March 3, 2021
A surprising number of us are hankering for a touch of camel in our wardrobes, and who could blame us? Warm, rich looking, not seen every 15 seconds in a crowd…
And when I saw the teen-aged girl at The Art Institute wearing a simple sweater with a classic white shirt and blue jeans (not distressed, thank you!) I knew that I had to address our longing! She looked wonderful, by the way…
So let’s look at this sweater with a handful (okay, seven) different colors…
Let’s start with denim, and my re-creation of the outfit my Chic Sighting was wearing:
One of the great joys of a v-neck sweater is that you can wear it with something under it, and then 2 days later wear it on its own! That makes a sweater like this a glorious thing for travel…
This next outfit would be substantially less dressy with black jeans rather than these silk-blend pants; versatility is good!
I love this next outfit, and it might be the one in which I would look WORST! But the scarf really made me so happy when I found it – the triumphs of my days are small, but beautiful!
These colors are very much like what one would find in menswear… And the scarf is the perfect touch, I think…
This is the same outfit, but using white in place of grey! I love this…
Since this scarf is a dressy fabric, it does lend itself to being worn with a skirt. And do we remember this Lion and Peacock scarf from last year?
Frankly, no matter what the core neutrals are in your wardrobe, I believe that you could add a camel, grey or navy sweater and have a lot of options! I may have to visit grey, just to see…
p.s. Four years ago, a wardrobe of grey and pastels went with a heroine on her way to New York!
Beth T says
When I saw the camel jumper today, it nearly had me, metaphorically speaking, ‘running for the hills’. I just do not like any shade of camel or beige. It looks dreadful on me, no matter how classic, or fashionable, it might be. However, I stopped because I enjoy these posts and will always learn a thing or too.
The girl you saw probably didn’t even realise that she was creating her own memorable image. When I was a teenager, I was very self-conscious and wished that I could wear jeans and jumpers with ease. I eventually found denim dungarees which made me look taller and wore them with a satin shirt and a velvet jacket.
So what did I learn today:
1. Colourful scarves and/or simple, classic accessories will lift an ordinary or even mundane outfit, like the girl you saw in the art gallery. Shoes that match the jumper bring the outfit together.
2. A long floaty skirt, or wide leg smart trousers, with a plain jumper, plus classic shoes and accessories that blend and draw the outfit together, is a simply successful way of dressing without too much effort.
3. Checks and stripes do go together as in the fourth outfit, something that I might try with a striped shirt and checked scarf in my wardrobe. Even casual outfits can look classy.
4. A scarf can bring together tricky colour combinations – outfits 5 and 6. The same effect could be done with a patterned top or blouse instead of a scarf.
5. The last outfit is stunning in its classic simplicity and the favourite Lion and Peacock scarf.
6. So today’s lesson learnt is that a simple and classic outfit and accessories can be memorable and outstanding whether casual or dressy. You can’t go far wrong.
Well done Janice. This has got me thinking of my current love it or loathe it with dark navy.
My current love/not love are a long sleeve tee, a polo neck and two cardigans in proper dark navy. Even though navy is a core neutral for me this shade just seems too heavy on me now as tops. These are my thoughts on my four garments:
1. I rarely wear the long-sleeve tee as it is crew neck, a style that makes my neck look short, so I will probably see if I can find some navy patterned pyjama bottoms and reuse the top as nightwear! I often reuse tee shirts that have lost their place in my day wear but have life left in them for nightwear. Otherwise, it can be used for decorating/gardening.
2. I wear the navy polo neck very occasionally with a patterned cardigan or jumper but even that bit of navy seems too much next to my face. I might just pass that onto charity or just use it for winter walks under a flannel shirt, now there’s a thought.
3. One of the cardigans has a hole under the arm and I don’t wear it, because of that, so that will go. It might not be noticeable but I KNOW that the hole is there. I have tried wearing it as the full navy core with a scarf but it is too severe. I tried wearing it with a white with pink/navy floral blouse but that just looked drab.
