Friday, August 28, 2015

Start with a Scarf: Silvie Shadow by Ted Baker

If you are a fan of floral prints, get yourself to the Ted Baker site... I stopped into his store in Chicago on Saturday, and it was an oasis of beautiful floral fabrics. His items sell out really quickly, so if you see something that really grabs you, it's worth acting quickly. The prints are intricate, beautifully rendered, in lovely fabrics, and very feminine without being at all prissy or twee. Gorgeous...

Silvie Shadow Floral scarf – Ted Baker

There are at least a couple more colors that I could have pulled from here - there are touches of apricot, and of course a soft white would be ideal - but this is what I'm working with:
Silvie Shadow Floral scarf – Ted Baker

You don't dress like a scientist...

She has like flowers for as long as anybody can remember; she was most placid, as a baby, in flowered clothes! From earliest childhood, she was reading books about flower history, cultivation, symbolism, breeding - pretty much anything about flowers. Everyone assumed that she would outgrow this enthusiasm; children often have interests that wane as they grow up.

Silk tuxedo blazer – Vanessa Bruno; silk trousers – Vanessa Bruno;
Silk jersey and crepe top – Steffen Schraut; ponte pencil skirt – Eileen Fisher

But she studied Botany in college...
Merino cardiganUniqlo; mini-pleated skirt – Barbara Casasola;
Black blouse – Mint Velvet; black lace trousers – Mint Velvet

After she got her PhD in the DNA of flowering plants used in ornamental plantings in the 19th Century, people began to believe that she really did like flowers more than most people...
Pleated top – Vionnet; violet short sleeve blouse – Kelly Love
silk v-neck blouse – Vince; tee shirt – Master & Muse

In addition to teaching, she spent a lot of time looking for old flowering hedges. It was a normal weekend for her to prowl through abandoned farm sites, trying to find plants that had survived the last 150 years. She found Ireland a particularly delightful place to clamber about; the stone walls held secrets of floral botany that were impossible to imagine.
Dress – Helen McAlinden; cardigan – Ermanno Scervino;
V-neck sweater – J. Crew Factory; lace-detail skirtErmanno Scervino

And when she was at the University, she always carried with her a sense of the floral - something strong, beautiful, softly-colored, but resistant to the elements...
Pink pearl and blue topaz earrings – Buana;  marcasite and pearl brooch
 – Lord &Taylor; silver cuff bracelet – Ploy Intha;  marcasite and mother of 
pearl pendant – Genevieve & Grace; onyx necklace – Neeru Goel;  flower 
black bordered floral scarf – Kathkath; stud earrings – Oscar Figueroa;  blue
 and green floral scarf – Ted Baker; t-strap pumps – Trotters; patent pumps
 – Trotters; loafers – Via Spiga

It was always simple to find a gift for her - something with a flowering motif would be sure to please! And if it has some feeling of older times, more the better.


So tell me, is it nature or nurture? Before she was even born, they had determined that her name would be Rose...


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Start with Art: Light, Earth and Blue by Mark Rothko

A very special request! 

This is such an interesting color combination - distinctive, but calm and very grounded in nature. The woman who wears this is going to be very special...

Light, Earth and Blue by Mark Rothko

Although the obvious neutrals here are olive green and navy, I gave each color equal weight in the color scheme to reflect the balance that I see in the painting. Your view may differ!

She Just has An Eye... 

Nobody else seems to ever get sent to the auctions - especially the big ones in Europe. But, in all fairness, after she found that Jasper Johns that NOBODY else believed to be authentic, nobody else can realistically expect to go. When it comes to spotting the overlooked gem in the market, nobody is her equal.
Knit cape – See by Chloe; trousers – Vince; earrings – Dabby Reid; tee shirt – 
 Uniqlo; scarf – Missoni; yellow socks – J.M.Dickens; boots – Naturalizer;
 carry-on bag – Hayden-Harnett

Normally, you have to fly to the auction the day before, and back the day after. But she's very petite, and she figured out years ago that if she offered to fly Coach Class rather than Business, they would let her leave a few days early. She says it's so she can get over jet lag...  Many of her co-workers suspect that she just liked spending a couple of extra days in another country. As if that was some sort of fault?

Square scarf – Hermes Petit Duc; yellow cardigan – Boden; labradorite earrings
 – Argento Vivo; bracelet – Alexis Bittar; clutch bag – Nancy Gonzalez; ribbed
 sweater – The Row; labradorite pendant – Avindy; navy pearl earrings – 
Jordan Alexander; green glass earrings – Cynthia Serrano; dress – J. Crew
yellow wrap - White & Warren; moss cardigan – J. Crew; lace blouse –  
Giambattista Valli; pumps – Manolo Blahnik; jeans – Otis

When she returns from these long weekends, everyone asks her what she did on those extra days. It just seems like such a career-limiting gesture to take a couple of days off and go sightseeing!

Of course, if your do all of your sightseeing in art museums, and your job is buying art, then maybe it's not so career-limiting after all. But she's not one to blurt out every little detail of her trip...

Don't you just hate it when everyone assumes that you were born with some skill that's really the result of very hard work?


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our Move, and Cleaning out Closets

Finally! We are settled in our new apartment... It was, realistically, a pretty small move - just down the hall, from a west-facing studio apartment to an east and south-facing 1 bedroom apartment.

We wouldn't have moved - we were massively happy in our studio, but we received SUCH an incredibly kind offer to rent the 1-bedroom unit that it was pretty much impossible to pass up. Now, we have enough space to have either of our mothers visit, and give them a bedroom and master bathroom to themselves. They will have a modicum of space and privacy, which is always useful when family members are in close quarters.

