Wednesday, December 13, 2017

When I left this wardrobe last week, the clothing portion was pretty well-organized, with lots of possible combinations, so let's choose some accessories for this heroine!

a casual 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black and beige with pink
cardigan – Nordstrom; tee shirt – L.L.Bean; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; jeans - Frame; cardigan – Elena Mirò; tee shirt – Peserico; cardigan – Ralph Lauren; pants - L.L.Bean; tee - Velvet; shirt – Lands' End; tee – Dorothy Perkins; tee shirt – IO Couture; cardigan – Banana Republic; cardigan – Elena Mirò; sweater – Dorothy Perkins; velvet pants - Mimi Chica

It seems that the first outfit is always a very simple one that kind of cries out for a necklace or something at the neck...

adding a pendant to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
tee shirt – Peserico; cardigan – Nordstrom; jeans - Frame; first pendant – Majorica; second pendant - Effy; third pendant – Jantana

As far as a woman can get with a good briefcase, at some stage she's going to want a handbag instead...

adding a handbag to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Elena Mirò; tee shirt – Peserico; jeans - Frame; first bag – Kooba; second bag - Frye; third bag - Hobo

I'm not even going to try to resist adding floral boots to this wardrobe - if they could be worn with a business wardrobe, they CERTAINLY can be worn here!

adding floral boots to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Nordstrom; tee - Velvet; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; first boots – Dolce Vita; second boots – Gabriella; third boots – Sam Edelman

This might seems like she's buying shoes in a flurry, but sometimes when you really feel in the mood to re-do your shoe wardrobe, you might as well act on that feeling. Energy like that exists for a reason...

adding pink loafers to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
tee – Dorothy Perkins; jeans - Frame; first shoes – M4D3 Footwear; second shoes – Nicholas Kirkwood; third shoes – Tod’s

When you base a wardrobe on a scarf, it can be difficult to accept that you eventually are going to need ANOTHER scarf. You could wear the same one any time that you wear a scarf, and make it a signature, but for most of us, 2 or 3 scarves in a wardrobe give a better variety.

adding a scarf to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Banana Republic; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; striped scarf – Lamini; second scarf - Kate Spade; third scarf – Salvatore Ferragamo

Earrings make a lot of difference in an outfit; it's easy to forget how much impact they have. See if you notice earrings on other people, and then translate that impression into how you choose your own accessories!

adding earrings to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
tee shirt – IO Couture; jeans - Frame; cardigan – Elena Mirò; first earrings – Oscar Figueroa Escorcia; second earrings - Joaquin & Josefina; third earrings – Lucia Perrone

I guess this heroine likes shoes... but she can really use something special to wear with these velvet pants, right?

cardigan – Banana Republic; velvet pants - Mimi Chica; top mules – Kate Spade; second mules – Sole Society; bottom mules – AGL

Here's another one of those outfits with a very unadorned neckline - a perfect backdrop for a necklace if you're in the mood!

adding a pearl necklace to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Ralph Lauren; jeans - Frame; tee shirt – Peserico; black pearl infinity necklace – Black; 2 pearl necklace - Majorica; third necklace – Lucky Brand

This outfit sort seemed to call for a lighter-feeling scarf; not necessarily something in some airy fabric, but something with softer colors.... does that make sense?

adding a scarf to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Ralph Lauren; tee - Velvet; pants - L.L.Bean; first scarf – Armani Jeans; second scarf – Salvatore Ferragamo; third scarf – Francesca’s

More shoes???? Well, she doesn't have a pair of black loafers. EVERYBODY needs black loafers, right?

jeans - Frame; shirt – Lands' End; cardigan – Nordstrom; first loafers – BP.; second loafers – Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn; third loafers – Tony Bianco

Rings are a sort of unsung possibility in a wardrobe - you don't have to wear the same rings every day. In fact, if you change them up from time to time, you'll notice them more!

adding a ring to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Elena Mirò; tee shirt – L.L.Bean; velvet pants - Mimi Chica; first ring – Effy; second ring – Effy; third ring – Effy

And don't forget sunglasses; NEVER forget sunglasses...

adding sunglasses to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Elena Mirò; tee shirt – L.L.Bean; jeans - Frame; top sunglasses – Salt; second sunglasses – Gucci; third sunglasses – Kate Spade

Something about the inherent dressiness of this outfit made me want to find our heroine a really festive pair of earrings for her...

adding festive earrings to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
sweater – Dorothy Perkins; velvet pants - Mimi Chica; first earrings - Jenny Packham; second earrings - Kate Spade; third earrings – Ippolita

I always like to see how different these wardrobes look when the accessories are added. They drive me CRAZY getting everything arranged on the page, but I always love them, when they're finished!

