July 30, 2021
It’s a question that’s turned up in my mail a few times this last month – “What exactly would a summer Weekly Timeless Wardrobe look like?” “Would this be enough clothing for me if I wear a uniform for work?”
So I offer a couple of possibilities…
First up – navy and white with shades of blue for accent – classic summer colors:
For reference purposes, these are the 13 garments that I have included in my Weekly Timeless Wardrobe list; you can (of course!) adapt these to suit your needs and preferences!
If I only needed “real clothes” for evening and weekends, this would probably be sufficient for me. Of course, you still need gym clothes, and swim wear if that’s something you do, but for normal day-to-day activities, consider these possibilities:
These wardrobes can be assembled in any colors that you love – maybe you want to perk up black with beige and warm accent colors:
This wardrobe offers just as many outfit options:
I have so many questions about how you might adapt this for yourself – what colors would you include? Would you be content with 13 garments? What garment switches would you make to meet your needs better?
p.s. Five years ago, our travel capsule wardrobe was in black, white and red. It still looks like something I would wear!
Beth T says
I would use this number of garments for a week away! I would switch tops for cap or short sleeves and add in floral patterns and reserve navy for bottoms only.
My summer wardrobe is quite large as I love colour at this time of year and change several times a day when it’s hot.
I think of my wardrobe like a country house summer flower border – a riot! The background ‘shrubs and trees’ are navy, prussian blue, mid-blue, heather purple, violet, grey, taupe. The flowers (floral patterns) are lilac, pinks, aqua and turquoise. I rarely wear white or ivory.
Sally in St Paul says
YES to colors and florals and short-sleeves, Beth T. I love the specifics of your flower garden “riot” description! That gives me such a mental image of the kinds of things that would or would not make sense in your wardrobe. Do you find that this image helps you on the shopping side?
Beth T says
I’m trying not to shop! I’d love to know more about your mental image of my wardrobe. To me its ‘organised chaos’!
I buy patterned tops (mainly floral or paisley) when I see them. when They have to really appeal to my vibe AND they must fit properly. If they don’t fit, I return them because bo matter how much you like something, you wont wear it if it doesnt fit. A second group of consideration that a top must go with at least two bottom halves or 2nd layers. If it’s a dress then it must go with at least one 2nd layer.
I am finding in my new non-work life that I’m wearing fewer clothes all round. I’m currently circulating four pairs of cotton trousers from the same manufacturer – same style in navy, prussian blue/blue teal, grey and taupe plus a lavender linen skirt. My accents are lilac, orchid pink, salmon pink and aqua, teal.
Patterns in tops or blouses can encompass any combinations of these colours. 2nd layers can blend with either the bottoms or the tops and are plain with texture/ embellishments or they might be patterned so I wear a plain matching accent underneath. I wear dresses when it’s very hot.
My only wish is that I had enough drawers to divide my patterned and plain tops.
I would easily live with this size wardrobe. I would change the tops to short sleeves and the pants to skirts. No white bottoms for me, so I will change the white items to light grey. And and have at least one rose coloured item in there.
I love navy and white in the summer! I add in pops of coral and/or a lime green color. In the summer my base colors are navy and khaki; in the winter navy and brown.
I work from home and go into the office one day a week. I’m curious of what you’d do with one dress (navy, of course) and a navy skirt. How, with just those two pieces, I could mix things up and alternate wearing them, so I don’t look like a broken record! With a handful of sweaters/jackets/tops/scarves/jewelry – could I make it interesting enough for my time in the office? Love your blog-it inspires me!
As a minimalist and someone who used to wear a uniform I will chime in. Yes, this capsule is plenty, with a few adjustments. It needs one more bottom garment. Not necessarily different, just one to boost the overall numbers. I thought the one topper, two tops and one bottom ratio useful. I have never worn dresses, although many do, so I would have this line item as a wild card per season. I would define it as an outfit in which to look very nice. Christmas parties, real estate closings, and so on and so forth. That’s just me. The thing about the WTW exercise is once it has been done, I don’t really redo the whole thing. And if I buy good quality, I only need tweaks. I think the variety of color schemes is great. Choosing colors has been my personal challenge. I am able to mentally adjust for different styles I prefer. I sub cap or short sleeves for the tanks, for example. I have greatly benefited from the series. This is just my take on the WTW.
