Archive for the ‘wardrobe planning’ category

Favourite books – style and wardrobe

May 18, 2013

A commenter asked me to bring together the books I’ve mentioned here and there.

I didn’t go through my posts to develop this list – wrote down the ones that I remembered and are easy to access on my shelves – the best test !

There are many other excellent books available. I just mention ones I’ve seen myself, and which stay in my mind and get referred to again rather than forgotten.
I have of course also seen many books which range from uninspiring through inadequate to terrible – but I’m not going to use space explaining why I don’t like them. And once I’ve found a book that satisfies my needs in that area, I tend to stop looking at more. So, sorry, you won’t be able to tell, if I don’t mention something, whether I think it’s bad, or I like something else better, or I simply haven’t seen it.

Even though this is only a small selection of what’s available, I’m a book person so this spread to great length.
This is about books on personal style and wardrobing.
Then couple of posts for books on pattern making and fit.
Final post with books about sewing.

Books I not only enjoyed reading a first time, but also look at again.
And of course I haven’t been able to resist making lengthy comments.

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Personal Style

There are many books on up-grading your style. They often have vertiginous heels on the cover and advise wearing black, so I keep well clear. I became less interested in style books once I got clearer about my own style – and was able to tell that most books aren’t relevant to me. . . So if you love your LBD and stiletto heels there are many style books you will enjoy, but I’m not the person to give advice 😀

Style books always say they want to help you look your best. But they don’t all mean flattering your personal special features. They often mean trying to make you look more like a model. Or they assume you want to look rich and powerful. Those I try to avoid – I get upset about both their values and their advice.

In fact people disagree passionately about style books – perhaps because of their personal style, or because of how much they already know about what suits them and how to build good outfits. Always worth reading the low-star reviews at Amazon.

Most of the books I like have very out-of date illustrations, but the general advice is still excellent. Most important – they cover a wide range of personal colourings, body shapes, and style preferences, not just fashion mag big city chic.

Nancy Nix-Rice Looking Good
A good short introduction on the best clothes for you.

Mathis & Connor The Triumph of Individual Style
Beautiful, fascinating, detailed. Artists love every body shape.

Judith Rasband Wardrobe Strategies for women
College textbook with assignments. Ignore the awful cover photo. Every page is bursting with good ideas. (Her company Conselle sells modernised versions of the chapters – very expensive.)

David Kibbe Metamorphosis
Rich with interesting comments on personal style. Though his specific suggestions show he’s not so good at helping people who like to dress quietly!

Jan Larkey Flatter your Figure
Another older book with dated examples but marvellous advice about the best styles to wear given your body shape features. Unlike much such advice, she manages to avoid the problem that some suggestions are right for one of your body features but wrong for another.

Mary Spillane Color Me Beautiful’s Looking Your Best
The European off-shoot of Color Me Beautiful, with more colour types and personal styles. (I like this book, but strongly disagree with recent books by UK CMB.)

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Fashion Design

For some sewers, the ultimate expression of personal style is to design our own clothes.
If you’d like explore the design process, here are some possible starters.

Grandon et al 200 projects to get you into fashion design
A sequence of guided exercises. You may need other books for guidance on the techniques used, but working through this is like doing a fashion design foundation course.

Stephanie Corfee Fashion Design Workshop
Introductory fashion drawing advice.

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Wardrobe planning

Re-thinking your style, and need to know you have a basic wardrobe so you always have ‘something to wear’ ?

Juudith Rasband Wardrobe strategies for women
I mentioned this before, on personal style.

out-of-print :

Janet Wallach Working Wardrobe
The original wardrobe planning book and still interesting. She does assume you wear a skirt to work, but it’s easy to swap pants for skirts.

Kate Mathews Sewing a Travel Wardrobe
Minimal sewing instructions, but many ideas for travel capsules. Nothing on personal colouring or style. (Here’s my post on the plans in this book.)

