December 18, 2019
Update on next year’s scarf choices: I ordered an Aspinal of London scarf, to see how the quality is. That will be pretty key! I’m sort of thinking, right now, that I might work with a combination of brands. My goal is, as always, to do a wardrobe in each of 6 neutrals: black, navy, grey, beige/tan/camel, brown, and olive. I will keep you posted!
Next up, 2 wardrobe that are both quite good, but feel like they could benefit from better color choices. Or maybe not; it IS possible to over-analyze things to the point of being too critical, and finding flaws that don’t exist. This isn’t the most important thing in the world, we must remember!
First up, this color palette that worried me, but that is really quite beautiful!
I’m quite happy with these four outfits; the February handbag might be a bit off the beaten path, but the colors are so perfect that it was NOT to be resisted…
If I were doing this again, I might not choose that top in May… but then again! And 2 months of sandals in multi-colors might have been a bit “out there.” Still, this all is practical, and versatile. Heroine does not live by basics alone!
Again, I’m quite happy with all of this. Two print shirts in 2 months (September and October) might be too much for some heroines, but they both are in such ideal colors that I couldn’t refuse them.
- If you’re working with a color palette that you don’t see absolutely everywhere (like black and white) you might have to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Colors go through trends, and some companies will focus on a particular palette for a month or two. You can benefit from this if you’re prepared to make some choices!
Overall, I wouldn’t change much here. The peach dress is a bit bright, but still is perfect with the Hermes scarf, and the grey sweaters. Other than that… hmm…
As always, the overall ratio of garments is good. Maybe too many ivory tops? But it IS the light neutral for this wardrobe…
After much pondering, these are the pieces that I’ve chosen to add to this wardrobe. My reasoning is:
- A light linen shirt that combines the light neutral and accent color of this wardrobe can be worn all year – under a sweater in cooler weather, as a shirt on its own in moderate weather, and over a tee or tank in air-conditioning;
- A warm dress – possibly not necessary for everyone, but useful for many of us! The darker grey is a color to consider for a summer-weight dress, if a sweater dress isn’t in your plan;
- An ivory tee shirt – you might prefer v-neck, or shorter sleeves, but this is a basic that can be worn dozens of ways;
- For the heroine who wants to tone down her various printed shirts, this ivory sweater is a perfect option! If can, of course, also be worn on its own. Cotton sweaters are good for all but the very hottest days of summer… and
- A tank top. I’m beginning to see the merits of having a few sleeveless tops for the entire year. They’re a nice touch of color under a sweater in cool weather, without leaving your too bundled up. (yes, you’ll have to be alert to keeping your sweaters laundered…)
Now where were we for accessories for this wardrobe?
I personally thought that some of these accessories were brilliant – the watch was the most perfect thing for this wardrobe I could have imagined. The paisley scarf is glorious; the rose-gold mesh evening bag is lovely…. It’s a pity that this isn’t a flattering color palette for me; I could love this wardrobe…
But there are always possible additions!
- Sunglasses! I might quit preaching at everyone about this, some day…
- A warm hat. As much fun as a beret is, you sometimes need to cover your ears! And the touch of grey in the pom-pom on top is perfect.
- The brooch is completely superfluous, but too pretty to pass up. It’s not terribly big, so it won’t be as overwhelming as one might fear.
- Accent socks. You can live forever without them, but you might grow to love them!
- A sold scarf in your dark neutral can be surprisingly handy to have. Invest in a nice one and keep it for years…
As always, in a well-planned wardrobe, new additions (especially timeless classic pieces) will give you tons of new outfits! Not a bad investment, eh?
More and more, I’m drawn to garments that can be worn for most of the year. While we all will need things specifically for bitterly cold weather (or scorching hot), more versatile garments will help us all buy less, but better, and look nicer.
Now, on to the most classic color palette from this year’s scarves:
I think that I took this wardrobe too much for granted; these colors are all pretty easy to find in the shopping world, and they all go together nicely. In retrospect, I think I should have done 3 things better!
- I should have used both navy and beige as “co-neutrals,” rather than try to depend so thoroughly on the beige. Even if I built a wardrobe entirely for warmer climates, this would have worked better.
