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6 Scarves 2021: The Method

Janice at The Vivienne Files is using her Starting from Scratch wardrobe building series as the basis for selecting the garments that she adds to her wardrobes month by month. This makes a lot of sense to me, even in these strange pandemic times. I'm really looking forward to how similar (or, let's be real, totally different) her systematic approach will be to my erratic one.


My project could be considered a test of the power of a color palette to create mix-and-match versatility in a capsule built from a magpie wardrobe.


Note: by "magpie wardrobe" I do not mean a graphic black and white wardrobe with a strong splash of bright blue that mimics the style of a magpie. I also do not mean "The Magpie and the Wardrobe," which is apparently a book subtitled "A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells." (Anyone who has successfully built a wardrobe based on witchcraft knows that such an undertaking requires the highest level of thaumaturgical rigor and still turns into a pumpkin by midnight.) By "magpie wardrobe," I mean a wardrobe built on the basis of "oooh shiny," "that's pretty," "I don't have one of those," "yes, one of each," "that's a steal at that price," and other attraction- and emotion-based rationales that consider each item in terms of its individual appeal/novelty and not as part of a functional wardrobe.

Photo by Natasha Miller courtesy of Unsplash

As you may recall, I am building 6 wardrobes for the 6 hapless pajama-wearing Other Sallys who are wanting to start wearing their actual clothes again but who, through some strange twist of fate / mystery of physics / interference of trickster gods, have to share a single instantiation of the Sally closet. To avoid the inevitable bickering and grumping that would ensue if every Other Sally believed she had claim on every item in the closet (and oh yes every Other Sally would), and to leverage the 6 scarves 12 months method of building capsule wardrobes, I am splitting my own inventory into 6 (mostly) separate wardrobes, one for each Other Sally. (And yes, all the while, I, Sally Prime, have access and claim to every single one of these items. Whether this is a benefit or a curse remains to be seen.)


I have described the creation of these wardrobes as haphazard, but that doesn't mean that there was no thought involved at all! Here's the approach I took:


First, I developed my goal: that each wardrobe would have a similar number of items (within about 5) in each category: Bottoms, Tops, Toppers, Accessories, and Footwear. Within each of these categories, I wanted a reasonable distribution across the seasons of the year.


Second, I thought, Huh, there is quite a bit of overlap in colors across these palettes.

6 Scarves 2021: The Scarves, The Palettes, The Mascots

Third, because there is overlap in the palettes, but a limited number of items, I counted how many palettes included each color (broadly speaking), including neutrals and accents.


Black: 3 Grey: 3 Navy: 3 Beige: 2 Olive: 1 Brown: 1

White: 5 (but really, 6) Denim: 1 (but really, 6)


Pink: 5 Blue: 5 Coral: 3 Yellow: 1 Purple: 1 Red: 1 Teal: 1 Aloe vera: 1


Fourth, I allocated items out to the wardrobes in the following way:


Solid Neutral Garments: Divide items by type (Top, Bottom, etc.) as evenly as possible across the wardrobes considering seasonal needs. For example, if I have 2 black long-sleeved tops, 1 black 3/4 sleeve top, and 2 short-sleeved black tops, they could be allocated like this: LS and SS to #1, 3/4 sleeve to #4, LS and SS to #5. They should not be allocated like this: LS, 3/4, and SS to #1, LS and SS to #4, nothing to #5. For white tops and blue jeans, which my eye is trained to view as the ultimate neutral pieces, they could be allocated across all 6 wardrobes, regardless of the color palette. No Sally wants a wardrobe without at least one of each of these garments!


Multi-neutral Print Garments: Assign items based on the color combination; if more than one wardrobe has the color combination, consider what solid neutral pieces the wardrobes already have. For example, a black and brown zebra print sweatshirt would go to #5 and a beige and black striped shirt would go to #4. A navy and grey short-sleeved polka dot T could go to #3 or #6, depending on whether the wardrobes already have short-sleeved Ts in navy and/or grey.


