Friday, 25 September 2015

Building my capsule wardrobe - which neutrals?

Although we are fortunate enough to still be enjoying good weather in Spain, I have started thinking about creating my capsule wardrobe for autumn (fall to my American friends!) and winter. A forthcoming trip to London next month is adding to my sense of urgency, as I should be able to buy a few clothes in petite sizes there to include in the capsule.

A quick glance at my existing wardrobe shows that I have three neutrals from last year that could form the basis of a capsule wardrobe: navy, grey and brown. I also have a few items in olive green that could be used as a neutral. I'm phasing out any black items as I realise they no longer flatter my colouring.

I've been following Project 333 for a long time now and, although I do bend the rules a bit, I try to adhere to a 33 piece capsule wardrobe for each season of the year. My Autumn 33 therefore is due to start at the beginning of October. My initial reaction to Project 333 was "Wow! 333 items of clothing!", however the idea is to restrict yourself to 33 items to cover 3 months, which for some of us is quite a challenge.

I have learnt that having a good number of neutrals in my wardrobe will give me greater flexibility than my original rainbow-coloured wardrobe did. If I choose the right accent colours and neutrals, in theory every top should go with every bottom in my capsule.

Now I'd like your help! Below I show pictures of myself wearing the different neutrals and I'd be interested in hearing which one(s) you think flatter me the most. First up is navy.


What I've discovered is that navy on its own is a bit dark for me, though the lighting makes these navy items look slightly darker than they are in real life. I definitely need some contrast and I think the red is probably the best contrast in the outfits above.  Next up is grey, with three (not 40) different shades of grey.


I also have grey trousers, however I'm looking here for the effect each neutral has when it's close to my face. The last photo is charcoal grey so may look like black.

I don't have many olive clothes, but I'm wondering if the top and cardigan in the following photos are flattering on me and whether I should consider making it one of my key neutrals.


The last photo above is a combination of brown top and olive trousers, which neatly takes me to the final option, which is of course brown. When I was younger brown featured in my wardrobe on a regular basis but then it went slightly out of favour when I was told I was a Jewel Winter, with no browns in my swatch.  I've re-introduced it recently, so do you think it should make my short-list of neutrals?

There are different shades of brown in the photos above so you may feel that one shade is more flattering on me than the others.

If you are unsure which neutrals look best on you, you might like to try a similar exercise. Take some photos of yourself wearing different neutrals then look at them carefully to discover which colours flatter you the most. Studying the above photos, I think two of the neutrals suit me more than the others. I'd love to hear what your thoughts are though to see if we agree!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tonal vs Seasonal Analysis

I recently discovered a new website "Looking Stylish", which has some great advice for those of us trying to build a coherent capsule wardrobe based around our best colours. What interested me in particular was that Maria uses tonal analysis rather than the usual seasonal colour analysis, which ties in with the 7 Steps to Style system used by Imogen. Of course colour is only one of the 7 steps, as explained in my previous posts. Using Imogen's system I am an Enigmatic, which is a combination of deep, smoky and warm: you can see my swatch in the photo below.

Maria told me that my dominant colour characteristic is warm and my secondary is soft. She said that the colour of the top in the picture below is perfect for me: it just so happens that it blends well with the colours in my swatch as well as being warm and soft.....!

The closest match to my dominant colour characteristics is Autumn in the seasonal analysis system but, like any attempts to pigeon-hole human beings, it's not always accurate and not all Autumn colours look good on me. I think this is always going to be a problem when undertaking any type of colour analysis. How can you divide individuals' colouring into four, twelve, sixteen or any other arbitrary number of groups? We are a lot more complex than these systems would suggest.

Going back to the aim of building a capsule wardrobe, and starting with some colours that already reside in my current wardrobe, my neutrals for autumn and winter are going to be navy and brown., with accents of coral (see above photo), aqua, teal and spice red. Of course I can't afford to buy an entirely new wardrobe but, as items need replacing, these will be the colours that replace them.

You may be interested in checking out the following post on Looking Stylish: Capsule Wardrobe Essentials. When you visit this page you can also sign up for Maria's Friday Bulletin and you can download your free colour guide if you're not sure what your colour dominant is.

Do let me know what your colour dominant is and whether you prefer this way of deciding your best colours to the traditional seasonal colour analysis. Having read many of Maria's blog posts, and looked at various capsule wardrobes for those of us with warm colouring, I for one am finding it very helpful.

If you decide to join the Looking Stylish Style Club like I did, you will not only have access to even more helpful information, but you will also receive a monthly magazine and can join the friendly and helpful Style Club facebook group. I hope to see you there!