August 4, 2020
Let’s see what kind of fun we can have, now that the Weekly Timeless Wardrobes are finished!
It seems to me that during the Spring and Summer, you might just as well keep both seasonal 13-piece Wardrobes in your closet – 26 garments isn’t going to fill any but the tiniest of closets. (I had a closet in Dublin that was pretty full when you got above 30….)
Of course, in the earliest months of Spring, you’re probably going to want some Winter clothes still! But let’s assume for our purposes that the following plan is for all of the warm weather months, no matter when they fall!
Remember, we had complete, if somewhat monochromatic, Spring and Summer wardrobes from earlier:
Let’s put everything from these 2 seasons together, and see what we have and thus what might be useful:
I know that there’s a groundswell of calls for accent colors! And I personally could not make it through the summer with 2 dresses and 1 skirt. (your mileage may vary, of course!)
And more than 2 pairs of shorts? If you wear shorts regularly, 2 won’t do!
And how many garments to add? I’ve been pondering this, and I think that each season might benefit from adding 7 pieces, to give us a total of 20 garments per season.
Here’s where it gets really fun – add 13 accessories (i.e. 1 for each week of the 3 month season) and you will then have 33 things total. As in project 333. I did NOT target this – it was entirely by accident. But I’m going to send Courtney Carver a note to share this with her – she’s so lovely, and her books (Soulful Simplicity and Project 333) and blog are well worth our loyalty.
Now that you’re back from falling into the Courtney Carver rabbit hole of great things to read, let’s add some accents!
Shorts aren’t in stores in huge numbers, but when I saw these, I had to choose them – yes, we’ve seen them before but they ARE timeless…
And I love the brighter blue accent.
A SKORT? I’m sitting here right now in a skort, getting ready to go to the gym (I could cry with happiness, seriously). They’re great for working out – they’re modest, and they don’t ride up… I’m a fan. For tennis, if you’re not in an “all white clothes” club, this work really well, too.
And this light green (named beach glass, faded spearmint, just plain mint, or even light green!) is perfect with these medallion-print shorts. Some navy and white prints, and a simple white linen shirt give any heroine with this wardrobe lots of possibilities:
I’m NOT going to go through all 14 new garments to see if they will work in our wardrobe! But I do want to make certain that the shorts, skort and skirt will be useful – let’s take a look:
OKAY! We’ve got possibilities to spare…
The final “warm weather” wardrobe looks like this – to my mind, 40 garments for warm weather might be plenty; what do you think?
I’m going to go count how many pieces are currently in my warm weather wardrobe – I have a weird hunch that it’s very close to this number!
Enough for you? Too much? I know that at least a few of you are still hankering for more colors, and more prints; it’s wonderful that we’re all SO different…
p.s. Five years ago, I struggled and STRUGGLED to assemble a wardrobe based upon a photograph of a Northern Flicker. ANYTHING can be an inspiration…
p.p.s. What accent colors should I use tomorrow for the cool weather version of this?
These are great warm weather colors. I humbly vote for some species of red/burgundy/wine/plum for one of the cold weather accents.
Berry reds (from raspberry to blackberry) are always great to add to a cool weather capsule.
My magic number is also 20 per season, which I form into a 4×4 – although I exclude outerwear, dresses and gym wear.
Sheila Harden says
It seems like a lot for me. But then, here in the PNW our summers often start late, and then go into an Indian Summer in the fall. AND because I work in a school, my summers are usually just spent at home and I wear the same things week to week more than once a week if it’s hot. My summer items are red, pink, black, and many of the tops I wear year around and layer… I’ll have to count, because now I’m interested how many I really do have. I love color and it’s challenging not to get distracted with items out of my palette – especially when fall colors roll around. I love fall colors. Thanks again Janice, I just love your posts.
Such good stuff in this post! I love seeing the foundation and then the additions, which give so much room for personalization. For me, I would add more spring bottoms rather than tops: capris, skirts, maybe dresses. I feel the need fresh clothes, top and bottom, every day.
