July 12, 2021
Even in the hottest parts of the summer, it’s smart to have a dark neutral pair of pants handy. Serious life business is no respecter of weather!
Note that you don’t have to match colors flawlessly to put together a beautiful outfit:
Classic drawstring pants are so useful in the summer…
You can look perfectly serious at work without melting onto the floor under your desk!
Maybe you really LIKE squares? A little gingham, and some square-ish accessory are just right…
It’s not exactly a suit, but it works quite the same way when getting dressed…
I’m always surprised at how good green and grey look together!
Almost like jeans, but a LOT cooler:
For all new visitors, and those keeping track, here’s the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe master garment list:
Do you wear long pants very often in warm weather? I wear them to doctor appointments, and lunch dates where I know that it’s going to be cold inside!
p.s. Four years ago, we started with William Morris wallpaper to assemble a vacation wardrobe!
In Summer I only wear pants/trousers outside of home so either full length straight, cropped, jogger or full length palazzo style. Flowing Silk trousers are so nice for Summer nights and hot Christmas parties. Dresses and skirts are reserved for stocking/tights weather in my wardrobe as I’m not fond of showing skin especially in the past when dermatitis was a big factor in staying covered up.
Beth T says
I wear cotton and linen full length trousers all summer. I don’t suit shorts. The linen trousers are wide leg style so perfectly cool. Linen can be dressed up or be more casual depending on the tops, jewellery and footwear worn. I have wide leg crepe trousers for special occasions in the summer. I will wear dresses and skirts but wear 10 denier tights or stockings so they aren’t too hot.
Yes I do so my legs don’t stick to everything when I sit down , stand up.
I wear long pants all summer. Mainly for modesty’s sake. I had some Boden linen pants years ago I wore until the seat end was threadbare. Sadly, they no longer offer them. Thanks for showing me some alternatives. I’ve yet to find any I like as well as I did those. Have a great day everyone!
I wear pants all summer – my favourite pairs are a navy wide leg linen pair and a pale olive cargo pair which I use mainly for hiking to avoid cuts/ticks/sunburn, etc. I do avoid jeans in the summer.
Janice – I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate these weekly timeless wardrobe posts. The outfits are simple yet so wearable. I gravitate towards pattern and colour (something I learned from my mother), but it has been so useful adding solids and neutrals, which I rarely ever did. I find it so much easier to get dressed these days. I’m imparting this wisdom onto my daughter so we can each buy less clothing but have more wardrobe versatility. Thanks again!
Merci beaucoup pour ces articles qui m’apportent beaucoup d’idées pour porter les vêtements de ma garde -robe. Nouvelle sur votre blog,je l’aime déjà beaucoup
This will be brief: I think. . . .you are a treasure. Thank you. PamPa
I used to wear a lot of pants in the summer, but this year the hear seems to be getting the best of me, and I’m sticking with skirts and dresses unless I know it’s going to be very windy.
I would love to own a pair of more lightweight but still well-fitting pants, but between my height and shape, they’re hard to come by…
Beth T says
If you can sew then putting dressmaker weights (or old coins) in the hems of dresses and skirts prevents those ‘Marilyn’ moments!
OK, so this is my problem. I cannot, for the life of me, settle into a concise grouping of colors to build a whole wardrobe around. In the winter, I want to be all about black and grey with a little winter white thrown in there for contrast, with accent colors of teal (greying redhead, very fair skin, blue eyes, and the greying hair…people think I’m dying it blond. I’m not. It’s just going white), and sometimes camel, because…redhead, and I actually love the black and camel thing, but OLIVE!
Then in the summer I want to be navy and white with coral and turquoise accents, but sometimes black sneaks in there. And then there’s the whole denim/chambray thing I love, too. Argh! I have a closet full of colors I love, but little cohesion. I’m beginning to think that, at 62, there’s no hope for me because I love all the things.
Love your site! I so want to have your eye and brain for putting things together in a cohesive way. Sigh. Maybe when I grow up…
Sally in St Paul says
Catherine, I also love a lot of different colors, so I hear you. But I don’t think there is a law that says you can’t wear different color palettes in summer vs. winter. It sounds like you mostly wear neutrals with a couple accent colors, which actually sounds like a fairly narrow selection of colors compared to most people (including me!).
Winter: black, grey, winter white [core]; teal, camel, olive [accents]
Summer: navy, white, denim/chambray [core]; coral, turquoise [accents]
That doesn’t seem like an outrageous number of colors in each wardrobe. I think Janice’s wardrobes often include 5-6 colors.
I’d be curious how cohesive your wardrobe feels when you consider the winter capsule and the summer capsule separately. Is the colors that aren’t working together or is it something else? Silhouettes that don’t come together easily into outfits, mixing bridge pieces, incompatible variants within each color family….there are a lot of possibilities.