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Fashion entertainment

Robert Pante Dressing to Win (oop)
Just one personal style – assumes you want to dress for the top. Prestige wardrobing, I enjoy this for a good laugh.

His One-Star Wardrobe (6-garment capsule plus accessories) cost about US$1900 when the book was published nearly 30 years ago (1984).
The UK Retail Price Index has gone up more than 2.5 times since then.
That means investing about $5000/ £3300 on a basic RTW designer starter capsule at today’s (2013) prices.
Looking at Net-a-Porter for current designer RTW prices, that is actually in the low price range for top designers.

From that Pante works up to a Five-Star Plan which includes furs, big diamonds, and red-carpet dresses (he doesn’t cost out that one 😀 ).

In contrast, Imogen Lamport manages to come up with a RTW starter wardrobe of 12 items for aus$196, not including accessories. Yes impressive if you’re starting from a modest point. But people in the know will recognise the low quality fabrics and make. So work up from there if you want to impress 😀

Making your own clothes could work out at a fraction of the designer RTW price (see my post comparing hobby sewing and designer RTW clothes prices). But do choose quality fabrics and accessories if you want to look like you buy from designers.
Say $700+ for materials for clothes (pant suit, blazer, 2 blouses, dress), and $1300 for accessories (2 pairs shoes, bag, belt, preferably leather).
Gets it down to about $2000 for your starter capsule.

For more amazed laughs about the real-life fashion business, I enjoy :

Bringing home the Birkin by Michael Tonello – on the world supported by luxury fashionistas.

Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones – fictional life of a designer.

The September Issue movie about the editor of US Vogue – on the making of a fashion magazine. (Do you want to be told what to wear by these people ?)

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Happy hobby sewers – we can admire and enjoy inspired design and technique, the creativity of clothes making, without getting enmeshed in all the ‘keeping up’ and staying ‘in’ side of ‘being fashionable’.

I hope you know your own best styles, colours, shapes, and your sewing gives you what you love 😀

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Originally written May 2013, links checked August 2019

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‘Dressmaking’ book – classic styles

March 9, 2013

I’ve had many thoughts about this book, ‘Dressmaking’ by Alison Smith. A wardrobe pattern book with a focus on clearly explained technique.

This post reviews the classic style patterns in this book, with suggested alternatives. With comments on building a classic wardrobe.

Each wardrobe pattern book has it’s own style (see my posts.) Most are on casual or pretty styles. This is the first book on classic style, so it won’t be for everyone but fills an important gap.

– – –

The basic patterns

The ‘Dressmaking’ patterns are pure classics based on fitted blocks with fitted armholes, most with zip opening.

There are 12 basic scaleable/ download patterns :
(The second top actually buttons up to the neck.)





Plus instructions for simple pattern changes to make 19 variations. A good range within one personal style and ease level.

As my body shape is far from average, I’m not the right person to test these patterns to find how well they work. These patterns are such simple basic styles it’s easier to adapt my personal fitting blocks, rather than going through the fitting process with these patterns.

– – –

Fitted classics only

These patterns won’t warm your heart if you like casual slouchy/ body-con, frilly/ drapey/ vintage, or trendy styles.
No dartless styles with dropped shoulders. No raglan or cut-on sleeves.
No slimmer pants, or tops with generous or negative ease.
No notched or band collars (though sufficient instructions are there).
No dresses in dartless shift, wrap, or draped styles, and those can be more flattering for many body shapes.
Nothing on sewing knits, fleece, denim.

The late Shannon Gifford thought you need 5 basic pattern blocks : pants, a-line skirt, classic shirt, fitted tee, jacket. All but the tee are here.
I like to have basic blocks for drop-shoulder, raglan, and cut-on sleeves as well as fitted armholes. And I use a casual dartless block a lot. Some people like a separate block for slim fit pants like jeans. None of those are here.

If you follow designer fashion these patterns will look a bit dull. Nothing here if you want to mimic this season’s high fashion (see my review of seasonal trends). Or a tees-sweats-jeans or tunic-leggings look. Or a cascade cardigan or notch collar blazer.

