May 12, 2021
I’m sure you don’t think about these things, but my schedule is always a mixture of looking back (at blog posts upon which you are currently commenting, but which I prepared 2 or 3 days ago) and forwards – what I’m going to post Friday, Monday, next month…
I share this, because BEFORE I EVER PUBLISHED MONDAY’S POST, I had an impassioned request for a wardrobe based on this shirt!
Our friend has her color palette selected; she’s not worried about getting dirty because she doesn’t live that kind of life! She’s focusing on 3 pastels, with chambray/denim blue and white as her neutrals:
She’s even got ONE outfit chosen – this is where she began to experience “wardrobe planning block”…
I’m VERY sympathetic to this kind of block – I run into it ALL the time…
This first outfit – the square earrings and the grid-patterned sandals – pay homage to the plaid in her new top!
Our heroine would really like a Garde-Robe du Mois – Fiona Ferris’ 21-piece wardrobe for a month (or 2 or 3…)
So I was thinking that maybe we could just build this wardrobe 3 garments at a time – sometimes the 3 would be a true outfit, and other times it might just be… 3 related garments!
Let’s get her some tee shirts, and another pair of shorts, to start:
A cardigan is useful, even in the dead of summer:
In her email, our heroine expressed a deep interest in dresses! What she didn’t mention – but I’m going to go out on a limb here – was maybe buying the long-sleeved version of her new top. I’m VERY eager to hear your comments regarding having 2 tops in the same fabric, but different sleeve lengths and wardrobe roles…
This isn’t quite the shade of lilac that she thought she wanted, but this looks perfect with “her” plaid, and each piece is lovely!
Shades of light blue feel like summer, to me…
Oh my – we’re already at the last 3 garments! I know that this heroine doesn’t worry about laundry, but I still feel that a pair of pants in her darkest neutral will make a lot of sense! And stock up on chambray – it’s good for much of the year…
Imagine this: you’ve arrived at the summer destination. Your room is perfect, the weather is delightful, and you open your suitcase to find this:
I seldom wear pastels (except pink!), but I could live all summer in this wardrobe!
Does she have outfit options? Heck yes…
I know that we talk all the time about basing a wardrobe on a painting or a scarf, but there’s no reason in the world that you can’t start with a top that really appeals…
p.s. EIGHT years ago, I shared a travel wardrobe in black, white, red and grey, based on 2 Hermes scarves…
Love the clothes in this one as I really like dresses
Jackie Katz says
Beautiful wardrobe, although it is not my coloring.
Regarding your question about owning tops in the same pattern/fabric that serve different roles, I have never done this except for solid tee-shirts in an unusual color or a cardigan/shell twinset. In today’s wardrobe, I think the long-sleeve shirt could serve the same purpose as the short-sleeve version by rolling up the sleeves. When a wardrobe is restricted to only 21 pieces, I would want to add another piece that would add more versatility or interest.
This is just lovely – if I wore pastels this would really tempt me – still tempts me! I love these colors. Thank you!
So fresh and summery! Too bad there isn’t a shirtdress in that fabric. Great capsule. And I think using a shirt or other piece of clothing as inspiration for a capsule is more useful in the summer than a scarf. Or for those of us who don’t wear a scarf it is very useful indeed. As to different pieces in the same fabric, why not?
Love this colour palette!
As expressed above, I would only have the long sleeved mint top, and roll up the sleeves. Since this is a 21 piece wardrobe, and the number of items are limited, I would substitute a white short sleeve top for the mint plaid shirt . The long sleeved top could then function as both a top and a shirt jacket . I once purchased two tops, both with the same neckline embellishment, but one was coral colored, and one was a deep aqua. I am always torn as to which one to use in a module ! So I have learned my lesson — don’t do that again ! The colors here are lovely, and they sing SUMMER !
Yes, I’m sure that you must spend MANY hours on this site ! But we all appreciate so very much all of the heart and soul that you put into it ! Big hugs !
