Friday, July 03, 2015

Start with Art: Portrait de Jeune Fille by Marie Laurencin

I love this painting - I'm a big Marie Laurencin fan anyway. This girl's expression is so very much "I know what I'm doing, probably a whole lot better than you do..."  I respect that kind of quiet confidence!

Portrait de Jeune Fille by Marie Laurencin

This color scheme is feminine without being frilly or lacy - I see the femininity here conveyed in soft lines, sheer fabrics, and a calm attitude. These are the colors of The Vivienne Files, too!

In honor of this young lady's calm assurance, I was thinking of this as one of those business trips where you're the only person with a clue. We know this kind of trip:

You wrote the macro. Not ANYBODY at the home office - YOU. But now, they want you to COME to the home office  to write the documentation. You know perfectly well that you're going to sit, mostly alone, in a conference room for the week, with the occasional youthful geek dropping by the scrutinize your every keystroke. They won't thank you, they won't buy you lunch or dinner, and you know, when this is all over, because you were sitting in THEIR office while you wrote this, they're going to say that it came FROM the home office.

Any of these children could have done this themselves, if they'd just paid attention in math class. It's not like it was more than a year of two ago, for most of them....


Wait 'til they SEE your meal expenses...

earrings – Lagos, charcoal tee shirt – Vince, linen trousers – Crea Concepts
cardigan – Phase Eight, watch – Movado, scarf – Suzusan
suede moccasins – Minnetonka, tote – COET, carry-on suitcase
 – Victorinox

Pink pearl bracelet – Khun Boom, pearl necklace – DaVonna, crystal 
earrings – YooLa, silver disc earrings – Judith Jack, ring – Lagosgrey
 batwing sweater – Phase Eight, pinstriped trousers – Crea Concepts
silver necklace – Jantanapink tunic – Phase Eight, dark pink top – Jil 
Sander, red tunic – Phase Eightpencil skirt – Uniqlo
silver sandals – Ancient Greekpink ballet flats – Sam Edelman

The best revenge is to be beautiful, calm, and tremendously competent!

have a wonderful weekend,

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Do me a big favor...

Sisyphus by Titian 

As soon as you read this, go drink a big glass of water. In fact, every time you read The Vivienne Files, please be certain to drink something water-based. A lot of it...

Just trust me: you don't want to wrestle with the whole kidney stone affair! And the water is good for you - helps keeps you full, gives you a better sense of your true hunger level, etc etc.


Big important PS: The discount code at KathKath has been fixed so that you can indeed make multiple purchases there with the discount. The code for a 40% discount off of full-price merchandise is VIV40, and the code for 10% off of sale products is VIV10. Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Start With Art: The Blue Pool by Augustus John


A color scheme that just cries out for some cotton khaki, and some turquoise...

This felt to me like a quick weekend away to the lake - leaving the office early, and doing nothing more strenuous than maybe rowing a canoe... (and I'm not telling you that those cute little moccasins come in 11 colors, and are less than $50...)  The prevailing feeling that I was looking for was outdoors, active, sunny and relaxed.

Cardigan – Viyella, loafers – Minnetonka Moccasins,
shattered fragment earrings – Gina Melosi, tee shirt – Title 9
trousers – Michael Kors, watch – Nixon, tote bag – Big Buddha

The jewelry looks great with your outfits, but isn't terribly expensive, so you can wear it without being obsessive about it. A little clutch is handy in case you dash into town for drinks or dinner.

Turquoise top – Anneclaire, clutch bag - Harpreet Kaur, earrings – 
Saks Fifth Avenue, culottes – Kai-Aakmann, curry top – Dorothy Perkins
necklace – Natasha, tan shorts – Engineered Garments, sandals – Jack Rogers

If it's cool, you have your cardigan and trousers from work; if you want to be "dressy-ish", you have your culottes, and if you're going to get wet, you have shorts! This should give you all of the options you need, without having an overabundance of unnecessary clutter.

It strikes me that this would be a great way to "test-drive" an accent color. Say you already have a solid core wardrobe in beige, khaki or brown, and you decide that, for warm weather, you're going to give turquoise a try. A cardigan and two tee shirts, a couple of inexpensive pieces of jewelry, and a pair of shoes OR sandals (you wouldn't really have to have both, at first).  If you really didn't care for your experiment, by the end of the summer you could get rid of these few items without a brutal guilt trip.

Or maybe this is how to incorporate that new "color of the year", without going overboard?


p.s. If you click on the links above and buy something, you might generate a commission for me! That's what keeps the lights on here at The Vivienne Files, but I NEVER let the possibility of revenue influence my choice of perfect items to share with you. But you know that!

$10 off $50, $20 off $100, $30 off $150 at with code STOCKUP2015 (Valid July 1st - 14th. One time use only. Cannot be combined with other offers or applied to prior purchases).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Start With Art: Carnation Lily Lily Rose by John Singer Sargent

Wow! When I asked for paintings, you all came through with some beautiful suggestions... 

