Wardrobe Architect 10 & 11: The Capsule Palette & Planning Your Pieces

Yes, I’ve merged episodes 10 and 11. Why? Two reasons: every time I tried thinking about 10, my thought process went via 11; and since I’ll be NaNoing next month, who knows what kind of condition I’ll be in for sensible forward planning by then?

Brawling or Fighting Men in Medieval Dress or Costume
Bright red with pale pink! And lime trim! With bright blue sleeves and a clunky anklet! Wardrobe genius.
The task (I was going to say the main task, but there is only one) for episode 10 is to select a capsule palette from your chosen colours for your next season’s wardrobe. Since, as previously mentioned, I’m not looking to revamp my wardrobe twice a year in perpetuity, I’m going for one capsule-sized wardrobe that will just keep working forever (with natural die-off and replacement).
I call it “ambitious simplicity”.

The task for episode 11 is basically to match up your chosen garments with your chosen colours.

So here’s how I see this working. The two long, full skirts would both be dark browns, but probably of different hues or textures. Neutral, is the main point.
Also neutral: the coat, the jacket, and the four sorts of footwear, plus the other kinds of things you only want one of, or want to wear with everything (see Miss Silver’s sixth precept).

Elin Wägner och namninsamlingen 1914
The three warm woollies – the shawl, the cardigan and the waistcoat – would be in the near-neutrals: mahogany, forest green and aubergine. Mahogany shawl, I think; forest green cardigan and aubergine waistcoat. (Or possibly vice versa.)

The half dozen long-sleeved shirts could be any colour, but it’s the best place for statement colours: rich reds, hazel, plum, deep rose, buttery yellow. Any Of The Above, in fact; or even the ‘metallics’ as long as they’re not actually shiny. I love deep gold and coppery bronze but I don’t care for glitter. I could even add other colours if I felt like it, as long as they work with dark brown and at least one of the near-neutrals.

Thus, each outfit would consist of a colourful shirt, a warm woolly that goes well with it (e.g. deep rose shirt with aubergine waistcoat, hazel shirt with forest green cardigan, rich red shirt with mahogany shawl), and a skirt – plus coat, shoes etc – in the classic brown that goes with everything.

Friedrich Eduard Meyerheim Heimkehr vom Feld 1849
Goat optional.
The three summer dresses would be best in lighter colours, to reflect the summer heat. Buttery yellow, deep rose, and perhaps calico or hazel. Making sure that the shawl would work with any of the colours would ensure a warm layer was available if the evening turned cold, and of course the brown sandals will work with any of them.

The downside of all this is how far it is from my actual wardrobe. But at least it gives me something to work toward! Little by little, as my present wardrobe wears out, I can add items that fit the plan, whether bought second-hand, made myself, or ethically acquired new.

How do your colours and garments match up? Feel free to take a couple of months over this – we won’t be moving on to the complex question of accessories (the last step!) till December.

Wardrobe Architect 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are kind of the in thing at the moment in wardrobe design – but what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? A space-age pill which magically changes your outfit? Er… no.

The original blog post for Week/Month 9 of the Wardrobe Architect describes a capsule wardrobe as consisting of between 20 and 33 garments, “a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe”. But if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking “but that practically IS my wardrobe!”

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