|A chaotic rainbow of color! Wonderful in a child's abstract|
spatter painting, but confusing in a basic wardrobe.
(from Sunnyside Art House)
I've been intrigued by the idea of building a basic wardrobe around a rainbow of colors, with nary a white apparel item in sight, but hesitated because it seemed too hard to unify such a color scheme into a wardrobe that did not resemble a chaotic rainbow! I finally hit upon the possibility of putting together apparel from one distinctive company whose unique look would unify all of the clothes selected regardless of color. Toast is such a company, and I had a lot of fun perusing their clothing line.
There are a lot of color choices from Toast, so I did narrow the field down slightly! For neutrals I chose indigo, washed black, and natural/beige. For bold color I went crazy with red, orange, and sunflower yellow. Some olive green added to the mix as either a neutral or a statement color completed the mix. (The great thing about selecting clothing from one company is that all of the items are likely to be consistent within a color option and should all work when worn together.) A smattering of accessories from the same site completed this basic wardrobe, and even though so many different colors are represented, I think they ended up working quite cohesively together.
I started this basic 4x4 wardrobe with a boldly distinctive ikat print skirt and top, and then added a solid top and pants which can be mixed and matched with them:
|Clockwise from top left: Floral Woven Ikat Top; Fine Woven Short Sleeve Pullover in Saffron; Linen Cotton Trouser in Natural; Floral Woven Ikat Skirt.|
Next I added a casual but stylish denim trouser with a variety of tops (the sweater can be worn as an outer layer or on its own):
|Clockwise from top left: Classic Stripe Tee in Pumpkin/Ecru; Wool/Cotton Cable Pullover in Ochre; Fine Slubby Cotton Short Sleeve Tee in Berry; Indigo Denim Pleat Front Trouser.|
Basic black trousers then joined the mix, with a short blazer-style jacket in similar color and material and a couple of tops that work well with both. Notice that the short sleeve sweater is the same as the one from the first set but in a different color. The tee shirt in the second set is similar to the one below, but made of cotton rather than linen. I think that when so many colors are in use, having the same article of clothing in different colors and/or fabrics helps to unify the wardrobe:
|Clockwise from top left: Linen Short Sleeve Tee in Ochre; Washed Black Neat Linen/Cotton Jacket; Fine Wool Short Sleeve Pullover in Madder; Washed Black Cigarette Trouser.|
Finally, the introduction of two pieces in olive green, plus a natural linen skirt and a striped tee shirt:
|Clockwise from top left: Olive Cotton Twill Shirt; Stripe Cotton/Linen Short Sleeve Tee in Natural/Ochre/Indigo; Fine Wool V Neck Cardigan in Artichoke; Hemp Skirt in Ecru.|
Now let's put everything together into the 4x4 configuration:
There you have it -- a basic wardrobe in a kaleidoscope of coordinating colors! Just about every top works with every bottom (except for the striped tops and the ikat skirt, of course), and while some may not be keen on pairing the green cardigan with orange or red, I for one would have no problem with those color combinations.
Just for fun, I decided to add a few more apparel pieces because there were more that worked with my color scheme:
|Clockwise from top left: Fine Stripe Cotton/Linen Vest in Terra Cotta/Natural; Madder/Bone Block Print Dress; Fine Stripe Cotton/Linen Tee in Terra Cotta/Natural; Indigo/Off White Woven Stripe Dress.|
It doesn't hurt to have a couple of versatile dresses to expand one's wardrobe, as well as two more tops. I liked the idea of adding a tee shirt and tank top in the same color and material, again with the idea of better coordinating all of the pieces. The latter also adds an option for warmer weather which was missing from this collection.
For accessories, let's start with shoes, chosen with comfort but also style in mind:
|Clockwise from top left: Gaby Derby Shoes in Tan; Varca Sandal in Coffee; Mahogany Amelia Boot; Salt-Water Sandal in Black.|
Finally, a few miscellaneous pieces to accessorize, plus a versatile cotton coat that coordinates with everything:
|Clockwise from top left; Une Wooden Sunglasses in Cognac; Fine Wool Scarf in Ochre; Silver Zahra Cuff; Audrey Cross Body Bag in Tan; Center: Camper Swing Parka.|
I picture the woman who would choose this wardrobe as a rather nomadic free spirit with bohemian and eclectic tastes, someone who is willing to travel on a whim and could easily pack up her minimal belongings and move to a new location as the spirit moves her. Naturally she would select well-made clothes that are comfortable so that she would be free to think about more important things than whether or not her tops coordinate with her bottoms or how her feet will fare in the shoes she owns. And no, these clothes will not get her into the opera or a fancy ball, but she figures that if men can rent suits for these sorts of occasions, she should be able to do the same for an appropriate outfit as well. If not, then maybe she is the one to start just such a business!