Oh, and Accessories!
I love dresses in the summer, and am trying to figure out if I can wear one today (supposed to be very warm) and still be modest as I’m sitting on the floor wiring laptop carts…. I agree with Sandy about the topper, 2 tops, and bottom configuration. White bottoms would be changed to an olive or sage green for me. One of the shirts might be a lightweight sweater instead. Overall this amount of clothing would be plenty.
I agree with Sandy – one more bottom would be useful. Personally, in the summer I like color and pattern (which I add in winter with scarves), so I would arrange this a little differently. (I also crave variety and find 2 accent colors limiting). I would do the bottoms in my neutrals (navy, white or grey, what-have-you). Then I would take the 7 sleeveless tops and put in my colors/patterns (well, likely one solid cream, possibly one solid navy) – pink floral, green abstract, blue with dots, yellow geometric, classic stripes… In this way, I limit the number of garments, but feel like I have a huge variety available to me. (This is how I pack for trips – I think it would work for me at home too, but perhaps only for a month or two. Not because I would get bored, but because the weather shifts enough that I’d want to swap fabric composition).
I use a 12 item system every season and it equates to 30 different outfit combos:
Light neutral tee
Dark neutral tee
Accent Color #1 top
Accent color # 2 top
Plus jewelry……..I love my handmade jewelry…..something I have done since childhood.
I love to look at your capsules- they give me such inspiration.
I love the way you think.
Wow! Who knew Eileen Fisher had a dress with a shape? I happen to love it. This is one of those dresses you can wear casually or dressed up a bit with the right accessories. It’s just so cool to find multi- purpose dresses.
These capsules are both more than adequate for most of us. Everyone who’s been reading TVF for awhile can easily adapt this for climate and lifestyle. The black and beige is very elegant. Wonderful for those who wear those colors well. I love navy and white and turquoise in the summer. And I’d swap out that medium blue tank for something in a warm, clear coral or warm coral pink. I am search for a navy chino skirt…hard to find, but that’s what I’d wear in lieu of the shorts. For activities, I’d go with one of the nicer pairs of hiking pants (cut well, no darn cargo pockets, crop length and lightweight.) oh, and that navy print top with the navy pants is just adorable. (Scurries off to follow the link.)
AK, I’m not sure if the dress has as much shape as the front view without model suggests. The side and back views on the model look very “hangs from the shoulders” away from the body, which could be perfect for someone.
Julie in Mel
Julie- Yeah, I went to the link later and it was definitely less shaped than expected. But, for EF, it carries more shape than usual! The challenge for women of a certain age, whose shapes have shifted, is to find dresses somewhere between body-con and a circus tent. I’d embrace the tent if I could, but I’m too short. I have friends who are tall and who look pretty fabulous in those kind of shapeless linen dresses.
Sally in St Paul says
I like this look at a non-work wardrobe; I focused on the first one because navy/white is a favorite of mine in summer.
My immediate impressions:
-It feels very casual, which is probably fine for many people. The dress is definitely more casual on the model than I thought it would be from the photo. If the heroine doesn’t have a work wardrobe to draw from (which I assume from the “uniform”), it would be a little challenging to put together a smart outfit, though the right accessories can work wonders with the dress, I’m sure.
-It’s heavily reliant on the sleeveless tank + long-sleeved linen shirt-as-jacket combination. Where are the stand-alone short-sleeved tops? For summer, I definitely want the option to throw on a top that is a one-and-done. I would guess that heroines who want to routinely wear a sleeveless tank top on its own all summer are rather rare…particularly in the demographic that reads TVF.
-The vest is an interesting choice in such a small capsule. I actually really like it’s fun, appealing striped-ness, but combined with all the sleeveless tops in the capsule, it feels a bit like a wasted choice.
-There is really not much color here.
What I would change:
-I personally can’t with the sheer white pants so I would sub chambray pants or denim capris.
-I personally like longer shorts so I’d substitute a pair of skimmers (just below the knee) or cropped/capri pants.
-I would sub short-sleeved tops for at least 2 of the sleeveless ones.
-I would sub a short-sleeved cardigan or jacket for the vest.
-If I were not interested in adding a lot of accessories to this, I would sub accent colors (solid or print) for some of the tops.