4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, beige and pink with accessories

Just to make sure that things are working properly, I like to build a few outfits using all of the pieces... It would be a great thing to do if this was your wardrobe - you'd have a plan for all kinds of occasions!

3 ways to wear khaki pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

3 ways to wear velvet pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

3 ways to wear black corduroy pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

4 ways to wear black jeans from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

Just for reference purposes, this is where we started...

Vintage Rose Scarf from KathKath with style guidelines and color palette
scarf - KathKath

Imagine if you owned BOTH of the wardrobes based on this scarf - the dressy wardrobe and this one. There'd be little in life that you wouldn't be dressed to handle!


Essential Accessories for a Pretty but Casual Wardrobe: Start with a Scarf - Vintage Rose by KathKath
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

She was really thrilled with what she packed for the Holiday Party in New York; she had planned everything using her pocket square as the defining inspiration:

scarf - Hermes

Her sweetheart told her that another, longer trip to New York would be in their near future - probably mid-February. So she thought that it would be wise to expand her current travel wardrobe...

7-piece Travel Wardrobe in black, white, grey and red
red earrings – Jane Basch; red resin bracelet - Vanda Jacintho; grey crystal earrings – Larkspur & Hawk; black earrings – Francesca’s; watch – Movado; black & grey scarf – Eileen Fisher; striped scarf – BP.; pocket square - Hermes; black dress – Eileen Fisher; sweater – Madeleine Thompson;gold bag – Love Moschino; print shirt – Lands’ End; red dress - Lily & Franc; red corduroy pants – Lands’ End; crossbody bag – Lodis; tote – Lodis; black cords – L.L.Bean; black cardigan – Lands' End; flat shoes – Arche; red boots – Arche; black boots – Arche; slingbacks – Vince Camuto

She was going to try to balance clothes appropriate for those "business dinners" with things suitable for the sightseeing that she intended to do, so she needed to be very organized! If she puts together a 4 by 4 Wardrobe, and wears 3 pieces on the plane, she will have 13 garments to pack - she felt that this was a reasonable goal.

First, to "plug in" her existing wardrobe:

7 Pieces of a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in a 4 by 4 Template

The first thing that she realizes is that she has a black "suit" of sorts, but could certainly use a couple of dressy garments in black. A bow always makes a blouse look like it's dressed-up, and a lace skirt will elevate anything with which it's worn. But both of these pieces can be mixed in with other, less formal, items so that she'll be ready for those "kind of nice, but not dressy" events that are the bane of business events...

Core of 4 for a 4 by 4 Wardrobe, in black
cardigan – Lands’ End; blouse – Splendid; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; skirt – J.Crew

It's kind of somber, but very efficient...

9 garments in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

Next up, she's really excited to add grey as her second neutral. She goes "all out" and invests in 3 pieces from Eileen Fisher that can be worn together or separated and worn with everything else... And WHAT THE HECK - she gets a dressy, somewhat "over the top" tweed skirt, too!

a Wardrobe Core of 4 in grey
cardigan – Eileen Fisher; tunic sweater – Eileen Fisher; pants – Eileen Fisher; skirt - Valentino

Now, when she looks at what she has in her 4 by 4 Wardrobe, she realizes that she only has "room" for 3 more pieces! And no yellow yet!!! Plus, she feels like she could use a casual top to wear with either black or red pants, and maybe a dressy blouse that will look nice with either pants or skirts...

13 garments in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

The yellow is TOUGH to find... the very clever tee shirt with red stars delights her, as does the opulence of the sleeves on her new blouse...

