August 9, 2021
Why yes, this is supposed to be the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe…
- Some week this summer, I completely lost count; I can’t believe I missed a number… and
- I can’t face looking for any more sleeveless tops! I’m going to assume that you all have a pretty clear idea of what a sleeveless top looks like, and what it will do in your wardrobe…
So instead, I’m going to address a couple of questions that came up when I showed you a couple of Weekly Timeless Wardrobes last week.
First, the question that I was asked the most was about having lots of prints in the wardrobe – could you actually have 4 of the 13 garments in print and still have some versatility?
In the wardrobe above, I traded out the solid navy shirt for the excellent gingham shirt (imagine having that to wear under sweaters or sweatshirts in the cooler weather…), and I swapped the dress for something very summery…
I honestly suspect that at least 1 of the solid pink or violet tops could be a print too without doing any real “versatility” damage!
This would be so lovely for a summer trip:
Another request was for a summer Weekly Timeless Wardrobe with only minimal prints and very soft colors!
Ah, a pair of gold and pearl earrings, a pair of gold sandals… maybe even some gold sneakers?
It’s surprising how much variety can be found while limiting oneself to this list of 13 pieces of clothing:
My summer is busy – I think I’m only wearing about 10 or 12 pieces of clothing most weeks. But I’m near home almost constantly, so a lot of variety is neither necessary nor helpful!
I promise, next week I will get myself sorted out…
p.s. Five years ago, we started with 2 scarves to construct a “Six-Pack” travel wardrobe in beige, bright blue and orange…
Beth T says
When I began to overhaul my wardrobe back in 2018/19, following the principles of the Common Wardrobe and Weekly Timeless Wardrobe were key to the process.
However, I have too many clothes to limit my options to 13 items a quarter. I’m also a Soft Summer so colour is a key. Thus, I aimed to create a Common Wardrobe/Weekly Timeless Wardrobe for the seasonal spectrum of each of my main colour groups – blues, greys, purple/plum, teal/jade, burgundy/wine, and pinks (warm and cool). Also, the fickle British weather requires seasonal overlap just in case the temperature rises or drops by 10C overnight or from dry to wet.
I don’t necessarily have 52 items per colour group – that would be silly. However, by using pattern, I have created balance and blending of colour combinations so that I can put outfits or small capsules together easily. I am still working on it and don’t have a total. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real problem. In wardrobe terms, it could be defined as Colouring the Rainbow. I have ended up with too many shades of colour. The last 18 months have defined which garments I wear the most.
Sally in St Paul says
Beth T, your last paragraph really resonates with me. I find one of the tricky issues is deciding what to do with too many different, not necessarily compatible versions of a color. Which to keep as one-off accent pieces, which to seek out partners for, which to purge, etc. I’ve been working on finding which pieces can blend and under what circumstances, following your lead. It’s been interesting to experiment with, but of course in my heart of hearts I want to discover a rule or at least an algorithm to make it easier ;)
Beth T says
One of my biggest challenges is finding the right aqua green/light teal and the right turquoise. Shop lights are the worst for distorting colours on the blue/green spectrum as they are often yellow lights. I was in one shop recently where the lights gave the customers a jaundiced look!
When I get home a garment that looks aqua green turns out to be duck egg blue or one that looks turquoise is actually aqua. Most frustrating. Even if I take the garment that I’m trying to match, there is a mismatch.
I rather like this approach to the WTW, instead of line by line. The second capsule looks just right for summer. Love the soft colors.
Beth T says
This is just the sort of wardrobe that I might assemble for a holiday a mix of neutrals with 2/3 accent colours and patterns.
Most of my tops are prints – bring it on! I find them very versatile. I seem to have an irrational fear of wearing a solid top, getting it dirty somehow, and then wearing it all day. I took another look at the 21 day wardrobe yesterday and played in the closet. Everything came out but my black (just a few now) and navy neutrals – all of those stayed, as did most of the solid color shades of purple. I then picked 5 toppers, 10 tops, 5 bottoms and one dress for September – going back to school. That should totally work for me. There’s a variety of colors, gold, navy, red, and raspberry/purple. Mostly sleeveless tops as September can be warm here, a couple of short sleeve, a couple of long. I”m going to see if I can make it work this time. I tried it when first introduced, but became bored with it, having concentrated on one color. I’m also trying to weed out things I never wore this summer. I find many of my things can span into multiple seasons, I’m sure I have 13 pieces that would work for each season though. Added some lightweight linen pants this year and a couple of dresses. I’ve learned a lot from TVF, though I”m still learning how to spin them to my own needs/tastes. Thanks Janice! PS. I also learn a lot from other contributors – like Beth T and Sally in St. Paul.
