Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 1: Mood

Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 1: Mood

I’ve had color on my mind a lot lately, as we creep all too slowly toward fall, and as I embark here on fall wardrobe planning. These past few years have been about rebuilding my wardrobe from scratch following the great clean-out and the shift in awareness and the upheaval of a move to a new climate and life and all of that. For me personally, basics and neutrals are building blocks — the foundation of a room or a wardrobe — so that’s been my focus. And with the emphasis on handmade and investment pieces, it’s been slow going. In the best of ways. But I’m at a point where I feel like my foundation is solid and it’s time to start layering on the fun.

There are two things I mean by that: color/pattern and curve balls, the latter of which I’ll expound on tomorrow.

The clothes I’ve been making or acquiring over this period have been almost exclusively neutral and largely solids. (I count blues as neutral, especially denim/chambray blues on which I heavily rely.) And it’s been wonderful that they all pretty much just go together, like Garanimals. It’s made coming up with outfits or packing lists super simple, which has its obvious merits. Plus there’s the fact that I feel strong and confident and at ease dressed in head-to-toe neutrals. So there’s part of me that doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. But then there’s the other part: the one that is longing for more lightness (at a weird moment of the year, right?) and for color.

I put together a Fall ’17 Mood board at Pinterest yesterday, which is about color as much as (maybe more than) anything else, and it looks almost like a spring mood board. I think I’ve literally said this before, but it has really struck me profoundly lately: My color palette doesn’t change. It is not subject to fashion winds or trends, or to the different ages and eras of my life.

I have an older board at Pinterest, started six or seven years ago, called All Things Lovely. I don’t add to it very often, and it’s super random and undirected — it could be a book cover, a landscape, a portrait, a ceramic bowl. The only thing the images have in common is they give me such a peaceful, happy feeling that I’m moved to add them to that board. I’m not sure I’ve ever just called up the board and scrolled back through it, but I did yesterday, and I realized it’s my lifelong mood board — the mood of my soul, I guess, to be corny about it. It’s black-and-white-and-ivory-and-grey. It’s all the shades of blues and greens, and blue-greens and green-blues, the softer and murkier the better. It’s lilac undertones. It’s burlap and camel and caramel and nut browns. And there are flashes of pink and yellow here and there. Kelly green is as bright as it ever gets for me, and I like it best mixed with softer greens.

Thinking back through the last several decades of dressing myself, that has always been the case. All that ever changes is emphasis. The past few seasons, it leaned heavily on the darker tones, and now I’m feeling the lighter ones. And what I’m wishing for are the colors that have been all but missing lately. But the challenge is to add without complicating — finding ways to make the colors fold in just as effortlessly as the neutrals, like they do in this pinboard.

Interestingly, the colors have been creeping into my closet bit by bit, which I’ll show you in my inventory tomorrow. And I’ll talk about how I love a little sartorial curve ball and why.

Is it fall yet where you are? (Or the start of spring?) It’s still mid-upper 80s here for the foreseeable future …


PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Summer wardrobe results







16 thoughts on “Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 1: Mood

  1. I really enjoyed this post, because it echoes similar thoughts I’ve been having about colour lately. I took your advice and read “The Curated Closet”, paying special attention to the chapter on colour, and it’s encouraged me to use a bit more colour in my mainly neutral wardrobe. In my case it’s teal and plum to accent the navy, grey, and black I gravitate to. I’m almost finished my aran in Quince’s Lark (frost) and about to embark on a new Audrey Coat in Lopi (gloxinia!). Interestingly, the latter has a big collar similar in feel to the one you show on your mood board in aqua.

  2. My favorite series! I have been thinking lately if you would do a fall wardrobe planning or not, as I was thinking about transitioning my own wardrobe and you did!I love you Karen!

    But I am going in a opposite direction with my wardrobe… My wardrobe in the past have all kinds of color and prints and on and on and on, but I don’t even like colors or prints that much….So I am trying to cut back my crazy pieces, and be very mindful when I add new pieces and try to build a better foundation for my wardrobe!

    But the weather here in NC has been fluctuating back and forth… so dressing up everyday remains a constant challenge for me …..

    But can’t wait to see the rest of Fall Wardrobe Planning!


    • I’m so over the 89-degree days it’s making me a little crabby! So fall planning feels both escapist and futile right now. It really seems impossible to imagine cool weather. (Even though we had some … while I was in 89-degree Denver.)