Solid Accent Color Garments (and, to some extent, Simple Print Garments in an Accent Color and White): Create groups of items based on the specific color. For example, in the world of pink, groups could be created like bright pink, watermelon pink, dusky pink, magenta, wine/mulberry, and pale blush. This was not very difficult because I already have a spreadsheet that identifies and groups garments based on their specific color. I had already done the hard work of determining that this peplum top, pullover sweater, cardigan, and blazer are "bright pink" and this skirt and top are "watermelon pink," etc. With a couple specific colors, I had enough items to break them into two groups; this happened with "sandstone coral" (a pinkish coral), for example.


Once the groups were set, I divided the groups across the wardrobes based on how well the specific color works with the palette. For example, the bright pink group could be assigned to #1 (a bright pop to a graphic black and white wardrobe) and the watermelon pink group could be assigned to #4 (a warm pink to accompany a warm palette). For accent colors that only appear in one wardrobe, it's easy; for example, all red items are assigned to #4 and all yellow items are assigned to #2.


Other Prints: Assign items based on their color combination, considering what pieces the wardrobes already have. This is where it was the most subjective and done by feel. Some items were quite obvious because there was really only one good fit, but others could have found a home in more than one wardrobe. Let's just say that there were a LOT of items in this group that I got to allocate by feel.


For accessories and footwear, I followed a similar process, but I'm telling you, the allocation of scarves was kind of crazy because this is the #1 place in my wardrobe where my magpie instincts have overwhelmed any kind of planning. I have amassed an unreasonable collection of random scarves on such solid rationales as "oh, that's a really interesting looking print!" and this project is laying that bare for the world to see.


Once I was through with the initial allocation, I moved some items around to bring a better balance across the wardrobes.


Fifth, when the allocation was pretty well set, I started assigning items to the 12 months January - December. Obviously, we want to add items during a month that is seasonally appropriate; no puffy vests in July and no short-sleeved t-shirts in January!


Janice adds items into the capsules one outfit at a time, and I wanted to do something similar. It turned out that each wardrobe had more items than could be accounted for one outfit per month, so I tried to add the items in small groups from which outfits could be made. I wanted each month's set of additions to a wardrobe to make sense as a group, not just add a complete hodgepodge of seasonally-appropriate items that don't really go together. I think I succeeded pretty well at this, with a few exceptions that we will see as we go along.


I also attempted to have some alignment across wardrobes, such that the kinds of bottoms that are added each month to each wardrobe are similar. For example, I didn't want to add patterned skirts to one wardrobe, solid work pants to another, and lounge pants to a third, all at the same time. When there was a type of bottom that each wardrobe gets, I did that in the same month. For example, every wardrobe gets a pair of jeans in the same month, not in various random months. I thought this made it a bit easier to compare what's going on across wardrobes.


I did a little reallocation across wardrobes again at this step, but not as much as I expected.


Sixth, I sat back and thought about the items that didn't find a home in any of the 6 wardrobes. I grouped them by color and allocated many of them to each wardrobe as palette extensions for month 13 (after the 12 month wardrobe build was complete). Say I had a few emerald green items, but no palette used emerald green; I decided to which palette emerald green would be the most reasonable addition. Some items just aren't a good fit for any of these wardrobes and that's totally OK. Really. I'm completely fine with that. I truly am. It's 100% not a problem at all!


And then I was done!


Yes, this is what passes for a "haphazard process" in my world.


For transparency, I want to make clear that some of the garments in my wardrobe are ones I have sort of outgrown but that I have kept because I do wear them for layering. Some of these will eventually be replaced with a better fitting version. Some will stick around because they do such a good job at what they do. Some are not worth replacing and will end up being donated. Some will just start fitting perfectly again because I spontaneously lose weight (muahahahahaha). But these garments that were in my wardrobe at the end of 2020 felt fair to include, and for the sake of the Other Sallys, I am expending a bit of mental power to use them in the capsule wardrobes as if they were the slightly larger sized version when needed!


Do you have any items you have sort of outgrown but continue using under certain situations?


In my next post, we will get these wardrobes underway with January additions! FINALLY!

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