Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Start with a Scarf - building a capsule wardrobe

I'm a great fan of Janice's The Vivienne Files and particularly love her series "Start with a Scarf" as well as her ideas for capsule wardrobes. At the beginning of the year Janice chooses six Hermès scarves and every month she builds an outfit around each scarf, so that by December she has twelve outfits in six capsule wardrobes based around the individual scarves.I thought it would be fun to try out this idea for myself and decided to invite you all to join me!

Where do you start? With a scarf, of course! Choose one that you love, with a mixture of colours that flatter you, and then build your wardrobe around it. I've jumped ahead a bit here as I have included two months' pieces in this post, as we're already well into February. I'm a fan of William Morris prints, so I've chosen a silk scarf in the Daffodil print as the basis of my capsule wardrobe. The print has some neutrals plus a gorgeous teal and green. The other bright colour in the scarf is pink, however I don't have much pink in my wardrobe, but the scarf goes well with red so that will be my other accent colour.

William Morris silk scarf

January's items
For January I picked a dark neutral, selecting a navy cardigan and pair of jeans from my wardrobe, then adding a red blouse to brighten it up, plus of course my scarf. To complete my first outfit I chose a pair of navy suede flat shoes and a simple pair of gold earrings.

Janice added a dress for February, possibly with Valentine's Day in mind, plus some accessories to go with it. Rather than a dress I decided to add a matching red top and skirt, which look like a dress but can be worn separately too.

The William Morris scarf is a new purchase, however the other pieces are in my existing wardrobe, as the idea is to see how you can mix and match the pieces that you already own. That's not to say that I won't make a couple of purchases over the next twelve months!

If I wear the top and skirt together for a smart occasion, I might add the following scarf, plus the pair of blue high heels and pearl earrings shown below. The blue Longchamp bag shown here is particularly useful in a travel capsule as it can be folded up and packed in my case.
I'm hoping to show you some different colour schemes in future posts, as a couple of my friends are planning to use Janice's ideas for their own wardrobes. My basic colouring is warm, soft and medium, but I do love pops of brighter colours such as red, so as well as my neutrals of navy, camel and brown I will be including teal, green and red. If you decide to try this idea with your own wardrobe, please let me know and do share your colour scheme.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Capsule wardrobe - take two (part 2)

Now that I'm using the brighter colours from this palette, it is getting easier to create my daily outfits!

Outfit for day four
 I'm committing a fashion faux pas in the above outfit, as I'm wearing trainers! However, as we do a lot of walking on holiday, I would probably include a pair of trainers in my travel capsule. My excuse on day four was that we were walking our dog Lisa in the afternoon and going on rough tracks in the countryside.

Outfit for day five
On day five I wore a red top that I will wear with the matching skirt when I'm on holiday - if it's warm enough. As it's been cold this week I wore my top with the dark brown leggings instead.  The top is bright so it holds its own with these leggings. I wore a pendant to break up the red expanse and hopefully create that longer, slimmer look that I'm always looking for!

Outfit for day six
The combination of olive green top and dark red trousers was a bit dark, so I decided to add this cardigan. It is the one that I had used as a replacement during the previous challenge, when I discovered that my original cardigan was too long, so a bit of a cheat here! It looked better with this outfit than the green cardigan that I had picked for this capsule, so again it helps to test drive a potential travel capsule before going on holiday.

I had two tops to choose from for day seven: the weather decided it for me, as temperatures are plummeting, so I wore my thick Fatface jumper with a camisole underneath.

Outfit for day seven
This is another neutral outfit, though my necklace and gold trainers help to lighten the look.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the outfits for each colour palette and see which one worked best.

Outfits for colour palette 1

Outfits for colour palette 2
I'm being indecisive here, as I think there was a bit more variety in colour palette one, however I do love the reds in colour palette two. I might go for colour palette one for my trip to London and colour palette two for my holiday in Salamanca. Or maybe just mix and match them? What do you think? Which colour palette do you prefer and which individual outfits do you think flatter me the most?

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Capsule wardrobe - take two

This is the colour palette for my second travel capsule, which includes my favourite accent colour - red. I thought this would be an easier challenge than my first one however, looking through my wardrobe, it became clear that wasn't the case. My bottoms were fine, as I  had a pair of brown trousers, some dark red trousers and my dark brown jeggings, but what about the tops to go with them?

The next three items were just asking to be included (my favourite red!), though I doubt if I'll be wearing the red skirt this week as the weather forecast isn't very promising, and the red blouse may not be warm enough either. I would probably include them in a travel capsule though, as they would be ideal if we were going out for dinner. My first choice bottoms to go with the first red top would be navy, so will it work with brown?

Looking at the forecast again, the dark red jumper. dark green jumper and orange-coral cross-over top shown below are all lovely and warm so are sure to get an outing. The red v-neck top may need to be worn with a cardigan or jacket.