Our summers are long and very hot, and by the time cool weather arrives I’m sick to death of my summer clothes. Average high temperature doesn’t come down out of the 100’s until late September; it’s usually nearly November before we can even pretend to wear fall clothes. The wardrobe presented here seems like a really nice minimal closet, without being so small that I would hate it as the summer wears on and on and on.
Oh, and because it’s so hot here even into the fall, color becomes REALLY important for us. It signals autumn-time even though our clothes really aren’t that warm and cozy. I vote for rust, teal, and of course, as mentioned earlier, cognac. Over ice for me, please. ;)
I agree! It is that way in my neck of the woods as well, with summer lingering on way too long. Bringing in the autumn tones helps it to at least feel somewhat like fall. My vote is for rust, teal, cognac, and/or olive!
Seen on paper, this does look like a lot of clothes ! However, when I started to count the pieces in my own closet, I came up with shockingly more , most likely due to my need for a variety of accent colors , as well as shirt toppers to go with most of the accent tops . I am not unhappy with this , and they all fit in my closet ( for this season anyway) , but for Autumn I want to take a more discerning eye as to the total numbers of orange family garments , of which I have an excess. This stay at home period has taught me that I need less than what I thought that I did ! Thanks for the visual and lessons in the basic foundations !
Beth T says
Orange is obviously your signature colour which you are unknowingly drawn to. Mine is any shade of purple.
When I found that I had a large number of garments in the same colour, I made sure that each one that I kept had a distinct feature – neckline, sleeves, overall length, texture, pattern, decorative detail. Deciding between garments of close shades or exact matches was simply down to whether it fitted well plus general wear and tear. Too big or too small, stretched in the wash, lost its shape, faded or stitching was coming adrift – out it went or reassigned to bed wear, housework or gardening.
Thank you for just calling this the “Warmer” wardrobe. I think it is much more helpful, as lately I’ve been wrestling with how many clothes “per season” is too much. In Kansas the blazing hot summer starts May 1 and goes to October 1, and if we’re lucky, we get 1.5 months each of spring and fall to buffer the four-five months of ridiculously cold winter. Therefore I’ve come to realize if I have more pieces of clothing for winter and summer it’s because those seasons happen to be a lot longer than fall and spring where I live.
Thank you for your post. I think between 18-20 items is a good number for me for Spring & Summer. I need to wear hats for sun protection and I have 5 hats. I recently moved to be closer to my daughter and now will experience winter with snow– I will have to develop a winter wardrobe for a pedestrian city dweller…. any good ideas for comfy, warm shoes (boots) to get through the slush?
I appreciate your advice.
Sally in St Paul says
Mimi, I’m sure you’ll get good advice from others, but I will add my perspective as a Minnesota city-dweller with a fair amount of experience walking in snowy conditions:
For serious winter, I swear by my Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. A few years ago, I commuted by foot to grad school 2 miles each way in Minneapolis (note: it was NOT uphill both ways), and these boots never let me down in the snow season. But depending on where you’ll be living, this may be more snow boot than you need. You might be able to get away with a shorter, less bulky boot. Sorel makes a variety of boots and I’ve only had positive experiences with them.
Another thing to consider: a pair of Hunter rain boots can be worn pretty well in snow as well as rain when it’s not super cold. There are various boot liners you can get to make them warmer. These are the ones I always wear visiting family in winter in more southern areas where rain, snow, sleet, or the dreaded “wintry mix” is a possibility. (Although this is happening more in MN these days, too.)
In addition to these two, I have a pair of shorter zip on boots from Lands End I use a LOT during the winter. (I also have another pair of shorter boots…which are actually snowmobile boots so stiffer than a regular snow boot…that I have added Yak Trax to for icy conditions.) The Lands End ones are the least bulky and easiest to walk in, so they are a default when I’m not concerned about a lot of snow.