The patterns are best suited to ultra classic personal style in woven fabrics.
For ‘modern classics’ including knits, see styleARC patterns.

Other personal styles

Using these patterns, you couldn’t copy the basic wardrobes from Janice of The Vivienne Files. Here’s her casual wardrobe , and here on a wardrobe as a background to accessories.
My posts on patterns for these are on a wardrobe of relaxed basics and a common wardrobe.

Staying with wardrobe pattern books which claim to teach you to sew :

If you like casual styles, you could combine the sewing instructions in this ‘Dressmaking’ book with Wendy Mullin’s pattern books. Her patterns have a wider range of style elements and basic blocks but sometimes poor sewing instructions (and beware the fit. See my wardrobe pattern book reviews – Index page 3).

What about flouncy or vintage styles for skirt and dress lovers ? Those can easily use the Steampunk clothing company production. The Colette Patterns or Burda Style pattern books might be a better choice, too. I haven’t seen the Colette Patterns book. I have seen the first Burda Style book, which isn’t right for me as it has brief written instructions with few illustrations.

Also Gertie’s new book for better sewing, which I haven’t seen as it isn’t my style or body shape. Here’s a helpful review.

For draped styles there are the ‘Drape, Drape‘ Japanese pattern books. I haven’t seen these books, but Japanese pattern books are usually very visual – many diagrams and few words. See Simply Pretty for extended images from Japanese pattern books, to see the instruction style (or get the Japanese editions of the ‘Drape, drape’ books 😀 ).

A Wardrobe of Classics

If you work through all the projects in ‘Dressmaking’, you’ll have a variety of standard fitted classic tops (5), skirts (6), pants (4), dresses (12), and jackets (4). (No classic casuals like tees, jeans, cascade cardigan.)

Co-ordinate fabrics and colours to make a wardrobe.

Using the patterns in ‘Dressmaking’ you can make clothes similar in style spirit to Nancy Nix-Rice’s basic starter wardrobe. Here’s the first of my posts on it. Better to read her complete set of newsletters.

Nancy suggests you use 3 colours : dark neutral, light neutral, accent colour.
And have a foundation wardrobe of 12 garments :
– top, layer, pants, skirt – one group in dark neutral and another in light neutral,
– top and layer in accent colour,
– top and skirt in mixed colour print.

You couldn’t copy Nancy’s suggested styles exactly using the ‘Dressmaking’ book, as there isn’t a pattern for notched collar or knits.
And Nancy doesn’t include any one-piece dresses.

Perhaps use Butterick 5760 wardrobe pattern for the further classic styles needed, once you’re familiar with the techniques in the ‘Dressmaking’ book. Add making a band collar, a more structured jacket, and a knit cardigan to your skill set.


Or just make the 12 dresses in the ‘Dressmaking’ book – plenty enough for a classic ‘dresses only’ wardrobe !
Once you’re happy with a bit of pattern altering, you’ll be able to combine patterns to add collars and different sleeves to these dresses. Though with only a narrow range of shapes.

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My first posts inspired by this book were on sewing guidance for complete beginners and advanced beginners.

The technique instructions in this book – for intermediate level skills – are very good (I plan to write on this later). And they apply to any style. But the patterns won’t be to everyone’s taste.

I don’t wear such extreme classics, so need to adapt the patterns a bit. Lengthen the skirts and jackets, make sleeveless vests from the jacket patterns, taper the pants, make tunic versions of some dresses. . . (examples of all these pattern changes are in the book). Shortened versions of the waist seam dresses can be used for tops while peplums are so popular. With my personal style, body shape, and local climate, I’m unlikely to make any bare-shouldered styles, unless I just made them to try the skills involved.

I’ll go elsewhere for my favourite loose fitting layering top and jacket patterns. The same pattern altering and sewing techniques apply to the casual dartless block, but there’s no pattern here to use as a starting point. Other guides also needed for sewing a wider range of fabrics.

