November 6, 2020
She wants accents for her wardrobe this month to be calm, relaxed and gentle – like this:
Her core wardrobe is grey – she loves it. She looks good in it, she likes the way it looks in her closet, and it just feels like her!
But this year, she wants a little bit of gentle color! And so she starts with yellow, including a skirt that might not be a perfect fit in her wardrobe, but which she chooses NOT to resist…
Sometimes, you have to break out a little bit!
The next color isn’t at all easy to find! It doesn’t make it any easier when it’s called all KINDS of names – mineral blue, light turquoise, silver blue, aqua…
But she persists and is delighted:
She originally thought that her last accent color was some sort of peach or melon, but upon closer inspection, she’s delighted to find that it’s CAMEL!!!
She loves camel, but doesn’t feel like investing in an entirely new wardrobe. This will be a fun “test-drive”!
When she assembles everything in her closet, she’s kind of excited to see the soft range of colors:
She knows that in the worst POSSIBLE case, she could just wear her grey clothes, but that’s NOT the point here! So she rehearses a range of outfits in her mind…
She takes a few deep breaths, and smiles, and closes her closet door. This wardrobe might help bring just a touch of peace to her life…
p.s. Five years ago, we started a series of posts based on a Monet painting in grey and shades of blue and green; it’s still a favorite series of mine!
Very nice. Very serene, thank you for that. Seasonless, comforting. Somehow 21 pieces looks way more abundant than it does in my closet…
Elizabeth Ellen Carter says
Serene – just the word for it. :)
beth byrd says
Oh goodness, what a lovely color mix. I am big fan of grey and never thought of mixing it with camel. I’m really inspired by this post today! Thank you.
I kind of fancy this colour scheme for early spring. Beth, yes I love grey and camel together.
Aside from the camel, the blue, grey, white and yellow remind me of a cold winter day – snow, a cold blue sky and a soft yellow sun. Maybe some celestial inspired accessories (suns, stars, snowflakes) would be appropriate here? Also, she needs a winter coat and shoes.
Linda P says
I can see that!
Change the grey to stone, and this lovely selection fits my idea of a Wintertime Caribbean cruise ! All those lovely calm colors feel both joyful, relaxing, and full of hope ! I think that we should blanket this country in those colors so that peace can once again be restored and serenity can return !
Seeing this reminds me why I tried to go with a core of gray a couple of years ago. It just didn’t suit me, though I do currently have some gray cords that get worn with my purple.. I do love the gray/camel mix. Always have, even though I don’t wear either color. Just classic. Thanks peek at serene….
I like the colors, but not together. Now the Monet based scheme from 5 years ago I love. Both are based on grey as a neutral. The cool colors just work better IMO and 27 commenters agreed.
Beth T says
The look back is one of my favourites as I love steam trains. The wardrobe is one lovely, though the green would be dark teal for me. Teal, grey and blue in all their shades seem to be the year round mainstays of my wardrobe.
I’m so pleased that you are showing us the possibilities of a one colour common wardrobe with two accents. My challenge is having enough bottom half garments in neutral colours to create a common wardrobe in the first place! Finding skirts and trousers in the right length and fit for me is a frustrating pre-occupation. I would love to be able to add a dark grey plaid skirt to my winter wardrobe. So I have black and white houndstooth and snake print to my plain grey jeans and trousers.
Sally in St Paul says
Yes, I loved the colors from the look back, and the train! A couple times I have taken a steam train trip in Texas and it was a lot of fun.
Sally in St Paul says
I enjoyed creating a version of this wardrobe from my closet, with some adaptations, of course. I have a good array of grey items (my #3 neutral), so I was able to come up with garments to sub in for these selections except for the dress…I just added a grey skirt instead. The mineral blue was lovely, but not in my closet, so I used a trio of light blue to soft indigo items. The camel absolutely threw me for a loop after seeing what was clearly to my eye a soft peach color in the palette. No worries, I substituted a set of pinkish-coral sandstone items. The light yellow was the challenge…though I have a light yellow twin set for summer, I don’t have any cold-weather yellow. But I found 3 good items to sub in: a striped sweatshirt in soft shades of blue, pinkish-coral, and yellow; a grey pullover with thin pastel stripes; and a soft indigo/pinkish-coral paisley skirt. Because the top stripe in the painting struck me as a nice light chambray color (and because I cannot fathom a wardrobe without jeans!), I would add a few chambray/denim garments to round it out. I was pleasantly surprised by how well my experiment turned out.