This is our view, seen over my extraordinary chaise longue. Why yes, it IS wide enough for Belovedest and I to sit in together!

Possibly the most interesting part of the move, from a Vivienne Files standpoint, was moving into a new closet. Our closet now is an open mini-room, much more than a normal walk-in closet, because it has a WINDOW... But knowing how very quickly light will fade clothing, we keep the shade tightly closed... As much as you see really appealing open closet arrangements all over the internet, where your perfect capsule wardrobe is hanging against a wall in your bedroom, I can't advise this kind of setup. Closets and armoires became common for a reason; dust and light are not the best friends your wardrobe can have!

Can't you tell that this is mine? Black, white, grey, and a touch of red:

In the course of sorting through EVERYTHING, I realized that I own a few things that need to find better homes. Foremost among those, I have FOUR Hermes twillies...

I love these little gizmos - they're the most cunning idea Hermes has had in at least a few days! They're perfect to wear at the neckline of a shirt with a collar, as an ironic throwback to the bows that we all wore in the 80's. And they're great to wear in your hair. Unless... you have to use a product in your hair. Sigh...

As my hair gets longer, I've found that I look like a big brown and grey dandelion unless I use some curl defining lotion in my hair. And after I've put that in my hair, I'm REALLY reluctant to put a gorgeous piece of silk into the middle of it; the idea of those chemicals on that silk just gives me the willies.


In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to do a major clean-out of my silk scarves, and will thus be selling a stack of Hermes scarves. Prices will be good, so stay tuned!

From the top:
  • a sepia brown with tiny black letters that spell (if you're an acrobat) Hermes. (SOLD)
  • yellow, turquoise, bright green, grey and black geometric print.(SOLD)
  • soft greys, celadon green and blue Astrologie pattern (SOLD) , and
  • black with golds horse tack pattern.(SOLD)
 These are cool; you won't be disappointed!

Belovedest takes the best photographs, doesn't he?

After the dust has (sort of) settled, I have to admit that I really love to move. Does anyone else, or am I alone in my insanity?


Neiman Marcus Last Call (Neiman Marcus)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Start with Art: Understanding by Parscha Mirghawameddin

What a striking painting - a juxtaposition of colors not often found together. And they work so well... thus, the title is Understanding - these colors have found a way to live together with joy and beauty.

Understanding by Parscha Mirghawameddin

What a great, uncommon color scheme - this could easily be flipped to use a lot of the beige from the upper left areas as a neutral too! 

Eyes the Color of Pond Scum


 Well yes, her family had always been a little bit... harsh when they teased her about her coloring. Green eyes and red hair were uncommon - unseen for generations, to tell the truth...

But for decades, she's believed that her eyes held depth of beauty, and that the soft, pale blush of her skin was beautiful - no tans for her! And now that her hair is a soft mix of grey and off-white, she sees her coloring as more appealing and distinctive than ever. 

Her inner independence is certainly showing now - she's heading off for a long weekend in a European city she's never before visited. She feels quite confident that men (and women) there will see her as the lovely woman that she is... 

Her sisters tell her that she's FAR too old to wear frog earrings. If your eyes are always being compared to small bodies of water, you are going to develop a fondness for the wildlife found in that environment...

Frog peridot earrings – Guillermo Arregui; ivory top – Raey; scarf – Hermes
  Manufacture de Boucleries;  watch – Shinola; down jacket – Uniqlo;
 trousers – Transit; loafers –  Manolo Blahnik; tote - Furla

Oh yes, she's also too old to wear dangling earrings... Frankly, she does lots of things wrong, in their opinion!

Blush scarfRoffe Accessories; labradorite earrings – Khun Boom; pearl 
and silver earrings – Khun Boom; grey shirtdress – Steven Alan; star brooch –
 Lanvin;  grey/green print scarf – Alternative; grey cardigan – NLST; blush
 cardigan – J. Crew; sweater – Brunello Cucinelli; labradorite necklace –  
Alexis Bittar; pearl bracelet – Khun Boom; trousers – 3.1 Phillip Lim
blouse – Velvet; ballet flats – Sperry

 She already has so many plans: places to visit, streets to browse, restaurants to sample. She's not afraid, and not really nervous - her energy and the spring in her step are called EXCITEMENT, not fear.

Wouldn't they just have FITS if they knew what she'd paid for that Hermes scarf? They're afraid to even walk in the door of the store... So silly - they're missing one of the great shopping experiences of a lifetime!

Yes, they don't think she's packing nearly enough!

But she has plenty of options; she's only going to be there 3 days.


She hasn't mentioned to anyone that the man she met online is going to be there too...



Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Morning Giveaway: How to be Pretty, Though Plain

It's been a while since I found a book I thought worthy of you all, but FINALLY...

by "Mrs Humphrey." That tells us so much about the era...

It's amusing, if painfully dated. But the thing that I have to say I liked most about it is the ongoing emphasis that the author places on health and good attitude as the true keys to an appealing appearance. It resonates so much with what I see on the streets of Chicago every day - unhealthy, scowling, slouching... No WONDER you're not turning heads, eh?

A good attitude is worth thousands of dollars in cosmetic surgery, at least according to Alexander Smith!

So leave me a comment about the best beauty advice you've ever received, and next Monday I'll draw a random number and send out this little gem to the winner.

The best beauty advice I ever received?

 "Stand up straight!!!!" 

lifting my head, even as I type...

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