March 6, 2020
These are the last of those crazy accent colors from Pantone New York Fashion Week 2020/21, along with some restful, timeless warm neutrals…
It’s the Only Color Palette She’s Ever Known…
She has hair the color of the last hot coals in the fireplace… Freckles of a warm caramel brown that look good enough to eat… And dark brown eyes…
Nobody else in her family had coloring ANYTHING like hers, when she was a child. So her mother very wisely just dressed her in the ivory of her skin, the rosy tan of her freckles, the subdued fire of her hair and the grounding darkness of her eyes…
As she grew older, it never occurred to her that there were other colors she might want to wear; she was busy playing, or studying, or living her life as a clearly-defined bundle of warmth!
So when she was packing for her next adventure, it only took her a few moments to assemble a practical but very lovely travel capsule wardrobe:
Although she knew in her heart that she would have LOTS of different possible combinations from this wardrobe, she thought that just for fun, she would daydream about a few outfits… and a few days of leisure!
Have you ever known someone who could dress entirely in their “own” coloring? I would be brown on brown, with some ivory thrown in – not much for accent colors! But I suspect that if many of us studied our irises in close detail, we might come up with some interesting color combinations…
p.s. 2 years ago, I was thinking about accent colors – adding bright blue to a simple grey and white warm-weather wardrobe!
Of all the different ways of creating a wardrobe this method resonates with me time and time again. It’s so easy to follow – just select a pair of pants (or some other bottom item) and then coordinate a short sleeve top, a long sleeve top and a topper of some sort. Then add shoes, a necklace or scarf, and earrings. The formula is simple for me to understand and apply. And adding a new color for more variety couldn’t be easier. You’ve hit a home run with this one!
Rebecca in Rose says
Thank you Janice for this series highlighting the latest Pantone colors, the combinations and suggestions you have offered have been both delightful and inspiring (as per usual!) Thank you :-)
Does anyone else extrapolate how many different outfits can be made from your proposed 16 wardrobe pieces (talking garments only here, not accessories)?
For instance, the above collection will make 128 distinct outfits (four “bottoms” x four “underneath” tops = 16 different combinations x 8 “outer layer” tops = 128 unique outfits.
Interestingly, if four of the “outer layer” tops are exchanged for four shirts/blouses or turtlenecks (I dub these “layer 2” tops) then the number of individually unique outfits you’d get from 16 garments calculates out to 256.
Here’s how that adds up:
Janice’s four “bottoms” x Janice’s four “underneath” tops (read, tee shirts) = 16 outfits
These 16 outfits x four newly incorporated “layer 2” tops (eg. shirts/blouses) = 64 outfits
These 64 differing combinations x Janice’s four “outer layer” tops = 256 individual, non-identical outfits
Amazing how far 16 individual garments can go! (Not a new idea of course, as any others of you who play “fashion sudoku” can testify)
This is how you get me to think carefully about my wardrobe pieces, Janice – you have inspired me to reduce how much is in my wardrobe, and how hard I can get each piece to work for me. Immense thanks for that!
Rebecca in Rose says
PS. I should add that I live in a city with variable weather, where dressing in three layers of tops is absolutely normal, especially at this changeable time of year! If the sun comes out then a layer or two gets peeled off, else if the weather turns cool then I always have that extra layer to throw on …. so yes, I really do step out in a tee, a shirt and a cardi at the same time :-)
The time that you must spend to find all of these lovelies for each of your posts must be incredible ! Thanks for all that you do ! And yes, rebecca in rose is right —the math of it all delights me ! Big big hugs, and please stay well in this crazy virus season — and the same for all of your readers ! Wash your hands— often , please , and avoid touching your face !
I am having difficulty getting the Pinterest link to work, and I would like to save this post. Would you check it , please ? Thanks !
It takes me about 40 hours a week to do three posts – so this is indeed my full-time job!
It wouldn’t take nearly so long but I’m really picky about finding the best available images and items…
Beth T says
When all the news is full of doom and gloom, the Vivienne Files is the thrice weekly highlight which lifts our spirits and inspires our imaginations. Even if we do have the misfortune to fall ill with anything, at least we can be assured that we will still look great in our sick beds! Hope we all stay well.
Beth T says
I like the idea of dressing to reflect your colouring. In my case, it would be grey-brown (mouse-brown hair) probably bottoms with accents of rose-beige and soft pale green – one of my favourite accent combinations. I’d also add a light neutral of pearl-white. Silver jewellery with rose-quartz and pale jade. My problem is trying to find a grey-brown that doesn’t look like mud!
I too enjoy dressing to complement my own colouring which is light brown hair (with beige highlights) and slate blue eyes, yet when examining my iris using a x7 magnifying mirror in natural daylight my iris is actually navy blue with lots and lots of silver grey flecks – my exact neutral colour palette!
I’m another one dressing to my own colouring: cool-grey hair, sage-green eyes and ivory skin set my accent colours; neutrals are black (eyebrows?) and blue just because I like it. I’m very impressed by the maths above. I travel for four to six weeks with two pairs of pants, two cardigans and four tops without getting bored, especially after adding scarves and jewellery. I can’t do the multipliers before coffee but it’s enough outfits. Thank you for showing the way, Janice!
I’m impressed at how small your travel capsule wardrobe is! I think that’s 16 outfits. – nancyo
Using body colors is an interesting concept, but as as a black woman with darkest brown eyes and hair, light tan skin with yellow undertones – all colors that look awful on me and that I never wear, I think it will remain a concept. I’ll stick to black, navy and white basics, with jewel-toned accents!
I enjoy the column nevertheless.
I wonder about the colors in your irises – I’m pretty certain that years ago when I got really interesting color advice from a woman in Paris, it was colors that she found in my eyes. Certainly, dressing in “our” colors isn’t something that’s going to work for everyone…
I love these colors, as neutrals (including black) is what I dress in all the time. People are often surprised when they come to my house as it is very colorful – hot pinks, bright yellows…
I live in a climate where we can have 4 seasons in one day (except deepest winter) and it is sometimes windy, so I have to layer. Something that has annoyed me over the past few years is that I can not nowadays find cardigans with buttons. The open ones are no good in the wind.
I’m intrigued by the idea of dressing to coordinate with the colors in one’s irises. When I was younger, that worked really well (brown eyes with flecks of gold that coordinated well with my dark brown hair — I was an “autumn” in the old color-me-beautiful system). A few years ago I went cold-turkey in growing out the grey after 30 years of coloring. Although I love my long silver hair, many of my “old standards” of color no longer work for me (but some do). I’m unsure whether it’s a matter of warm vs cool colors and/or a matter of contrast. I’m flummoxed by the task of choosing a coherent color scheme. One of the things I love about all of the posts here is that I get to imagine new possibilities without actually spending any money (yet). Thank you, Janice!
If you check by tag, Janice has an earlier post where she combined brown and grey/silver and it’s sooo beautiful and elegant. I wonder if that might help in your case, ms. Silver fox?
This! This is really the first to me truly “Autumn” post I’ve seen. I love many of the others, but am always figuring out what substitutions I could make. because it seems to me that very often the warm colours are paired with cooler ones that I couldn’t easily wear. But this, this is really lovely!
Lovely to see a wardrobe in my favorite colors! These colours are my “own” coloring plus olive for my eye color – so the story could be nearly mine. And yes, I know, it’s really hard to find nice brown basics. Thanks for putting it together so well!