  3. It’s still warm in Kansas! It’s supposed to be in the 80s all week. I’m leaving for a study abroad trip to Paris in a couple weeks, though, and I can’t wait to properly break out all the jeans and jackets and button-downs and scarves I love so much. I never feel like myself in summer, and I always forget how much that impacts my mood! How we dress really does become who we are, in a way; it’s an odd relationship between body learning and body sense.

    All that is to say that I miss my handknits and my jean jacket, and can’t wait to break them out again. I’m also sewing a flannel-lined Kelly Anorak atm, which hopefully will make fall come faster. ;) Time to spend some time with the ol’ Fashionary and a cup of tea!

  4. Your comment about blue as a “neutral” makes sense to me and I notice in your image above where there are non-neutral colors they are muted enough to behave as neutral (terracotta, slate blue/green, pale pink, lilac). I have been trying to keep that in mind when I want to knit something that’s not gray, white, or beige. I also find that you can’t go wrong with naturally dyed yarns and fabrics. There is something about colors straight from the earth!

  5. Here in Texas, no sweaters, v neck tshirts, skorts and sneakers. I might get the boots that allow you to walk in the grass without getting snake bites or fire ants, or those tiny stickers that really hurt. I now dress strictly functional.

  6. Mmmmm, love this post, Karen. So many great silhouettes there, and many which you have realized since I started following you. Fun to see that!

    I go back and forth about color and how much of it I really like to wear. Mostly, I lean towards neutrals with a burst of color in the form of a scarf. But then, I have these school bus yellow capris that I wore like crazy this last summer. They look great with a white shirt and black sweater and are just plain fun. I rarely wear patterns either. And as my goal of a closet that is more and more all-season gets realized, I find myself leaning away from the warmer, heathery yarns and wools. I want to be able to reach for that same sweater on a cool summer night on the beach as easily as on a snowy day in the mountains. Does that sound strange? But lately, I really find myself craving greens. I like the idea of mixing them in one look….like what you see in a forest. Maybe army green pants with a cooler deeper, green sweater. Yum….

    • Yeah, I mean I know it does get properly cold in Napa, but my tendency while I lived there was always for lighter, more all-purpose, all-season sweaters than anything really woolly and cozy. So that makes sense to me.

      Funny about your yellow pants — when I was writing this, I was thinking about a pair of yellow chinos I let go when we moved (and another pair of raspberry pink ones I always called “my happy pants” and loved to wear with a grey sweatshirt). I can’t wear yellow around my face, but love yellow pants.

      And yes to mixed greens, always. One of my all-time favorite outfits was my camo pants (when they were less faded, more greens) with a mint-green gingham button-down. And I love mint, kelly and army all in tandem in any way.

  7. It’s waffling between fall & “indian summer” here, so I’m trying not to get too attached to fall layers & clothes yet, but I do love your mood board and planning posts. Great notes on color, I feel like I’m in a similar boat — I actually had my entire wardrobe laid out on my bed yesterday and it’s overwhelmingly indigo and greyscale, but I’m starting to lean toward more color too. This summer, a friend gifted me an emerald top, and it’s not a color I would have reached for myself but I love it; hopefully this fall I’ll finish a pair of brick red pants and that will be fun to work into the mix. Mostly for fall I’ve had texture on my mind — the drape of the Community Supported Cloth I finally cut into, the heavy leather boots I’ll be wearing, sturdy canvas and twill I’m craving. And of course, all the knit textures :)

  8. Nice to see some color creeping in! Here in Brittany it is very much Fall, a bit too early but it makes me want to start knitting a big and warm shawl for the cool mornings. The sunshine is slowly coming back though, but the days are getting shorter every day. My wardrobe for Fall is teal and orange and purple, as accents for the black and denim pants and skirts I wear most days.

  9. Pingback: Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 2: Closet inventory | Fringe Association

  10. Your fisherman sweater ended up so great. It looks like Arranmore is a great yarn for a cabled sweaters. I may or may not be planning an oversized vintage-inspired cabled cardigan in a creamy white. I’m wondering if you considered other yarns or would consider other yarns for another fisherman style sweater.

  11. Pingback: Outfits! — Pre-Fall 2017 | Fringe Association

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