This John Singer Sargent is so lovely...

In the deepest shadows, I saw navy, although on another day, it could be deepest gray, or maybe something else - really good paintings are wonderful in the way they can have so many different aspects over time.

I'm embarking on a 4 by 4 that's particularly challenging: a casual wardrobe in soft and fluid navy and white. So VERY often, navy and white are crisp, and starched, and nicely pressed and snappy - which is pretty great. And I'm sure that at some point earlier in the fictional day, these lovely white dresses were immaculate and pristine, but NOT by this time of day!  So this time, I'm looking for flowing, pleated, gathered, draped and lacy...

Here, I was able to find a sheer, lace-like yoke, and some shimmer too!

Tank – Mint Velvet, capris – Dorothy Perkins
tee – Mint Velvet, trousers – Joseph

I was lucky to spot crocheted trim, lace, and lots of supple draped fabric:

White cardigan – Mango, shorts – Iro,
Wrap top – Planet, palazzo pantsMango

This wardrobe wouldn't be ANYTHING without flowers! Some pleats too, and a nicely relaxed tee shirt:

Pink lace top – Quiz, peach tunic– Sandwich,
Navy top – Jacques Vert, green tee - Uniqlo

One of the many great things about this wardrobe is that you can indulge in lots of pretty pastel tops, as well as making sure that you have a nice core of navy and white things in soft, feminine prints and fabrics. Two different approaches to the same navy and white core!

This skirt is shown on the store site as being very "evening", but this is the kind of thing that could easily be worn during the day with sandals and a casual top, too! When you're packing, this kind of versatility is very useful.

Navy skirt – Jacques Vert, floral wrap top – Kaliko,
Wrap lace top – Kaliko, white tunic – Alexander Wang

This wardrobe gets the very prettiest flower earrings, as well as a pair of espadrilles that are NOT ordinary - lace, satin trim, and a ballet silhouette gives these the more feminine look we're after, without making them twee or unwearable.

Pink floral earrings – Militza Ortiz, white lace “ballet” espadrilles – Casadei ,
bag – Tory BurchGold floral earrings – Giuliana Valz-Gen, 
navy sandals – Bettye Muller

This would set you up quite handsomely for summer, wouldn't it?

And here's how it fits into the 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template.

And as an added special bonus "undercover" secret - this is what you need if you HATE to wear skirts in the warm weather - Jockey Skimmies.  Imagine you took the most comfortable imaginable hosiery, and hacked them off above the knee. Light, smooth, no lines or bumps, no thighs rubbing together...  Just trust me on this; you can find them here.

would I steer you wrong?


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Monday, June 29, 2015

Start with Art, Version 2: Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton

 So how does the gorgeous, warm palette from last Saturday translate into a much more casual grouping? Beautifully!

In order to keep the feeling of softness and flow, I looked for fabrics like corduroy, which has both depth and softness, moleskin, which has a nice plush texture, and of course silk. Gathers and jacquard fabrics also give us a little bit of grace and detail...  (note: I even chosen nail enamels with shimmer, which gives a sense of movement!)

When choosing items to go into this wardrobe, always ask yourself "yes, it goes, but does it have the requisite fluidity and movement that gives me my desired image?" There's lots of brown and orange in the world, but much of it is crisp or static - not right for this! (I made an exception for the suitcase - a fluid suitcase is just weird to imagine, and would be a nightmare to pack!)

Travel outfit in brown and orange, inspired by Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton
Blazer – Kenzo Vintage, leather and brass earrings – CAIA, leather bracelet
 – Karl Muse, boots – Burberry, cotton pants – Topshop, blouse – Rosie Assoulin,
 scarf – Jean Paul Gaultier Vintage, bucket bag – Marylai, rolling bag – Hartmann

Packing for a long weekend, in warm colors inspired by Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton
Orange sweater – Title Nine, triple-wrapped bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs,
 nail enamels – Butter, brown flats – Blackstone, gold silk cloud scarf – Yuh 
Okano, crystal drop earrings – YooLa, brown moleskin trousers – Tulchan, silk
v-neck blouse – Emilio Pucci, leather chukka sneakers – Frye, brown silk cashmere
 scarf – Yuh Okano, vanilla jeans – Mint Velvet

A weekend on the west coast of Ireland would be all the more delightful if you had this in your hotel room armoire!

A travel capsule wardrobe in warm colors, inspired by Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton

three outfits in warm colors, based on the colors in Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton

Just for our reference, this was the original painting, and the color scheme that I chose. This wardrobe doesn't include any green, but if you were going to ramp up from a 4-Pack to something more abundant, the green would be a fresh change of pace...

Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton, and a color scheme drawn from that painting

More painting suggestions, please!


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