Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Pages for Reference!

Look up at the top of the page, right below where the Paris pavement spells out Vivienne - you'll see new links to A Common Wardrobe, and to Project 333.  On the Project 333 page, there's a link to a free worksheet that you can use for planning your own personal Project 333.

Remember these beauties from Project 333 of years gone by?  I think the power of accessories grouped by a theme, color scheme or motif is exponentially greater than the power of accessories on their own.  Yet another reason why having a plan for your wardrobe makes good sense!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Two Questions....

I'm trying to put together pages of links to the various series of posts from here on The Vivienne Files, and it's pretty time-consuming.  

That said, I'm planning to do pages for The Common Wardrobe, Four by Four Wardrobes, Whatever's Clean (I am starting to really love that one!), and Start With Art. Any other series for which you'd like to have ALL of the links collected onto 1 page?  Let me know...

And these are recent pictures I've taken - would any/all of these make good wardrobes?  As usual, let me know!



Saturday, October 18, 2014

We are SO ahead of our time!

When we were in Amsterdam last month, we of course went to the Rijksmuseum.  They have lots of Rembrandt's, some Vermeers - it's worth the effort, trust me.  It's a museum that will linger in our memories for the rest of our lives.

But there was one thing there that really caught my eye - our TICKETS!

Rijksmuseum ticket The Nightwatch Rembrandt Start With Art Color Scheme

Rijksmuseum ticket The Nightwatch Rembrandt Start With Art Color Scheme
Both of the paintings are in fact details from The Night Watch by Rembrandt - arguably the crown jewel of the Rijksmuseum collection.  But note the color schemes on the left side, drawn from the paintings!  Remind anybody of our Start With Art?

These two bit posters were outside the entrance to the museum. The first is colors taken from The Milkmaid by Vermeer:
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Color Scheme The Milkmaid Vermeer Start With Art

And this is colors taken from The Night Watch.  I particularly like the graffiti - Find Joy!

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam The Nightwatch Rembrandt Color Scheme Start With Art

And I must share Belovedest's favorite photo: me, surrounded by luggage, before we left our lovely room in Amsterdam...
The Vivienne Files Maison Rika Amsterdam guesthouse

Note that my cool Maison Rika cardigan matches the throw that was on our bed... Rika's favorite motif is stars, I suspect!  I can't recommend a trip to Amsterdam highly enough, everything was delightful, and we will cherish those memories forever.  And I suspect we'll be back...

OOOOOH, and a present for you - I put another tab up at the top of The Vivienne Files that opens a page with all the links to all of the Step By Step Wardrobe posts.  I'm going to build pages for the other themes too - Start with Art etc.  It takes a while, but I'm on it!

                        Rhapsody Music Service

Friday, October 17, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + The Common Wardrobe: One Special Outfit

This is a plan for someone who has The Common Wardrobe in grey and off-white, with a camel sweater, because they're moving away from wearing black. (more on this idea another day).  This someone has a special occasion coming up, and they want to expend their ENTIRE French 5-Piece Wardrobe on a new dress and some accessories:

Silver grey scarf – Yuh Okano, dress – Wood Wood, bracelet – Achara, pumps – Bella Vita, silver floral half hoop earrings - Kenari
These purchases aren't "single-use", of course; the scarf and jewelry could be worn with almost any of the outfits in The Common Wardrobe.  The pumps will go nicely with our grey skirt (or with the jeans, if that's a preference). And the dress is simple enough that it can be worn more casually, after the special occasion.  Dark tights and flats or ankle boots will look really nice with this dress...

But if you blow your entire season's purchases on one outfit, plus accessories, what do you wear the rest of the time?

Here's The Common Wardrobe that I thought up for this person: 
Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneckUniqlo, grey cardigan Uniqlo, camel v-neck - Uniqlo, off white silk blouse – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee Uniqlo, off-white tee – Uniqlo, off-white corduroy pants - Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo,  grey skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo

Our lovely person will have at least 4 dozen outfits just from these twelve pieces:

Yes, we might not all opt for off-white as one of our neutral colors because of laundry concerns, but you have to admit that it makes some really pretty ensembles!  And I hope I'm convincing you that getting these 12 pieces of clothing together is a smart move to make your life easier...

Hey - I just found out that Saks Fifth Avenue is offering 20% off of all jewelry with a Friends and Family discount - what a misnomer - they don't know us!  But I'll take their 20% if there's something I want...


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + A Common Wardrobe: Avoiding Boredom

Let's say you have A Common Wardrobe in black and grey, and you're happy with it.  But you're concerned that you're going to get bored by wearing so many neutrals all of the time...  So one day you're browsing through the internet, and you find a whole LOT of lovely, bright, good-quality blouses, shirts and sweaters at a good price. You might have always wanted to try these brands, but always been reluctant to purchase their items at the full retail price.  (the site is The Outnet - lots of pretties at prices that still aren't small, but which are a ton better than the original retail!). 

