Sterling's 30X30 challenge got a number of people on that thread thinking about how Janice Riggs from theviviennefiles.com approaches capsule building. I said that I would start my own thread about it, rather than hijacking her thread, so here goes...
I like all of Janice's additive building a wardrobe from ground zero methods:
start from scratch
whatever is clean 13
Start with art (or a scarf or other pattern).
I think that they are all good techniques if you are changing sizes and need to build a small capsule quickly, such as maternity clothes or if you are planning for after surgery and you suddenly can't wear pullovers and need button downs or can't wear pants and need skirts or whatever the case may be.
However, I really take issue with her subtractive method. If you take a look at the March 13 and 14 2017 pages, you can see some of her techniques for whittling down a larger 40 piece summer wardrobe down to a 24 piece capsule. This is where she and I part company. The two pieces she seems most eager to purge from the wardrobe are the two which I feel give it the most range. The wardrobe is generally relaxed, shy, traditionally feminine in feeling. It is lots of pastels, soft florals and ruffles. Janice immediately wants to purge two pieces which don't conform to that feeling, but to me those two pieces are what round out the wardrobe and give it its full depth and range. The items:
(1) A very cheerful horizontal striped sweater which is a little bit closer to midtone than pastel. A cheerful sweater like this is great for so many occasions: watching sporting events from the stands, playing with young children, snuggling up at home with a good book on a rainy day. It seems to me that most people would want one cheerful and sporty top in their summer wardrobe.
(2) A deep red long sleeved romantic looking blouse. This blouse again is such a versatile piece. First off it is the only formal evening event appropriate piece she's got. Second it can be layered with white and denim for a casual daytime look, especially for Fourth of July (Bastille Day or many other flags days too). Likewise, it would be great with one of her suit-like ensembles, matching blazer and dressy skirt or trousers, if she were giving a motivational presentation to a group.
When Janice Riggs removes these pieces, in favor of an extremely monochromatic and emotionally "one note" wardrobe, she looses me almost completely.
I can see her position, if someone bought variety for the sake of variety and the stripes and red top were unflattering because they overwhelmed the person's pale coloring. But assuming that the tops look good on the theoretical wardrobe owner, why not cover a lot more bases, and reduce redundancy a bit?
This all being said, I love grayscale's wardrobe and I think that a really distinctive style and color palette can work great for some people. But the point is, in the hypothetical online wardrobe, the owner did purchase those items, so she did feel that they were useful additions to her wardrobe. To disregard this in favor of duplication of many neutral garments seems like the wrong thing for a consultant to do.... I feel like such a strict style would need to come from a very strong personal vision (like our lovely grayscale) and not be the product of some didactic wardrobe consultant's vision. In other words, Janice's method might work best if you are the wardrobe consultant for Jennifer Aniston, Lopez or Hudson and you want your client to build a cohesive brand image and ensure the most perfect paparazzi snapshots. For the rest of us, many people like to switch up their looks a little bit, and unless you are creating closet orphans, or wearing personally unflattering pieces to needlessly conform to some peer group, I don't think that it's a problem for a small wardrobe to have a little bit more range of styles and colors. Whew... this was pretty challenging to articulate.