August 5, 2020
I tried, SO HARD, to find enough burgundy pieces to use burgundy as an accent color; J. Crew has a perfect crewneck sweater in burgundy, (it comes in FOURTEEN colors!) but that was about as far as I could get!
So…. camel and teal! Not too bad a compromise, eh?
Let’s get back to our starting Autumn and Winter Weekly Timeless Wardrobes:
I can’t believe how many times I kept looking at navy dotted shirts, and dotted skirts… I’m obsessed, I fear….
When we break this wardrobe down by garment, we’re pretty well balanced, but could certainly use some more colors!
Let’s attack that camel idea that I had…
I’ve had a feeling about this heroine for a few days – I think her life requires a certain amount of dressy clothing. She’s always got both a skirt and a dress in each season… So I’m sticking with that feeling of balance between dressy and more relaxed!
The ticking-striped skirt in denim just delighted me; why aren’t more companies more creative about using classic fabrics in interesting ways?
NOW, this wardrobe is much brighter; the addition of just a few warm camel garments makes a lot of difference! I’m pretty certain that this heroine has lovely tan boots…
Some day when I have lots of spare time (I can’t picture this time, but I can dream about it!) I’m going to see just how many outfits I can get from a wardrobe like this. Having a huge number of options isn’t the goal of a wardrobe, but it can be a handy bonus – those kinds of options are useful if your weather is variable, or if you engage is all kinds of different activities.
What you want to avoid – at all costs! – is to have a piece of clothing that can only be worn with ONE OTHER THING. Because that’s the easiest possible way to ensure that the ONE OTHER THING is going to get destroyed in the most bizarre and unpleasant way possible… And you’re left with an orphan! Never have orphans in your closet – that’s cruel…
But as always, I’m never comfortable with wardrobe additions until I’ve shown myself that there are, indeed, a range of possibilities:
We haven’t discussed it, but should I dig up amazing accessories for this wardrobe, and for yesterday’s warm-weather version? You know how much I enjoy a good bunch of accessories…
p.s. Four years ago, we shared a wardrobe that started with 2 scarves, and then on the 2nd day expanded to a full 4 by 4 Wardrobe. Navy, hot pink, ivory and light blue – what’s not to love!
Beth T says
It would have been nice to see some berry colours but perhaps it’s too soon. However, this is a great example of showing how a neutral – camel – can become an accent.
Loved the look-back – my colours to a T! Though I might have packed a patterned top instead of the navy one – perhaps navy with pink or navy, pink and ivory.
I am intrigued to know the story behind your dire warning of the danger of creating orphans in your wardrobe. What terrible calamity befell you? Did the partner garment suffer in the wash?
I tend to get orphans because I dont take garments with me when I shop and/or colours look different under shop lights and on photo images online. If it is a colour I might wear I keep it.
I, too, am loving the camel. I just love neutrals, I guess. And the teal looks good with both navy and camel. Actually more versatile than the green. I don’t currently have any teal. I might have to check out Bean.
Yes, please to accessories.
Well, one of the worst was a friend who stood up to defend his thesis and caught the knee of his suit pants on the hinge of the folding table. Tore a big triangular hole that revealed much of his thigh and knee. He never looked down, never hesitated, and just did a wonderful job.
I’ve seen entire cans of tomato juice upended on white shirts on a plane (more than once!), which might be nearly the worst possible thing. A clean tee shirt in one’s carry-on bag might be wise!
Or only drink clear beverages on planes!
Beth T says
My Dad always bought two pairs of trousers with every suit. This was mainly to even out wear and tear but useful to have spare pair in case of accidents. Eventually, the trousers would be relegated to gardening or DIY duties. They often lasted for years.
I always admire people who can wear white or cream suits and never get dirty – how do they do it?
My friend who had that happens always gets THREE pair, or at least he did last I knew. He had one of those jobs where you go into work and hang your jacket on the back of your door – possibly for the entire day! I thought this was brilliant… Your dad was obviously a smart guy!
Sally in St Paul says
It’s interesting that buying a suit with 2 pairs of pants used to be the common practice back in the day…in on old movies, that was always the thing. I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to quote the Marx Brothers (Duck Soup, 1933):
Prosecutor: Isn’t it true you tried to sell Freedonia’s secret war code and plans?