Oh I forgot to add, that I love this 3 pieces at a time format ! Rather like planning a wardrobe by individual outfits , but with mix and match opportunities within an overall color scheme and function plan ! It’s a nice simple approach , yet it takes thoughtful input , and is not just a bunch of random outfits !
I, too like the whole outfit at a time format, especially with accessories so I can really see where it’s going …
Your observation makes me wish for a “like” button.
I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing about a white T Shirt and ditch the short sleeve plaid. Otherwise fantastic summer wardrobe!
The reader requesting a wardrobe based on that seersucker shirt must be my cosmic twin! I adore seersucker, love this color palette, and even prefer dresses in warm weather. I live in Houston, so that’s a LOT of the year. I clicked on MANY of the items you chose — great options!
That shirt drew my attention earlier as well. And, oh my, that chambray dress would get a workout from me! Think of the range of accessories you could wear with it. I would definitely buy a short and long sleeved version of the same shirt if the colors were absolutely fabulous. I have a white seersucker from LL Bean that is wonderful, btw. It’s a lovely summer fabric.
And dresses! You found several that I love. I wear dresses a lot in summer. They’re so comfortable.
That you chose a beautiful shirt to base the 21 piece wardrobe is affirming, as I did quite the same with a skirt from Talbots this spring. Found a colorful A-line, bought four Ts to go with it and I’ll build in enough shirts, cardis, accessories and dresses to go from there, using TVF principles of selection.
I often do that, because I love a patterned skirt for summer. And I choose the colours so that it goes with at least 3 tops; that way I know I will wear it a lot. And if I buy a new top, it must ho with at least 3 skirts (I don’t wear pants).
I’m not seeing the utility of a long-sleeved shirt in the same pattern, given that the heroine seems to have many other long-sleeved items in her wardrobe. This observation could be based entirely on my experience of summer where I live – hot and humid pretty much all the waking hours and the only really strong air conditioning is in a mall or office. This seems like a pretty casual beachy wardrobe, not suited for an office at least, so I think that our heroine could benefit from another short-sleeved top, tank top or bathing suit. I’m sure there are some fantastic bathing suits that could round out this wardrobe.
Awesome job, it looks so fresh and summery! also versatile!!! I personally don’t buy same fabric/pattern in multiple tops/cuts if they are “memorable” or printed. As stated by some above, in a limited/ capsule wardrobe, I like to save that slot for more diversity. HOWEVER, I definitely do this for my neutrals. Think: black v-neck (sleeveless shell, short-sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweater, cardigan). And then, crazy enough, I start varying the fabric (possibly neckline) within the category, and end up with too many black shells (crepe with a high neck? cotton with a scoop neck? jersey v-neck? sheer, what were you thinking? yup!) Not too great for a capsule UNLESS you’re dedicated to a limited color palette. (I’m not. but, I also have no reason to buy any more black shells, and I have one for any occasion I might run into!)
Also – I seem to do this more with summer tops, less with winter/fall tops. I wonder why…
Beth T says
I have more summer tops because I often wear more than one top per day and wash them more frequently.
Book Goddess says
L.L. Bean has some lovely short sleeved shirts this year. Unfortunately, NONE of them are available in plus size. I guess plus-sized women aren’t allowed to wear short-sleeved shirts. Or that pretty fresh mint cardigan, either.
Having said that, this is a lovely wardrobe but I longed for a lavender that was more “lavender.” If anyone else is looking for such a color, Lands’ End has a “fresh lavender” color this season that looks very pretty and is available in a fuller range of sizes.
For some reason, I would not buy two tops in the same distinctive print. I do have a jacket and a pair of pants in a striking floral print, but I never wear them together.
Sally in St Paul says
L.L. Bean’s size inclusivity is not the absolutely worst, but it’s pretty bad. Even when they do have a piece I like in plus size, I can’t bring myself to support the company by purchasing. And I definitely prefer the Lands End lavender to this pale lilac, which is just a bit more washed out than I would like with the bright white.
