Cross-posted while sorting out my reply to Alana!

Sarah, you have a gorgeous closet & always look great, so if formulas don’t make you excited, you clearly don’t need them. I don’t care for high maintenance individual items, which is why I (almost always) stick to my tried & true shapes! I end up fussing in other ones.

Hi Mona! Yep, I definitely have soft white in my closet, although whether I use it as an accent or neutral is debatable I suppose. I don’t have much, and it’s all in tops (blouses & sweaters & one sundress), so I’m on the lookout for the perfect soft white lower piece (skirt/trousers/shorts) that will let me play with it even more. I do have a pair of blush skinnies that are so pale/muted they almost function as white/beige.

I’ll have to list out all of the items I have in each of my neutral capsules, as I enjoyed reading Suz’s lists! It definitely includes things for each season.

Gigi, those Start From Scratch posts didn’t exist 3 years ago, when I picked my method. I wish they had though! I kind of extrapolated a similar process from all of the sources I read: I think minimalist closet approaches are helpful for wardrobes of any size and all say similar things anyway. Unlike Janice I’m not as big on accessories or ‘pops’ of colour: I basically started out using my blouses & sweaters (so my tops) the way she uses scarves and jewelry. Then I added skinnies & skirts in colours too.

You could definitely have neutral capsules for different seasons instead of having items for all 4 seasons in one neutral! That’s fun that we both enjoy how the neutrals let us wear as many regular colours as we want. And just to clarify, I have other neutrals as well, just not in the same amount as my ‘core’ ones.

I tend to prefer the combination of one fitted & one voluminous too. I also hate feeling constricted when I’m walking, so I only wear full skirts. But full trousers are difficult for me to style (I can't just tuck at my natural waist & thus sidestep all of my long torso/long rise challenges), which is why I originally opted for skinnies, which of course require a different type of top than a body con tee. My wardrobe would definitely be smaller if I’d chosen to always do voluminous bottoms & fitted tops or vice versa, or even just chosen between skirts and trousers, but I don’t mind having a bigger variety so I can wear my favourite silhouettes instead!

Thanks so much for clarifying what you meant by "the same sihouette" E.

I may be following in your dainty footsteps: for the most part, all of my tops are untucked--and will remain so--so I feel I need to have interesting hemlines. As for my pants--I've discovered I can do a slim leg rolled--buying the wide legged white pants really through me for a loop because I just had no idea how to handle all that volume on the bottom and not feel like big ol' rectangle. That reminds me, I need to get them out and play with them more so tey lose their fear factor, lol! I haven't found the perfect width for winter trousers yet, but I hope to.
As for those links--whenever you get the chance is fine. No worries. I appreciate it.

Thanks fir this detailed post. A lot of useful info to ponder.

Wow. Thanks for such a great post. And the conversation following your post is as enlightening.

Your 'same silhouette' formula is genius. I skimmed through your post this morning and it was more than I was able to take in at the time. I moved on thinking it was just too analytical for me. But, what you said sat with my all day. I just read your post and all the comments. I limit my silhouette to some degree already. When I think of what doesn't get worn in my closet they are silhouette outliers. Color and fabric are very much what I reach for but not shape. I have a pair of gorgeous navy linen, slightly high waisted, verging on wide leg pants. I love these pants. Fit me like they were custom made. High end I got for a song. They have hung in my closet for 3+ years, never worn. I am queen purge, if I don't wear something it is gone but, these pants survive purges. All my other pants are skinny or straight, nothing with volume, even my dress/work slacks. If I applied your formula the linen pants would be purged. It makes sense, my tops and shoes just do not work with the pants because everything in my closet is for a narrower pant silhouette. The color and fabrics are spot on. Thank you for putting words to this for me.