Even if ‘classic’ isn’t your style, they can be good to use as background basics. Here’s YouLookFab on using a few classic items with others.

The cover of this book claims it’s a ‘one step resource’. It isn’t that, but it is very good on the styles and techniques it does include.

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Patterns and links available March 2013

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Some sources suggesting basic capsules

March 2, 2013

Having at last made my final Index page 5 which lists posts on co-ordinates and capsules, here are some other capsules which could be the starting point for a basic wardrobe.

There must be thousands of attractive inspiring outfits on the web. Apart from all the style blogs, Polyvore is set up to devise them, and there are multiple Pinterest pages.

A capsule is more than an outfit – a small group of co-ordinated clothes which can be interchanged to make several outfits.
Perhaps (2 tops, 2 bottoms) to make 4 outfits.
Or (jacket, shirt, 2 tees, pants, jeans) which together make 12 outfits to cover many situations.

Here’s my post on basic capsule options : building your wardrobe in small groups. Start with one capsule and simply add another similar.

There’s so much advice available on capsules and wardrobes, I’m amazed how many people aren’t aware of the idea 😀

Judith Rasband’s college textbook Wardrobe Strategies for Women bases wardrobe building on capsules.

Once you set up the basic pieces, every time you add a co-ordinating item it can double the number of possible outfits. See my post on the power of the boring.

There’s a discussion on minimalist wardrobes at You Look Fab.

Project 333 allows a free choice of what to include in your wardrobe, but to a limit of 33 items including : clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes. As many wardrobe planners suggest a basic group of 5 – 12 garments, that’s quite a generous allowance really 😀

If you find it easier to take inspiration from specific capsules or to react against them, rather than devising your own starting point, here are some of the many possibilities.

Some are specific enough to show a particular style. Some are just numbers of garments. Though even numbers have style implications. Most for example include 0 or 1 dress – no use if you love dresses.

Some of these groups just count clothes, some count both clothes and accessories. If you’re allowed infinite numbers of accessories, you can make infinite numbers of outfits with very few clothes, see the Uniform Project.

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Here’s an 8-item weekend travel capsule consisting of 4 garments, 4 accessories.

Or here’s a group of 6 garments – jacket, 3 tops, skirt, choice of 2 pants : The Kit (click on the photo for more detail about each style).

In style contrast, Perfectly Packed has a classic business wardrobe of 8 garments, which can be copied easily using two wardrobe patterns, see my post on classic style.

Tim Gunn’s 10 essential elements
His 10 items are clothes only, add accessories.
For example variants of this, see the middle of my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
And Imogen Lamport’s thoughts on this list and her own version.

Imogen has several suggested capsules for different lifestyles, mostly about a dozen items. Here’s her post on a capsule wardrobe of 12 items. And here’s her post on combining colours and combining prints, very ‘this season’ co-ordination.

Stylist Angie Cox also has a few posts on capsules at YouLookFab, and now has a section called Ensembles. (She uses the word ‘outfit’ for groups of clothes on a specific person.)

Elizabeth (ejvc) suggests a 12-item group, and prices it (about $225) for sewing. If you want natural fabrics, you need to use just one pattern magazine, and mainly black fabric, to get the cost that low. Much cheaper if you’re comfortable in polyester. I would probably use a wardrobe pattern book (see Index page 3), about twice the price of a pattern magazine.

This list from the Nate Berkus Show
has 12 basic items including accessories, plus 8 add-ons : 20 in all.

Wardrobe Oxygen list updated
23 items including underwear and accessories.
I still disagree with nearly very word of this, see my post, but many people working in a very classic environment love it.

Nancy Nix-Rice builds up from 12 basic garments to 23 garments in all, plus suggestions for minimum accessories. She claims to get nearly 100 different outfits from her 12 garments. See Index page 4 for my posts on her scheme, with links to her lessons, and suggested patterns.