Chicolini (Chico): Sure, I sold a code and two pair of pants.
Amusingly, the Marx Brothers’ father Sam Marx did work as a tailor. As Groucho explained: “My father was a tailor, and a very bad one, and Chico was always short of money, and he used to hock my father’s shears, so whenever my father made a suit, of course it didn’t fit, and the shears would be hanging up in the pawnshop on 91st Street.”
I have read that selling suits with 2 pairs of pants stopped being a default in the 60s/70s, though it is still a recommended practice, especially for bespoke suiting.
Sally in St Paul says
Haha, I messed up the punchline! It should be: “Sure, I sold a code and two pair of plans.” Guess I’m not ready for prime time. :)
I’ve had good luck finding Burgundy (also search for “Wine” or “Garnet” or sometimes a dark “Cranberry” sure looks Burgundy to me) at COS, Boden, Garnet Hill, & Talbots. Also Land’s End & L.L. Bean. So, I’m surprised Burgundy is scarce!
I’m pretty weird about what I’ll use on The Vivienne Files – if something is sold out in more than 2 sizes, it’s off limits! And I’ve had a real jinx with things selling out before I even get the post “live” for you! I’ll give it another shot though; I’m going to work my way through all 4 seasons separately, so we will get another look at both Autumn and Winter.
As to the burgundy wish…and maybe keep the teal and camel? A lot of colors, I know.
Appreciate the filtering for availability. It’s frustrating to really want something, then find it’s out of stock.
miss agnes says
Teal is my favorite color. And I love camel too. So this particular wardrobe totally enchants me.
If the stark white items were ivory, then this would be an ideal wardrobe for a lady with autumnal colouring. Not my colours, but I’m enjoying the analysis. As for orphans, mine usually end up as a result of poor fit rather than wrong colour. I am getting better, but I still have a lot of clothes that are one size too small, but are the right colour and style and are patiently waiting for me – I know what I need to do…..
Yes to the accessories and if possible, it would be great to see some different examples using other neutrals and accents for us ‘summers’. Lighter, brighter navies, greys & stone with accents of blues (cornflower & chambray), pinks (petal & strawberry) and some soft sea greens. Thank you, thank you.
Teal is my favorite color and I had decided to phase out my black and grey colors from my wardrobe due to it just doesn’t look that well with my skin as I age. I picked this whole color palette before you wrote your series of articles. I’ve been so excited to see this and get ideas for my future wardrobe. Accessories? Yes please.
Hi Janice and everyone: For me, I need to have a little more ‘lightness’ in my wardrobe in the winter months. I would make camel the primary neutral, with cream/ivory/white a close second, and navy and teal as accents. Mind you, this is dependent on what I have in the closet at the time.
btw: in a previous post of mine ‘peace’ was typed as ‘piece’ #autocorrectness
Linda, I really like that you can see where you would change things to suit yourself better – that’s a valuable insight into your tastes and preferences. I wish I was clearer on those kinds of things, sooner in my life!
Beth T says
I like the a bit of lightness too in the winter as it clothes can seem a bit dark and gloomy. My lightness is sky blue, pale pink and silver grey. Put those with burgundy or navy velvet.
I like the teal as an accent and I also would like a burnt or brick orange. A small amount of the complimentary color always adds a subtle surprise..in accessories a bangle bracelet in the brick would go with almost all the ensembles.
Camel, teal, navy and ivory are my ideal wardrobe colors! Over the past 5 years, I have slowly been transitioning my wardrobe to this color scheme. During that time, I have downsized my wardrobe by a third. I sold or donated orphans that weren’t my current size or this color scheme. It has definitely made dressing much easier and I feel that I am getting more value from my purchases. I would love to see accessories for this wardrobe!
Sally in St Paul says
I also like teal here, though I would prefer a much deeper teal for winter. I’m realizing that for winter (the “winter” and “Minnesota winter” seasons from Nov through Feb), I am very happy wearing more dark colors, even head to toe dark neutrals, because I can and pretty much do ALWAYS wear a scarf with lightness and color, and that’s enough. Once “still winter” rolls around (March through April), I start needing lighter colors again; even if we get 10″ of snow, I like to reflect a more traditional spring palette in my wardrobe then to get a start on that spring feeling that’s otherwise missing…I guess this is the complement from the popular practice of people in hot southern climes where you might transition to wearing fall colors even though your garments are still very summer weight.
