Saturday, 7 May 2016

A Cohesive Year Round Wardrobe and an Experiment

 In creating what I want to be a cohesive wardrobe of clothing that mixes well and works successfully in the transitions between seasons, I've considered all of the factors that I think everyone needs to consider and here I've explained how I've applied them to my own wardrobe.  This photo below is not as random as it seems.   I'm wearing a favourite cotton sweater in soft white and all my signature silver jewelry.  The hair is a little unstyled and what can we say about those eyebrows?  This is my signature look.

 Colour Palette

In my obsession with colour and finding the colour palette that would make me happiest, I figured out that I wanted lighter colours than what I was typically buying and that I don't like to wear high contrast, so having mostly medium value colours works best for me, then I can pair them with something darker or lighter or a make a mix of medium value colours.  I also figured out that not changing my palette much between the seasons means it's easier to have year round pieces that can be worn in any season except the coldest or hottest days.  I used to change my colours seasonally, going darker in winter and lighter in summer but now I have a more specific year round colour palette, with a smaller number of darker  colours.  I've made it a goal not to purchase anything new that is dark and to stick to medium values instead, which I prefer.  This means I also avoid dark denim even though it's what is always recommended to women for a classic look.  I have one pair of dressier jeans that are a dark blue denim but on a daily basis I prefer regular blue and even faded blue.

  I used to have the idea that only blondes wore light colours and because my hair is darker that I should wear darker colours.  While hair is a factor, skin tone is more important and the medium values work really well for me and I feel like myself in them.   I might have a darker purse or shoes, though I don't like the contrast of dark shoes with my pale bare legs so only darker shoes or boots in winter.

I've always matched tights to shoes so wearing paler shoe colours in winter means seeking out light coloured tights and that's a new challenge for me.


I like natural fibres and have begun to buy light weight wool for better warmth in winter.  Most of my clothing tends to be cotton though as it's more readily available so I might have a wool cardigan over a long sleeved cotton tee shirt in winter, or a cotton camisole or tank under a wool sweater.  Tee shirts and blouses I generally buy in cotton, some in bamboo-rayon.  I don't like stiff fabric so no stiff cotton button down shirts or structured pieces.  I look for softness and drape in all seasons and I layer things when I need to for warmth.  Thickness of the fabric will determine which season a piece is suited to and in some cases the darker colours tend to be in thicker fabrics so are also reserved for only winter wear.

Style -I have no name for my style.

I have little tolerance for bare ankles in colder weather so rolled up boyfriend jeans styles are abandoned after October.  I buy jeans that are long enough to wear fully unrolled.  In order to comfortably accommodate layering, I tend to have more fitted tee shirts in winter, so the long sleeved tee shirts are a slimmer fit and the short sleeved tee shirts are a looser fit.  I dislike trying to stuff floppy sleeves into a cardigan sleeve, which is probably why for the coldest months I prefer to wear light weight merino wool sweaters that have a simple tee shirt styling.  I find accessories pointless and in the way if I am just at home, so I don't use them much.  I also don't like them when it's hot.

My clothing choices as individual pieces might either seem classic, casual or boho but are not extreme examples of either category.  I am not sporty enough for casual, not tailored enough for classic and too simple for boho.  I like a boyish look sometimes, a minimal but feminine casual look at other times, and the more layers or accessories I use the more boho I look.  Summer clothing usually looks a little more boho in that California way but I don't wear cowboy boots with cutoffs or Navajo prints.

I've had to learn that my body shape is better with simple but body skimming lines.  I may be attracted to other styles but if they don't flatter or fit well they are a waste of money.  Lithe and slender bodies make great clothes horses, hour-glass figures can look amazing in the right clothes, but my body shape needs something that neither hides it nor shows it off.  In the end, if I want to draw your eye at all, I want to draw it to my face, not to my figure not to the clothes I am wearing.  Maybe that's why I have all the ear piercings and the nose stud.  Either I want to have a conversation with you or I want you to ignore me.  Look me in the eyes or look at someone else.