I have a large wardrobe too - I can afford what I buy, and I love the items and the variety they offer. When it gets overwhelming, I purge. But otherwise I just enjoy it. My friends say that I have a knack for knowing what looks good on me, and I guess I do instinctively. I have certain categories (like pencil skirts) that always work. I need to sit down and analyze it more, like you have though. Thank you for the ideas. This is a most enlightening, enjoyable thread.

This is a great post E. I am going to bookmark it and use it to help plan my summer purchases. Thanks for sharing your process.

Very interesting! Thanks for so much for sharing. One thought before I forget, you said: I haven't gotten into anything philosophical, as this post was already running too long, but I'm happy do another post another time on that, from a large wardrobe, secondhand-preferring, small budget perspective, if anyone's interested.

Yes! I'm interested

I realized what your core silhouettes and repetition of each building block in the same color reminded me of, and that is a craftsperson's body of work. A crafter is known for creating work that has a certain amount of cohesion in shape, color, line, medium and texture, but they can create many multiples that play on or reinterpret these basic building blocks. For example, someone should be able to instantly recognize their work and pick it out among their peers, because there is a 'signature' to their hand, regardless of whether the work is labelled. This signature style can evolve as well, but tends to do so in an evolutionary manner.

I collect clothing with limited colors, but a fair amount of flexibility in silhouette, and I love pattern that incorporates my limited colors. So in my wardrobe is the black section (large), the gray section (large, mostly mid-tone), and the smaller navy/denim/ink section. Then there are color pops in olive/hunter, pink/coral, turquoise, white, and cobalt purple. I have several patterned tops and some patterned skirts and they incorporate one or more of the neutrals, plus one or more of the color pops. I prefer floral and animal patterns so there is some cohesion there as well.

But silhouettes, man there is a lot of variety in my closet. I like experimenting with silhouette more than with color and have found several that are JFE. So far there has been enough variety in tops in each of the big black and gray capsules that I rarely end up with an orphan due to silhouette, although occasionally I'll note that I need some cropped tops with volume, or a skinnier/higher rise pair of pale bottoms, for example.

E thank you so much for sharing this:) I wish I could add something clever but I really need to consider and take in how this works for you. I absolutely relate to sticking to a particular silhouette and limiting my colour palette, personally I find it incredibly liberating and dressing in the mornings now is done with such ease. Life changes dramatically when we stop trying to fit our body into a silhouette that looks fab on others but not on us

Wow E, I just love this post and all the comments. I would love to hear how you apply this process in picking out what to wear each day. I have a medium size closet but still find wardrobe holes. Maybe focusing on a couple of colors would help.

E, that was one amazing read! You have a very very well curated large wardrobe. I am all for a large wardrobe that works and is loved by the individual.

While I was purging tops, I successfully purged those that were old/pilled or those that I was bored of. But still I have 75 in there I couldn't get around to purging because I like them all! My wardrobe seems to be a much manageable number now (although still on the higher side). I also realized I need a bigger wardrobe with a variety of silhouettes to stay happy. But what helped me where the monikers that I have come to associate with my style. Sporty, Edgy, Classy, Girly, Trendy. I mix and match these style monickers in almost every outfit I wear. For eg. A classy sheath with trendy sneaks. Items that did not fit into my style monickers were easily purged because I obviously never reached for them much. The exercises that everyone has been doing out here is finally making sense to me.

Knowing what you have is truly the first step to a well curated wardrobe.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us

Love this post E! I had a quick read last night, but no time to reply. You've really got me thinking about 'my' neutrals and 'my' silhouettes now. What great links too! I particularly love the sewing links. I'm adding this post and the links to my favourites

Wow, I don't have much to add but wanted to thank you for the post....really interesting and helpful! I have so much to learn here!

Seconding Rabbit's request for more.

Alana, good luck sorting out trousers! They are my fitting Waterloo; I’m so glad high rises are finally coming back, because my rise is so long it takes 10” to hit a couple inches below my belly button.

You’re welcome Elle!