4. However, the other cardigan is a lighter navy, has three quarter length sleeves, which suit my short arms. I wear it in the summer with a white or coral tee and a patterned light navy skirt with coral pink flowers plus white and navy shoes and a navy raffia handbag. Or I wear it with a white dress with navy and aqua flowers plus the same shoes and bag. I shall keep this cardigan as it has a useful place and being a short style in the body suits me better. Maybe replacing the buttons might jazz it up as well.
I am generally moving towards lighter navy, dark blue-grey, prussian blue and blue teal. Last summer, I experimented wearing dark blue tops in the summer with light grey or matching dark blue trousers with favourable results. The dark blue tops had a coloured pattern (florals or polka-dot) or self-coloured textural detail about them to add interest because I don’t wear scarves in the summer, apart from pashmina shawls. I also have a white and navy patterned top and a white jacket with navy flowers that I would like to wear more often. I also wear navy bottoms with pink, lilac and teal on top at other times of the year.
Reviewing one’s wardrobe is a very useful exercise because it confirms the place of each item and how it will be worn. It also weeds out the less loved items that could be repurposed as nightwear tops or even just used as scruffy clothes for gardening or decorating!
As I age and everything fades, including my skin, certain dark colors are becoming too dark worn close to my face and navy is one of those colors . Dark brown is still workable, though a lighter, more milk chocolate or rust value would be better . I have a few navy items in my wardrobe , but I won’t develop that module further .
Beth T says
Thanks Shrebee. One has to accept growing old gracefully and that our best colours will alter of time. The muted and softer colours I wear now, suit me better than the brighter colours of the Summer palette. I am also drawn to soft milky brown to wear with soft pink.
Meg K says
The perfect post Janice! These neutrals are so classic, so relaxing. Yes, looking at these outfits made me sigh and took the stress down just a notch. Thank you.
Also those high vamp Boden kitten heels are lovely.
I love Beth T’s reply – it’s what goes through my head when I’m reading your posts – even if it’s ‘not for me” i still learn more about my style. Stripes and checks – Yes please!
Sheila Harden says
Beth T, I always enjoy your analysis. One of my coworkers had on a camel sweater yesterday paired with black. It looked very nice on her. I’m afraid even with a scarf so the camel isn’t near my face I’m not going to be wearing it any time soon! In the flash back I found it interesting you said you don’t have a person with a certain coloring in mind for your wardrobes, but rather the personality of the heroine. And then I wonder what it says about me that I enjoy my colors so much! I find the neutrals you show here very pleasing to the eye, and I can appreciate that even if I personally wouldn’t be wearing them. thanks Janice
P.S. I absolutely love Jessie Zhou scarves – I do wish they weren’t mostly silk, and square :(
Linda P says
Hi Janice! I have a crew-neck camel sweater and a super-warm camel turtleneck sweatshirt that just seem to match with just about anything in my closet. I like all of your groupings because they are very easy to put together. My favorite is the camel with rust (of course).
to Beth: I also repurpose ‘slightly tired’ clothes as sleepwear ?
In this post I have really appreciated your scarf finds to “ jazz” up an otherwise simple outfit !
I have a camel V neck sweater like this one, but for some reason have not been wearing it. I don’t like the itch factor of wearing it on bare skin , and I don’t care for the loose hem look when wearing it above a skirt, but I need to pull it out and wear it now as in the first illustration, with denim, or with olive , or stone pants later in the season. Right now is the perfect weather to pull this out and get some use from it !
beth byrd says
Janice, this post is AMAZING! I’m pretty sure that camel sweater will find its way into my closet!
I have a lot of olive/khaki in my wardrobe and I am surprised at how beautifully camel pairs with that color.
Like Beth T and Sheila I look like “death warmed over” if I put camel next to my face. However, I’ve worn a camel wool skirt and camel corduroy jeans for years , precisely because they work well with so many colors of sweaters. When I went to Scotland in 2016, I packed camel and black bottom pieces with black, navy, white, and grey tops plus a wild-card leopard print shell. I found the wardrobe easy to use. Even though I didn’t wear the black pants with the navy sweater, everything else mixed very easily.