Beth T says
I have a similar avoidance of plain tops because I invariably mark them no matter how careful I am. About 2/3 of my wardrobe are patterned, so plain items are my ‘neutrals’ because they xtone down, blend or coordinate an outfit. My mother called plain garments ‘neutral’ which made me confused when I began following TVF. ?
Karen Spencer says
This is off topic, but did you see Target has a utility jacket with stars on it? When I saw it I thought of you!!!!
Love it, but (thank heavens!) I don’t look at all good in that shade of green! Saved by the complexion…
Amanda Hudson says
I too have learned so much from TVF and contributors. I have all the clothes I will ever need but still pick up a couple of new items each season. In Sugar Land TX that is really only summer and cooler!!! Now that I have gone completely gray I have started to remove some colors from the closet. It seems my skin tone has also softened so some things that I really like just don’t get worn. I’m trying to listen to “Elsa” and let it go! I also find that I don’t go for big prints like I used to. Does anyone else see that? I always loved a dress or skirt with a big floral but no more.
I love today’s post – so glad you decided to answer those couple questions! Both sets are beautiful and give me ideas!
Beth T says
Good news for those who aren’t keen on dresses but like a matching top with skirt/trousers. It seems that
co-ords (co-ordinated sets) are a trend at the moment. Several online sites and brands are promoting them.
Amy in Indy says
Janice, I’ve been devouring your blog over the last month or so. My body shape has changed, and my work has become a hybrid of casual office + WFH. As a result, I’ve basically been starting from the ground up (except for a few beloved cashmere cardigans).
I’m a soft summer. And like Beth T, I build in color ranges: lavender/purple, teal/jade, and berry/wine. It’s been interesting to attempt to inject some neutrals. The complicating factor for me is that I am *messy.* If it’s possible for me to stain something, I will! So I’m not at all comfortable with beige, khaki, taupe, white, or cream, especially in bottoms.
I finally settled on navy for one neutral. Common sense says to use darkish grey for the other, but I’d really prefer something in a medium-to-dark cool brown. The Land’s End Brown Donegal sweater is just about exactly the color I want, so I’ll be stalking brown clothes for a long time to come.
Thanks so much for all your lovely curation and sensible advice!
There’s a brown pleated skirt at Uniqlo right now:
Keep an eye on them – if they’ve got 1 thing in brown, they will have a dozen!
Beth T says
Finding dark grey/charcoal trousers is one of my biggest challenges. Mostly, I find light to mid-grey. Light grey looks lovely with lavender. I wear mid-grey knitwear a lot. I try to avoid yellow-greys.
Taupe (more brownish than grey) is a new discovery and looks lovely with pink.
I’m hoping that I might find dark grey trousers when the new season starts. However this might be the year when brown is to the fore. Chocolate brown looks lovely with burgundy and berry reds.
Diane Smith says
Beth T, keep an eye on Talbot’s. I have several shades of grey jeans and dress tropical wool pants from them. I search periodically to see if new ones are on the site. Best of luck!
Beth T says
Thanks Diane. I wish Talbots was in the UK. Department stores in the UK are facing a death knell. Two of the largest chains have gone in the last few years and other chains are reducing stores. Some independendent department stores are going the same way. They all claim that it’s because of the move to online shopping but it’s really high rents and business taxes that are destroying the high street. One department store space has opened for crazy golf. A shop closed and a coffee bar or restaurant opens.
Beth T says
It sounds as if tops should come with a matching detachable napkin. Then we can eat with abandon as our garments will stay clean!
One of the reasons, I stopped wearing white/ivory tops to work as I always seem to wear them on the day the photocopier/printer jammed or needed new toner.
LOL! My 8 month old niece’s tops DO come with a bib… and those that don’t, well, I’ve seen her mom take the top OFF before feeding her, as she does in fact eat with abandon. Her garments stay clean! I don’t think I can safely recommend the same strategy for all of us, but I just had to share. Too funny.
I have a beautiful coppery shirt that I love and makes me feel pretty, but I every time I wear it I realize that I am apparently a messy eater – the little spray of salad dressing or crumbs or water or whatever all show up as micro-dots on the fabric. It makes me more hesitant to wear that top, which is a shame. Maybe I’ll just take a bib to work (or wear it on a WFH day, and use an apron when i eat!)