After a bit of thought, you choose to, for one season, indulge your affection for every bright color...

Red sweater – Marni, blue sweater – Zadig and Voltaire, pink leather-trimmed top – M Missoni, blue printed tee – Jason Wu, turquoise floral tee – Prabal Gurung

Remember, this is what we're starting with in the closet:

Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneck – Uniqlo, black cardigan – Uniqlo, black v-neck - Uniqlo, white broadcloth shirt – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee – Uniqlo, black tee – Uniqlo, black jeans – Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo,  skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo
 Since you've started with your solid core of neutral clothes, your seemingly mad indulgence in bright colors and a statement print isn't REALLY extravagant - you, in fact, have a lot of different choices in how to wear your new items.  You can be quite casual, or rather dressy - you will be able to enjoy your new tops to your heart's content, and never be bored!

Having a planned and organized wardrobe doesn't necessarily have to mean that you have a staid or boring wardrobe; a well thought-out balance of neutral workhorse garments, sparked with bright colors and prints can still be practical and versatile.

Yes, The Outnet pays me a wee commission if you click through and purchase something.  That's not why I chose these tops, however - I chose them so that you would learn about a really cool mail order option. Even if it doesn't appear to you, it's fun to see some of the more outrageous clothes offered...

                        THE OUTNET.COM

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + A Common Wardrobe: shades of blue, with black and grey

We looked at using a variety of shades of pink as an accent (post here), and it was something that everybody either seemed to love or hate.  So I'm going to see what response is to shades of blue - that very particular muted blue that you see in blue onyx.

A note about this scarf - it's from Hermes, and it's in their usual amazingly lustrous silk twill, but it isn't a square - it's a very long rectangle with mitered ends.  Per square inch of silk, these scarves are MUCH less expensive than the squares, and for many people, they're a lot more versatile style.  If you've never been interested in a square scarf, then these (called Maxi Twilly), are at least worth seeing, just to admire their beauty... The Hermes website has changed the way they display scarves; it's now whimsical, and very pretty.

So here's the 5-Piece French Wardrobe - classic shapes for the most part, everything related to that shade of blue.
Light blue sweater – Dorothy Perkins, blue shirt – Pop Cph, blue cardigan – Uniqlo, scarf – Hermes Cavalcadour maxi twilly, blue onyx earrings – LindseyMarie
And here's A Common Wardrobe in black and grey.  The only difference from the navy and grey we were using is just a switch of the five navy garments to the identical items (except the skirt) in black. I was toying around with how many possible combinations there are, just within these twelve garments, and it came out over 4 dozen.  These core items in your closet could make a lot of mornings much simpler. 
Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneckUniqlo, black cardigan – Uniqlo, black v-neckUniqlo, white broadcloth shirt – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee – Uniqlo, black tee – Uniqlo, black jeans – Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo,  skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo
The new tops add a lot of interest to your neutrals, but the scarf and the earrings are often just the touch that's needed to bring a fresh look to the garments you love and wear the most.

                        House of Fraser

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + A Common Wardrobe: blue, green, and grey

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe is a great way to experiment with new colors, but it can also be used as a way to build upon The Common Wardrobe in your chosen neutrals.  Adding in a neutral item or two can really expand the versatility of your core garments, while a new color or two keeps the boredom at bay.

Let's see what these five items do for A Common Wardrobe:
Green sweater – Elizabeth and James, grey cardigan – Viyella, blue tee shirt – Dash, striped tee shirt - Mint Velvet, beaded gauze scarf – Alexia

Remember, this is A Common Wardrobe, in navy and grey, with which we're working:
Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneck – Uniqlo, navy cardigan – Uniqlo, navy v-neck - Uniqlo, white broadcloth shirt – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee – Uniqlo, navy tee – Uniqlo, dark  jeans – Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo, navy skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo
First off, the beautiful green sweater actually would give you eight new possibilities (I only show four) - it can be worn with any of your pants, jeans, or skirt, and it can be worn with or without the scarf.

Secondly, The blue tee shirt goes under any of your v-neck sweaters, or your cardigan, and it can also be worn on it's own.  If you look carefully, you'll see that the scarf you bought includes a dash of the blue from your tee shirt, so the scarf could be included in any of these eight outfits!

But here, where you add to your collection of neutral garments in A Common Wardrobe, is where the real versatility and mileage appear!  Of course the tee shirt goes with everything, in at least a dozen different combinations:

And the grey cardigan?  Same outcome - everything in A Common Wardrobe goes beautifully!  And imagine how many more outfits there are when we pull the striped tee shirt AND the blue tee shirt back in here to wear under the cardigan? How about the striped shirt worn under the denim shirt? Lots of ideas...