I have had a similar camel cashmere vneck for several years, and wear it regularly with most of the colors you selected (not the gray). Vneck is my preferred neckline for sweaters for its versatility, and camel is a wonderful neutral that goes with so many things. It isn’t right for everyone’s coloring, but when it is, it’s a perfect wardrobe staple.
I don’t wear camel myself, but all of these outfits are beautiful! If I did wear camel, I would wear any of these in a heartbeat.
I agree that a v-neck cashmere sweater is a workhorse! I have them in navy (my core neutral) and red (one of my top accents) and they get a lot of wear. I’ve paired a fitted red cashmere v-neck with the velvet uniqlo palazzo pants you turned me onto a few years ago. I also have a stack of oversized, thrifted, usually men’s cashmere V-necks that I wear over pajamas all winter long.
Though you mainly paired this version with neutrals, another fun way to wear a v-neck is with a pop of color in the form of a t-shirt under the v. I recently wanted to wear something cozy and cheering to the dentist, and I ended up with an all-navy column (navy socks, cords, v-neck) with a bubblegum pink tee peeking out from the V. Made me happy!
Going to the dentist is pretty much our big opportunity to wear real clothes these days?. Your bubblegum pink t under the navy sounds wonderful, and cheery.
Thank, Lizette – and you’re right! It was the first time I’d left the house (save to walk the dog) in some time!
I also wanted to make another point – I CANNOT wear cardigans. I spend the entire day fiddling with buttons or flapping them open or closed… all of this goes away when I wear a v-neck. I am just literally calmer in a v-neck than a cardigan. So, I mentally convert every cardigan in every outfit on this blog into a v-neck for my own purposes.
This is the kind of insight that can make buying clothes and getting dressed SO MUCH more fun…
Oh, yes, please do the grey version too! Love these sorts of posts.
Laura Pasik says
I love camel paired with black, white, navy, denim … all my core neutrals. It’s not a no-brainer for me because my coloring skews cool, but camels that are more on the beige side work surprisingly well, especially if I layer them over a white tee or add a scarf so that the camel isn’t right next to my face. I really think that most of us can wear more colors than we think, as long as we are careful to pick the right shade–not too light, not too dark, not too saturated, not too grayed-down, not too warm, not too cool, etc. Just call me Goldilocks!
I can see why the camel sweater & jeans outfit caught your attention. I can’t quit studying it. I love every item you show! As luck would have it, I thrifted ($5.99) a Banana Republic merino wool, camel v neck sweater over the weekend.
Yay for thrifted sweaters!! I’m very sad that the pandemic put my favorite local thrift store out of business. I remain hopeful that there will always be a need for thrift stores – I will always check them out when I can!
I am also one of those who cannot wear camel next to my face. However I substitute my taupe V-neck cashmere sweater in place of the camel and it works great. In my wardrobe are an ample supply of men’s V-neck sweater’s as well as women’s. Rather than blouses or shirts I use turtlenecks and crewneck T-shirts Under my V-neck’s. For me that’s much more comfortable. Looking forward to the exercise where you use gray. Thank you for all your hard work.
Beth T says
The navy polo-neck that I mentioned first thing is to be reprieved. The fickle weather is colder again. So I just thought I’d try it as a navy core with my navy fleece-lined waterproof walking trousers (thanks Janice for the idea). Over it, I put a lilac-pink jumper and a checked scarf of soft blues and heather purple which I hadn’t really worn (thanks for the idea, Janice). Topped with my plum waterproof and navy walking boots. My husband commented on how well the scarf brought everything together. Our walk was short-lived as the slight mizzle turned into a rapidly heavy downpour. However, for 20 minutes, I was pleased with my outfit.
So I think that my solution to navy is to wear it as a core navy top and navy bottom with a lighter accent jumper over the top plus an attractive patterned scarf or matching accent necklace that ties it together.
