Over on Elizabeth P's beautiful travel capsule thread I mentioned that I suspect she gets her sense of variety more from changing up her silhouette than her colours. Traci chimed in saying she has narrowed her colours as she has expanded her range of silhouettes.
I don't think it is an either/ or proposition. Many people (Angie, Aida, and Tanya being three who pop instantly to mind) get a sense of variety from switching up both colour and silhouette -- and why not? :)
For myself, I adore colour. I do stick to cool tones within a fairly tight range of what flatters, but that still leaves me with plenty of options, and colour is a huge, huge mood booster for me! So I will never eliminate it. (Having said that, I do tend toward mostly neutral outfits with one or two blocks of vivid colour or white and my favourite places for colour are scarves, coats, and jackets. Oh, and bags and shoes). ;)
But even though I love colour, switching my colour palette alone does not give me a sense of true variety. To feel I've worn something truly "different" I have to vary the silhouette.
Sticking with one silhouette takes away the fashion fun.
That's why I'll never be a true wardrobe minimalist, and why I do like to incorporate trends, especially the big ones like the major silhouette shift we are undergoing now towards wider bottoms.
It's also why I love summer dressing. In my climate and with my lifestyle, it's super hard to vary the winter silhouette. In summer I have far more choice.
This is inconvenient in some ways; it does lead to greater expense. And it sometimes means my closet lacks full mix-and-matchability. Even though the colours all work together really well, the proportions don't.
Often, I end up with a few favourite outfits (vs a whole range) that incorporate the new silhouette in some way -- and possibly not many other options for tops, say, to go with that cool new bottom. But, oddly, I don't care. I am happy if I have one or two great outfits in the new silhouette -- that will get me through an entire season. (Until I gear up for the next silhouette adjustment).
I suppose some people get their dose of variety via texture or pattern, as well.
How about you? What gives you the sense of variety you crave? Or are you just as happy without any variety?