Thursday, March 05, 2015

Start With Art: Lake and Red Tree by Tom Thomson

 These colors made me want to create outfits for a woman who was strong, confident, and who could stand up to the vividness with appropriate exuberance. This is a woman who considers red boots to be a neutral... oh yes, she likes boots!

Lake and Red Tree by Tom Thomson

The neutral beige can come in handy on a day when one wants to be a bit less confrontational, or at least settle into the background more than usual.

Leather jacket – Stefanel, leaf earrings – Caia, sweater – Prabal Gurung, scarf – Valentino, 
watch – Citizen, corduroy jeans – Toast, boots – Roberto del Carlo, bag – Longchamp

If you're struggling to find a scarf that combines particular colors, check out Valezhki on Etsy. While Etsy is rapidly becoming yet another dumping ground for mass-produced Asian junk (think of ebay...), there are still some talented crafts-persons to be found there.

And while packing tall boots might be really difficult for many trips, when you're only packing four pieces of clothing, you can suddenly go a bit mad with footwear!

(note the consistent leaves/butterflies motif in the accessories...)

Violet blouse – Diane Von Furstenberg, gold leaf earrings – Aurelie Bidermann, gold butterfly 
brooch – Giuliana Valz-Gen, riding boots – Naturalizer, scarf – Valezhki, red tee – Sofie d’Hoore
brown skirt – Missoni, bone cardigan – L.L.Bean, oxfords – Cobb Hill, leaf bib 
necklace – Saks Fifth Avenue

Shop the Newest Trend for Spring... Shorties!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Start With Art: Version THREE of Peripheral Vision 2 by Elis Cooke

More and more ideas for this particular painting continue to be suggested - today, I'm addressing the possibility of using this lovely work as the basis of a summer travel wardrobe.

For the travel outfit, I kept the basic idea of a cardigan "suit" and a contrasting tee shirt, but I lightened up the cardigan considerably, as well as finding a lighter short-sleeved tee.

pink top – Uniqlo, necklace – YooLa, earrings – Andea, grey trousers – Planet, watch – Relic
cardigan – Michael Michael Kors, woven flats – Paolo, canvas tote – Urban Travel

For the rest of the six pack, I stuck with the general theory of a "core of four" in grey, but I chose a seersucker skirt, rather than solid grey. Why aren't there more things available in seersucker???

All of the jewelry in this little vignette has an starry aspect - the necklace (this one is Libra) is available for each astrological sign. The pattern is the actual constellation of stars for this sign - pretty clever!

grey tee – Rag and Bone, blue floral top – L.L.Bean, grey skirt – Closed, earrings – ChloBo
bracelet – Article22, striped cotton dress – Sessun, astrology necklace – Yasmin Everley
cardigan – Uniqlo, scarf – Franco Ferrari, floral tee – AmericanVintage, sandals – Via Spiga

This is everything you'll have with you on your trip - not a lot, but a lot of possibilities.



Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Clothing Diary Week 4

Another cold week...

tweed sweater - J.Jill, pearl earrings - Majorica, white turtleneck - Lands' End, black and
white scarf - Julie Egli, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, boots - 

pearl earrings - Majorica, white shirt - Lands' End, pink cashmere sweater - Lands' End, scarf - Etro,
boots - Munro, waxed cotton jeans - Eileen Fisher

earrings - Majorica, scarf - Paul Stuart, flats - Thierry Rabotin, striped top - St. James,
jeans - Eileen Fisher

dress - COS, scarf - Hermes, earrings - Majorica, bracelet - Majorica,
boots - Donald J. Pliner

earrings - Majorica, white shirt - Lands' End, red sweater - Lands' End, necklace - Majorica,
 jeans - Eileen Fisher, loafers - Stuart Weitzman


Monday, March 02, 2015

I Think I'm Doing Something Wrong...

bag - Tumi

Your normal fun from The Vivienne Files will return tomorrow, but today I have a question about crossbody bags.

