October 16, 2020
Two notes from your humble author:
1. Please note that when you’re assembling YOUR wardrobe, and your accents, everything doesn’t have to match as closely as I try to match things! I’m trying to squeeze a bunch of garments and accessories into a visual space that’s tiny, and where slight color disparities will be exaggerated. You do NOT have to be quite so rigorous when your socks are going to be mostly under your pants, and a good few feet from your sweater!
2. Speaking of socks – when you’re shopping for socks, read ALL of the fine print. There’s a world of socks right now that aren’t meant to be worn with shoes! That’s a rude shock if you were not aware…
It was in the science news – new research has led to the conclusion that the Nebra Sky Disc might be A THOUSAND years older than originally believed!
She was immediately smitten with the entire story – the age of the piece, the mystery around it, the glorious green and gold, and the way the disc looks just a little bit like someone winking and smiling!
Her autumn is going to be very much like her summer was, only colder, and with the added joy of students at home, trying to do their schoolwork online. She will be working too, of course.
So she decided to start with the core of her autumn wardrobe – the clothes that so many of us have in common:
And she’s going to use this wonderful, somewhat elusive green as her accent color. With gold, of course!
why yes, she went rather overboard! we more normal people might add 3, 4 or 5 items to our wardrobe…
When she stripped out her closet and just hung her wardrobe for the next couple of months, she’s pleased; there are dozens of neutral outfits inherent in the possibilities of her 12-piece Common Wardrobe, and then a lot more options with her green accents:
Because our heroine is a faithful reader of The Vivienne Files (what a wise woman…), she pauses for a few minutes to play around with a range of outfits, just to be sure she will be happy with her choices!
Imagine what could happen if she added a SECOND accent color!
This is sort of what my wardrobe is these days – my normal core of classic, timeless clothes, with a bunch of pink goodies tossed into the mix!
Ah, the possibilities are endless!
p.s. Three years ago, we shared a business wardrobe in shades of grey, blue and sea green, based on a photograph by LBToma of an ocean wave!
Beth T says
Great story and lovely simple wardrobe, showing yet again how adding tonal shades of an accent colour can liven up the basics that we all have in our wardrobes. I can replicate this immediately in shades of teal and jade, though the black would be navy.
Wow! It never ceases to amaze me how our distant ancestors produced such amazing and elaborate metalwork. Sadly many practical skills and craftsmanship have been lost and would be hard to replicate today.
I remember being bowled over by the stunning detail of the Staffordshire Hoard. The patterns on the gold objects are so intricate that visitors had to look at them through a magnifying glass! The story of its discovery was equally fascinating. It’s amazing what is found just below the surface and you wonder why it was never found before?
“There’s a world of socks right now that aren’t meant to be worn with shoes!” I’m baffled – perhaps you could do a post devoted to socks and how to wear them just to guide us through this maze?
Beth T says
By the way, if our heroine today is an amateur or real archaeologist, then she will need a broad brimmed hat to keep the sun out of her eyes or the rain off her head. Think of a female ‘Indiana Jones’!
I love this wardrobe. I used to have such a phobia about wearing green because that was the colour of a hated school uniform. It’s taken 30 years to get over it. I’m on the hunt now for some lovely cardigans in that lovely shade.
Beth T says
Ditto – my uniform was grey!
Bridgette Raes says
Your comment made me laught because my mother won’t wear pink and grey together either because those were the colors of her parochial school uniform. Funny how we develop psychological relationships to certain colors.
Thanks for introducing me to the Science News website. Lots of interesting articles. As well, since I’m a magnet for green, this post gives me lots of “shop my closet” ideas. Our heroine should be on the lookout for some earrings or a pin with the look and feel of the Nebra disc. The little gold dots on the green background are calling me.
Beth T says
I found some imitations of the Nebra Sky Disc on Etsy, though the workmanship varies but they would make unusual presents for the astronomers in your life.
Thanks, Beth. I’m on it!
Such a lovely tempting wardrobe. I bought a marled sage green cardigan earlier this fall – mainly because of the soft coziness of it, but the green does make my eyes stand out, and it coordinated beautifully with other things in my closet. This is truly lovely, and since one of my sons is going into astrophysics maybe I should take a look on Etsy for a Christmas gift! Have a great weekend everyone!
Long time reader, first time commenter. Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE this blog – it is my favorite. I’m so much happier with the wardrobe I have and the curating that has begun since I started following your blog… almost 10 years ago? Thank you for including the link to the article – I just wanted to point out that it says the sky disc might be YOUNGER than originally thought, not older :)
Oh dear… what HAS happened to my brain?
I LURVES this. I have long thought that a wardrobe based on the Ishtar Gate would be fabulous – cobalt, turquoise, white, gold.
I second that reco!
I’d be thrilled to take a close look at Ishtar Gate…
Janice could use Lapis jewerly. Lapis earrings and a cobalt blue scarf.
Also, the Butterfly Wings scarf from Echo could be incorporated from a previous post. It has the colors!