One thing all these boots have in common is that they are very much “boots for inclement weather” and not “stylish boots” (though in the Twin Cities, people wear weather-appropriate foot gear in the snow season no matter how it looks with what they’re wearing and it’s all good). I get quite a bit of use from tall riding boots in the snow season as well. With proper weatherproofing, they hold up well. I do not choose to wear the riding boots in more than a couple inches of snow, but I did walk home during an unexpected snowstorm in knee to waist high drifts wearing my riding boots and the boots were not damaged at all.
Inexplicably, my husband is pretty happy wearing exclusively duck boots all winter…which I’ve noticed is a common choice for men. He seems to take damp pant legs as an unavoidable feature of winter whereas I will avoid damp pant legs at all costs! (Which in reality means I wear exclusively skirts when outdoors for 6 months a year.)
Many thanks Sally in St. Paul– I appreciate your advice and input. I’m looking at those boot brands, right now. I agree with you, I do not wish to be walking around in wet trousers so I’ll be wearing a trench that’s wool lined.
I lived in Kansas for 44 years. Summer and hot weather was the major season with very little spring and fall transitional temperatures, msybe 2 weeks at each end if you were lucky. It could start golfing from freezing cold to hot as early as March and continue well into October. I had to get short sleeved dressy tops for Thanksgiving. I got so bored with summer things that I divided my c,others into hot spring, high summer, and hot fall. The hot spring were sleeveless but in pastels florals being a strong motif for prints. Hot Fall was summer weight garments in fall colors and plaids with a leaf motif. During high summer I made sure I had some red/
white/blue for holidays and gradually went from white and brights to dark neutrals and added colors with accents…navy with pink or coral, grey with orange, etc. just a thought that may help you. Now I am living in Colorado and the main ( longest) season Is transitional. I had to add tops with sleeves and get lots more use out of toppers with my summer things.
I am finally starting to see the bigger picture with this post, for several reasons. The weather in my area causes me to really just think in terms of warm and cool weather clothing, so having things divided in just two groupings makes sense to me. For late winter/early spring and late summer/early fall, you could do your groups as winter/spring and summer/autumn to help the transition. And, thank you for reminding us that we should add more when it is a garment we wear a lot, such as shorts or jeans. But also, showing how you brought in the accent colors was really helpful. Even those of us that like lots of accent colors would probably agree that we wouldn’t need more than a handful of pieces in any given color to feel like we had the variety we crave. And, if we tend to prefer certain colors during certain seasons, we can easily and affordably assemble a grouping of seven around our preferred accent color of the season using basic pieces. For myself, I am thinking that if I could have a print piece (or two – looking at you, two-piece dress unicorn) containing both my core colors and the accent color in each of those groups of seven, I could possibly be sold completely on this concept as something I could realistically do. I am already thinking about those pieces in my closet that I love and don’t want to part with and how I can use them as part of an accent cluster.
Sally in St Paul says
That last sentence is like lightning to my brain! I’ve been thinking about the solids in building an accent cluster/French 5/etc., but I forgot about the prints. I want to delve into this in my own closet.
Sally in St Paul says
I also like this “warm” and “cool” 2 season concept, and it would have worked very well for me in most places I’ve lived. Since I now live where the 2 seasons are “snow” and “not snow,” it’s not as straightforward. (The possibility of snow absolutely dominates all other weather related considerations for me because it dictates whether pants of any kind can be worn outdoors since as I mentioned in my Boot magnum opus, I HATE damp pant legs.) Basically, we have 6 1-3 month seasons, and 3 of them are winter.
Lynesia’s comment reminds me of a question I’ve been pondering for myself the last couple weeks about accent colors. How many? How much in each color? Do the colors differ across the seasons? OK, that’s 3 questions. But I am thinking about a sort of tension or trade-off between the idea of committing heavily (whatever that means for you) to 1 or 2 accent colors and having a good number of pieces in each versus something more like a “one and done” or “two and done” concept in which you might have more accent colors but fewer pieces in each. Of course I want to have a lot of accent colors AND a lot of pieces in each…which either means a large wardrobe or maybe making more seasonal changes in accent colors.