I have a bag from Tumi - a wonderful bag - which is an earlier version of the beauty pictured above. It holds everything a human being could possibly need for a day in any city in the world. It fits flat against my body, and isn't at all bulky or obtrusive.

But every time I wear it, my clothes develop little pills and snags along the diagonal across my front and back, where the strap rubs.

Does anybody else experience this? What should I do differently?

In the grand scheme of life, this isn't a big deal, but I really don't like to feel like my handbag is destroying my clothes...


New Year Sale at FORZIERI.COM                     

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Mental Health Day

This is a wonderful Friday to pause for a minute, to appreciate the beauty and the abundance of our lives, and to tell our loved ones what they mean to us.

I'll be back soon - I wouldn't want to miss the fun we share!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Start With Art: Version 2 of Peripheral Vision 2 by Elis Cooke

As soon as I did the earlier version of this painting (found here), people emailed me asking that I use a different mix of colors, and that I do a business travel version of a wardrobe. So I'm combining requests here - I hope it works out!

I kept many of the elements of the original travel outfit, just swapping out the sportier tee shirt with something just a smidge dressier, and then coordinating earrings and a scarf with this new top.

pink top – Uniqlo, earrings – Forzieri, grey trousers – Planet, watch – Relic, cardigan –
 Michael Michael Kors, scarf – Manipuri , woven flats – Paolo, canvas tote – Urban Travel

grey long-sleeved tee – Mint Velvet, silver hoop earrings – Topshop, bracelet – Topshop
dotted tee shirt – Proenza Schouler, pink shirt – Equipment, “shark tooth” necklace – Alexis Bittar
grey skirt – Max Mara, cardigan – Uniqlo, Hermes Chasse en Inde,  silver boots – Gucci, trousers –


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Clothing Diary Week 3

Another week with incredibly cold weather. For those of you who live in warmer climates, you just have to take my word for it that this weather is exceptional, even for Chicago. Consistent lows below zero or in the single digits, days upon days of highs MAYBE in the teens. Dry dry dry air, wind to knock you over... just lovely!  I actually love winter, but this is even more extreme that I would prefer. But we carry on, in style!

As before, if I can link to my item, or something substantially similar, I will provide a link. The absence of any link means I couldn't find anything close enough...

Denim Shirt - J.Jill, jeans - Eileen Fisher, earrings - similar here, cardigan - Dublin Woolen Mills,
scarf - Nordstrom, boots, Bogs

I know I've mentioned it before, but these Bogs boots are the WARMEST I've ever owned. They're not pretty, but in Chicago, in February, when the temperature is 11 degrees Fahrenheit at noon, everybody looks a bit... bulbous...

earrings - Judith Jack (similar here), sweater - J. Jill, shirt - Uniqlo, scarf - Paul Stuart,
skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher, boots - Munro

My pool deck... this is the best place I will ever live in my entire life!

My scarf is similar to this, but one side is cashmere and the other is silk. I spent a FORTUNE on it about 15 years ago and almost had a heart attack at the time. But now, I don't remember what that price actually was... (there's a lesson somewhere in there!)

cardigan - Eileen Fisher, earrings - Majorica, scarf - Paul Stuart, turtleneck - Uniqlo,
shoes - Thierry Rabotin, jeans - 
Eileen Fisher

turtleneck - Lands' End, earrings - Majorica, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, sweater - Eileen Fisher,
athletic shoes - Munro

earrings - Alexis Bittar (similar here), grey flannel trousers - Saint James, scarf - Hermes,
turtleneck - L.L.Bean, loafers - Stuart Weitzman

Note that this scarf is long unavailable, but the design (called L'Hiver - Winter) often turns up second-hand. It's a total imitation of a Bruegel painting... It probably wasn't the most "blendy" colored scarf I could have worn, but I felt that the winter theme was appropriate for my adventures outdoors!