Lovely! I am in the process of putting together a 4×4 for summer with similar colors (blue is navy though, as I need some contrast for my coloring). That shirt would be perfect! And I was trying to not buy anything else . . . Sigh! I am with Shrebee and Jackie Katz – I would buy the long sleeve version of this print, use as a topper, and roll the sleeves up when warm. The BZees sandals Janice featured a few posts back https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2021/04/weekly-timeless-wardrobe-4-accent-color-or-print-tee-shirt.html/ would be great to jazz up one of the more solid outfits. I couldn’t resist those. They are comfortable and go with so much.
Last year I bought two long sleeved beach glass seersucker shirts. I forgot that I had ordered the first and ordered the second one. I ended up keeping both of them and when one is dirty, I can wear the other. This has worked out well because I am happy each time I wear them.
I also own the L. L. Bean cardigan, but in coral. It is a lovely, light-weight sweater. However, it runs a bit large.
Not a bad plan to have 2 of something you really love! I had a grey Calvin Klein packable down jacket that I often wear under a navy down vest. I ripped it on the garden fence and have been searching for a replacement for a couple of years. I felt like Goldilocks until I thought of eBay and found the exact item in perfect condition. Pretty amazing as I bought the original at Costco some 10 to 15 years ago. I also have duplicates of a couple of the workhorses in my wardrobe. Since shirts are getting shorter and waists are getting higher, I am glad to have them.
I have lost 50 pounds since January 2020 (intentionally!), and have gone crazy with a new Spring/Summer wardrobe. Most of the pieces are Charter Club. My neutrals remain navy and white; my accent colors are a bright pink (“Pink Lightning”) and a medium green (“Bright Pine”). I ordered more than I will wear, but the above plan will help me to decide which pieces to keep. As always, thank you so much, Janice!
Sally in St Paul says
I love this color palette, though I do prefer the more saturated lavender BookGoddess mentioned to this greyed-out lilac, especially with the white.
I can definitely see where the “buy the long-sleeved shirt and roll the sleeves” sentiment is coming from…this print is SO distinctive that having two shirts like this in a capsule of only 21 pieces doesn’t feel right. I would get tired of the print much more quickly with two items instead of one.
But the popover style with that extra bit of ease in the front under the buttons looks really cute, and it could be a very flattering stand-alone shirt. I’m not sure switching to the long-sleeved version captures the elements that make the popover so appealing. So I’m tempted to keep the short-sleeved version and pick something else instead of the long-sleeved version…perhaps another short-sleeved shirt in a different print would be a nice addition as there are quite a few long-sleeved tops/cardigans in the capsule already.
I am curious what people think of the set of lilac pieces. Color aside, I am leery of a shirt and shirtdress with that same distinctive collar (which, admittedly, I am not fond of). That also feels like too much of the same.
As others have mentioned, I think it’s very easy to get away with multiples in more basic garments and generally “quiet” pieces…I mean, if you found your perfect basic T or classic cardigan, for example, why not replicate that in multiple colors. I could even see getting on board with one style of shirt in multiple patterns because having a smaller range of silhouettes would make mix-and-matching in a small capsule easier and you’re probably unlikely to feel that wearing a mint/blue/lavender plaid popover shirt one day and a white popover shirt of the same cut the next day is wearing “the same shirt again.” But with distinctive prints or trendy style details like that collar, I’m not sold on it…unless you truly LOVE it and know that you’re not a person to tire of wearing it a LOT.
Even if you do LOVE it, I would recommend doing the math to determine how often you would need to repeat that plaid (in either long-sleeved or short-sleeved form) to meet your wear goal for the period the capsule will be used. If you’re OK with repeating the print quite frequently or you are OK with not working those plaid shirts as hard as your other capsule pieces, you’ll be making an informed decision.