One thing that struck me with this grey Common Wardrobe, compared to the recent ivory/cream/beige one, is how harmonious all the grey pieces are. Though they cover a range of values from light to dark, they all seem to be “cool” greys…and for me, this leads to an easy, relaxing blending across the neutral items, rather than the somewhat challenging energy/strife I experienced with the range of cool ivory to very warm beige/camel in the other Common Wardrobe. But I also found that the somewhat controversial combination of cool grey and the cool(ish) camel pieces fell flat and left me feeling meh, even though both colors appeal to me separately. Personally, I’m just not seeing this particular shade of camel being a great addition to her grey wardrobe. I hope that she utterly disagrees, considering she is test driving camel in a $98 cashmere sweater! Maybe some accessories will help here…I’m thinking that the addition of a 3rd color (even a neutral like ivory) and some pattern/texture would make the grey/camel outfits more interesting. Or perhaps she also will come to see the wisdom of adding some chambray/denim to this wardrobe to pair with the camel.
All the recent focus on the neutral foundations of wardrobes here resonates very well with Bridgette Raes’ posts this week about working with neutrals and harmonious dressing. I have read her posts a couple times and confess that I do not have her intuitive sense of how to combine diverse neutrals that work together. But reading her posts and looking at these wardrobes together is instructive.
So often with these Common Wardrobes I think, My goodness, that heroine has so many pairs of solid pants in the same neutral color! It’s especially striking with black or navy, where there isn’t much of a range from light to dark, but I even reacted that way to the beige pants in the Garde-Robe (where all the beige pants basically looked interchangeable to me even though they were slightly different colors) and the grey pants in this one (2 pairs in dark grey seems redundant). Even with my too-large wardrobe, I can usually put together only 1 or 2 pairs of pants in the same neutral hue (and 0 for something like white or beige). In my favorite neutral navy, I have 3 total: 1 pair of traditional work trousers and 1 pair of skinny pants (both can be worn year-round) and 1 pair of capri pants (for warm seasons only). Unlike what Beth T mentions above, this isn’t because I struggle to find pants that fit, particularly; I just don’t see the point in having so many pants that look so much the same. I’d rather have 1 pair in the neutral and fill out the rest of the set with patterned pants and accent color pants (and a pair of blue jeans, always!). But maybe some heroines shy away from pants with color or pattern due to insecurities about their size/shape or really dig having similar color pants that are different fabrications, different textures, different silhouettes, even if those subtleties are lost on me. Perhaps that’s one of the downsides of seeing a wardrobe on a computer screen…what looks “blah more of the same” might be more different to see in person, let alone to wear. Nevertheless, I will continue with my own relatively minimalist approach here (haha, when do I ever get to say that) and trust that other heroines have good reasons for laying in 3-4 pairs of “the same” pants.
I totally agree that jeans and chambray items would be great in this gray-based common wardrobe. – nancyo
Beth T says
I agree with you, Sally, I can’t see the point of having more than one pair of the same trousers/jeans unless they are in a different colour. My main problem is that petite trousers are often only offered in black or navy, sometimes grey. Far too often they are regular trousers with short legs so the rise is too deep and finishes above the waist. Conversely mid-rise don’t sit on my waist but leave a gap at the back. I have always been between standard sizes so which do I fit – my waist or hips?
Once I find a brand/style/length that fits, then I will buy them in more than one colour, if that is available. I often buy them in accent colours to provide more variations. My common wardrobe will, therefore, always include at least one pair of trousers in an accent colour. I probably have more accent colour trousers than neutrals.
There are few trousers that I wished I had bought more than one pair of. One are my silver grey linen trousers which I seem to live in throughout the summer. I’ve had them for three seasons now. Although the shop I bought them in brings out the same style trousers in a range of colours (which I bought), they have never repeated the silver grey colour. Two are cord trousers and three velvet trousers (both of any colour).