                        Bogs Footwear (Weyco)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Start With a Scarf: Hermes Maroon Shawl

Someone sent me a photograph of this delectable item - a shawl, no longer available, from Hermes - and asked if it would be possible to build a little something beautiful around it. Ooooh, yes, this is DEFINITELY possible...

Shawl -  Hermes - no longer available

First up, a color scheme, as always. Using camel as the neutral, there's a whole range of maroon, dark red, bright red, and hints of yellow here - lots of possibilities!

My imagination called this transition season dressing - either spring or fall. Maybe for business, or for pleasure. One dress, for a splashy night out, and otherwise dressy but not fussy separates for business or elegant sightseeing.

(Note that the accessories are either angular, or have a woven element in them, to harmonize with the geometric woven design of the shawl. This is how I amuse myself!)

blouse – Emma Brendon, earrings – Maiyet, cape coat – Ted Baker, watch – Shinola,
 loafers – G.H. Bass and Co., trousers – Acne Studios, tote – Vince Camuto

Red dress – Diane von Furstenberg, gold clutch – Suedemaroon sweater – Enzo Costamaroon
 cardigan – Zanierigold woven hoop earrings – Ayako Kanari, maroon trousers – Lanvin, gold woven 
bracelet – Yoola, gold knot necklace - Giuliana Valz-Gen, metallic tee – J. Crew,  gold sandals – 
Stuart Weitzman, gold loafers – Tod’s striped shirt – Weekend Max Mara

Of a Kind

Monday, February 23, 2015

Start With Art: Perilpheral Vision 2 by Elis Cooke, or How to Pack for a Casual Vacation in France

A recent request prompted this capsule: lightening up burgundy/grey/forest green into brighter cranberry, light mossy green and grey - specifically for a 3-week trip to France this spring.  A lovely trip, and beautiful colors with which to work!

Just for fun, I searched (and searched) until I found a painting to complement this idea:

Peripheral Vision 2 by Elis Cooke - available HERE

It's very exciting to me to feature a work of art that's still available to purchase! Check these out - the art is very lovely...

For our purposes, I isolated these colors, but there's also clearly an opportunity for white, cream, and a gentle blue, as well as a touch a deeper charcoal. This painting could generate a palette with which one could live forever.

As always, our travel outfit includes closed-toe shoes, a cardigan, and a scarf. But this tee-shirt is a "performance fabric" for more active endeavors! And these are the only "dressy" pants you're going to see. 

Grey trousers – Planet, gren quartz earrings – Allurez, watch – Relic, cardigan – Michael Michael 
Kors, woven flats – Paolo, tee shirt – Patagonia, scarf – Arte, canvas tote – Urban Travel

My first stop for finding clothes that would work well for activities was Patagonia; delightfully enough, they have a number of garments in soft, medium moss green! Sometimes these things just work out... 

Green button-front shirt – Patagonia, silver hoop earrings – Topshop, bracelet – Topshop
green tank – Patagonia, silver glitter headband – Miss Selfridge, berry tank – L.L.Bean, grey 
linen shorts – L.L.Bean, plum rose tee shirt – L.L.Bean, grey long-sleeved tee – Mint Velvet, grey 
linen capris – Poetry, ¾ sleeve green tee – Fat Face, striped top – J Crew, print wrap skirt – 
Patagonia, grey tunic dress – John Lewis,  bone hiking shorts – Sonomasneakers – Josef 
Seibel, sandalsTrotters, silver jeweled sandals – ZiGi Girl

Three pair of shoes in a bag might seem excessive, but these will all pack pretty small and rather flat, and the give you options to dress up a bit in the evening. Also, sometimes when your feet are killing you, a change of shoes can save your day.

You now have options for all kinds of activities in warm weather, or evenings that begin to feel cool. The green button-front shirt is a great layer of a tee shirt if it's cool, but it's also designed for sun protection. One dress and one skirt - neither of them particularly posh - still let you be a bit more festive when you're in the mood. Plenty of tee shirts, and your cardigan can be tossed over any combination:

I sure hope this helps a little bit!