Finally, an olive green cardigan and top plus another two warm jumpers. giving me plenty of options if it's as wet and cold as the local weatherman is predicting!

Outfit for day one
Having selected the different items for this week's capsule wardrobe challenge, the next step was to make it work. As soon as I put on the dark red jumper with the chocolate jeggings, I realised that the combination was a bit dark for me. My solution was to select a bright scarf with a touch of deep red in it, however I must admit that if I hadn't been doing this challenge I would have changed into a lighter top or bottoms.

Outfit for day two

I anticipated a similar problem with my outfit for day two, so tried a couple of scarves to give contrast to the dark green jumper and dark red trousers. My hair and eyes are dark so deep colours do suit me, however my skin is light, giving a high value contrast, so I also need something light and/or bright such as a scarf or necklace whenever I wear dark tops.

Outfit for day three

I felt that this outfit was far more flattering on me, with the bright top in a colour that suits me and isn't too dark. I could also have worn the top with the chocolate jeggings from day one. I didn't have to worry about finding a scarf to wear near my face, so chose a necklace that matches the colour of my top as well as my gold shoes.

After three days of this challenge,  it has become clear that outfits need to have the right balance and it's not enough to grab clothes randomly in your neutrals and accent colours. I think my first two outfits prove the point: the colours go well together, however overall the outfits are too dark on me. You need to think about combining them in ways that flatter you, with the right value and colour contrast. Accessories are a great way to help get the balance right. Let's hope that I can do better for the rest of the week!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Capsule wardrobe - take one (part 2)

For the first three outfits of this week's challenge, I concentrated on the colours on the right. I didn't try to sneak in any other colours, but that all changed on day four!

I'm still wearing my navy jeans with a different navy striped jumper, however I succumbed to temptation, wearing one of my red necklaces with my red Fitbit and red Longchamp bag. All is revealed below!

Outfit for day four

I'm moving on to the colours on the left, with a dark green top on day five.

Outfit for day five
The waistcoat, trousers and gold trainers are the same as for day three, however I have chosen a different necklace, as the one I wore on day three is the wrong colour for this outfit.The red necklace shown above, as worn on day four, would also have worked (worth considering in a travel capsule where I don't want too many accessories).

Outfit for day six
I decided to wear this scarf with my lime top as it has stripes that blend with it, however looking at the photo I don't think it quite works, so I won't include it in my travel capsule for that reason. This is the beauty of trying things on and taking a photo of your outfit (or just looking in a mirror critically) before packing them for your holiday.

Outfit for day seven
Although it wasn't very warm on the last day of this challenge, I didn't need to wear a cardigan with this outfit as I had a camisole on underneath. No column of colour here, however I think the pendant helps to draw the eyes down to create a slimmer look. I could have worn the waistcoat too, although it's shorter than the top, as it would help the proportions of this outfit.

The crucial question: would this work as a travel capsule wardrobe? I think so, although I would have to take care that the camel trousers didn't get stained, as they're a lot lighter than my navy jeans!  However if all of these items fit easily into my carry-on, I would wear a third pair of bottoms for travelling. What do you think? Before I make my decision, I will wait until I see how the second colour palette works out next week.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Capsule wardrobe - take one.

This week I'm basing my outfits on the following colour palette, testing it out as a possible travel capsule wardrobe.

These are some of the items in my wardrobe that I will be using in this challenge.


There are seven tops, so in theory I could create 14 different outfits by wearing them with two different pairs of trousers. I can also use accessories to change the look, especially if I become bored with all the navy and blue - watch out for one of my red necklaces!

Outfit for day one
I liked this outfit on me, especially as I had created a column of colour, with the aim of making me look taller and slimmer. However the cardigan was a bit too long for the jacket that I planned to wear, so I had to change it for a shorter one. I've made a note that I need to consider this when creating a travel capsule, as I won't have a wardrobe full of alternatives with me!

Outfit for day two

This time I wore a navy cardigan and navy jeans to create the column of colour. My top was a lighter shade of blue, which gives me the value contrast that I need, and I wore a patterned blue scarf to bring the shades of blue together.

Outfit for day three
I had a couple of options for day three, however it was a warm day, so instead of a cardigan I decided on the waistcoat that I'm wearing in the above picture.

I'm not half way through the week of my first colour palette challenge, however I'm quietly confident that I can create enough different looks for it to work for me as a travel capsule. I'm wearing three different pairs of shoes, although I could have managed with two pairs. If I was using this as a travel capsule, a lot would depend on our itinerary and planned activities. I might include a smarter pair of shoes plus a dressy top, if we were going out for dinner in the evenings for example.

My next post will show the last four outfits from my capsule. I will sum up my thoughts on this challenge - and your comments of course will be very welcome!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Capsule Wardrobe - choosing my colours

My basic capsule wardrobe this year contains four neutrals: camel, brown, olive and navy. My accent colours for Spring will be coral, teal, red, blue and green. Obviously I will only wear one accent colour at a time with my neutral outfits!