-If I were interested in adding a lot of accessories, I would add lightweight scarves (accent color/prints) that can be worn as pseudo-kimonos on top of the sleeveless tanks.
The scarf as pseudo-kimono is what I’m wearing today…a blue ombre/tie-dye print scarf with a medium blue and white striped peplum tank. I drape the scarf around my neck and down the shoulders and front so all the fabric is hanging loose. Then I do one of two things: (1) Tie the two front corners together in a knot to make a looser cape-like version OR (2) tie the front and back corners on each side together to create two “sleeves.”
This wouldn’t be enough garments for me because of how my laundry cycle works and because I would get VERY BORED with such a limited color palette.
It’s interesting that the way the WTW is set up really lends itself to high value contrast capsules…or at least, there is a tendency for the example wardrobes to take “light” and “dark” quite seriously. This makes sense because Janice has personal coloring that is pretty high value contrast, and high value contrast wardrobes/outfits look very dynamic and interesting and translate well for this kind of flat lay photography. But I am curious what a much lower value contrast version of this wardrobe would look like and how you would keep it from looking like it’s all the same, especially with the WTW focus on neutrals. Texture, color, prints…? Accessories!
Alison M Gunn says
Completely agree, particularly with the emphasis on sleeveless, which (as part of a rapidly aging demographic) I rarely wear on their own. I currently own three sleeveless tanks, and that works very well when worn under linen (long sleeve but rolled up) shirts. I have a mostly lower value contrast wardrobe in that dark navy and I are in the midst of a long breakup, but I do have a somewhat ‘elegant’ look in a navy linen shirt combined with navy linen pants. If I ever leave my house again, I could presumably wear that combination to a nice dinner. The rest of my colors are in my palette: summer colors, no high contrasts except for white tees with navy pants. Paler blues work better next to my face. I think I was classified (a long time ago) as a True Radiant Summer (sounds so lovely) and as I crinkle, those colors definitely look better on me than high contrast color values.
Cathie Perkins says
Well I’m in the age demographic, but have approximately 50 sleeveless tops in my summer wardrobe. Considering it is in the high 20s (Celcius) here in winter, (Brisbane Australia) l look at those long sleeve tops and think never! My upper arms are a bit jiggly but I don’t care, it’s too hot for sleeves in summer for me. I can only dream of coats and my love of sweaters never gets much opportunity ?
I have been following along the WTW for the first time. Like others, I don’t wear white on the bottom or darks near my face. I have a grayed navy skirt in place of the white pants. The colors of my capsule are light or grayed navy, denim blue, baby blue and an occasional shell pink top. I use white sparingly, but a white tank is a great brightener. I find the the number of garments perfect for me. Some of my items are used in two different seasons so I have less than a total of 52 items. I don’t wear scarves and am never bored with this. As a matter of fact, I find great pleasure in looking at my neat, tidy and well coordinated tiny wardrobe. Thank you so much Janice!!
Thank you for your lovely work. I love the black and biege combinations and use black, biege, and white, witth a ittle denim and the odd bright shirt here and there for my summer wardrobe. In this collection I would switch the tee shirts to 3/4 sleeve or long sleeve (in summer weight) because my upper arms are scary to see , change the pants to jeans, add skorts instead of shorts. Changes in the items to fit my location, lifestyle, and body but keeping your wonderful organization of color and top,second layer, and bottom organization. You are amazing! Thank you!
I like the combos very much. Like some of the other commenters, I rarely wear sleeveless unless I have something over it. And in the humid Midwest, sweaters and long sleeves are out of the question during most of the summer. So I end up with mostly a three-quarter sleeved top and linen pants.
(I think white pants are most versatile. Why don’t others wear them?)
This could work for me with the addition of one more bottom. My summer neutrals are navy and white with black, burgundy and red accents.
I also would want a full sweatshirt in addition to the two linen tops as we occasionally experience a few cold days during our summer.
I’m a newbie. Someone mentioned a link to the EF dress, and I can’t find it. Had the same thought! WOW! and EF dress with shape!!
Just click on the caption at the bottom – the part that says “dress – Eileen Fisher” and you should have another tab open, at the location where the dress is available!
Thanks, Janice. Got it.