Seasonal 6PACs : 24 garments in all, organised in 4 seasonal groups of 6. Here’s a list of relevant posts from ejvc, who started the idea. There’s always a sewalong for the current season at Stitcher’s Guild.

Oprah Winfrey’s dream closet checklist
32 items including shoes.
(Useful tips there too on clothes that flatter different body shapes.)

Many of Janice’s posts at The Vivienne Files are suggestions for capsules, showing the different outfit combinations you can make. And most of her other posts show how to take a single garment or outfit and make many different looks by using accessories.

And here’s a whole pinterest page of capsule suggestions.

For real-life inspiration, see :
Sewing With A Plan 2013
Sewing With A Plan 2012

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What about some patterns ? Most of the capsules don’t suggest specific styles. So here are my current personal easy sewing ‘Key 3’ patterns. Sewing Workshop Hudson top and pants, Indygo Junction Origami wrap.


Add intermediate sewing skills, and make the Sewing Workshop Tribeca shirt and Indygo Junction Silhouette vest (close the vest up to the neck). My current ‘Vital 5’. In quality fabrics for Relaxed Luxe style.


Very different in spirit from many wardrobe plans. My needs are most like the Sewing Workshop wardrobe, see my post on Linda Lee’s layering wardrobe.

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I groaned recently about some wardrobe styling advice which suggested what were supposed to be different style capsules, but were actually all variants of blazer, knit top, jeans. As I don’t wear any of those. I’m glad I’ve done all the work on identifying my own style and wardrobe needs, so I can just move on from unhelpful advice. People who love dresses probably feel equally ignored by most wardrobe suggestions.

If your personal style is ‘modern classic’ and you feel happy in blazer, tee, jeans, then good luck to you. Prefer different types of top, bottom, layer, or dresses ? Best Wishes to all the people who have to find their own capsule scheme.

Is it because I don’t match any of the simple advice on fit, colouring, style, body shape, that my blog is helpful 😀

I think most wardrobe lists need to be adapted to your own personal style, colouring, body shape, lifestyle.
(All that black and classic shapes – aargh. . .)

Hence my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
See Index page 4 on wardrobe plans in general.
Also your personal style preferences.
And Index page 1 on personal style.
There are some links on the other ways to look your best, in my post on So many choices.

If you haven’t got a good starting point for your own wardrobe group, have a look at patterns that are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time – Index page 8.

See Index page 5 for comments on co-ordination, and posts which include specific capsules.

Starting with a small capsule and building on it isn’t the only way to get a basic wardrobe. There are many books and websites with wardrobe plans with other approaches – see wardrobe and capsule planning references thread at Stitchers Guild. Each writer has their own scheme.

If you still think planning a wardrobe is frivolous, here’s an excellent piece by The Dashing Eccentric.

As usual, have fun with it all 😀

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P.S. Several people have commented that we haven’t got to develop capsules and wardrobes. Just have good outfits, if that’s what works well for you. No need to worry about co-ordination if you don’t want to. Just avoid ‘orphans’ – clothes which don’t go with anything else. You don’t even need to worry about them if you only wear dresses 😀

Or have several different small groups of clothes, which co-ordinate within one capsule but not with others. I should think there are very few people who have a wardrobe in which everything co-ordinates with everything else. Would that only be possible if you led a very limited life ? I haven’t got clothes wearable for both sailing and a black tie evening.

My clothes are in a limited range of colours and shapes so many, though not all, are interchangeable. Not so with accessories – some of my outfits are enhanced by scarves, some by necklaces.

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Links and patterns available March 2013

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Build your wardrobe in small groups

October 20, 2012

The Vivienne Files post on building a wardrobe by fours started me on yet more thoughts about basic wardrobe building.

Perhaps it’s part of your personal style that you don’t like to plan, prefer a free-flow approach to choosing your clothes, and just use general guidelines on colour and shape so you haven’t got a closet full of orphans.