You made me chuckle at “still winter” as a legitimate season. I can relate to that as here in central NY it often feels like our seasons are almost winter, winter, really winter, and still winter. We do enjoy a couple of weeks of spring followed by unpredictable amounts of summer which is then followed by precisely two weeks of autumn. Then its back to almost winter. Good thing I adore turtlenecks and am pretty good at layering :)
I too loved “still winter.” Kansas isn’t as bad as Minnesota with the winter temps, but we have the September/October “still 85 degrees summer” to complement our April “really, snow?” season.
Beth T says
I found a Forest Green top in a shop the other day. I held it up to myself but wasn’t sure as it seemed too dark and ‘too much’near my face. I would have to get a second opinion and I could also see my sister wearing that colour…. so the jury is out on Forest Green. I’ll stick with teal for now.
This is a great wardrobe. I don’t wear teal or camel but would love to see some burgundy items added to the mix. It’s such a classic combination, navy and wine.
I, too, love burgundy/berries/wine with navy. It’s an easy combo to do.
Thank you Janice, this “WEEKLY TIMELESS WARDROBE” was a great idea.
Sally in St Paul says
I was happy to see a navy pleated skirt added to this wardrobe, but it was the two vertically striped items that made me grin. Neither are in my size, but more ideas for the inspiration folder. I’ve been thinking about adding a navy dress to my wardrobe at some point (because I currently have zero dresses and nice-fitting ones are hard for me to fit) but I really like the idea of a vertically striped one like this.
I was amused to see the railroad striped denim skirt today; I used the $15 Nordstrom Note I got yesterday…that Nordstrom was hoping would encourage me to start looking at the anniversary sale preview because hey here’s $15 free money…to instead purchase a railroad striped face mask for $12.50!
Sally in St Paul says
I would like to read more about wardrobe orphans. It’s interesting because with a solid core wardrobe in neutrals, as we’re learning the value of and how to build here at TVF, there is no longer any solid accent color item that could be orphaned for me, as I would readily wear an accent top, bottom, topper, or shoes with a neutral outfit. Of course, without using good judgment/restraint, this easily lead to WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. So I’ve put a large font reminder on the first row of my shopping spreadsheet: “We can’t own everything that COULD work for us” (a quote from Rebecca at Seven2Seven8 that really resonated with me). I actually have compiled a short list of shopping reminders on that spreadsheet, but this is the one that most successfully applies the brakes for me right now.
I think my risk is more about style orphans than color orphans. I’m a pretty good mix-and-matcher with a moderately high tolerance for all kinds of mixing (colors, prints, styles), so the overall risk is low. But as I start seeing attrition in my wardrobe as non-preferred colors…especially non-preferred neutrals like the ubiquitous and oh-so-useful black…leave my closet (for whatever reason) and are not replaced, the style orphan risk does become more likely. And I’m not sure yet what I’ll do about that.
As an example, for years I’ve had a handy black shutterfold pencil skirt in a somewhat fancy looking knit fabric that I routinely wore to work but that also formed the backbone of my “dress up” wardrobe, but this past winter I finally ripped and ruined it. The other “dress up” piece is a long black velvet sleeveless blazer that I wore with the black skirt. I don’t need any dedicated “dress up” pieces, because my lifestyle is pretty casual, but it was nice to have this duo on hand that together could elevate the look. I can still wear the sleeveless blazer a lot of ways, so I guess it’s not truly orphaned in general, but I have lost this “dress up” power duo that I relied on for certain occasions. Clearly step 1 is to see if my own closet has another piece that can step in to be part of a new duo that, even if less powerful, may still fit the majority of my “dress up” needs. But if that doesn’t work out, I’m not sure what makes the most sense as the next step.
Linda in Bluffton says
Good post! Teal and camel speak directly to me! I might play around with a capsule of teal, camel, olive, and white … with a few shots of red for fun.
