Friday, July 22, 2016

No More "Dress For Success"

Every day, every year, the same....

Navy suit, white shirt. Grey suit, white shirt. Navy grey white navy grey white....

It served her well - she was very successful. She worked 7 days a week; she really didn't have a leisure life - her idea of being dressed down was to wear an old work shirt with old pants from a pantsuit. Jeans? Not in her vocabulary. A cardigan? Would get you a visit from the chairman of the firm...

But now that she was leaving the office world, her heart cried out for brown. The color of dirt. The color of chocolate. And khaki - sand, and stones, and natural things....

And PINK. Because she would never have dared to wear pink in her old, very conservative, work environment.

So her first day of retirement, she went shopping! And started here:

beige and brown 3-piece outfit, with brown floral scarf
Shirt – Lands’ End; pants – Lands’ End
 sweaterUniqlo; scarf – Givenchy

The scarf with flowers was SUCH a revelation! And being allowed to wear a shirt that wasn't white (or light blue), and that matched her pants - well, it was a whole new world of loving clothes!

beige and brown 3-piece outfit, with brown floral scarf, and a brown, beige and pink color scheme
Shirt – Lands’ End; pants – Lands’ End
 sweaterUniqlo; scarf – Givenchy

She put on her new outfit, and went shopping again. First thing HAS to be more pink, because she loves it, and because it will be so perfect with her scarf:

add a pink tee shirt to a brown and beige outfit
Tee – L.L.Bean

After decades of wearing a blazer EVERY DAY, she longed for something soft, and knitty, and casual...

add a khaki cardigan to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Cardigan – L.L.Bean

Wearing pants wasn't QUITE unheard of in her life - she had 2 pantsuits, strictly for Fridays, of course. When she realized that she could wear corduroy, and nobody would care, she was all in:

add brown corduroy pants to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Pants – L.L.Bean

After a few days with her new things, she began to realize that there was a world of clothing that she could wear EVERY DAY now; shirts without collars? Heck yes!

add a paisley blouse to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Top – Dorothy Perkins

The warmth, and relaxed comfort, of cardigans made her so happy - it was a level of unstructured dressing that she barely remembered from college.

add an ecru cardigan to a brown, beige and pink wardrobe
Cardigan – Uniqlo

After a few days, she took the plunge. But not BLUE jeans - she'd had quite enough blue, thank you! Lovely sand...

add ecru jeans to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Jeans – J. Crew

Pink AND striped? Be still, her beating heart!

add a striped sailor top to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Top – L.L.Bean

She began to feel joy in small, feminine details - pleats called her name...

add an ivory pleated blouse to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Blouse – Lands’ End

In the midst of all of this sensory delight, she was trying to be a bit practical. She realized that another pair of pants would be helpful, so she indulged her brown longings:

add brown pants to a khaki, brown and pink wardrobe
Pants – L.L.Bean

When one spends their spare time reading contract law updates, the finer nuances of available clothing can be lost. When she started seeing the options of detail and cut, with feminine and pretty details, she just pulled out her wallet and treated herself; it had been decades since she enjoyed shopping this much!
add a pink top to a pink, brown and khaki wardrobe
Top – European Culture

After a while, she realized that she reached for her brown cashmere sweater ALL THE TIME, and decided that it was time to bring a brown cardigan into the mix. If you find yourself wearing something all the time, think about the possibility of a similar piece with just a bit of difference...
add a brown cardigan to a pink, khaki and brown wardrobe
Cardigan – Fabiana Filippi

THIS decision took a long time... skirts weren't something that she ever thought she would wear AGAIN in her life! But she realized that now, she could wear a skirt on her own terms, in her chosen colors, styles, and ensembles. Much different than wearing a skirted suit most of the time!
add a stone skirt to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
Skirt – L.L.Bean

The world of printed clothes gave her tons of pleasure; a relaxed top in a warm pink floral print can call to her from a LONG way away in a department store...
add a pink and brown floral blouse to a brown, khaki and pink wardrobe
blouse - Twin-Set

When she looked in her closet now, it was pretty sparse, but beautifully coordinated. She saw only things that she loved, and that she enjoyed wearing. Now, to find accessories...

a 16-piece wardrobe in brown, khaki, off-white and pink


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Insomnia Part 2 - Version 2

see first installment here, and Part 2 Version 1 here)

Our sleepless protagonist is browsing in a bookstore - immediately drawn to photo books of space phenomena - when she sees this:

Tarantula Nebula by Robert Gendler and Roberto Colombari

She admires it, registers it somewhere in her brain, and goes on about her day/night.

Later that morning, she's wandering in a department store, and sees the Image Consultant area. The staff seems to be at loose ends, so she plucks up her tired courage and asks if she can meet with the consultant...

