September 22, 2021
It wasn’t a complicated request, but it has someone stumped: “Can I build a small wardrobe for going back to my office, using this sweater as the inspiration?”
My answer to most questions: Heck yes!
First things first – what colors are in this sweater, anyway?
A pretty straightforward color palette!
Let’s start with a couple of outfits that our friend had in mind, and then a couple more that I imagined. You know that I’m always going to find a pair of ivory corduroy pants if at all possible:
Our friend very much wanted a light blue shirt – and I was able to find one that seems to be very close to the same shade as found in her sweater!
I love a grey shirt – I can’t explain it at all! And once in a while this heroine is going to need to wear a skirt to work, so a sober shirt and classic skirt seems a good choice to balance her sweater:
And our heroine really wanted to include a denim skirt to wear with this sweater. I suspect that many of us have a denim skirt that could get out and about more often!
At this point, our heroine has 9 garments, at least 4 outfits, but really only one 2nd layer. (well yes, she could layer shirts over turtlenecks…)
My first thought was that this was a really REALLY good start to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe:
First row – some more navy!
Yes, shades of navy are a pain. There are a few ways around the issue:
- buy all of your navy clothes from the same place,
- don’t layer 2 pieces of navy in an outfit, or
- learn to live with slightly differing shades…
For years I was really sensitive to shades of navy in the same outfit, but after seeing men in Dublin wear navy topcoats over navy suits, or navy sweaters with navy pants, I grew more relaxed with the whole “matching navy” thing. You may never get to this point!
Also, the dots in this shirt are almost certainly pure white, rather than the ivory that we are using as one of our neutrals. They’re also REALLY tiny, so I think it’s not an issue. Again, you may feel uncomfortable with this…
This is already feeling solid. Don’t ask me why the word solid came to mind, but it did…
An ivory cashmere cardigan is just SUCH a lovely thing to own. Our heroine can even wear it without something under it… just leave open a button or 2 at the top and let your gold or pearl necklace peek out a bit…
An ivory skirt would be pretty here…
Her 4 by 4 Wardrobe is almost finished – already!
Because the purpose of this wardrobe is primarily to go into an office, I chose classic, simple pieces for her last 3 – although the striped cardigan is kind of fun and zesty!
How does this look? I could go a long way with these pieces…
In addition to the 4 original outfits that all included her new sweater, our heroine has (as always!) plenty of options. I think that reviewing the possibilities is an important step in building a capsule wardrobe. You would hate like heck to decide that “in October, I’m going to wear these 16 (or 18, or 21) garments” and then find that you only have 6 or 7 possible outfits. Not to mention having to do laundry every couple of days…
I suppose your co-workers might notice that you’re always wearing navy and ivory… Do you care what your co-workers think of your wardrobe? I used to obsess, until I realized that nobody but me was really paying attention…
p.s. Four years ago, we pondered the possibilities of opals as an accessory to a range of outfits. I LOVE opals…
I love navy blue and it isn’t the easiest color to find frankly. My other pet peeve about navy is when it’s so dark that you can’t tell if it’s blue or black. I’m having that problem now trying to find a stylish pair of navy pumps.
Beth T says
… and then when you find a pair that you like and fit, they are not the right shade of navy…. I have several pairs of navy shoes and they are all different shades.b
I love navy, too. But I definitely prefer the versions that are obviously blue and not “maybe black”. ?
You make putting together a wardrobe so easy to do. The story with pictures, show us exaclty what to do & why. Thankyou!
I’d probably sub out the pencil skirt for another pair of pants, but otherwise I could be quite at home in this. I’m usually ok w/different shades of navy, but agree with Suzanne about navy so dark you can’t tell. Our closet is dark and I find I sometimes have to hold up a navy next to a black to make sure which is which – outside the closet where it’s lighter. Have a great day everyone!
Love. Love. Love. Please do the accessories next! Thanks so much. You are so talented!
I agree! I was going to ask for the same thing :)
Beth T says
Ivory (and white) are stain magnets for me so I have token items because I feel that I ought to. So ivory would be limited to the top half. The ivory trousers would be light grey. However, I would swap the ivory cardigan for a cream pointelle or lace-knit jumper and the navy cashmere v-neck for a light blue version. I’m currently doing my big six month swap and discovering which items still fit…. not many but a cleaner wardrobe would be a good thing.
Beth T says
The Fair Isle jumper is no longer on the LLBean website but a poloneck version and a button through cardigan are still available.
The Fair Isle sweater appears to be available in all sizes to me, at least on this side of the pond! There’s also a berry-colored version.
Beth T says
Ah. It was the link that didn’t work for me. I went on the website, searched for Fair Isle but still couldn’t see the jumper. However, I do like manufacturers who give choice by offering the same pattern in different garments.
I think it’s way easier to combine different navys (or blacks) if each piece has a different texture.
Sally in St Paul says
I agree 100%, Danielle. That’s a great tip.