I may be in the minority on this blog, but I’m not sure there’s huge value to committing to an entire-wardrobe-level of cohesion when you have a strong desire to wear different colors in different seasons. I mean, do you ever need your hefty turtleneck sweater to coordinate with your linen crop pants? For pieces that might cross the summer and winter capsules, that’s a place to consider what colors would work best across the palettes. Since my summer and winter palettes preferences are very close to yours, I would be thinking about denim, grey, and olive as possible transition piece neutrals and items with a mix/blend of teal to turquoise colors for accents (e.g., marls, heathers, ombres, tie-dye, prints).
I’m also assuming that you are OK with wearing multiple neutrals in the same outfit…combinations of black, grey, and/or winter white work for winter and combinations of navy, white, and denim/chambray work for summer. Then for transition pieces, thinking about whether you would be willing to wear multiple neutrals across these palettes (that’s where I got the idea of denim, grey, and olive…but you might be happy wearing black and navy or white and winter white).
I think there’s also a lot of leeway in setting up the number of “seasons” for your wardrobe that make sense for you individually. Janice usually shows the traditional 4 seasons, but that’s not set in stone. I set up more seasons in my wardrobe, and they are not all of equal length, to align more closely to weather patterns where I live. I also have read that quite a few people focus on two seasons (warmer and colder). If I were you, I’d be considering attempting the two season approach with thoughtfully selected transition pieces. I wonder if the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe could be adapted for this purpose…hmm.
Are there other readers out there who have multiple/seasonal color palettes? I seem to recall that at least a couple frequent commenters might vary their colors at least slightly across the seasons. I’d be interested to hear if others face this issue and how they handle it.
And of course I would LOVE to see Janice address this question, though, of what could it look like to have two separate color palettes for warm and cold weather and how you could include pieces that work in the transition/shoulder periods.
I am refining my wardrobe after retiring and am following the WTW closely using light navy, baby blue, denim, and accents of white and very pale pink. I imagine these colors won’t change much going into the colder seasons. That said, I am using these selections for going out occasions (concerts in the park, book club, lunch or dinners out). My everyday clothes used walking, working in yard, etc includes khaki, light green, lilac, gray along with the blues I love. I am finding that having cohesion in my nicer clothes is so … beneficial, relaxing, liberating. I just really like it!
My neutral core (black, gray, and white) is year round with different accent colors for cool (red and cobalt) and warm (hot pink and turquoise) seasons. My favorite teal, however, pushes its way in whenever it can.
I love this response! I too change it up across the year – in the winter I lean towards black and grey, with maroon, pink, blue (spectrum). In the summer, I’m all about the navy and white, with green and orange (and blue spectrum). maybe some pink too. And black always creeps in. But my outlier is fall – cool-tone beige, brown, copper, caramel, rust, green, mustard…
For me, what happens is my personal coloring changes a LOT from winter to summer/fall. So I can handle more cool colorways most of the year, but come late summer/early fall, it’s all about those warms.
What I decided to do was to keep a “Winter” wardrobe, a “Summer” wardrobe, use the crossover to handle spring, and have a “August-Sept, creep into Oct” kind of wardrobe for the warms. 3 seasons!
I also like the multiple comments about silhouette, fit, and styling. While I can handle the colors okay, the fits/styles/proportions are more of a challenge. How do you decide? Do you all have a “go-to” proportion, or do you have 2 or 3 set ones that you make sure to have enough players or do they overlap or…?
I so appreciate this alternate way of looking at what I’ve considered a real problem. Thank you so much!!
I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here! So helpful!
Love this perspective, thank you!
NATALIE K says
Catherine, I have four distinct wardrobes so I allow myself different colors in those wardrobes. I keep myself to 2 to 3 neutrals and 5 to 6 accent colors for each season. I don’t cross over my clothing very much from my wardrobes. I do stick ith my Spring color palette! I really hope this helps!
Yes, thank you so much!
Hi Catherine, I’m a greying redhead too. My husband says I’m going blonde :-) The colors I wear year-round shift lighter or darker depending on the season: camel/cognac, olive, terracotta & brighter turquoise in the Spring & Summer. I wear those same colors in the Fall & Winter except the turquoise may darken into teal & more cognac than camel. I always like to wear turquoise jewelry, & some coral. I don’t wear much grey–I suppose my light neutrals are the camel & the olive. I wear black year-round, but not much navy even though I do like navy. I seem to like dark marine or petrol blue better than navy. I tend to wear pieces I can wear on their own in the summer & layer in cooler weather such as shirts & solid or striped T-shirts. Then, when it gets colder, I layer on sweaters or casual blazers/jackets. I wear long pants year-round, so I like this post about summer pants; shorts in the summer; not many skirts, & dresses only for formal events. I wear chambray & denim shirts & jeans with anything & I see them as going with every color.