Beth, I agree that finding things that fit in colors you want is a challenge. I am short and stumpy so getting waist, hips and legs or rise to all work is difficult. Add to that less shopping in person these days to be able to try things on compounds the problem. I would love to find taupe or stone pants that work, but as you say, black, navy and grey pants predominate. So as to why a person has multiples of similar colored pants, when I find pants that work for me I do buy more than one. Or two.
Linda P says
I –really– appreciate your theme for today. I think many of us would Love to Turn Out Back on the World of 2020.
At first glance of your grey common wardrobe, it looked like an Ansel Adams type photograph, so much so that I thought, ‘wait, what?!’
The next reaction to the grey common wardrobe was it reminded me of Pure As the Driven Snow…in March. That is not to be denigrating (at all). It just means, for me, that by the time the calendar (but not the weather) says spring I am SO ready for some color!!!!
Hence, the accent pieces are just somewhat muted for me. I would (likely) tend toward a peach/apricot in place of the camel or yellow. Maybe these hues give me a brightness of hope in the midst of dreary days.
I’m with Sandy. I have a three pair of identical black pants and 3 pair of the denim jeggings I like. Because I do my laundry separately from “the boys” I might go two weeks before doing my own clothes, and these items are in such heavy rotation I like having the multiples. PLUS if they should stop making them I won’t panic until I can find a substitute. Yes, I do have other pants, but these are my go-to’s. Beth T and Sally in St. Paul, I do love your detailed analysis of your own closets. I play in my closet, but lack the fortitude and patience to do it in such an exactly way.
Sally in St Paul says
Sheila, it’s just my husband and me here, so I wasn’t thinking about the impact of kids (and/or pets) on one’s wardrobe. I can easily wear a pair of pants several times without washing, which is not the case for everyone. I thought it was odd that my sister washes everything after one wear, jeans and cardigans included, until I realized, Oh right, she has 2 active boys under age 5, it’s just easier to wash everything. Thanks for your comment…I am always interested in the various factors (kids, laundry practices, and all kinds of lifestyle variables) that play a role in what kind of wardrobe works for a person.
Beth T says
? Oh goodness me. I’m amused that I give the impression of having done a detailed analysis of my wardrobe. Most of the time, I’m like you, Sheila, ‘playing’ with colour combinations but I also need fortitude, patience, and the will to organise it!
Since joining VF, I have learnt so much about the things that inspire me and the ‘magpie’ colours and patterns that always set my heart racing.
I am noticing the clothes I actually wear frequently and wonder why I THINK that I need so many different items in similar colours even though the items serve the same purpose? Perhaps I should just choose the one I like best in each colour?
Instead of getting rid of orphans, I keep them in the hope that one day, I might find something to buy that goes with it. WHY?
Examining the reasons for having more clothes than I need is perhaps the next step. However, I’ve never been good at self analysis…
Linda P says
Hi there! I think any orphans i have is the result of looking through websites or catalogs and swooning ‘ooooh what a pretty color!’ Or ‘oooooh what a cool pattern!’ . And said item is bought and looks beautiful in my closet but doesn’t quite exactly match like I thought, or…it gets bought but it’s a tunic length and I have short sweaters, or the pants aren’t quite the right weight for the season, or ….whatever. So I guess this item becomes the filler on the bottom row of the 4×4 wardrobe capsule, matching only with black.
Sheila Harden says
exacting way.. jheez
*sigh* Every time you show this common wardrobe in shades of gray, I feel a bit of a tug upon my heart! There was a time when I believed I was a soft summer and I had a substantial amount of gray in varying shades in my wardrobe. I also had some muted navy as a neutral, but my other main neutral was taupe, ranging from cement to cool gray-brown. And because I am a dark blonde, I found the taupe to be a lovely color to work with in my closet. The gray and taupe pieces looked wonderful together, as if they had a bit of shimmering iridescence that caused them to shift and blend with one another. I don’t find camel and gray to be nearly as pleasing a combination to my eye. At that time, I also had quite a bit of dusty teal, green, and blue that I mixed with the gray and taupe, not unlike the beautiful Monet train station painting. During that time, I actually found it quite easy to match up clothing items in my closet… one of the lovely benefits of having softer coloring is the blendable, muted quality of the color palettes. At times, I covet having these colors in my closet again. They do make creating a Whatever’s Clean or Common Wardrobe easy.