- I should have committed to a color for leather accessories! Early! And stuck to it! This is an easy mistake to make; there are such luscious handbags and shoes in the world, one can be easily led astray… and
- I should have chosen 1 shade of red and been more faithful to it. It could have been true blood red, or a darker scarlet, but mixing red shades diminishes versatility.
These first 4 months look great; as free-standing outfits, they’re all something I would wear in a heartbeat!
I might have gone a bit off the rails here with 2 pairs of red sandals… And as much as I love the August outfit, I should have tried harder to match the color of the May cardigan in the blouse. It’s boring to buy matching things, maybe, but it can pay off.
The December outfit is pretty far from the rest of the wardrobe, but I still really like it! Sometimes, you just have to indulge… But WHAT was I thinking with that dark October handbag? In cooler weather, the shades of red (and red leather) that are available will of course be darker and more muted; I should have resisted, and held out for brighter red.
Even with all of my criticisms, this is a very versatile and timeless wardrobe. My only hesitation if I were offered this for a long-term trip? Too many beige bottoms! I’m not that graceful; some of these would be schmutzed to death in a few days…
Sorting this wardrobe brings that “beige bottom” issue into clear focus…
So I wrestled a bit with myself, and chose the following additions. Here’s my thinking….
- All of these wardrobes can benefit from an additional summer top or 2, and this wardrobe could use an injection of print and pattern – thus a striped tee shirt in a classic color combination was easy!
- The navy striped shirt is one of those tops that can be worn under a sweater (yes, it’s a tunic – your hem will stick out – roll with it!), or over a tee shirt. It’s another classic combination that should be snapped up when you see it!
- This heroine could certainly use a dress that’s not navy (assuming that she’s a dress woman…) This dress can be worn during all but the hottest summer months, and is simple enough to be accessorized a ton of ways.
- Navy cotton pants. Heck yeah! She SO needs these….
- And the Fair Isle sweater is just plain pretty. Sometimes, pretty is all I require… (plus, it’s a cotton/cashmere blend, which minimizes the scratchy!)
This shoe assortment bugs me, I admit it. Failing to plan for the choices of leather accessories can leave you in a pickle…
So what did I choose to add?
- Sunglasses. You’re shocked, I know!
- Simple stud earrings. She has 2 pair of pretty “color” hoops, as well as gold hoops, but sometimes you just want plain, timeless studs to get you dressed and out the door.
- Another scarf. Assuming that this is a scarf-wearing heroine, she comes into the end of the year with one 1 silk scarf…
- Accent socks. Just trust me here…
- And navy loafers. HOW was shoe going to make it through the autumn and winter without nice loafers?
All of our heroine’s wardrobe additions incorporate beautifully, with just 1 little hesitation in my mind…
My only hesitation? I’m not sure about this sweater with the beige pants. I also suspect that I’m being WAAAAAY too critical…
Friday, I’m going to tackle the last 2 wardrobes! Then Monday, we will finish the winter “Weekly Timeless Wardrobe,” and then on Christmas Day I’m tackling a story, and some fantasy shopping with 1 of our favorite heroines…
p.s. 2 years ago, I was analyzing a different group of Hermes scarf-based wardrobes. It’s an entirely different kind of analysis than this…
p.p.s. The previous posts where each of these outfits can be found here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Tina from Berlin says
Oh please tell me,that the orange, beige and black lion scarf from Aspinal will be included. I bought it right after your article, and I do like the quality.
Thank you for your blog, I find it inspiring.
Have a lovely Holiday and a great start into 2020.
I’m going to try really hard to get that one into the mix – I know that it’s popular!
That first wardrobe today is pretty, pretty, pretty. So unique and so cohesive. I’ve loved watching it come together this past year.
As to the second one: I DO hope you won’t entirely give up on lighter colored bottoms, for those of us top-heavy types who look better with the dark top/light bottom combo. Maybe print skirts and pants would be better for travel, so they don’t show stains? I’ve never noticed it being that much of a problem; I’m as likely to spill on my top as I am on my pants–HA!