Sheila Harden says
When you first started the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe I printed out the templates and tried to substitute or exchange items I had in my closet and drawers with what you were showing. Sadly, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it and finally gave up even though I’m sure I have enough items to accomplish the task. My wardrobe looks fairly cohesive, so I could probably just leave it alone, but I was curious and wishing to go through the process. Anyone else have this experience and/or any ideas? Again, I’m sure I’m fine just where I am, but I’d be interested in others’ thoughts. Thanks!
I had a tough time as well. Sorting the colors out was my hobgoblin. I picked ones that sounded good. (Or were on sale.) I have been trying very hard to get away from black being my main neutral. I made it harder than it needed to be. These last posts have been helpful to me, as well as some of the comments from others.
Beth T says
I did this exercise at the beginning of the year. I have a lot of clothes and colours – big task split into manageable sections.
So first of all I reorganised my clothes by simple colour groups of all tones and shades from.dark to light – all the blues (including denim), purples, red/pink, greens, grey, white/ivory. I dont wear black, yellow, orange or brown.
Then I took each group and worked out using the templates which garments would fit, or I would wear, as light or dark neutrals, accents or prints.
Doing this exercise by colour group was less stressful as I did it in stages over several days. It was impartial because at this stage, I wasnt making decisions on outfits or which accents I might wear with which neutrals.
I wrote down all my choices and allowed myself to have more than one garment in each category. I did get rid of a few things and asked for second opinions on others.
This could all be transferred to a spreadsheet with a list of all 52 items down one side and items in each colour group per column.
In fact, I liked the colour groups from light to dark, as I could see tones and shades easily. So I kept the arrangement. It appeals to my Librarian mind.
My neutrals are navy, grey denim, ivory/white which work with all the tones and shades of the other colours. I can wear all tonal outfits (purple and grey) or mix and match a wide range of neutrals and accents.
I should do a similar exercise with different groups of accesories.
My wardrobe works for me. I wear a lot more of my clothes, and like to try out new colour combinations.
Although this pandemic has got in the way of wearing these outfits to different events! But I have worked out mini capsules for when I go away or for specific purposes.
P.S. For additional pieces & jewelry & accessories, I’d love to see some po of garnet/burgundy, carnelian/red/burnt orange, amber, tiger eye/caramel. I don’t think matching them is necessary; I’m good with mixing tones/related warm colors.
Oops, typo: pops!
I love a deep garnet red with navy in the winter, and also dark pinks/fuchsias. And I agree that the teal is even nicer with the navy than the hunter green – nancyo
Beth T says
My teal capsule developed this year so I could wear a greenish colour on country walks. The colours are on the blue-green spectrum from duck egg to dark teal. Any greenish colour which has a blue base.
I now have a variety of casual tees, a floral shirt and a check shirt, cardigans and some chunky jumpers for country walks.
In my hanging wardrobe are a few smarter clothes which I rarely wear – a teal jersey dress, a teal tweed jacket, a light jade velvet jacket, a teal paisley jacket, a teal blouse with small white flowers with purple centres and a teal lurex-type sparkly top.
I also have a few polo and long sleeve tops, a fine knit polo, a thick chunky jumper, and a teal velvet skirt stashed away for the autumn. I also have a couple of skirts in pink/teal floral and a navy dress with teal, beige and ivory leaf pattern.
My biggest challenge is colour matching or toning with the jackets, particularly the paisley jacket which has several different tones in the colour way.
In total, I have just counted about 25-30 items in this teal colour range which is more than I thought!
The extra mileage comes by adding in grey, navy, purple/plum or denim trousers plus black, navy and plum velvet skirts and trousers for winter. The additional tops are ivory, grey or plum/fuschia t-shirts, blouses and jumpers.
So by using neutrals and adding purple/fuschia as a second accent, I could create a WWT wardrobe for the entire year! Perhaps this coming year, I can give more airing to this ‘new’ wardrobe!
Teal and purple/plum/fuschia might sound odd but I have a floral scarf that brings these colours together!
So you could also say that it ‘Started with a Scarf’. Gosh this makes me happy. ?
Beth T says
I’ve just been looking at Janice’s ‘decluttering’ archives (search the archives by this tag) but there is also a very useful but untagged article on sorting out impulse purchases or orphans. I found it in the June 2018 posts.
Sally in St Paul says
Beth T, thank you! I just read that June 2018 post and I can already tell it’s a great one for me to think through carefully for my own closet. I will also give the “decluttering” archives a look!