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.


  1. I love this! I'm so honored that you like this system enough to try it yourself... your results are beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much Janice. I hope that you're feeling better now. Hugs. Sue

  2. Hmmmmmm. So I still can't figure out whether I'm warm or cool *hehe* but I know that cobalt blue makes me POP. I love this idea of choosing an outfit ... and especially appreciated Janice's idea of using a scarf to build an entire holiday wardrobe around it!! http://www.theviviennefiles.com/2016/05/start-with-scarf-ted-bakers-dreams-scope.html

    ... off to try (once again) to find out what my "colours" are! x

    1. Callie, I have had several colour analyses with totally different results! I've been told recently that I'm warm, however I have a cobalt blue jacket that I love! Go figure! Janice wrote a post using a scarf that I own (and funnily enough was wearing today!), which you might enjoy reading: http://www.theviviennefiles.com/2014/01/shopping-with-scarf-navy-and-burgundy.html I think it's particularly helpful, as you say, when creating a holiday wardrobe. x

  3. I never wore scarves. I decided to try one out. I went to a charity sale (Goodwill would work) so as not to spend a lot on the project. Chose the scarf that spoke to me - not what would go with what I have, not which one was my season. The scarf I chose was gauzy with a muted print of birds and flowers in black, brown, grey-blue and olive. Started building with that until, pink, and red and... crept in - sigh.

    1. Jane, I'm totally with you on choosing the scarf that speaks to you - that's what happened with my William Morris scarf! I've learnt to always include some red in any capsule - as you say, it does have a habit of creeping in anyway.