3 tops to finish a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
yellow tee – Juvia; tee with red stars - Pianurastudio; print blouse - Frame

Now she looks into her closet and sees a tidy, well-chosen assortment of pieces that will carry her to anything her sweetheart's company can throw at her... (except maybe bumper cars... anything but bumper cars...)

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe for cool weather in black, grey, red, white and yellow

Just to be certain that she's on track, she walks through 10 options for ways to wear these pieces together; there are many more than 10 possibilities, but she wants to have the images in her mind for those last-minute clothes changes:

2 ways to wear a black lace skirt

w ways to wear black trousers

2 ways to wear a grey tweed skirt

2 ways to wear a pair of grey pants

2 ways to wear red corduroy pants

In the course of all of this business-related excitement, she learns (quite by accident) that her sweetheart recently assumed a great deal more responsibility at work - some people just don't share these things because they don't want to brag? I'd be singing it from the rooftops!


p.s. Of COURSE she's going to need accessories...

p.p.s. I am on my way to Paris, mid-day today, so if I'm not responding to questions, comments and emails it will be because I only have my phone with me for the next 7 days - it's certainly not a lack of interest or affection!

Adding to a Successful Travel Wardrobe: Appaloosa des Steppes from Hermes
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Monday, December 11, 2017

You ask, you get! Tomorrow I'm going to expand this into a wardrobe for a longer trip...

please note that this scarf is a pocket square. it's MUCH smaller than a normal Hermes scarf, so don't order it thinking that you're getting an amazing deal, and then be crushed...

Appaloosa des Steppes by Hermes

You Won't BELIEVE What Corporate Did...

Hermes Appaloosa des Steppes with color scheme
scarf - Hermes

her heart always sinks when her sweetheart start a conversation like this...

"They're having the Holiday Party in NEW YORK!!!"

"So does this mean we don't have to go?" fingers crossed...

travel outfit in black and red
earrings – Jane Basch; coat – RED Valentino; scarf - Hermes; suitcase - Victorinox Swiss Army; tote – Lodis; dress – Eileen Fisher; watch – Movado; shoes – Arche

"Quite the contrary - that's what's SO amazing! They're flying us all out - you included! - putting us up in a hotel AND giving us spending money!"

can we just have them give us cash instead? whoops, wrong thing to say...

"That's wonderful - you must have really had a great year..."

black, red and grey Six-Pack travel capsule wardrobe
black & grey scarf – Eileen Fisher; striped scarf – BP.; grey crystal earrings – Larkspur & Hawk; black earrings – Francesca’s; black cardigan – Lands' End; print shirt – Lands’ End; sweater – Madeleine Thompson; red resin bracelet - Vanda Jacintho; gold bag – Love Moschino; crossbody bag – Lodis; red corduroy pants – Lands’ End; dress - Lily & Franc; black cords – L.L.Bean; pajamas – Olivia Von Halle; red boots – Arche; gold slingbacks – Vince Camuto; black boots – Arche

"So, for the days off, do we have to go do corporate functions with your co-workers? I'm not going to be "escaping from a room" or taking a group cooking class, am I?"

"Nope - our free time is all ours!"

travel capsule wardrobe in black, grey and red

She's feeling much better about the whole affair...

2 outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in black, red and grey

2 outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in black, red and grey

After living through all kinds of holiday "events" that didn't really live up to expectations, she thinks she can handle this one just fine!


Start with a Scarf: Appaloosa des Steppes by Hermes
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Friday, December 08, 2017

Yes, I am going back to Paris on Tuesday...

It's a combination of a free plane ticket, a really inexpensive hotel (I'll tell you all about that when I'm back!) and a bone-deep yearning to see holiday decorations in another country.

But more than anything, I'm really eager to see how completely... unfettered? light? I can feel while traveling. Normally, there's the suitcase and the carry-on, and maybe a handbag, and while I know that this is necessary, I don't feel relaxed when I have these things to corral and transport. I want to be focused on external things - other people, mostly, and be able to put my own "stuff" out of my mind.

