January 17, 2020
Oooh, this is SUCH a good garment for this kind of thinking. Camel is so lovely – rich and warm, and pretty difficult to find in a lot of garments. So you might find yourself really stuck for ideas about how to wear something cozy and nice like this:
I’m not going to offer up a single color palette for this cardigan, because I frankly don’t know what the favorite colors are of the heroine who received this over the holidays. Rather, I’m going to share SIX possible “neutral partners” for camel…
When in doubt, you always know that denim goes with… everything? Is there a color that you wouldn’t wear with denim and chambray? I can’t think of one…
I like the possibility of wearing ivory corduroy pants (on a DRY winter day) with this sweater and a denim shirt. Maybe the only thing that I would specifically buy to wear with a new camel cardigan is a pair of shoes – they feel like they really pull everything together, don’t they?
Camel is warm, many shades of grey are decided cool. One might conclude that it’s not a good pairing, but I think that the way they share a soft level of intensity makes them interesting together. This pairing also opens up the possibility of jewelry that mixes white and yellow gold!
Camel and navy are a match made in heaven!
Camel and brown make a lot of sense, since they are very near to each other on any kind of color diagram you can find. I struggled to find a really nice brown tee shirt that didn’t cost a month’s rent, so I took a cue from the scarf and chose a lovely red…
This is a color combination that makes a lot of sense to me – both of these colors are warm, and somewhat muted in intensity. And just a suggestion – if you love green, Eileen Fisher does some shade or another of green frequently – it’s worth watching for! It’s anybody’s guess what the color will actually be CALLED, though… This one is “Woodland…”
I love the way this cardigan tones down the otherwise pretty dressy feel of this outfit. This is a smart way to dress when you’re not sure how dressy an event is going to be – the metallic scarf, awesome bag and dressy earrings give you a very dressed-up feel, but you’re still just wearing pants, a tee shirt and a cardigan…
Are you living with a wardrobe orphan that might be a good subject for a blog post? Let me know – especially if it’s something sort of generic that many of us might own!
p.s. 2 years ago, taupe, brown, gold and bright pink came together in a travel capsule wardrobe inspired by a Natalia Gontcharova painting…. A difficult wardrobe to pull together, but one of my favorites!
Although I am a winter coloring I love camel. This winter I have been pairing camel, burgundy and light gray, and I love it. As you said, light cool gray is an unexpected yet very nice pairing with camel.
miss agnes says
Love these pairings. I do have an orphan garment that I don’t know how to wear and style, because it’s a big block of ivory that does not seem to go with anything. It’s an old Michael Kors cardigan, sleeveless with a belt. The shape is similar to this camel cardigan, but a bit more bulky. The fabric is a cotton blend and does not drape well. When I bought it, I thought it would be a perfect wardrobe neutral, but it’s not working. So any suggestion is welcome (or maybe it just does not suit me, and I should get rid of it once and for all).
miss agnes says
It’s actually very similar to this one:
In creamy white.
With wardrobe orphans the solution is usually to let them be the statement piece, the star of the show. The shape you describe sounds like it needs slim pants in a dark color. Slim top in the same dark color.
If the belt is removable, try a different one in a dark color. That might break up your big block of ivory.
Do you have any ivory-colored jewelry to use to tie it into an outfit? Pearls, or a bone bangle?
I sympathise Agnes, I had a similar cardigan in a chunky, heavy ribbed cotton knit that didn’t look or feel right no matter what I wore it with. After only a couple of outings it got put away in a drawer never to be worn again, eventually it got donated to charity.
Your comment made me reflect why I didn’t like or wear it and I conclude that it didn’t flatter me because it bulked out my petite frame making me appear heavier and the camel colour was also the wrong shade (too yellow) for my skin and hair colouring which made my face appear sallow. Could it be that your ivory cardigan does the same to you?
Taste of France says
A friend who follows all the chic young Parisians on Instagram went heavily for camel, which this demographic is devoted to. All neutrals–white with beige with camel or camel with camel. It looks so serene and elegant and also minimalist and practical. But my friend realized the color is too close to her dark blonde hair and she looks like a bowl of oatmeal. She has since eliminated camel in favor of bolder colors. I have been the beneficiary of some of her camel cast-offs–I have darker hair and I love that neutral look. Plus camel goes with everything.