Elizabeth Ellen Carter says
Oh my yes!
love the Ishtar Gate!! A couple of years ago, an artist I follow on Instagram was painting a series of paintings of people in museums, and was looking for photo submissions. I ended up buying her watercolor of my daughter sitting in front of the Ishtar Gate. My daughter happened to be wearing blue jeans and a rust colored fleece and coordinated nicely with the Gate – nancyo
Sara K says
What a nice surprise to see a Common Wardrobe post! I love the idea of finding inspiration from archaeology. Were this my wardrobe, I’d be sorely tempted to add some jewelry based on antique designs. And maybe a Voyage of Pytheas scarf from Hermès…
I’ve missed this series, since I have used the Common Wardrobe method for wardrobe building for several years now, and it works like a charm. The neutral core is super versatile, and it’s so easy to add a few accent pieces for a season.
Added bonus is, that with some accessories and outerwear, this is VERY easy to turn into a Project 333 wardrobe that is guaranteered to work!
More of these, please!
Sally in St Paul says
I love the range of greens here, and how they really took the basic wardrobe to a new level. And I would happily wear that scarf with everything here! It’s a stunner.
I appreciated your note on matching colors, since that’s an area where I struggle a bit. I’m old enough (46) to have grown up in the “matchy” era, and I have always had a good eye for color apparently. (My mom says that from a young age, I could look at an item in the store and know whether the color matched an item I had at home; she learned to trust my memory and judgment on it quickly. But this “superpower” haha is not quite as valuable in the age of online shopping.) So when colors are just a bit “off,” I tend to focus on that. But I’ve made some strides on loosening up on it because I think it’s more modernly stylish and definitely more practical to be not too matchy-matchy. I’ve developed a tolerance for blending colors, and I find that it’s easier to blend non-matched colors when the textures vary, when blending solids to prints, and when the colors are either not contiguous (e.g., shoes to a sweater or scarf) and/or when one of the pieces is “small” (e.g., socks). But I still do see style bloggers (not Janice) who put things together that push my color buttons sometimes…a warmer and a cooler undertone version of a color reliably makes me feel it’s a bit off, for example. I have to remember that we all see colors in slightly (or radically) different ways, that we have all trained our eyes to accept different levels of non-matching, and that maybe we just have different levels of tolerance/enthusiasm for that bit of tension (for lack of a better term) that comes with the observation that colors are “close but not 100% harmonious.”
Speaking of color harmony and disharmony, I found this recent post on Bridgette Rae’s blog very interesting on the topic of 4 different color-driven outfit formulas. Her view of “harmony” is definitely wider than mine, so I found it instructive to look over her examples. (Janice, I hope it’s not tacky to link to another blog here; I just thought it was a great complement to the “color matching” conversation happening here.)
The look back…wow, that palette blew me away. All those gorgeous teal items, and the wonderful way the navy and grey worked together. Luckily even before COVID I worked in a business casual environment because even though the colors are terrific for me, I would struggle to look right in such a polished wardrobe. I could make the knitwear work, and any tweed-y or textured fabric is great, but those more formal, silky, flowing type fabrics and garments never look right with my fuzzy mane and textured skin. But I bookmarked that wardrobe for color inspiration and its very nice balance of garments. Plus: who knew that the robin scarf is even MORE AMAZING in teal?
Dear Sally – if you see something that you think we should all see, please link to it! I’m never going to be one of the big famous influencer bloggers, and I’m cool with that… Bridgette’s work is very high quality, and always worth checking out!
Bridgette Raes says
Thank you Sally in St Paul and Janice for the kind words. I am glad the post helped. It’s a treat to be mentioned on a blog I respect. Thank you for your comment about my blog being high-quality, Janice! Like you, I don’t think I will ever be an influencer in any stretch of the word, but that’s okay for me too. Let’s just keep putting out informative and helpful work!
Thanks again, Bridgette
Sally in St Paul says
S, sorry I wasn’t able to reply directly to your comment – I agree 100% on the Ishtar Gate! It’s gorgeous. It reminds me a lot of the Lion and Peacock scarf palette only softer and more textured.
That scarf is perfect, the Ishtar gate has little raised lions (and lots of other animals, though no peacocks).
Janice, Thank you for sharing the Nebra Sky Disc! I’m completely blown away; it is so incredibly beautiful! I immediately looked for a pendant, a scarf would be amazing, as well. Everything about the Nebra Sky Disc is fascinating!
Hi Amy, I visited the museum that host the Nebra Sky Disc this year. They also offer pendants of the disc and other souvenirs,
Linda P says
Hi Janice: Thank you for a lovely combination of clothes in unexpected colors. I don’t have much sage green or real in my closet, so I might go with a not too dark olive green. (just treated myself to long sleeved clothes for the season in an aforementioned post, so gotta save up for the next splurge).
Re: matchiness: I like Sally’s idea that two pieces of clothes that are just a shade off can work if of different textures, or not placed close together.
I thought you were one of the big influencer bloggers. I look at some of the others and soon delete them. You are so practical and all your outfits so “doable! Keep it up!