I have built up a robust set of “not snow” season pieces in my current favorite accent color (pinkish coral) and it pleases me a lot that I could easily throw them along with my neutrals and some prints in a suitcase and have a very coherent set of clothes to be flexible for a range of activities and weather possibilities. This has NEVER been true for me before; packing for a trip has always been the worst, so this is a huge step for me. When I can travel again, I’ll be ready with a travel capsule that practically builds itself!
But for a day-to-day “warm season” wardrobe in my home closet, I would rather have more accent colors and fewer pieces of each. So I don’t mind at all having a grand total of 2 kelly green items because a bright short-sleeved smocked knit top and matching pair of ballet flats can have a lot of impact in a summer outfit. A basic light yellow tank and a matching traditional cardigan can be worn separately or make a nice twin set and that’s enough yellow. Etc.
I also like to vary fabrics and textures. Thus my one mint top is a t-shirt with a lace overlay on front, and my one lime top is a knit tank with matching and somehow bumpy top-stitching so it looks like waves all over it (it’s hard to describe), and so on. I don’t need to have another (solid) piece in these colors; I will happily wear them with neutrals and prints because they add texture as well as color. (And really, I would not rush to replace them with a basic top in the same color; I would be happier with a lace front or interestingly-stitched top in another color instead.)
Historically, my “one of this color, two of that color, oh those aren’t actually the same color and can’t be worn together, okay, well I’ll buy this one now” approach has risen to closet chaos, so I’m leery of indulging my desire for a variety of colors. But with a really solid “core wardrobe” in place now from reading this blog, I think it’s workable. And it’s actually been terrific for me to see that when Janice adds accent pieces into what is, by my standards, a small wardrobe, she doesn’t require all the colors to work perfectly together. (For example, I don’t think many of us would immediately reach for the hunter green top and ocean blue cardigan as a go-to combination.)
And soon we’ll be looking at the “cold season” wardrobe, and that’s altogether another kettle of fish!
It sounds like you and I have pondering some of the same things. I think I tend to associate color seasonally, which has been one of my biggest issues with planning my wardrobe. The lime green I want to wear in spring doesn’t feel right in the fall, when I’m craving orange and rust. So, in theory, I could make a grouping around a print skirt that contains kelly green, cobalt, navy, and beige on a white background. If navy, white, and beige are in my core WTW, then my kelly green cardigan and shorts and a cobalt tee would be a good start on an accent cluster with that skirt.
I agree entirely with the idea of perhaps more accent colors but fewer pieces in each. I find I have about four consistent accent colors per “season” (late winter/early spring, late spring/early summer, perpetual long summer, early fall – when temps are still hot but I desperately want fall colors, fall, winter) but only have one or two pieces in each color (generally a top and a cardigan for the always cold office). As long as each color goes with neutrals, I’m set.
Beth T says
I agree with you that items made textured material or have interesting details, like lace, can be enough to be a standalone accent which might be worn once a week or once a month. For those of us who love colour – these items are just a splash of colour to brighten our day every so often. I have a couple of polonecks in distinctive shades of blue. I have no need of another item in the same shades unless I was wowed into submission! I could put both with grey cardigan and trousers into an overnight bag and feel different on each day.
Sally in St Paul says
…a kettle of fish wearing cognac boots with all that navy, I hope ;)
Joan M says
Thanks Janice, this is great for seeing the timeless wardrobe in the bigger context! Would love to hear more about how you decided which 7 pieces to add–your analysis is always so helpful. Also, like others, I find the warmer/colder distinction easier to work with than 4 distinct seasons. Funny, I’ve been planning/fantasizing about the wardrobe I might put together when my interminable grad studies and now this COVID are finally done with and I actually have a life that requires presentable clothes, and 40 was the number I kept landing on too–a 4X5 for work, and a 4X5 for everything else–eveyrday, fun, non-work dressy, etc. Although I actually aspire to get it down to 2 4X4s, realistically it’s probably more like 50, at least until I wear out some favourites that are outliers to the (hypothetical) dream capsule… Summers are all to short here, so it takes a long time to wear out summer clothes!
