ocean of blue and grey! And she knows the perfect solution to that – enough pink shirts, sweaters and tops to bring some warmth to this wardrobe!
The Soft Pink Cluster
She could keep adding pink pieces, or some more navy and grey, but she wants to feel like she has options – variety – a 2nd accent color! She isn’t really sure which way to go – butter yellow would be beautiful. Lavender might be nice, if she can find things she loves…
Then she sees the skirt. That settles EVERYTHING…
The Light Blue Amazing Skirt Cluster
Has she wandered too far? Too many colors? Too many moods? Not at all…
She can easily dress for at least a month without repeating outfits (not that there’s anything wrong with that – can we get OVER that fear?)… Now, she’s off to plan how she’s going to get rid of that pesky boss and take over the place herself…
This is really beautiful! I love that you included more prints, especially a floral skirt, which is one of those pieces that I always seem drawn to. I was trying to wrap my head around how to pick each cluster, i.e. whether you were putting together the grouping based on outfits that can be made or more from a color standpoint. From today’s example, it looks like you’re thinking about it more from color, which I think makes this template easier for me to follow.
Here are links to several lists of brands that are eco-friendly and/or ethical. This means their clothes are produced in eco-friendly ways, not using polluting practices. Ethical means the the workers get aliving wage, which is somehow rare in today’s fashion scene. A smany of these brands are relatively unknown (except for o.a. everlane and Eileen Fisher) it woudl broaden up your options, while also introducing people to more sustainable fashion brands.
Thank you very much, Gitte. I have saved these lists for reference. Ethical/sustainable underwear can be particularly difficult to find. How much better to buy in this way (or second-hand) if we really feel the need to shop. Best wishes, Robyn
Margie from Toronto says
Love this wardrobe – something I could quite happily wear for the entire Winter. While I am using black & navy as this year’s neutrals I have a number of grey pieces that could be swapped in next year to replace the black and with the addition of a few more pieces in that soft blue & pink I’d be set.
Jenny Young says
I’ve been following your wardrobe ideas for awhile to learn what I need to consider to do this myself. Finding the time to limit my wardrobe has been my main obstacle.
I enjoy the stories you give to the imaginary women these wardrobes are for! I’d love to see one that fits my lifestyle a little more…..an empty nester who babysits my grandson on weekdays, teaches a children’s class on Sundays & enjoys time outside as often as I can get it. So I dress up occasionally, like the classic look, enjoy casual dates out with my husband & love my gym clothes.
Whether you follow my hint or not I love your blog. Thanks for taking the time to help others learn to simplify & & enjoy life more.
Linda C says
This Project 333 wardrobe really brought this idea home to me! I love the idea and can work my own colors and items into this plan by building on columns of color. Wonderful! Thank you so much.
Linda in Arkansas says
Great way to build a wardrobe! This is very pretty and versatile!
I’m in heaven! Thank you for listening, and for responding with this lovely wardrobe. And I can do this! Well, I may follow up that charming floral skirt … If I can maintain discipline (eeek) I could live in a version of this for a year, I reckon. Which would help my commitment to this forum and Vancouver Deb to minimise shopping – the point of Project 333. Yayyyy!
Thank you so much for your hard work and imagination on your blog. I live in Australia and have to constantly fight the urge to not look at your blog at 2am, when it lands in my inbox (sometimes I lose the fight…and spend the rest of my night planning how to fit my current items into your templates)
I am going to use this thought process for my spring/summer wardrobe. I am constantly surprised at how you make me look at my current clothes and realise I really do have enough clothes.
Again, thank you so much for what you do!
Gail Finke says
I thought something about this seemed familiar yesterday – then I realized it is the old “slot machine of clothes” template from long ago — three stacks of three. That got me through my first job that required professional clothes: Two different “slot machines” using black, white, gray, and turquoise (two black columns, two gray columns, a turquoise column, and prints/textures) I just recommended this to someone, and here it is again! It’s a great system. And if you are the sort of person who rarely wears dresses, you can add three (one for special occasions, one for work/church-type occasions, and one for casual wear) and, ta-da! The vaunted 33.
I really like this color combination. It’s fun to imagine how different the same wardrobe would look if you swap out the accent colors.
Gail Finke says
I meant it’s a variation of the “slot machine,” it’s not exactly the same. Just more garments in each column — as if you started with three in each, and added two more in each but in the same colors, which is a good way to add to a wardrobe and have it still work.
Cathy Hawryluk says
Thank You for listening to my comment and researching these combinations out. I also jump outta bed quicker on Mon, Wed and Fri to check out your post before getting ready for work.?
I always learn so much from you. Please consider doing this in my beloved olive with a bent towards someone who will be retiring in the next six months.