Dear Janice, I am stumped by “stripped out her closet”! There is more in my small closet than I like but I’m not willing to eliminate even those things that I haven’t worn for a year. Like you I live in Chicago. Last year I didn’t wear turtlenecks- our winter was too warm. But the year before that was freezing and they were worn regularly. Ditto for our summers. What’s a woman to do?
I think she just put things into plastic bins, with cedar blocks, to get them out of her way so that she could focus on her core wardrobe for a few months…
I’m trying this, and Fiona Ferris’ new book – The Chic Closet – talks about this too!
Find it here: https://shopstyle.it/l/bnsEH
Thank you -I’ve ordered the book. I’m not sure where to put the plastic bins….(under the bed is already crowded!!) I’ll figure something out.
That is precisely what I am doing ! Weather varies from year to year and requires my wardrobe to do the same, so I hang onto what might be needed for future seasons .
Beth T says
We use bags where you can suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner but don’t back the bag because the dead weight can be heavy. These easily slide under a bed. Or you could use a plastic box with a lid on wheels. Definitely put in cedar blocks – moths are sneaky and will find a way in anywhere.
Beth T says
A while ago we found some smart work skirts of mine in a bag in the loft. I thought that I’d given these all away as I last wore them over 25 years ago!
The look back wardrobe took me back to those days. The teal is gorgeous and I recall that back then, I had a teal green jersey dress that I wore in winter.
As for the skirts – my daughter is going to wear them. Classic styling never goes out of date. Now they are 80’s vintage!
My style has changed to something more relaxed and comfortable. However, I still have a teal dress in my wardrobe (different style) – some things never change…
Marilyn Bornstein says
New reader. I love your sight! I look forward to each and every. new “story “!
Since we were all confined this summer (some of us were anyway) I spent a lot of pleasant time looking at and reading your previous posts.
Keep up your wonderful work!
Thank you! You made my day…
big digital hug,
Beth T says
I’ve just read your original Common Capsule post and I’minterested to know whether if they also wore particular styles of footwear, if you can remember? Have you done a common footwear post?
My autumn/winter wardrobe seems to comprise various types of boots for outside with court shoes and heeled ankle boots for indoor wear only. I seem to have stopped wearing lace-ups and loafers which are now for spring/summer.
Most people in that crowd wore high-end athletic shoes, or Doc Marten boots, or brightly colored Crocs, or just their socks… Shoes were one of the things that my co-workers used to show their individuality. One thing – virtually nobody wore anything with high heels; these people were smart!
But ages ago I did a post about the minimum shoe wardrobe that many of us might need:
I hope this helps!
Beth T says
Thanks Janice. I’ve had a look and was a bit confused but then realised that elegant shoes with fine heels are known as Pumps in the US and Court Shoes in the UK.
I’ve always wanted a pair of purple Doc Martens ever since my daughter had some as a teenager. Having very wide feet often restricts my choices but my favourite wide fitting brand is now offering a chunky suede ‘DM’ style boot in a myriad of colours. I have just bought the latest autumn boot in PURPLE suede with plum coloured laces!
I’ve always wanted floral Doc Martens… When I need boots again, I’m going to do it!
I love that sage green in the mix! And since I’m on a charcoal gray kick, I’d sneak some of that in there as well. – nancyo
Can’t help it, I love the matchy matchy with clothes and at home. With the pandemic I’ve got a whole closet of summer clothes that I never wore. Working from home is different and with lockdowns here in Toronto, there’s no where to go. Look forward to dressing up again! For now, tying to wear scarves for a bit of colour.
When I think of matchy matchy I think of my Grandmother – not a bad thing – who, when she “went to town” wore matching down to her underwear! Everything! shoes, gloves, hat, outfit. I’ve gotten away from matchy matchy – or trying – I love to mix prints, but it does occur to me that between my mother and my grandmother I come by my love of color quite naturally – can that be in the genes? ;)
Beth T says
My mother had a real eye and love of colour. Co-ordinated outfits were her thing.
I realise that she taught me a lot as we went round stores together. Although she grew up in the ‘matchy matchy’ era she had also known what it was to ‘make do and mend’. Her philosophy was to blend and co-ordinate. Only her shoes and bag matched and she kept to neutrals for those.
The only colour that she told me was difficult to match was red. So her tip was to buy a red dress or a red coat and then wear black or navy shoes and accessories.
I’ve inherited that. I used to love watching her put an outfit together or buy something new and then see how it fitted into her extensive wardrobe – she had one wardrobe just for coats!
My Mum would have loved reading this blog.
I’m so glad the common wardrobe is back! It was the first organizing method on your blog that really stuck with me. I don’t wear black or much bright white, but subbing in grey and off-white works very well and has helped me fill in the staple pieces I really needed for a simple foundation. And I love the green—can’t get enough of it. And green is hard to find!
The looking back post was perfect for me. I love teal, grey and red for my cooler weather wardrobe so I had to get the Robin scarf. I’m so happy it’s still available in that colorway.
Forgot to mention I can’t let go of “matchy-matchy” either as some have commented. I get an endorphin rush when I find the perfect match.