This said, in my (non-capsule) wardrobe, I recently bought a long-sleeved blouse and a long-sleeved cardigan in the almost-but-not-exactly-the-same distinctive bird/flower on navy background print because I absolutely love it. But I don’t wear and re-wear and re-wear the same few items in a month, and I’ve added them to my entire year-long wardrobe to wear over a much longer period of time rather than a 1-3 month capsule, so I’m not concerned that I will get sick of it. But that is the only print that I have replicated in this way. Now if someone wanted to start selling two-piece dresses for adult women (that are not a bralette and skirt!), I would definitely get on board that train.
Beth T says
Gosh, I really love this wardrobe. These soft, watercolours are my favourites for summer plus soft pink. The silver shoes and the Olivia Burton watch (inspired) add some glamour and sparkle.
I wouldn’t buy a shirt in the same pattern as long sleeves can be rolled up. I might buy the same pattern in a different colourway. However I have several H&M popover tops in a range of patterns and colours as they are so easy to wear. I also have several cardigans in the same style in a range of colours and likewise wide leg linen trousers in different colours.
If I find a style that suits, I stick with it to become part of my signature style.
I would swap the pink dress for a patterned dress that maybe incorporates all the accents and a floral pattern blouse instead of the other check shirt. The green tops and cardigan stand out a bit too much, so I would be looking to swap for a paler soft jade/duck egg green. As for lilac/lavender, I wear any shade!
My favourite outfit is number 6 which is so elegant for work or a lunch date. A lovely combination of colours/tones. It is an outfit, that I would definately wear.
The weather has warmed up sufficiently for me to do my final cool to warm weather swaps.
Renee D says
I definitely use printed tops to build wardrobe capsules. I have a sleeveless madras plaid top that has been the foundation for my summer wardrobe for years.
It’s so interesting to see how many of us resist owning two different (although really very similar) shirts in the same fabric. I wouldn’t do it either, although I have certainly owned multiple leopard print tops at times (though probably never the exact same leopard print or fabric) and I bet there are plenty here who own multiple black and white striped shirts in various cuts and sleeve lengths. Maybe I would wear the exact same pattern/fabric if the shirts were of dramatically different cuts, like a long sleeve button down vs. a sleeveless shell. But two collared shirts where the only substantial difference is the sleeve length does seem too close.
I probably own at least 10 black and white striped tee shirts – everything from tank tops to long-sleeved tops…
I think part of it might be a cultural thing about the specific pattern. I totally agree with you on the stripes – but stripes are almost considered a neutral pattern. Totally accepted, perhaps even expected! all year round. Same for polka dots, or pinstripes.
Beth T says
Is it that women have a ‘magpie mentality’ towards collecting clothes, shoes, accessories? We seem not to be content (if ever) with having one item in a particular colour or pattern. We like to have said colour/pattern in every shape, neckline, arm length, material etc.
My husband gets by with far fewer clothes. Is it because men’s clothes vary so little in basic styles and fit? Plus they wear the same colours all year round. Jumpers might vary in thickness but are unseasonal. The ladies in the family buy most of my husband’s clothes. However, I have noticed that if I do get him into a menswear shop, then he does pick things that I would pass by.
Well, I am definitely the outlier here. I love, love the metallic shoes. Pastels wash me out, so I pass on the color palette. And I agree that the long sleeve shirt is more versatile, but I can see having both if the pattern makes one happy.
Linda P says
Hi Everyone! Janice, thank you for a very pretty wardrobe combination☺. I am not usually big on pastels but the mint with all the other colors avoids that pale, bland look ( on me).
Although I will admit when I saw the rendition of ‘lavender ‘ in this mix I thought: “Mauve?! Janice thinks that’s a thing?! Well then it –must– be fashionable!”
If there is an article of clothing where I just love the fit, I have been known to buy it in multiple colors. Sometimes I have wished for a pattern for a long and short-sleeved version, but only because I would one for cooler weather and one for warmer weather.