Tuesday, February 12, 2013


In my last post Abby has asked me about texture. I thought that was a very interesting point. Texture has always been my favorite way to add some interest to monochromatic outfits.  Have you ever watched 'What not to wear'? I remember that one of the mantras of the show was 'color, pattern, texture, shine'.  Basically, the idea was that this these are the 4 ways of making an outfit interesting and that a great outfit would use all or most of them.

What do you think? I have to say, I am not totally sold on the idea. Of course, adding color, pattern, texture or shine may make the outfit more interesting, no doubt about that.  What I question is certain method which, similarly to the styling of J.Crew catalogs, when applied too often starts being predictable and, as a result, not interesting. Fashion is always after something new, fresh and unexpected so when you always add a pop of color, mix in pattern and texture and slap on statements necklace it looses its novelty. Suddenly, we see matching shoes and purse and exclaim 'how unexpected!'  I guess everything works in moderation.     

J.Crew cashmere popover, Rosebud (?) Tweed pencil skirt  

To check my theory I went though some of my favorite outfits and noticed that the ones I like the best would have some of the four elements but often only two or three.  I usually have some shine (jewelry) and most of the time I use the color for visual interest (even if it is a neutral combination). Then I usually have either pattern or texture but usually not both and if I do I would lose color or shine.  There are exceptions of course and there is a question what counts as any of the four.

With all that said, texture is definitely a great way to vary a monochromatic outfit


All the orange/peach tones in this outfit might be a little boring if not for combining soft and plush of cashmere sweater, bumpy texture of the tweed skirt and smooth and hard leather purse. 


The second outfit is even more monochromatic and the main interest is provided by the texture of the lace cami.

All by J.Crew

I totally forgot about this cami and only found it when I was looking for another top but I was very happy to rediscover it.  These are definitely the joys of shopping you own closet! Otherwise it would not be very unlikely that I would buy something very similar. Thank you Abby for mentioning lace!

The cobblestone cardigan is here also for the benefit of WMM, who owns a sweater in this color but was asking for styling suggestions. This is probably not very innovative, to pair it with black but I liked it a lot. Actually, I am a big fun of cobblestone. There are brown and gray tones in it so it goes with everything that would go with gray or brown. It is great with red or ochre, but I am afraid not so great with blue which maybe caused some problems for Wendy, who owns a lot of blues. But it is also wonderful with any patterns that have a bit of brown or gray in it, so how about that cheetah skirt?  Additional benefit of this color is its taming powers.  My daughter calls this a Grandpa color,  it is perfect to try with something bright, shiny or laud. Even the lace for work may be questionable, but the sweater tones it down, so I felt perfectly appropriate.

I really liked how this outfit turned out, it was one of my recent favorites. Another reason I liked it was that it creates almost a mod dress silhouette which I like a lot but the mod dresses offered by retailers for some reason never work for me.


This last outfit is all about texture, we have chunky cable sweater, fur vest, cords and shearling. 

Lambswool Cable Sweater and Faux Fur vest by Boden

I think it works because the rest is fairly monochromatic and pale so the texture is the only focal point.  I think any more color, pattern or shine would be distracting with so much texture.

The pictures almost look like some Alpine village with all that snow, but it is still good old New Jersey.  This was over the weekend and just when I was about to drop off my daughter for her CCD class, I realized my car battery was dead.  Because she really needed to make it to the class we have decided to to walk (rather fast).  I actually made it back home after I dropped her off (because I was washing my cashmere sweaters and did not want to leave them in the washer) only to walk back to pick her up. Then we walked to the restaurant, since I promised her lunch before, and then back home. I probably walked close to 5 miles altogether, which would not be that much if it wasn't for all  the snow and ice to navigate.  In the end, it was a great exercise and the weather was beautiful. But I was happy when we finally got home and very grateful for the Roadside Assistance guy when he showed up to jump start my car.

That's all folks!

What do you think of 'Color, pattern, texture shine' mantra?
What is your favorite element to add to an outfit?

Have you done any walking in the snow?        


  1. Totally agree with you on how texture can add interest to a monochromatic outfit! Hehe I really need to get snow-shoeing soon :) Definitely wouldn't mind a stroll in the snow.

    1. I am totally into monochromatic look recently and texture does help to vary the look.

  2. This is a great post! I really loved the styling idea for the cobblestone and am going to try it tomorrow! I really like all of the outfits and you are making me think long and hard about sticking to only 2 or 3 of the things that make an outfit pop at once! Great stuff!! I especially love you in the peachy outfit - it just makes you look so healthy and pretty!!!

    1. Thanks WMM, glad if I could help in any way.

  3. Ha! I am glad that I prompted you to remember that shirt!

    Another great post, I have really enjoyed this little series.

    I agree with Wendy, you look really pretty in the peachy outfit.

    I cannot imagine wearing all four - color, pattern, texture, shine - together, that sounds cacophonous. Let's see, today I am wearing a black, white, and grey patterned dress (pattern), a leather belt with a braided pattern on the front and a snap clasp in the back (texture), a pashmina colour blocked in shades of purple (colour). Shine...my watch? I don't think I'd count that, but maybe I could. It has a white face and a stainless band, so it has an impact. Oh, and the snap clasps on my belt are metallic squares, and I'm wearing a metal pin on my pashmina (though I'm unconvinced about the looks of that). Okay, so maybe I do wear all three!

    One thing that I really like about that first outfit that you are wearing is the shorter necklace. It is very flattering. I know that you like the longer necklaces for impact. One idea, which I got from somebody that I saw here, is to wear a short necklace - because it draws the eye up to your face - and then also wear a longer necklace, for the interest factor. Of course the balance has to be right, otherwise it's "too much."

    1. Hi Abby, thank you!

      All four does sound a lot but I guess sometimes the elements are very small, like a watch for shine.

      I actually do wear those shorter fine jewelry necklaces quite a lot, I love them and I think they are very sexy. But they do not photograph well.

  4. texture is good way to bring interest to monochromatic outfits. yours are always so polished. love them all. the peach one is probably my favourite.

    xox P

  5. Yikes , sorry about your car! I love walking in the winter if I am bundled up. My favorite outfit of your texture story is the last one. I love cords and a nice sweater and the vest is a perfect touch! I think it works because it is a melange of soft tones and not just one color. Beautiful pictures and outfits as always!

    1. I actually quite liked the last outfit as well, plus it was practical and comfortable to walk outside. The turtleneck is great but very hot, almost impossible to wear inside.

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