If instead you want the simplest possible scheme for wardrobe building – add small groups, rather than a whole wardrobe all at once.

What are the garment types you wear all the time : dresses or jeans ? shirts or tees ? jackets or sweaters ? If you’re not sure, look at my personal wardrobe plan post.

What clothes grouping do these items make ? Would it suit you to build your wardrobe in co-ordinated capsules of 4/ 5/ 6 items, or individual outfits of 1/ 2/ 3 items ?

Here are the common possibilities.

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Small groups which include enough clothes for you to make several outfits.

Core 4

Often 2 tops, 2 bottoms. For example, Butterick 5333. Easy to make four different outfits.


If one top can layer over the other, that adds two more outfits.


Janice of The Vivienne Files builds a basic wardrobe of 12 items by adding 4 items at a time. Here’s her original post.
– Core Four – sleeveless and sleeved tops, skirt, pants, in interesting colour.
– Expansion Four – 2 more tops and bottoms, in neutral colour.
– Mileage Four – more tops, in fabrics which combine colours.

She calls her approach ‘Four by Four’, and adds 4 accessories to the 12 clothes.

I’ve written posts on patterns for her original scheme, and on adding layers.

Janice has several other posts suggesting four-by-four wardrobes, with good illustrations of outfit combinations. See her Archive for May 2012, and here. (In that post the Core 4 is 3 tops, 1 bottom – sweater knit, shirt, tee, pants).

P.S. Janice now has a post on building up to a Project 333 wardrobe in groups of 4 items, each group in one colour. To me her later mixed version is more interesting but also more difficult to achieve.

Janice’s 4×4 clothes are rather similar to Nancy Nix-Rice’s 12 item basic wardrobe. Nancy makes nearly 100 different outfits from her 12 clothes.

– Start with one of each item needed (Nancy’s Core 4 is jacket, top, skirt, pants), in a dark neutral.
– repeat in a light neutral, using the same or more relaxed styles.
– add another 4 with fabric interest to add variety : a top and layer in an accent colour, and a 2-piece dress in a mixed colour print.

Sadly Nancy’s list of newsletters is no longer on her site, but they are still available :
21. Core 4
22. Second top and layer
23. 2 more bottoms
24. accent colour twinset
25. 2-piece print dress.
She also has a post on a 16-item travel wardrobe.

I wrote a post on patterns for Nancy’s starter 12 here. See full list of my posts about her wardrobe on Index page 4.

Or there’s Eileen Fisher‘s ‘system’ of wardrobe basics. Her ‘system’ changes from season to season. (For the current version, see the Eileen Fisher Video on “What if it were this easy”.) She makes co-ordination especially easy by having nearly everything in black ! perhaps with one cream top and one grey one. In summer 2010 the ‘system’ consisted of 3 Core 4s : 3 layers, 3 tops, 3 skirts, 3 pants. Here’s my post on patterns for that.

Vital 5

Judith Rasband recommends a basic wardrobe ‘cluster’ of 5 items. Such as : jacket/ layer, 2 tops, skirt, pants. See her Wardrobe strategies for Women book, and 5 Easy Pieces DVD.

Simplicity 1945

These particular 5 items make 10 different outfits (including layering the wrap top over the cowl one.) Add some scarves or statement jewellery, dressy and casual shoes – and there’s your wardrobe for a week’s trip !

To build on this basic group, Judith Rasband adds one item at a time. So long as each new item co-ordinates with all the items you already have, it can double the number of different outfits possible (see my power of the boring post).

My personal Vital 5 is rather different, as in winter I need 5 garments to make one outfit. I don’t own any fitted jackets or dresses, and only wear skirts on formal occasions. But I can’t get my wardrobe needs down to less than 5 different types of item : shirt, pullover layer, shirt-jacket layer, vest, pants. Simplifying, that’s shirt, pants, and 3 added layer options. In winter I wear all 3 added layers at the same time !

I could repeat this group two or three times, to make a wardrobe of 10 – 15 items.