Allison Aul says
I carry a cotton or pretty polyester scarf in my purse simply to use as an oversized napkin/serviette. Throw or tie it around my neck for meals; if there’s a mess then after lunch back in the purse it goes, then wash & repeat. Oddly enough I rarely wear scarves otherwise & never purely decoratively. I run too warm I guess.
Hello All, I’ve done several experiments with my wardrobe since I discovered TVF. I haven’t found a set formula that works for me but I’ve learned a lot about my preferences and my buying habits. I pulled out all of my clothing and sorted them into color families – which I thought helped me determine what my favorites are. But sticking to those 3 or 4 colors for all 4 seasons has proven a big challenge. Some of them are just not available in clothing for cold weather or in the classic sporty style that suits my lifestyle. So I’m feeling a little stuck at the moment. Also wanted to ask, does anyone stick to one color for your leather goods? (shoes, bags, belts, etc.) I experimented with using just black over the summer. It was Ok but heading into fall – I am dreaming of a lovely pair of tall brown boots to wear with sweaters.
Beth T says
I did the same grouping with my wardrobe and realised that I love colour and don’t limit myself. Using shades and tones of colour creates a spectrum that is versatile and new items often go with existing things in new combinations.
So don’t limit your options for footwear or handbags. Buy those dark brown boots and a brown handbag. If you have a yearning, then you will wear them a lot.
My footwear is navy, grey, silver, white, black, purple, burgundy and nude. I’d love some teal and purple courts. My handbags are the same plus other accent shades or patterns. I’ve never held with this notion of sticking to one neutral.colour and my bags and shoes never match!
I have found that I can stick to 3 or 4 colors – makes it way easy – but I’m liberal within the “shades” of the color. I have different shades of purples and reds depending on the season and what’s available. Don’t know if that might help. I think Beth T may do the same. I have many many different colored sneakers for work – kind of my thing. I do have mostly black shoes (besides the sneakers), but have one pair of boots that are tan and gray specifically to wear with tan or gray slacks – which I don’t wear often, but occasionally. I also have a pair of black boots with a leopard print heel – and that works well with the tan. I don’t wear a belt – but in bags I try to find one that will go with most everything I might wear. Last fall I bought a purple bag, and I’ve not changed it yet – because I could never figure out a different color that would be any better. Year before last I had a burgundy bag in the fall/winter and went to a blush pink in the summer.
Beth T says
I’m with you all the way on purple, Sheila!
Yes I have lots of different shades of colour but they all meld together. It helped me to put all my clothes in shade order which identified my largest colour groups, which colours I wore together, and also the colour group I wanted to build up – purple.
I had lots of purple accessories and purple tops but few purple bottoms. Grey is the natural companion to purple shades, so I could always get dressed! However, I yearned for purple bottoms. Last winter, I found purple cords and this summer, I found a lilac linen skirt which has opened up options. I already had a pair of deep violet stretch chinos, purple jersey trousers and purple crepe culottes. I do regret getting rid of a purple cord skirt as it would fit me again now. So a replacement is on my wish list. Now when I find purple items, I buy more than one.
Purple is not a favoured colour in shops, even in charity shops, it is lumped in with pink or plum. Often purple items are plain and unadorned.
My favourite purchase was a purple jumper with pearl and crystal collar that I spotted across a shop floor. I wear it with velvet for winter parties. I have purple and lavender coats of different weights. I once found a purple coat BNWT in a charity shop. That was well worn.
I have a pair of purple DM style boots and wear them with grey chinos and jeans. I’d love some purple shoes or dress boots but very wide fitting shoes are often not available in lovely colours. Despite that I have a lot of shoes and boots as I went a bit mad when I discovered a shoe brand that fits me perfectly. Comfort is key but I like interesting details. My latest are pale grey snake print.
My wish list this year is for a plum/wine coat and a warm purple skirt for winter. I always look out for purple velvet. My ultimate wish is a purple velvet coat.
However, those are not as pressing as my need to replace my well-worn everyday grey shoulder bag. Not particularly large put deep enough to hold a water bottle upright. I would love to find another purple bag. I’ve had several over the years – purple suede was a favourite until the lining ripped and it got too stained and worn. The best was purple snake print which drew complimentary remarks. It was quite distinctive and I’d bought it brand new in a charity shop for £5! Eventually, it got holes in the seams.
Please continue with the WTW in the same format. I am following it for the first time and having been putting each week on a Pinterest board. Thank you so much!
In the cooler seasons I prefer plain tops to set off my scarves but summer is ideal for enjoying patterned tops and dresses. It’s too hot for scarves around the neck and fills the same need for a bit of colour and print.