I recently discovered an excellent Pinterest board for choosing colour palettes: Sarah Renae Clark. Click on the link above to find colour combinations that appeal to you and reflect your style. The two shown below were ones that immediately appealed to me, as they include some of my favourite colours.

Looking at the two palettes above, I can see that each one would work for a travel capsule. Based on the first picture, I would select neutrals of camel and navy, with accents of teal, green and blue. If I used the second colour palette, my neutrals would be brown and olive, with accents of coral and red.

Having followed Imogen's 7 Steps to Style system, I know that my best colours are warm, smoky and deep. I also know that my value contrast is high, however my colour contrast is low. This means that neutrals suit me if I ensure that my outfit contains both dark and light shades or monochromatic outfits with a mix of dark and light shades. However I also need to take my personal style into account, which is why I love to add a pop of colour to my outfits.

I have decided to try a personal challenge by wearing only colours from one of the above palettes for a week. This will give me the opportunity to "road test" my travel capsule prior to my next holiday. You might like to try this idea yourself. Select a colour palette that you love and that you think would work for your capsule wardrobe, then try doing the same as me: only wearing items from your colour palette for the following week. Please leave a comment telling me how you got on!


Monday, 15 January 2018

New Year's Resolutions - why not?

New Year's Resolutions 

Number 1 ----------? 😊
Number 2 ----------? 😊

Do you believe in making New Year's Resolutions? Are you successful in keeping them? If you've read my previous post, you will know that I prefer having a "Word of the Year" to making resolutions that are - more often than not - doomed to failure. I think one of the reasons for this is that many people either decide to give up something that they enjoy (they stop smoking, give up drinking wine) or set themselves impossible targets (go to the gym 7 times a week). As soon as they slip up, they then give up.

Having said that, I do have a few aims this year, the first one being to blog on a more regular basis. I enjoy writing and love it when readers leave comments, so it shouldn't be too difficult for me. Any suggestions for new topics are always welcome, for times when I lack inspiration.

I also aim to keep up my fitness programme, which again will be easy. I love dancing and catchy music, so my dance exercise classes are great fun rather than a chore. I have a very good Pilates teacher too, so will continue with my Pilates classes.  If your New Year's Resolution is to be fitter, choosing forms of exercise that appeal to you means you are more likely to be successful.

Having mentioned giving up wine (which I can't do, as I live in a Spanish town renowned for its red wine, so I need to support the local economy!) I am going to keep an eye on my overall eating and drinking habits, as my aim is to be as healthy as possible. This doesn't involve trying to diet, but means making healthy choices especially when we dine out. At home it is easier to eat healthily as we can select fresh fish (I don't eat meat), fruit and vegetables in our local shops and markets, and add herbs and spices for flavouring. I do enjoy a glass of red wine with my dinner, but I have been reliably informed that wine in moderation is good for my health! Did I mention chocolate? At home we seldom have desserts, as we usually have fruit at lunch-time, however I have a small piece of dark chocolate after my dinner, for medicinal purposes! Eating out is harder, especially when they have tempting desserts, but I don't believe that an occasional treat does us any harm.

Since starting this blog, I have investigated numerous colour and style resources, which I have shared with you all. My aim has been to learn how to create outfits that flatter me and that I enjoy wearing, which is my aim for this year too. For women over 60 (and especially for those of us who are now over 70!), it becomes more important to choose outfits in colours and styles that flatter us, but many of us are unsure what our best colours and shapes are, as our bodies have changed and our colouring has faded over the years. I can still remember my shocking pink top and purple mini-skirt that (says she modestly) I looked great in when I was in my early twenties. Fifty years later, although I still love bright colours and my favourite bag is bright blue, I choose more muted colours to wear next to my face. As for mini-skirts, as I'm short and my legs are one of my best features (says she modestly again), I do wear skirts on or just above my knees, but not minis, as I don't want to hear the words mutton and lamb being muttered in my presence. Now that I'm retired I tend to wear more casual outfits, such as my "uniform" tops and trousers, preferably in flattering shapes and colours.

Wearing a mini maternity smock when I was 23!

More suitable for a 60+ woman!
This year I will continue to share my journey as I try to become more stylish and especially as I seek to refine my capsule wardrobe. My aim is to restrict my purchases this year to a maximum of 5 pieces per season à la The Vivienne Files. The idea is to build a basic capsule wardrobe that will easily mix and match, then each season you will buy 5 new pieces to update your look, ensuring that they will work with your basic capsule. The new pieces could be a top, cardigan, blouse, scarf and bag, as an example. It's a good opportunity to choose one or two on trend pieces as well as replacing any items that are past their best. If you click on the above link to The Vivienne Files, you will see a great example of how this works. To help you in your own style journey, I have added links to some of my favourite blogs. If you have further recommendations, please let me know.

My final aim, in keeping with my "Word of the Year", is to show more gratitude this year: after all, I have so much to be grateful for.