I second the call for berry/burgundy accents in the winter wardrobes!
Beth T says
Well, I’ve enjoyed reading all of today’s comments and it has given me a LOT to think about.
I reckon that if Janice did a vox pop amongst all her followers, about their choices of neutral and accent colours for warmer and cooler months, I’m sure that the variety of colours, particularly tones and shades would be astounding.
We must also remember the power of prints in bringing together neutrals and suggesting accents in a smsll cluster. So multicolored two piece top and skirt would fulfill a variety of functions. Mmmm ?
I am thrilled with this post, Janice, because it goes some way to reflecting my warm/cold wardrobe from March to October, though I probably have far more accents than neutrals. It is also good to see what quantities of each type of garment you have suggested. I should now reassess my wardrobe on that basis. I tend to be a magpie for trousers and shoes/boots, buying styles that fit in an array of colours. Though my winter boots must have good thick soles with tread if I’m walking on snowy/,freezing ground.
By the way, my winter accents (or is are they neutral because I wear lots of it) are purple tones, berry/plum tones and teal.
Sally in St Paul says
Yes, that print 2 piece dress keeps coming up as such a winner for so many of us…and yet, it remains elusive. The “unicorn” of the capsule wardrobe indeed, as Lyneisa well put it.
I am reminded of matching top and elastic waist short sets my mom sewed for me and my younger sister when we were kids. We lived in those all summer. I had been longing for a pair of the very popular Jams (remember those crazy 80s shorts?), but they were totally out of our price range, so my mom sewed these shorts sets in various prints, including a teal/burgundy/white plaid and a purple tropical floral print that stick in my mind. She could knock them out very quickly, and we were little things that didn’t need much fabric, so we had these cute custom-fit outfits from good fabric that were inexpensive and “add a pair of Keds and go” easy…even then I could see with the very first set that this was superior to a pair of Jams in every way. My Jams-wearing friends ended up envying me! And of course, because MY summer wardrobe was bespoke. Haha, such a good memory.
I haven’t thought about Jams in such a long time! But, I do recall my mom and grandmother sewing me some coordinating shorts sets similar to your memory. We didn’t have money to buy a lot of off the rack clothes, either. Mom used to be able to buy enough fabric for me an outfit from the remnant table at Hancock Fabrics, then she would make the outfit extra special by using decorative buttons. I recall one shirt that had ladybug buttons! Thanks for taking me down memory lane a bit!
Given that I have had such a difficult time finding a two piece dress, I’ve decided that I need to just sew my own. But then, that opens another can of worms on finding the right pattern. I don’t like tucking in tops with skirts or belting tops over skirts to add shape, so I need a top that works neatly as an overblouse that also layers well underneath jackets and cardigans. I have finally secured some patterns worth trying… I just need to lock myself in the sewing room and get after it!
The irony of your ladybug buttons is that they’re worth a lot of money now!
I used to sew, when I was in high school; I remember a piece of beige linen/cotton blend that I got for a dollar AND I MADE A BLAZER!!!
I found the same fabric in a sage kind of color and I made a top and FLY-FRONT PANTS!!!!
My $2 suit…. I really could sew, 42 years ago…
Share with us how your dress goes – I’m really interested in what fabric you choose and what pattern. Maybe we can make 2-piece dresses a “thing” again!
I’m one of those people who have many more than 40 items of clothing in my warm weather wardrobe, but even looking at this lineup, I’d need more pants – specifically I’d NEED at least one pair of jeans, probably two. Of course blue jeans fit this actual color palette, but I’d be adding a pair of blue jeans to any palette, along with a pair of jeans that coordinates with the palette colors. – nancyo
Beth T says
Thinking in terms of the weather or climate helps to blend seasons so the only clothes in storage are for high summer or deep winter. It also helps to be prepared for chilly days and balmy evenings – prepared for all that eventualities. It also means that I have enough cooler weather clothes in this group to put on as an extra layer..
How about some burgundy/wine/deep raspberry for a cool weather accent, Janice?
Oh Diane, I tried…. I really did!