                        Happy Socks

Monday, October 13, 2014

From the Agnes B. Winter 2014 catalog...

I love these little snippets of wisdom that one finds without trying...

These are two facing pages in their little Winter 2014 booklet.  Not only does she make great clothes, but she also understands our drive to personal expression, uniqueness, and an image that's all our own.

                        Alexis Bittar

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How to Be a Parisian (or not...)

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Band Habits,
by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas

I grabbed this book when I was in the middle of a mad shopping spree at Athaeneum bookstore in Amsterdam.  If you read Dutch, French or English, this is a wonderful place to wile away the time and the Euros.  Of course, I'm a little weird about bookstores now that Chicago has very few in the entire city...

Frankly, either this book is terrible, or it is so tongue-in-cheek that the authors must have disfigured themselves writing it.  It makes Parisian women (and yes, it's ONLY about women) into a caricature of reckless sexual conduct, adolescent romantic sensibilities, and an overall casual disregard for their work, significant others, and family members.  That said, there were, as always, some bits with which I completely agreed... For example:


  • Three-inch heels.  Why live life halfway?
  • Logos. You are not a billboard.
  • Nylon, polyester, viscose and vinyl will make you sweaty, smelly and shiny.
  • Sweatpants. No man should ever see you in those. Except your gym teacher - and even then. Leggings are tolerated.
  • Blingy jeans with embroidery and holes in them. They belong to Bollywood.
  • UGG boots. Enough said.
  • A skimpy top. Because you're not fifteen anymore.
  • A fake designer bag. Like fake breasts, you can't fix your insecurities through forgery.
Truth be told, if the Parisienne could wear just a Burberry trench and nothing underneath, she would be in heaven."

If you can't find something in this book that deeply offends you, I will be astonished...

But speaking of EXCELLENT writing:

I've got a packing worksheet for you!

I've been promising it to you for months, I know. This is actually the worksheet, embedded in a 10-page baby booklet that discusses the various items, and what ABC, 1,2,3 means.  

Here where you can find it:  Add to Cart

Let me know what you think,

Friday, October 10, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + A Common Wardrobe: Shades of Pink, Navy and Grey

While the French 5-Piece Wardrobe is great for experimenting with new colors or  trendy items, it can also be an opportunity to build your wardrobe around your favorite colors. If you like pink - all shades of pink - then indulge in a combination of beautiful items for the long-term and a few more spontaneously fun things for a season or two.

Scarf – KathKath, pink cashmere turtleneck – Uniqlo, pink cardigan – Uniqlo, striped tee – Charles Tyrwhitt, tote bag – 2 Picche
There are lots of possibilities here, from bright and cheery ensembles to more subtle and low-key ones.   

Just a reminder that this is A Common Wardrobe upon which we are building. 
Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneck – Uniqlo, navy cardigan – Uniqlo, navy v-neck - Uniqlo, white broadcloth shirt – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee – Uniqlo, navy tee – Uniqlo, dark  jeans – Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo, navy skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The French 5-Piece Wardrobe + A Common Wardrobe: burgundy, teal, navy and grey

Very popular colors - I often get requests for these!  And this year, this wine color is quite popular and readily available - if it's a color that you love, this is a good season to pick up a piece or two.

This is an long-term sweater, a blouse that should last you a couple of seasons at least, and a cardigan that you can count on for a few years.  Most scarves hold up well and can be counted on for the long term.  But I think the stand-out item here is the great wool shopping bag - how clever is it to make a wool bag?  I can just imagine how nice this feels...

5-Piece French Wardrobe in burgundy maroon wine and teal blue
Wine cashmere sweater – Vince, teal shirt – White Stuff, wine cardigan – Eastex, scarf – We Are Owls, wool felt shopping bag – Monique Borckhus
 In order to give you a fuller view of just how useful these few items can be, I've found two dozen different combinations that work with The Common Wardrobe in navy and grey.  Your mileage may vary, but I suspect that these new pieces will become favorites pretty quickly.

Just a reminder that we started with A Common Wardrobe like this.  I just feel comfortable and secure imagining these items in my closet.

Grey v-neck – Uniqlo, grey turtleneck – Uniqlo, navy cardigan – Uniqlo, navy v-neck - Uniqlo, white broadcloth shirt – Uniqlo, denim shirt – Uniqlo, grey tee – Uniqlo, navy tee – Uniqlo, dark  jeans – Uniqlo, grey jeans - Uniqlo, navy skirt - Uniqlo, faded jeans - Uniqlo

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