December 12, 2018
This wardrobe might be closer to my own than any blog post I’ve ever done! My clothes are almost all black and white, which I find very simple and calming. After scrolling through (literally) thousands of scarves, earrings, shoes, and handbags every day when I’m working on The Vivienne Files, some simplicity and clarity is welcome!
Remember our school consultant? She believes that creativity can be subtle – no shouting, no loud colors or garish details for her! Her favorite painting is simple but has a lot of subtle interest:
She maybe didn’t even need to condense her ideas into words, nor her color palette into a wheel, but she did so in order to ensure that she is really focused and committed to this idea! Thinking through your wardrobe inspiration before you go shopping is only sensible.
Back in January she was visiting classrooms – trying to be inconspicuous but not completely boring.
As the weather warmed, in April, she continued to visit schools, looking for ways to calm and settle difficult situations…
Late in the summer, she didn’t have any visits to make, so she decided to go to that BIG music festival that so many students enjoy so much. She might feel a little bit out of place, but she might also gain some insights into the young people she meets in her job…
Her reports, and the insights in them, are beginning to be widely read and appreciated! One was read into the Congressional Record in Washington – she went to the session just to listen!
Her assembled wardrobe looks great to me! If this all magically turned into black and white, instead of navy and white, I would dive right in:
And the accessories are wonderful too! I love the scarves, of course:
So… what to suggest?
My hunch is that this heroine has a career that’s about to flourish – the recognition of her interpretive and diagnostic skills, and her talent in writing about them, can only increase as she gains experience!
Thus, I’m screaming for a classic blue blazer for this woman! She has both a tweed and a plaid skirt that will be perfect with this blazer. And it looks great with jeans. (I picked up a timeless brooch for her lapel – why not?)
Which leads me to thinking that she could easily incorporate a pair of jeans into this wardrobe. There might be some schools to which wearing jeans would be a good idea, and she can also use them for travel days.
Another classic item she doesn’t have is a simple navy sweater! 3 weeks before Christmas, and on the heels of Hanukkah, surely she will receive this as a gift?
Lastly, I like the idea of her wearing a button-front shirt with a collar occasionally – it looks crisp and fresh, with just a touch more authority or gravitas than a tee shirt…
All of these pieces merge into her existing wardrobe without the least bit of struggle!
What can we learn from this heroine’s wardrobe? I think (at least) 2 things:
- Make sure you’ve stocked up on the basics – solid shirts and tops, a blazer, good jeans, and
- Don’t be afraid of a monochromatic or bi-chromatic outfit – it can be a painless and elegant way to dress!
You’ve done a great job with this wardrobe. It is one of my favorites though i’m not as disciplined with color. Soft white, navy and gray with shades of pink and green added to the mix would work best for me.
I love this wardrobe. That is all.
Margie from Toronto says
I could quite happily live the rest of my life in a wardrobe such as this! But if I was to allow myself a touch of additional colour I would add red and pink – but just a tiny touch – 2 cardigans, 2 scarves and 2 purses would be enough. Love this one!
Vicki Cook says
Love this wardrobe – the color palette is calm and soothing. You could add subtle accent colors just by using scarves or other accessories.
This, of course, is my dream. I am getting closer to it – I just donated over 100 layering tops in every color under the rainbow. I kept kelly green, red, cranberry, and maybe a purple or two. My scarves and cardigans are brightly colored, so I’m not quite our heroine … yet, but there’s nothing wrong with being a work in progress. Thanks, Janice!
Sue Hall says
This could quite easily be me …. I just need to step away from the splashes of ridiculous colour and pattern I keep being tempted into buying. They get worn briefly and then I’m back to me and my ‘uniform’.
Yes, the wardrobe is lovely but… I have burgundies and pinks and greens and blues and purples and beige and grey and black. I need winter boots, 1 pair, and I am paralyzed by the decision, do I go black or brown? Do you suppose some people are wired to need/love color? -Lily
I do think some people need more color than others. I wear a lot of white, gray, and denim but I need color every couple days. I once packed only my white, gray, denim and black clothes for a week trip and by day 7, I felt like I was wearing the same outfit every day! But when I was helping my Mom with some health issues for 6 weeks, I took only 8 or 9 sweaters and 3 pairs of jeans (1 black) and never got bored because there was a variety of colors.