Marin, sorry it was overload at first! I’m not good at succinctness. It sounds like we have a similar closet/dressing approach. Have you tried belting a looser top over the wide legs so you’re getting some waist definition? A fitted vest or wrap cardigan would do that too. Or any fitted top, if you have some. That’s the only way I feel good in them, and linen wider legs are so comfy in high heat. The shoe situation is definitely tricky though!

Crst, I’m glad you liked the thread and that you’re another one who enjoys a large wardrobe (vs feeling overwhelmed)!

Wow, thank you Sharon. I’m so glad it was helpful!

Rabbit, I’ll get working on the philosophical one then. It’ll be a bit trickier, as I don’t want to step on any toes, so will have to work out clear disclaimers.

I loved hearing about craftsmen: how fascinating! (BTW, have you read Victoria Finlay’s Colour: a Natural History of the Palette? If not, you might enjoy it with your art background: it talks about how different paints were made, especially historically.) You look great in all of your different silhouettes: we’ve basically chosen to limit opposite things! And all that variety allows you to rock those runway inspirations posts.

I’m glad you liked it Deborah! It felt a bit presumptuous while writing it, so I’m relieced it doesn’t come across that way. Your palette is much more limited than mine, but it looks great on you. I *love* your final sentence: it’s SO true. I feel much happier with my body now that I’m not expecting it to fill out a wrap dress.

Thanks Jeanie! What type of wardrobe holes do you have? If I were you, I’d figure out which of your neutrals is most versatile, and then buy the item in that neutral (if you can find it of course), so that it would work with most of your wardrobe. But if you don’t have many colours that need matching, that might not be necessary for you.

Neel, those are all good monikers, and I can see how you want a mix in each of your outfits! Sounds like you are well on your way to a functional large wardrobe.

Thanks Diane! I wish I had your sewing ability, but even as a non-sewist I get a lot of wardrobe planning info from sewing sites, probably because if you’re committing so many hours to sew something, you don’t want it to end up as an orphan.

Thank you Melaine! I’m a details/information person, so not everyone needs to learn as much as I did. I research to relax, believe it or not!

Alasse, I’ll start turning it all over in my mind then!

Wow, I bookmarked this post but didn't get to read it until now, and boy, I am amazed! You are so clever, all! And E, I was surprised to find out that unconsciously I pretty much did what you did with your core neutrals, and then with the colors, too. Having all kind of pieces in your core neutrals is making life so easy.

I only love a few colors (some shades of corals and orange and citron/yellow/grass green comes to my mind) and so I limit my colored items to these. And they both go so well with all the neutrals I collected in time (blacks, greys, blue denim, navies, whites, creams and even some taupe).

I don't like pattern that much (and esp not around my face). But I love stripes, or some graphic/abstract print (esp. on my lower half, for skirts and dresses), and I love them better mono- or bi- chromatic(of some neutrals), with an occasional accent color of the 2 main palette mentioned above.

I do love a column of collor(inside or outside), but do it very carefully, and never suits alike. I always pay attention to change up texture if working with the same shade(for the example Claire asked for)-and then, I have to break it all up with some sort of pattern. This is the seldom occasion I like to wear a printed top (say under an outside column of the same or different neutrals, so that it has to be perceived in the smallest amount possible:-))).

Then, I mix and match with confindece my blacks, whites, denims and my new navies, with chock BROWN or cognac.

Regarding preffered silouettes. I do also have only a few I respect and keep on working over the years, so it's really less of a pain and liberating. I always loved fluidly tailored- if there is such a thing(?):-))). I live in my debombshelled pencil skirts (have only a few A-line or flared skirts, esp for summer), and shift dresses all year round! Easy breezy:-). Than a kind of topper, prefferable not too short, at least hip length, or longer. Some straight legs, and a few BF's. That's all I have.

This is just such a great post, E. I don't have much to add at present. But I love all the details you've given us. Thank you for sharing this!! I am finding it all very helpful as I transition to capsule wardrobes!