Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Common Wardrobe: Feeling Blue

This post has been inspired by the many excellent posts on The Vivienne Files. Janice features what she calls "The Common Wardrobe", where she starts with a basic wardrobe of neutrals and then makes them look amazing with her use of colour and/or accessories. I hope to do something similar to help you see the possibilities within your own wardrobe.

Regular readers will know my love of bright colours, however I do have some neutrals in my wardrobe too, so I will start with them and will create my own version of a common wardrobe.

Starting from the left, I have a pair of black denims, navy jeans, charcoal trousers and a grey pencil skirt. To be honest with you, I don't wear the grey skirt very often as my lifestyle is very casual, however it is a classic style and ideal for any smarter occasions.

Next I have a dark grey cardigan, black cardigan, silver cascade cardigan and a navy waterfall cardigan. As you can see these are similar neutrals to my bottoms so easily mix and match with them. Living in Spain I only need to wear these during the winter months, or for evenings in Spring and Autumn.

Finally, four of my tops: navy and white stripes, navy peplum, black short-sleeved top and my lobelia long-sleeved top, which is the most colourful item in my common wardrobe. The three long-sleeved tops will be phased out when Spring arrives, but hopefully they will still look ok for next Autumn and Winter.

Obviously there are numerous permutations within this neutral wardrobe and nearly everything shown can be worn with everything else. Some of you may be happy with these options, but others may be missing the colour (including me!)  This is where accessories come into the equation.  Below I have shown a few examples of how you can brighten up a neutral wardrobe.

This outfit includes my navy and white striped top worn with navy jeans, a blue scarf and also a touch of red in the belt, which matches the red cuffs of my top.

I'm wearing the lobelia top with charcoal trousers, a gold necklace and red watch. The theme is supposed to be "feeling blue", but red keeps creeping in.

Finally, my black jeans, a blue top, silver cascade cardigan and blue beads. I know! You've spotted that I've sneaked this top in as it wasn't in the original twelve, but it goes with all the above items and I am feeling blue, so I hope that you don't mind. My other blue accessories include a blue striped scarf, a blue watch and some blue bracelets.

I have chosen blue to go with all my neutral pieces, but red, pink, green and purple would also match these neutrals. The idea is to choose your most flattering colours to wear near your face (scarves, necklaces and tops) however if you love a colour that doesn't love you back you can still wear it as a belt, bracelet or shoes.

Another advantage of having a common wardrobe of mainly neutral colours is that it doesn't date very quickly however you can update it with trendy accessories if you wish. Just because I'm over 60 it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy looking fashionable, but I tend to limit trendy pieces to accessories. Leopard print shoes anyone?


  1. Hi Sue, I like the way you sneak a bit of colour in, I have a lot of neutrals and just the smallest bit of colour can make a difference and brighten a neutral day.

  2. Blue is gorgeous on you.

    I have to admit I'm not crazy about neutrals even though I know they have a place in every wardrobe. I'm toying with picking two complimentary bold colors and trying to use them as my neutrals.

  3. Thanks for your replies. I know that many fashion experts (believe me, I'm not one of them!) say we should build up a wardrobe of neutrals, but some of us like neutrals and others don't. Jacqui knows my love of colour, which is why there are touches of red and bright blue in the outfits shown above.

    My view is that fashion "rules" are there to be broken. S.D.C. - if you don't like neutrals in the usual sense then go ahead and use your own version of neutrals! If you choose two bold colours for your neutrals, please let me know which ones you decide on.

  4. Seems like the definition of neutral has changed too, or maybe it depends on the "expert." What I like about the concept of neutrals is interchangeability. I can't tell you how many times I've stood in my closet and said, that only goes with the pants that are in the wash... I guess neutral also means style, in some ways. A pair of pants that would go with most tops might be a neutral style, whereas a bubble skirt might not go with many things.

    Your examples, Sue, seem to hit on both definitions.

  5. You've made some good points, as always, Robin. I love my dark pink jeans, as an example, but only certain tops go with them. Also, my navy peplum top is a neutral colour, however the style doesn't suit every pair of trousers or every skirt that I own.

  6. Hi Sue, now I've looked at the pink, red and blue. You can wear all, but the pink in #2 and the last blue with the blue beads look like they match your personality and you look happy in them.


  7. Thanks, Sharon. Good to hear from you. Did I mention that I lived in Canada as a small child? It was outside a town called Norval, which I think is near Brampton, Ontario. We returned to England when I was almost five, so I can't remember very much!