Taste of France, your friend made me chuckle. I’m also blonde; I wore a camel dress on a date once and he commented “you look beige all over.” Needless to say, the relationship did not continue, but I’ve also had trouble feeling “myself” in beiges/tans ever since.
Though I like how it looks with other colors, definitely no camel for me. A cool beige might be workable, but until I find the need, I’ll stick to gray.
As I read your post I am wearing a black turtleneck, black cords and a camel cashmere cardigan from LL Beans a few years back. Camel and black is one of my favorite combinations!
Camel always looks like an exact match for my skin. The one correct piece of fashion advice Mom gave me was never wear that! I sigh when I see these beautiful combinations.
BTW, when I see employees at Target wearing super tight camel leggings I do a double take. From a distance it looks exactly like they have no pants on.
I added tan to my summer and fall wardrobe options last year after a post you wrote about the woman who was moving to a cabin in the woods with grey, denim, and tan. I loved that wardrobe and story, and the denim and grey options here remind me of it. I can’t wear camel on top very well, as my coloring is too light, but I like it in shoes, bags, bracelets, and bottoms. It looks really nice with my grey and denim basics.
Thanks Janice!you nailed it! Opening our minds to color combinations we might discard out of hand is so helpful.
I agree A! The camel and light grey was a special revelation. It’s interesting too how accessories can unite the colours in an outfit.
All lovely colors paired with camel. And thanks as always for the scarf shoutout ?
Always a pleasure!
Shirley Devlin says
How about pairing camel with black and animal print accessories (belt & shoes)? I think I would do that and love it!
That would be perfect! I personally always avoid animal prints – I don’t quite know why, but I don’t like them for myself, and so they never make it onto The Vivienne Files. But camel appears in so many different prints that it’s an obvious place to start when you’re looking to wear camel with other neutrals… Maybe giraffe print to pull together ivory and camel?
I always used to avoid animal prints as they were often in shades of brown that don’t suit me or, likewise, bold black and white. Then I realised that I could wear animal prints as long as they were printed in the colours and shades that suited me – grey, pink, blue, light green etc. Choosing the right scale of the pattern is important. I’m five foot, so I wear small to medium scale animal print tops or a skirt – a dress seems too much. Try an animal print in black and white such as snake print or zebra print. Perhaps start with something small such as a scarf, gloves or handbag.
Camel is one of those colors best left for others. It sucks the life out of me. There’s no way to redeem it. Fortunately, my inner circle is well aware of this. I am also allergic to actual camels, which is kind of funny. “No camels.” That’s how they remember.
I love this! (I cannot wear camel either) And inquiring minds need to know, how do you know that you are allergic to actual camels? – nancyo
Margie from Toronto says
I own two camel cashmere sweaters – one a cardigan and one a v-necked pullover. Strange because not really a colour that I wear otherwise. However, I find it works really well with my black, navy and grey neutrals. As well, I own a cardigan in camel & black (kind of an animal print) that works really well with all my black pieces. I just find it to be so elegant.
I love camel & black (but is this sweater REALLY camel, or really just beige?) – but denim is (to me) always blue.
It’s funny, but I can wear camel as long as I pair it with ivory (as in an ivory tee under a cardigan or ivory collared shirt under a crew or V-neck sweater). Any other color, including white, just makes my coloring look off with camel. So glad I figured this out because I wear nearly all neutrals and camel goes nicely with my other clothes. Btw, loved option #1 in your post, Janice!
The first pairing brought the Fortunate Lynx bracelet to my mind… I’m lucky enough to have it (ha!) and I think it would make the outfit even more lovely!
This post is really timely for me. I bought the oatmeal version of the long marled cotton open cardigan from LL Bean that you have featured multiple times.
I actually agonized for nearly a year before spending the money to get it. I do like the sweater. It is comfortable and breathable but it is heavy, so it isn’t a seasonless option for Texas. I am blonde and warm-toned, so the oatmeal seemed like the best color option, but I have struggled with finding ways to wear it. I agree with Kelly that ivory seems to work well with it, but I haven’t really found other combinations from my wardrobe that I like. I tend to wear more color than neutrals, so I’ve tried various versions of teal and turquoise tops with it, thinking those colors would look tropical and beachy together but instead it feels matronly on me. I never thought about it being too similar to my hair and skin color, but that is certainly something to think about. I’m thinking I might should’ve ordered the Sea Glass color instead.