One more little thing: My mother was visiting me just in time for last week’s analysis. So perfect, because the combination of those two wardrobes is so perfect for her. We had such a nice time bonding and drooling over them together.
The grey wardrobe is also becoming my favourite, although like you, I can’t wear orange or peach. So I enlarged the scarf picture within PowerPoint and dropped some colour swatches on it from my ‘summer’ palette. The colours that blended nicely were: Light grey marl, mushroom and winter-white neutrals and accents of watermelon and oyster pink. I still can’t get used to the long skirt and boots in August though and would probably switch it with the jeans and a long-sleeved top (minus the shirt) shown in October.
I tend to choose outfits based on what’s in the market, and not really what’s appropriate to wear. Boots in August in Chicago would literally make you ill! It’s a little disorienting, I admit…
It would be difficult to choose and show capsules based on the actual weather for a month, rather than what is available in the marketplace, in a blog. In Dayton, Ohio, August is very hot and muggy, and often September is the same. The stores, both in-store and online, normally display clothes for the late-fall/winter season as early as July 1st. However, your choices are very nice for the pallette and I like your wardrobe analysis articles very much. I found it helpful for grouping items I already have and determining what I need to add or delete from my capsule wardrobe. I especially like your accessories wardrobe pictures! I can see which peices work best together at a glance. Thank you for such well thought out articles!
I’ve loved both of these palettes-my neutrals are grey/navy with red, white and teal accents. Your grey and peach/coral nearly made me change my entire plan. (I actually have enough coral and peach to do some weekend totes if I wanted to and you’ve given me plenty of ideas!)
I really thank you for asserting more than once that we can be stubborn about sticking with our palettes to get the best results. I’ve passed up tempting clothing after seriously asking if it will work with what I have. When I find things in my selected colors, I’m always thrilled when I get home with them to find out how many things work!
And finally: I have a hot pink/caramel and green (bright olive) Hermes scarf that was a gift(!) on an off white background. Not sure if you’ll get around to that palette, but I’d be so thrilled if it shows up in 2020. It’s not at all in my palette, but I have a handful of pieces that go–and I would consider making a French five-piece based on it just for special trips.
Liz Hicks says
Dear Janice, As you are planning for the next year, I would like to suggest another criterion for your wardrobes: Pockets! Usable pockets. There are some of us in careers that need pockets, like teachers who can’t lug a purse through the classroom yet need to have writing tools, tissue, and cell phone. My daughter has had to have pockets added to some outfits! And then there are those special times that need pockets. For instance, I’m facing shoulder surgery and needed to add items with working pockets to my wardrobe because I won’t be carrying a purse, and I’ll need my other hand free. I know we can all look slimmer without pockets but sometimes it is necessary to be practical! So far the best options I have found have been in jackets, open front cardigans, & zip front hoodies. I bought a new LBD just because it had wonderful pockets! It is too hard to get in and out of jean pockets so I discount them as not being practical.
The gray and peach wardrobe brings me back to a day in the 1980s when I played hooky with a few colleagues from work to go get our colors done. I was wearing a gray pencil skirt, white top and peach linen jacket. It turned out that my colors were (are) not the Spring as I had been assuming but Winter! That was the last time I wore that jacket!
The beige wardrobe as you have developed it really appeals to me, but it’s ended up being more of a navy wardrobe at this point. There is a fair number of beige bottom pieces, but beige is completely absent in top pieces. Although, truth be told, this personally suits me because beige is one of my worst colors!
Thanks for all of your hard work! I’m looking forward to seeing a variety of scarves for 2020. Etro has some beautiful colors and patterns in their scarves.
(although the Etro scarves are pretty expensive!) – nancyo
Ah Nancy, that’s the thing that keeps me from using Etro! I know that Hermes are expensive, but Etro is a whole new level of indulgence! I bought one for my honeymoon, and I would buy another, some day, if I see an absolutely perfect black and white one. But they are so worth looking at, and watching for 2nd hand!
The first wardrobe here has remained a favourite through the year although these aren’t my colours – I’ve really liked the cohesion and prettiness of the clothes. A lesson here for me about styling as I usually choose neat clothes over pretty things and could look for softer lines. For the second wardrobe, I agree about changing navy from an accent to a neutral – as soon as I read that it made good sense. Interesting analysis, thank you for sharing your thoughts once more.