I agree with Sally. And the WTW capsules are just, I think, starter tools. And certainly there could be different sets of neutrals for each season. It wouldn’t be your whole wardrobe for the season, but if you had a well thought out capsule it would be easier to get dressed for most events appropriately. I think a person could even have more than one WTW capsule with different colorways. These are just my thoughts as I understand the project. I have the opposite problem. I try to find and add accent colors to use and end up with lots of navy tees and toppers and lots of jeans. I have forced some grey in the mix, but rarely wear it.
Thank you so much for your comment! I’ve gotten so used to thinking of this as a problem and need to put a much more positive spin on it. :)
Beth T says
Hi Catherine. You’re doing great with your selections. I also favour different accent colours in autumn/winter and spring/summer. As to creating one cohesive wardrobe for 12 months, who says so? Create two or more for different seasons or activities. For some readers, they change their ‘wardrobes’ every couple of months, for others its every six months. I have far too many clothes but I like the variety and have more or less created warmer and colder weather wardrobes.
When I first found The Vivienne Files (via Pinterest), it was a Eureka moment. Janice was the first blogger who really helped me to sort out my clothes so that I can open my wardrobe and drawers and be able to dress for any occasion. Although the unpredictable UK weather can throw up unseasonal weather, like snow in June, but one can be prepared. I began reading all of the blog articles begining with Starting from Scratch and Common Core Wardrobe articles to make sure I had most bases covered. I created a private Style Capsule on Pinterest though there are some apps that do a similar thing.
First of all I tried on all my clothes for FIT. FIf it didn’t fit or I was unsure about it, I put the garment to one side and concentrated on the remainder. This next bit needs to be done in stages over several days when you are not preoccupied with anything else.
I took each colour group in turn. Now colours have varying hues from light to dark, muted to bright. It is good to consider this too.
I made a simple hand drawn chart (you could use one of Janice’s helpful charts or create your own spreadsheet) of all my clothes by colour group and general categories (trousers, skirts, dresses, tops and tees, blouses/shirts, knitwear etc). So blue for me includes the whole spectrum – navy, mid blues, grey blues and light blues. The same is true of purple and teal (my green) can be dark but also include lighter green/blues like aqua and jade. My reds are burgundy and shaded of plum. Pink in all its shades is a big colour group for me. Denim is both because denim blue is a colour but denim as a fabric is dyed lots of different colours. I
For each item under the colour, I also noted down the fabric, sleeve or leg/skirt length and whether it was patterned or textured in some way. This was a rough guide to what I had.
Then using multiple versions of the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe for each colour group I created useful checklists that helped me to discover when I wore certain garments and colours the most and also why I might prefer one garment over another – I prefer embellished or textured garments.
This is a great way to look at it! Thank you!
Beth T says
“Black is creeping in” to summer. That’s quite OK as it works for you. Just choose summer fabrics and short sleeves. Purple is a colour, I wear all year round by varying the fabrics and tonal values of the colour range.
As you wear grey and ivory in the winter, you could try grey in lighter fabrics or lighter tones too. I wear turquoise and silver grey in summer which looks lovely. Ivory is a light neutral that you could wear all year round. Teal could also be worn throughout the year by wearing it in summer seasonal fabrics. I wear it with coral/salmon pink. I also wear mid tone shades going to lighter shades like aqua, beach glass, sea green. Do other lighter shades of green/ blue suit you? Likewise turquoise in summer could be worn in a deeper shade in the winter with black or dark grey.
Exploring tonal values might open up further possibilities.
Reorganizing your wardrobe takes time and regular reassessment. I now wear red – burgundy, wine etc mainly in the autumn/winter. Making that decision was quite liberating. However, I have one red tee shirt for wearing with white and blue for national and patriotic events in the summer!
I get new ideas every day from Janice’s posts and the helpful comments of other readers.
Thank you so much for you input! I appreciate it!
Linda Rathjen says
My personal rule is no shorts away from home. My legs, once a best feature, are aging. The right long pants can be just as cool, in temperature and in looks.
NATALIE K says
Hi ladies! I just wore what are my dark light weight pants for summer last night,,,my navy long linen skirt! So very versatile and comfortable because of this I also have a crinkle long cotton skirts in navy and one in white! I’m so thankful for our Basics!!
If I were still going into an office, I would have some lightweight pants for the summer time. As it is though, it’s just too hot! My pants get put away in May and I don’t look at them again until the end of October or November.