An hour later, her universe has been rocked. While she's told that her neutral navy is perfect for her, she's encouraged to add warmer accent colors to her wardrobe! Part of her recommended palette looks sort of like this:

Let's remember that this is her current travel wardrobe:

moon earrings – Gianluca Anzani; moon & star earrings – Marc Jacobs;  
striped top – L.L.Bean; marled sweater – Public School; square scarf –  
 henleyL.L.Bean; cardigan – J. Crew; shirt – Uniqlo; astrology scarf - 
 Antagoniste; tote – Coach; socks – Topshop; skirt – J. Crew; jeans – L.L.Bean;
 white scarf – Caslon; pants – Uniqlo; flats – SoftWalk; loafers – Coach;
 boots – Munro

As we all well understand, one doesn't just rush out and do what an image consultant tells us to do - that's madness. But the message sticks with her, and so when she stops into Hermès and sees a scarf that bowls her over, she succumbs to temptation. And when compliments follow, she indulges in a camel sweater that is a COMPLETE departure from anything she's worn since grade school:

Women in shops comment on how flattering the camel is to her; they've always wished that they could wear these warm colors so successfully!

Well, there's no stopping her now. Gradually, but with determination, she adds a few more things to her "new" wardrobe:

She's not necessarily sleeping more, or better, than she had been, but she certainly looks good! Bronze nail polish, and a decidedly warm-hued lipstick bring color to her hands and face in a way that's startling to her, but unquestionably comfortable. (after a few minutes of mental adjustment!)
Earrings – Giuliana Valz-Gen; nail polish – Dolce&Gabbana Baroque Bronze
rust blouse – Closed; scarfHermes L’Arbre du Vent;  
sweater - Joseph; cardigan – J. Crew

By the time she goes home, her travel wardrobe takes on a completely different look:

Will she transition completely away from silver jewelry? Is her silver tote bag doomed to consignment? There's no rush, and there's no reason to hasten these kinds of transitions; comfort and a feeling of natural growth and evolution should be most important.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Insomnia, Part 2

So she's walking around Paris late one afternoon, and sees this:

photograph of the Great Nebula in Carina by Damian Peach
Great Nebula in Carina by Damian Peach

Oh. My. Her favorite night sky, with one point two million different shades of pink and rose... sigh....
photograph of the Great Nebula in Carina by Damian Peach, with a color scheme drawn from the photo

Let's remember, when she took off on this "night walker" vacation, this is what she packed:

navy and white 6-Pack travel capsule wardrobe
Moon & star earrings – Marc Jacobs; striped top – L.L.Bean
bracelet – Les Interchangeables; cardigan – J. Crew; small square scarf
 – Treasure&Bond; shirt – Uniqlo; flats SoftWalk; skirt – J. Crew
henleyL.L.Bean; loafers – Coach; pants – Uniqlo; socks – Topshop
clutch – Rebecca Minkoff; astrology scarf - Antagoniste

But the image sticks in her head, and when she's walking through Gucci, she sees a scarf that speaks to her. Not the moon and stars, but FLOWERS. Something from daytime, and sunlight!

That evening, at dinner, her very attractive waiter mentions to her how very flattering the pink flowers are to the roses in her cheeks. She blushes even more....

So the next day, she decides that it would be just PRACTICAL to buy a nice pink blouse, to wear with her new scarf. She wants to get her money's worth from it, right? And if she stumbles on some gorgeous moon and star earrings that are just faintly blush in color, can she be blamed if she buys them too? It's Paris, and pink suits her...

If she goes back to the same restaurant. It's NOT because of the waiter - the meal was good, and the location is very convenient for her. If he makes a point of waiting on her again, and chatting with her just a bit more than is necessary, that's just the way French waiters are, right?

(slipping her an extra dessert was just a way to avoid wasting food...)
2 navy and pink travel outfits

When she wakes up the next morning, she decides to get a manicure. And a new lipstick.... she hasn't worn lipstick for ages, but it might be a nice change. She IS in Paris, of course....

And when she saw the inexpensive pink shirt at Uniqlo, she thought that it might make sense to grab it. It's just a nice change from white - nothing more.

"If you would like to stay after the restaurant closes tonight, the staff will all have a small meal together and discuss the evening's business. We are going to sample a couple of new wines too. I would be privileged to walk you back to your hotel afterward..."

The next morning, she's looking pink and perky, and when the breeze picks up, a pink cashmere cardigan is the obvious next souvenir purchase. It IS her new friend's evening off, and they're going to dine at one of his favorite restaurants; she certainly wants to look like she's making an effort, right?
2 navy and pink travel outfits 
pink additions to a navy wardrobe
Earrings – Lanvin; nail polish – Yves Saint Laurent Rose Romantique
short-sleeved top – Uniqlo; scarfGucci; long-sleeved blouse – Winser London;  
cardigan – J.Crew; lipstick – Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Shine in 
Pink in Confidence

There's no telling where the relationship will go, but her wardrobe certainly has taken on a new direction!


Stuart Weitzman