As someone with light, warm, and muted coloring, I have particularly loved the gray wardrobe this year. Thank you so much for that! I expect it might have been one of the more challenging color palettes that you’ve worked with.
As my hair has continued to silver, I’m having to move away from peachy colors. I’m moving toward a wardrobe of only neutral colored clothing, with color coming from accessories only. It will be an interesting experiment at any rate.
My wardrobe is almost entirely black and white, and most of my accessories are monochromatic too! I rely on a mix of prints and patterns for any interest in my outfit. Between 4 earrings, wearing glasses, having curly hair (currently with a purple streak!), and my big mouth, there’s quite enough going on in my appearance already…
I wonder if shifting the peach in this wardrobe over to a more rosy pink might be appealing?
Very perceptive of you, Janice! I bought this jacket that goes very well with my cool weather neutrals (For Fall: winter white, tan, cool browns/For winter: gray and black:-). Complete with a matching lipstick! I was thrilled to find I already had a scarf that matched.
My pinterest page is also under BeeeBeee, if anyone else has suggestions!
By the way, I consider pink a neutral :-).
I literally laughed out loud on your beige pants being schmutzed to death in a few days! Thanks for the incredible amount of effort you put into this post.
The first wardrobe is one of my favourites though my accents will be on the pinker spectrum. I don’t wear shorts but for the last couple of summers I’ve worn linen trousers in pink and grey. I’d probably look out for a patterned dress as I’m not a fan of plain grey – reminds me of school uniform. I’d also add another pink/grey patterned top or blouse. I love the snakeskin bag. I’ve been so inspired with this that I’m going develop the idea next year as my hair has more of the silver/white showing through. The colours on the second wardrobe are wonderful, though I would look for muted versions for me. The only thing I might add would be dark red bottoms – skirt or trousers. I’m not brave enough to wear pale colours on the bottom!
I’m looking forward to seeing different scarf manufacturers.
I loved some in the past you’ve used from Kath Kath (Vintage Rose) and Ted Baker (mirrored minerals one and Garden Gems). You used a lovely Kate Spade navy print scarf in that terrific spring time cruise capsule February 6 2019. I saved the capsules that are attached to each of these scarves for the sheer beauty of them.
I guess some companies just don’t keep a scarf in stock long enough to make it easy to base a year long arc of ideas on.
But I really like the idea of branching out for artistic variety as well as budget.
I’ve gone to the Hermes site to browse and each year find less I like both in the art and the colour ways.
(I accept that I am a horrible heretic— not to love Hermes— but their past vintage designs and colour themes resonate with me much more than their current offerings)
However my heresy aside, there’s always been one or two of your annual Hermes capsules that resonate with me enough to imagine copying one or more of your capsules around one in my own life.
I love how you pull out the neutral core and the accent colours and make them sing and dance all year long.
Very often I’ve thought you manage to make some of the Hermes scarves into something far better than they were on their own. If you weren’t creating sparkle around them, they’d be shhhhh —errrrrrm yes I will say it— heresy and all —- “boring”!
Yup Hermes should bow in your presence and maybe genuflect just a touch!!! ?
It will be fun to see what you do with other scarves from Aspinal onwards.
I apologize in advance if this sounds like a complaint, but this year’s scarves/color combinations have left me cold. Nothing to inspire me – and I first came to your site a few years ago because of your “12 months” scarf posts. But. . . .so what? – I don’t intend to let “the “perfect” be the enemy of “the good”. Love your site.
Going forward. . . .I purchased an Etro scarf a few months ago and it has been one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe – dressing up/down, color/tone mix. Please consider an Etro scarf in 2020.
The wardrobe built around the Act III, Scene I, La Clairiere scarf has proven to be the most memorable for me. While they also wouldn’t work for my complexion, I find them the most unusual and surprisingly beautiful combination of the bunch and enjoyed seeing your choices and finds in this palette.
You’re right about too many beige bottoms. I’d love to see at least one of them swapped out for deep red.
These wardrobes are great. You’re so creative.