Season’s 6

ejvc’s 6 item 6PACs are another capsule-to-wardrobe building idea. Make a 6 item capsule each season, following the colour suggestions (3 neutrals, accent), and you have a marvellous 24 item co-ordinated wardrobe by the end of the year ! Here’s the original summary of the overall concept. See comments on the current 6PAC season at Stitchers Guild. This inspiration has been running successfully for several years.


Do all those possibilities make you feel overwhelmed and confused ? If so – start with outfits rather than trying to achieve interchangeable items.

Perhaps it’s your personal style to wear a few favourite outfits, rather than wanting to look different each day. Here’s an encouraging piece from YouLookFab. And another post from her, on ways of building outfits.

Key 3

Simpler than a Core 4, if you only wear pants never skirts, or the other way round – a Key 3 : layer, top, bottom.

Butterick 4989, McCall’s 5889

Simplicity 2635

The original and long oop wardrobe planning book, “Working Wardrobe” by Janet Wallach, was written when women rarely wore pants to work. Her 12 items consist of 4 Key 3s :
– 4 layers (jackets and sweater knits),
– 4 blouses,
– 3 skirts plus either pants or dress.
A coat gives 13 items.
She uses 2-3 basic colours plus one item in an accent colour. Four pages of suggestions for colour pairs – not only used as solids but also as mixed weaves or prints.

Easiest possible wardrobe building :
Choose your Tried ‘N True patterns, for top, jacket/ layer, pants/ skirt.
Choose 3 fabrics : perhaps dark neutral, light neutral, accent print or solid.
Make your 3 patterns in each fabric.
Hey presto, 9 basic co-ordinates. . .

Nice and easy – except many of us don’t like to wear the same fabric for both tops and pants ! Perhaps make the 3 in the same colour.

One Key 3 group needn’t only make a single outfit – if they co-ordinate with other items. Make a Key 3 all from the same fabric/ colour. This gives you an ‘inner column’ of top and bottom the same.  To which you can add other layers. And an ‘outer column’ of layer and bottom the same. Add other tops. All 3 items the same gives infinite options for combining with other clothes 😀

I don’t know where this ‘column of colour’ idea started. I heard it first from Nancy Nix-Rice, Lesson 22. Imogen Lamport has several posts with good illustrations – links here. Also she and Jill Chivers have a video on styling up a basic outfit of tee and jeans.

Dress 1

Your wardrobe plan could be much simpler : 10 dresses and have done with it 😀 No co-ordination needed ! Though I voice my usual objection to “every woman should have. . .” as I’m a happy zero dresses person.

The Vivienne Files has many posts on styling a dress for different looks. They are usually sleeveless sheaths, but you can apply the same ideas to other dress shapes too.

If you prefer pants, jumpsuits are a current ‘one-item outfit’ option.

Simply 2

Or do you always and only wear two item outfits, such as:

– dress and layer, example from Butterick 5247 :


– top and bottom, perhaps tee and jeans/ blouse and skirt/ shirt and shorts, or slouchy Butterick 5651 :

Make up 5 to 7 outfits without worrying about co-ordination. If any of the items combine into other outfits that’s just a bonus 😀

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Did any of these ideas make you think – “ah, that’s right for me” or “no, not for me, I need. . .”

Do you feel it would all be too limiting ? Here’s a post from Inside-Out Style on getting variety from a capsule wardrobe.

If you decide to make a personal wardrobe plan, rather than ‘winging it’, the process can be daunting. There’s not only the basic group of clothes to pick out, but also your personal style and colours – see my post on so many choices. With all these individual variations, probably few people follow any of these schemes exactly. They can be a good guide for first thoughts. But getting flattering enjoyable outfits is the key goal.

Don’t try to do everything at once. Every little step can help. I learned a lot about what’s best for me by trying to fit myself to other people’s plans.

I’m most in tune with Judith Rasband’s ideas. Which is your preference 😀

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Links available October 2012

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