I am so loving this template, while at the same time inserting what would work for my own personal style and colors, including making Cluster 4 a third accent color, as I love both color and variety ! This one really floats my boat ! And it would be so easy to reduce this to a 4×4 or a 3×3 for travel ! I agree with Gail’s Finke about your slot machine approach ! I love easy and efficient formulas !
I LOVE this template. It has really hit home for lots of us, as I see from the comments. Where I live, it’s already getting cold. I have added another row to the top of the template for my 3rd layer (and a scarf). We wear a 3rd layer coat or jacket over top of our 2nd layer everyday. Your template has really helped me focus. As well, pre planning a few evening outfits is a great deterrent to scrambling to buy a last minute outfit, which I admit to doing more than once. Thank you. Thank you.
I would like it if you would make (& offer for sale) sets of style cards with all the different outfit combinations. I’m sure lots of readers would be interested. I have no imagination and forget how to mix and match the combinations.
I would love to, but I couldn’t use the images that are here on the blog – I don’t own the rights to them! Would it be at all useful to just have the descriptions of the garments, rather than the photographs?
Yes, that would work. Thanks, Camla
“Would it be at all useful to just have the descriptions of the garments, rather than the photographs?” Maybe if that would be a sleeve with the description of the garment, into which we insert our own photo of the garment that fits the slot? Or if we print our photos in color on sticker paper (such as mail labels?) and fill the templates by sticking our photos. This idea needs some more brainstorming, but something like that….?
Mary E says
OMG! I want to jump into this closet. I love the pink and light blue clusters added to give softness to this wardrobe. This may be my template for building a new wardrobe all fall/winter. THANK YOU!
This is my favorite capsule!! I am so very glad I found your blog.
Fabulous post! I would probably alter the colors slightly for my own version, but I love the variety of moods and textures. It would be so easy to adopt this for my own wardrobe. Love it. Thanks for all your hard work!
Regarding not rewearing outfits:
Last night I watched part2 of Death Comes to Pemberly (PBS), and it occurred to me that during the whole program, Elizabeth Darcy wore two different outfits. One She wore primarily every day. In fact, I think all the characters wore the same costume throughout. (Except in flashbacks- characters wore something different when remembering a past event.) Lydia may have been the exception. But then she was like that- materialistic.
Judith G Essex says
Brilliant as usual! This might be my favorite template of all. Do you sell the outline? I have been paring down my closet since I started reading you (3-4 years?) and am now really ready to ADD! I like Navy as a basic but I also am considering a burnt orange or tobacco. I like warm and cool together as I have blue eyes and reddish hair. I feel more vibrant with some warm color, but I gravitate towards cool. Or should I stay with my second basic, gray, and have the orange-y things be accents?
If you need a character to build a wardrobe for, consider this gal:
Officially retired but busier than ever. Teaches adults arts; supervises, does consulting, and lectures. Hobbies are hiking and gardening as well as painting and poetry. Does yoga at home. She rarely wears a dress, but must have something for an occasion, and doesn’t like to be caught off guard since shopping is not her favorite way to spend an afternoon. Is earthy, expressive, and creative.
I’m getting a bunch of templates ready for sale and download… And I love your character! Do you know her well?
This is a versatile collection of clothing, and the new template is a useful way to organize a limited wardrobe. I love the Nic + Zoe blazer, but when I clicked through to the Nordstrom site, I didn’t see anything that identified it as being navy; Nordstrom suggested was a black pencil skirt and black shoes. Either way, it’s beautiful! – nancyo
well, I didn’t intend for my previous comment to be a reply to judith, but as long as I’m here, I think that tobacco would be an amazing second neutral! I have been looking for a tobacco colored pair of jeans for a good while – I love to wear it with black, charcoal, or navy, especially with a bit of white. – nancyo
Love this wardrobe! It’s gorgeous. Your stories are always so entertaining too, perfectly explaining the choices. So nice to get away from all that black.
Sure hope you have a book on the back burner. I’d buy it for sure.
Queen Lucia says
These clusters really make sense to me and I’m in a flurry of evaluation and planning. Using the template, I’m now able to see the problems with my current wardrobe: two distinct styles which haven’t been well integrated (classic and edgy), a reluctance to commit to accent colors (resulting in a nearly all black wardrobe), not enough tops, and a whole lot of magpie acquisitions. As I fill in your template, I am finally envisioning how to make this all work: the soft and evening clusters will go more edgy, the accent clusters will hew to the classic, with the core and authority clusters bridging the gap. Black is still my preferred neutral, with navy/blue and burgundy/scarlett as my accents, and a little white/gray thrown in to lighten the load. Thanks so much!!
Priscilla Waller says
Let me know when the templates are for sale.
Now! If you hop over the the “Shop the Vivienne Files” page, you can find them. If you struggle, email me at [email protected].