Simple outfit solutions and decisions please me, particularly if they happen unintentionally. This morning, I discovered that my chunky patterned dark blue and grey cardigan looks good with a striped blue shirt with small embroidered dark blue dots. This discovery was made because I put the cardigan in my wardrobe on the first blue shirt that was at hand, rather than with the plain blue shirt, I normally wear it with. The cardigan is knitted in coloured strips of blues and greys with a darker blue pattern woven across it. Sounds weird but I bought it at a craft fair in Scotland over 30 years ago. The blue striped shirt with blue dots picked up the same idea. I will wear it tomorrow with dark wash jeans.
Beth T, you crack me up. That being said, several times lately I have shopped my scarf drawer – in one case finding a scarf I forgot I had, and more often discovering new combinations of scarves/tops that I had never tried before. Awesome. I do routinely combine the patterns of a top and a scarf. You just have to make sure the scale of the patterns fit together – one small, one big.
OMGosh, I have this sweater and have only worn w/white t-shirt and jeans – now LOOK at all the other pants/skirts I can wear it with! Thank you thank you thank you xoxoxox
I love these ideas! Camel is one of my go-to neutrals but I’m often struggling for ways to keep it from looking blah. Black and white are both too harsh for me, so I used to wear lots of bright colors. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to tone it down a bit, so I’ve been having fun experimenting with other neutrals (ivory, camel, navy, olive, brown…)
Another way I way lighter weight sweaters, v-neck or crews, is under a blazer. Perfect for layering. Love the camel. Camel, navy, cream/white and grey are my year-round go-tos. Btw, most of my v-necks are Uniqlo which I didn’t know existed until you featured something from there a couple years ago. Thanks, Janice!
Connie Pettit says
This is my perfect post – the capsules look put together, can be dressed up or down, comfortable, and versatile. The color combinations you’ve provided are inspired. The Jessie Zhao scarf is a must-have item.
A v-neck sweater seems to provide more than merely a warm covering. It’s sophisticated. This post is a keeper. Thanks, Janice!
Sally in St Paul says
Every single one of these outfits is a winner, though nothing can touch the navy pleated skirt and beloved Lion and Peacock scarf version.
I have NEVER tried wearing a crew neck t-shirt underneath a V neck sweater, but seeing the grey and white outfits, I’m eager to try it. I love the look of a button up collared shirt underneath the sweater, but I find it’s not always very comfortable and can be somewhat too fiddly for me (I have a couple collared blouses in drapey fabric that are so much easier to wear that way). I’m attracted to the look of the first Chic Sighting outfit, but I’m pretty sure the stiff shirt would drive me a bit crazy. My personal style is also less structured than that outfit, whereas the t-shirt + sweater versions feels right.
You might also want to try a scoop neck t-shirt under a v-neck sweater. I like how a lot of my necklaces work better with a fitted scoop neck peeking out from the v-neck.
Love this. I have two camel sweaters—a plain cashmere v neck and a cotton crew with a red novelty print… I wear them both with jeans and screaming red loafers, but clearly need to start pairing them with grey or white.
Taste of France says
I love it but the color makes me look like oatmeal. I was thinking just yesterday about how brown (including caramel) works with so many colors, and you can’t beat a monochromatic outfit, either.
There’s a young designer on Instagram, Elborn_Doris, who makes wardrobes of neutrals, all very classy in a dressy but not stuffy way. She doesn’t usually go quite as far as camel, staying in the beige and black realms.
She OWNS that light beige color, doesn’t she?
I admire that…
Something I realized about the jeans and sweater look is that is ageless. One can wear this look at 20 ,40, 80 and look fabulous.
hugs hugs hugs,
Linda in Bluffton says
LOVE this one! Such a perfect post. I’ve now purchased the sweater … am hoping it is the same color IRL as the photo … and not scratchy. I love camel but have been challenged to find it in the richer shade (vs. tan). And VNeck!
I would wear any of those combinations; the white is my fav!
Well done, Janice!
These wardrobes are lovely and *almost* make me like camel! Actually, I wear a non-beige version of camel (usually in slacks or in prints) with black and white and love it. And gray definitely goes with every neutral, well might be tricky with olive – nancyo