This isn't impossible - one could, in theory, go almost any place that has similar weather with just the clothes on your bag, a toothbrush, wallet, and necessary prescriptions, in my case. I'm not going to be THAT liberated!

So this is what I'm envisioning:

Four Packing Guidelines: Where? How? Activities? Temperatures?

First, I answer my own questions - Paris, by air to Charles de Gaulle Airport, and then take the train into the city (which makes minimizing luggage a good choice), I'm going to walk outdoors a LOT, participate in a 5K, and eat in very "not fancy" restaurants, and the weather will be just slightly warmer than it is here in Chicago.

My entire wardrobe is going to be anchored by my red Barbour jacket - this is what I'll wear to fly:

a travel outfit in black, white and red for cold weather
jacket - Barbour, scarf - Hermes Collections Imperiales; earrings - Majorica; cardigan - MSGM; tee shirt - L.L.Bean; bag - Splendid (similar here); shoes - New Balance (similar here); pants - J.Jill (similar here)

I'm going to wear the HECK out of Fair Isle patterns, because they seem to be associated with the holidays in so many minds...

My bag will be carried as a backpack. I've found that even though I might look like I'm trying to pretend to be younger than I am, I can carry a TON in a backpack. One must be super-cautious not to whap people with a backpack - it changes the contours of your body completely!

And I'm thinking that I'll just wear pearl earrings all week...

Okay... this is what I'm packing:

Six-pack for Paris in cold weather
cotton turtlenecks - Lands' End; sweater - & Other Stories; fleece top - Lands' End (similar here); jeans - Dearborn Denim; fleece skirt - Uniqlo; flats - Arche; waterproof boots - Blondo

yes, my jeans are from the men's section, and yes, the short boots are WATERPROOF!!! I still struggle to believe that my black cashmere turtleneck won't accidentally fall into my bag...

I've also go to take some things that are specifically for the 5K, although they could be worn "in real life" too:

clothing to pack for running in cold weather
earband - Lands' End (similar here); wool top - Icebreaker; fleece-lined pants - Lands' End; down vest - Lands' End

A down vest isn't usual for a 5K, but since I will just be walking, it will be tougher for me to stay warm... These pieces, along with the New Balance shoes that I'm wearing on the place, and the Fair Isle fleece, should do the trick!

So, if I don't chicken out and toss in other things, this is what I'll pack. While the scarves don't particularly go with any of the outfits well or badly, I suspect that I'll probably tie them over my coat when it's completely fastened, so they're there more to add interest to what I'm wearing when I'm outdoors. They'll blow up into my face a lot...

a six-pack for cold weather, plus a few pieces for sport
Hermes scarves - L'Entente Cordiale; Clef des Champs, Feux d'Artifice

Yes, if the weather warms up, I'm going to wear my down vest in place of my red jacket!

a travel capsule wardrobe for cold weather, in black, white and red

The thing that makes packing like this possible? The presence of a "5 à Sec" same day laundry and dry cleaner literally around the corner from my hotel! Tee shirts and turtlenecks, at a minimum, can be laundered as necessary...

Just to make absolutely certain that this will work, I've envisioned what I'll wear every day of my trip:

outfits for 2 days in Paris

Note: Saturday morning is when I'm 5K-ing, so I'll be wearing the athletic things, and shower and change when I get back to my hotel:

outfits for 2 days in Paris

outfits for 2 days in Paris

outfits for 2 days in Paris

As usual, I'm completely over-analyzing things, but I'm doing this in anticipation of arriving in Paris with nothing but a backpack (and what I have in my coat pockets - I'm NOT taking a handbag...)

I can't explain this desire to travel so lightly, but I'm going to honor the fact that I feel this way and see what I can do to make it happen! I will share the results...


p.s. When I'm traveling alone, I always wearing a RoadID, that has my name and medical information on it, as well as contact information for Belovedest. It's not elegant, but I can accept a bit of utilitarian style in exchange for knowing that I won't be impossible to identify if someone robs me and leaves me in a gutter... (just kidding Mom!)

Can You Really Travel with Only SIX Pieces of Clothing? I'm Going to Find Out...
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