Neutrals are the foundation of every wardrobe
a foundation of neutrals
Neutral colors are the foundation of a classic wardrobe, and mine is no exception. I wear black, white, and blue most of the time. To me all the blues are neutral: midnight, navy, cobalt, royal, turquoise and icy blue go with everything.
For the past few years I limited myself to four neutrals: black, white, navy and silver. I love those colors, but as someone who has always had a wardrobe of mostly neutrals, I felt extremely limited in my choices. So in the last month or two I’ve reevaluated my neutrals and added to them.
This week I stuck to a completely neutral palette, and I reintroduced some neutrals I had dismissed from my wardrobe a few years ago. I missed them, and I’m happy to have them back. The truth is some of them never actually left. I didn’t wear them, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with them either.
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I wrote about nude colored shoes here, and I stand by that post. In general I don’t care for nude shoes on me. But I have this one pair of shoes that I loved on sight, and I never could part with them. I didn’t wear them with an outfit this week because I ran out of days, but these shoes are also coming back into rotation. They are very close to my skin tone, and how can that be wrong?
Black is the color of my soul. And honestly, I look great in blue, but I absolutely glow in black. I look ethereal. It’s my best color. And it’s the color I turn to when I’m stressed, tired, overwhelmed, sick, or need soothing in any way. I have more black in my wardrobe than any other color.
Black and white are as neutral and classic as it gets. I love this top with its edgy take on a classic Breton top. The neckband and stripe down the sleeve are faux leather, and there is an exposed zipper in the back. #truelove. It’s hard to see but there are tiny silver studs around the sole of my boots.
I felt a huge void, especially in footwear. Particularly boots. There is more to life than black boots. I kept trying to fill that need with bold colored boots, but that felt clownish. Too much. At the end of the summer I found the most beautiful brown boots, and snatched them up. I’ve been dying to wear them!
This beautiful saddle/cognac brown is a color I have always loved and been drawn to. I have a pair of riding boots this color, and I never parted with them. When I spotted these booties during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I literally stopped in my tracks. I. was. smitten.
So then I needed a purse the same color because I love to match my leathers. And then I decided a belt was also necessary. And now I’m possibly hunting a moto jacket, but the color has to be as perfect as this one. And just like on my bag and belt, the hardware will have to be silver.
I cannot tell you how amazing this brown feels in my wardrobe. I particularly love it with white, navy, denim, red, purple, cobalt. Maybe the only color I would hesitate to wear it with is green, but I’ve always had a hangup about wearing green and brown together because I would look like a tree. Maybe I’ll try it and let you know!
I love a deep, dark, midnight navy as much as I love black. In the spring I particularly love it to shake off the darkness of winter. In the Spring Guide this year there was not a stitch of black! I enjoy a navy monochromatic look as much as I love a black monochromatic look.
You might remember this top from when I wore all the specials, and I am excited to wear it again as a fall item! This time I paired it with denim ankle pants and metallic cobalt flats and belt. Like I said above, all the blues are neutral to me, particularly when paired together.
Silver has always been my favorite metal, even when it wasn’t cool. Gold has been all the rage in jewelry the last several years, and silver is also having a moment in accessories like shoes and bags. This silver tee was the unicorn find of the Summer Guide. I LOVE this tee. It’s like the fairy princess version of white. It’s magical. The silver booties are from the Winter Guide last year. The purse is from the Spring Guide, and the jeans and jacket are from the current Fall Guide.
I also have a metallic silver puffer jacket, a silver moto jacket, more silver flats and sandals than is normal or necessary, a silver sequin skirt and silver ankle pants. But I thought it would be a bit much to wear them all together.
Denim is undoubtedly a neutral. It goes with everything from sequins to flannel. The denim on denim look is coming back around, and just like any monochromatic look it is very flattering. It lengthens and slenderizes. There is no color or fabric you can’t pair with denim, including more denim. The trick is to avoid looking too cowboy. That’s why I chose black leather over brown. I added some edgy accessories like the belt and studded bag, and accessories. If denim on denim is too much for you, this would look just as great with black jeans.
I also added back leopard, and have been wearing it non stop. I wrote about finding the perfect leopard print for a Classic Woman here. I love these flats and have worn them constantly. I also picked up a belt to go with it. It meets the same criteria as my leopard flats, and it has silver hardware. I love both. For now that’s all the leopard I need in my wardrobe. We’ll see if I change my mind or find something else perfect. I’ve worn this exact outfit I can’t tell you how many times since I was in college. It is a favorite.
One other color I discarded was gray. Now, I cannot deny that most grays look horrible on me. It makes my skin look ruddy. But there is this one clear, icy gray skirt that I’ve had for 14 years. It’s always been a favorite, and I couldn’t part with it. It’s been sitting in my closet and has survived countless purges even though I haven’t worn it in years. And now I’m bringing it back into rotation where it belongs.
You know what made me finally decide to bring this skirt back? Rewatching Friends on Netflix (it is as funny as it ever was, and nothing makes folding laundry a pleasure like the antics of my favorite Friends). The one where Selma Blair tries to seduce Chandler she wore this exact outfit, and I was like, “I have that outfit. I used to wear that outfit. I LOVED that outfit. I need to wear it again.” And so I did.
What are your favorite neutrals? Have you brought any old favorites back into the fold?
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