Seasons- Hot, Cold and Transition

We don't quite have four distinct seasons here and by most standards our hot isn't all that hot and our cold isn't terribly cold.  Winter is cool and wet, with the possibility of freezing temperatures from mid November through March.  Summer is mild but there is the possibility of a heat wave that lasts a month and June through September are likely to be warmer than room temperature.  The other months are transitions and slightly unpredictable.  We might have a warm or even hot dry spring but we might have a cool and wet one.  The wearing of sandals might begin in April or not until late June.  Autumn, if we define it as the season that is not as hot as summer, still dry and the air starting to get a bit  crisp, is pretty much just the last week of September and the first two or three weeks of October.   It might be appropriate to wear winter clothes but no coat, or to wear spring clothes with a jacket and boots.  At least half the year requires an expectation of rain and the appropriate clothing.


A pie chart just for fun!  The percentages are estimates, of course, but my lifestyle is predominantly casual and at home and I spend more time asleep than is reflected here, but I took into consideration that I don't need or want a large variety of pyjamas.  However, it's pretty clear that a jeans and tee shirt wardrobe is all I need and suits my life.  Considering that the at home activities are either taking place on the sofa or at my painting table, I really don't want to be wearing fancy, expensive or restrictive outfits.  The formal category is probably over-represented here but I like to be prepared for it just in case.

I don't have capsule wardrobes because I don't have separate situations to dress for.  I can see the logic of a work capsule and a weekend one.  Seasonal capsules work for some people but I don't feel the need.  I don't want so many clothes that I am actually required to pack away out of season clothing in order to make space in my closet.

On the other hand, I decided to try splitting my clothing into two season divisions and I've packed the things I would not wear from now until late October into one plastic bin and put that on the shelf in my closet.  I think I am doing this out of curiosity.  To see if I wear everything I think I am going to wear for the next five months.  The quantity of clothing for the warmer half of the year seems slightly greater than what I have for the cooler half.  My theory is that in summer I sweat more so might only wear a tee shirt once before it goes in the laundry.  My spring and summer wardrobe feels quite complete  at 35 pieces (I didn't count pyjamas and underwear) but I would like two more items in it.  I would like a third pair of shorts and I'm intending to sew some.  I would also like a silk (or more likely bamboo rayon) sleeveless blouse for a dressier look than my tee shirts give me.  I could sew this too.

The Experiment

The intended experiment is just to see if I really do wear everything that is in my closet.  Nothing is precious, so unless it is really not suited to the weather, everything I've got set out for the remaining five months of spring and summer should be regularly worn.  I predict a few of the items that seem a bit fancier to me will get less wear, perhaps only a couple of times for my fanciest blouse but I'm also feeling motivated to wear it because why not put on a pretty blouse to go and have coffee with a friend?  The goal is absolutely to repeat pieces and repeat them over and over.

 First Day of the Experiment

Brown cotton skirt, soft white cotton sweater, nude-beige mary-janes, favourite silver locket, strange smirk

This is as high contrast as I get with my colours and as usual the photo colours are not as accurate as I'd like them to be.  The more accurate I get the clothing colours the stranger my skin gets, giving me a sort of spray tan+ psoriasis effect.  I know that to some people these are not very exciting shoes, but I prefer the way they have little contrast with my pale legs.  The photo at the top of this post shows the off white colour of the sweater more accurately and the skirt is a medium grey-brown not quite as dark as it looks in the photo.

I'm dressed for leaving home, but at home I'd kick off the shoes, possibly take off the necklace and be very comfortable in this outfit.  If the weather were cooler I'd grab a scarf.  Any of my scarves would work.


  1. You match your house!
    Are these the new shoes that squeaked? I don't remember seeing them before.
    Are you now The Blogger Whose Shoes Didn't Squeak? Sir Shawna of Appledore?
    Whenever you put up your clothing choices I realise how different and yet how similar we are. I would absolutely choose the same fabrics and cuts, but I am more drawn to high contrast colours and more prints.
    You look great in your winter white.
    I love your posts. They are a must read for me even in my current blogging mode.
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Well I'm fairly consistent in the colours I like so it's not surprising I match my house, though my home has more red than I wear. You and I both like linen and a certain ease and looseness in the lines. Yes, the shoes are new because I realised I wanted low contrast between shoes and legs. Worth it, even if they squeak I'm so glad you enjoy my posts. Like you, I struggle to read the blogs I want to, and to leave comments is even harder so I am greatly honoured that you are reading and commenting on mine. Love you! xo


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