Gina E says
I would wear everything here in a heartbeat!!! I love it all!!! Though I’d probably have to swap out all the cashmere for cotton (allergies) and I’d toss in a chambray shirt just because chambray. :)
Chris Schwab says
I am confident that this heroine’s coworkers would not notice a color pallete…we usually spend more time thinking about what others think of us than than those “others” spend actually observing us. If fact, one of the ladies I work with has a lovely top featuring some animal print and two coordinated tan tones… but I only notice she’s wearing it on those days that the woman who sits next to her wears the exact same top. Couldn’t tell you what other items she wears, and I try to notice these things (do I don’t stand out too much… or match that top!) love this little exercise! I try to ignore slight variations in color tone but still see them all too often- I am trying to add more texture to combat that tendency. Thanks for these lovely looks!
Beth T says
Do you think that your coworkers discuss when to wear ‘the top’. Has anyone noticed? Are they waiting for someone to notice? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
NATALIE K says
NATALIE K says
Janice, I lived in Europe too long to matchy-match navy’s!! Matchy-match is a very American ay to dress but European blend their color ays. Something most very fashionable omen usually have don pat. atch omen in the fashion industry ho they dress! But, if you must have your navy’s match buy from the same store or collection!!
Sally in St Paul says
I like the navy and ivory core, especially with the addition of the striped cardigan, but the ivory chinos don’t seem to belong in the same seasonal capsule as cords. I was a bit disappointed to see only one light blue piece, but she could bolster that color with her accessories. Is it just me or does the grey button up shirt feel a bit lonely here? It was technically in the color palette, but it feels a bit odd to see just one grey item. For me, it’s ho-hum here is another neutral shirt, but I suppose some heroines like using neutrals as accent colors. The second best thing that can be said for such a neutral-intense wardrobe (after its general mix-and-match-ability and ease of re-wearing items frequently because they are so unnoticeable) is that it provides a nice boring backdrop for one’s collection of amazingly colorful scarves to shine! :D
I like neutrals as accent colors! I like ease of matchability. I like wearing items frequently; it seems such a waste to not wear my well thought out wardrobe.
I don’t wear scarves. I think the above wardrobe is fantastic!
Sally in St Paul says
Cindy, it’s always nice to hear that one person’s backdrop is another person’s shining star. :) I think I would like neutral-heavy wardrobes/outfits better if they didn’t completely wash me out!
Navy is my neutral and I rarely worry about absolute matching. I avoid a completely solid navy top with a solid navy bottom unless the textures are different. I have a corduroy navy skirt that I would wear with any navy top or sweater. I have a dress that I wear with several different 2nd layer pieces that aren’t perfectly the same. I add in scarves and jewelry and the focus isn’t on whether the pieces are the exact same shade.
I was once in a musical group and we were supposed to wear black slacks for uniformity. Epic fail. Black has as many shades as any other color. At some point, you just have to accept the variety.
Hello Janice. First, I hope your move is going smoothly. Second, what luck, I have very similar items as the ones in the above wonderful wardrobe!! Well not quite. I’m missing the LL Bean beautiful sweater. However, I do possess a LL Bean (love the cotton cashmere sweaters from LL Bean) blue and sailcloth cardigan that was used in the December “Winter Wonders” bracelet wardrobe ( also have very similar items used in that plan except for a snowflake scarf) and was thinking I could just button up that cardigan and use it in place of the identified sweater rather than purchase an additional sweater. They are not quite the same but close (sort of like trying to match navies). Although, I am ALWAYS looking for any excuse to buy one of those cotton/cashmere sweaters. What do you think about that option? Again, that you for putting together such great wardrobes. I’ve all ready slightly modified one of your plans for a two week car trip in October.
I love almost everything about this but I never where white/ivory bottoms. I would switch them for light gray. And no to turtlenecks but crew or v-necks are okay.
nina t says
I once found matching navy color in a top and bottom… from two different brands. The pants wore out faster than the shirt. As long as the navy bottom is a darker color than the top, and you can still tell it’s a navy color, i’m fine with no match.
I have problems with combining different “shades” of navy and with navy shoes, some blue, some black….in response to the Sheila’s comment about putting both black and navy garments side-by-side, I actually took a permanent marker and wrote the word “navy” on the label in the pants….otherwise, it was almost hopeless to distinguish! Hope this helps someone.
Gail F says
A) I don’t worry about my navy being the same, unless it’s a top and skirt I want to have look like a dress.
B) I used to worry about coworkers noticing what I wore, until I was talking about clothes to someone I’d worked with for TWO YEARS, who told me she had only two pairs of pants she wore to work! I was always working on my wardrobe and had never noticed she wore the same two pairs of pants!
It was delightful to see the laundering pitfalls of having a truly small wardrobe! So may of these pieces look best if dry-cleaned, we would have naked heroines for several days of the month! I personally enjoy having several cuts of pants/blouses, so my wardrobe isn’t truly a capsule, but it works for me.