If you just need to make a color decision about the winter boots–given what you’ve said here, go with black or charcoal grey. Not brown. See what you can find in a nice waterproof or warm boot and a style you like, and if they come in black, do that. I mention grey because I have grey boots that I wear more than black, because I wear so much navy that I don’t think black looks quite right, and the grey seems fine with either.
A good set to round out this inspirational wardrobe. I too love it, with just a little niggly “but” … I think it’s an excellent grounding or base idea, yet like others I would “need” to include just a few items/accessories in another (accent) colour or two. Still, it remains one of my two top favourite posts for the year, for its calm and focus. Even without another colour, because the selected clothes make a versatile package, our heroine need never feel bored. I would really like to be this woman!
Love this one though I am a not this disciplined. Seems that some white jeans or shorts would be a good addition for summer.
OH HECK yeah!
Janice Collins Coyle says
Love, love, love this. I would just add a bit more white/ecru. Maybe white pants for summer. This is one of my favorite posts also. It seems so versatile and interesting even with the limited color palet. Love the scarves. The whole thing – Genius!
Janice Collins Coyle, Washington DC
This is wardrobe really appeals to me. However, I am not sure if I would miss some other colors. As it happens, I am currently in a position to give it a try. I have been losing weight and am fast reaching a point where some clothes need replacing because they are just too big. Since I don’t think I have reached my final weight, I am thinking of using the navy and white for now. If I feel the need to add an accent color I can do so later. I am still mulling this over. I don’t want to go buy a lot if it isn’t going to fit in a few months. If I have learned anything from reading this blog over the years, it is not to rush and have a plan before you buy. Thanks, Janice.
Ann-Sofie Carlsson says
Love, love, love this wardrobe. It is calming but yet there is a wide variety of outfit options. I could go just with navy and white like this, but today I have a little pink, burgundy and red in my wardrobe, and also one dark green dress that I found second hand and love, but I would also love it in navy
Sania from Zagreb says
I have problem with monocromatic outfit, especiall navy (Being tall, I usualy wear one light neutral, one dark neutral, and one accent in an outfit). Unlike some other neutrals where different shades of that neutral go together well, with navy for me it is not possible. There is some thing with navy that it must be the same shade. Also it loks to me that navy fades away quickly, faster than other colors.
For that reason I turned towards the brown for my autumn capsule, only to discover it is impossible to find in stores (I shopped from my own closet instead, I would appretiate simple brown t-shirt… but no.)
So for my winter capsule it is burghundy! I’m well stocked with it. I combine it with light grey or cognac this time. With some black details. But monocromatic burghundy outfit would look a bit eccentric, don’t you think?
This! I am concerned for our fictional heroine, unless she buys all her navy clothes at the same place. As they get laundered, the blues fade at different rates, as well. Of course, our fictional heroine lives in fantasy land. This is why I like…. black! And different color blues as accents….
This is wonderful and though it isn’t “me” this wardrobe sticks in my head as “2 colors, lots of texture” and I actually think about it a lot!
Oh you know what I’m going to say, but a picture…
This wardrobe turned out so well, and who would have guessed in the end that it would be missing some basic classic pieces? I have been assembling a solid collection of navy (and white) pieces, because we go to Lourdes every year and our uniform is navy and white. I build my travel capsule for the rest of the trip on a navy/white base since I already have navy shoes, sweaters, outerwear, etc with me for the uniform. I do add an accent color or two so I can get away from that uniform feel when we’re on the other parts of our trip. – nancyo
Absolutely LOVE this. I do not find this limited color palette boring, but refreshing! To me, navy and white is the most classic, yet unassuming combination possible. I am slowly working toward this while including denim and other shades of blue. I think navy is too dark near my face, but like white, ivory or lighter blues on top while keeping the darker shades on my lower half. Just wish I had discovered this sooner, so that I could actually shop some of the links.
I love love love this basic wardrobe. My core color is navy and winter white (although I have way more navy than white – need to work on that). I would later add some accent colors like berry or green, but even without those, this is such a great wardrobe.