Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Project 333, Planning, Packing, Paris, and the Unexpected

I leave later today for Paris... and Yes, I'm excited!  It never gets old, and I never get tired of doing the same things, going the same places. This trip will be very different from most of my recent ones, because I'm going with someone who's never been there.  This will definitely add some new perspectives to how I see the city.

My carefully schemed packing is going to be changed slightly, because the weather in Paris is quite a bit warmer than it is here in Chicago.  This makes me think AGAIN that it's only reasonable to be prepared for weather changes when you travel.

Last week, in Chicago, the weather went from air conditioning overnight to weather cold enough to wear gloves.  Literally, in less than 12 hours, we saw 30 degree temperature drops, which have persisted for over a week.  A tremendous number of visitors found themselves in shorts and sandals when the temperature was HIGH in the 50's Fahrenheit.  It's great for the economy of the city, since everybody had to go shopping, but it was a rude and unhappy shock for the tourists.

Thus, my standing rule that no matter WHERE I go, no matter what time of year, I have a pair of pants or jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, socks and real shoes with heels and toes.

Since the weather cooperated, I began Project 333 for the autumn - here's four outfits that I've worn since "the drop".  I'm making a concerted effort to wear my Hermes scarves, since they haven't seen the light of day much since last April!

black cardigan - Eileen Fisher, (this year's version), black tee - Lands' Endslouch pants - Eileen Fisher, (tweed ones seem to be gone - the link is to solid black), pearl stud earrings - Majorica, pearl and chain necklace - Majorica, loafers - Stuart Weitzman (discontinued, but these are what I'd replace them with), earrings - Alexis Bittar (Discontinued), scarf - Hermes, denim dress - J. Jill (similar), flats - Thierry Rabotin

blue crewneck sweater - J. Jill (similar),black jeans - Eileen Fisher, earrings - Katherine Seaman, scarf - Hermes, boots - Munrogrey sweater - Eileen Fisher (LL Bean's cotton version),waxed jeans - Eileen Fisher, knot earrings - Fortunoff, scarf - Hermes, boiled wool jacket - L.L.Bean, shoes - Cole Haan

Most days that I'm on vacation, there will be at least a small post for you here at The Vivienne Files.  I prepared the posts over the past 6 weeks, so if you encounter broken links or sold-out items, I apologize in advance!  But always remember, it's not about shopping, but about getting ideas and enjoying what we already own.


                        Neiman Marcus Last Call (Neiman Marcus)                        

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Start With Art: Yellow Tree by Linda Jacobson

So beautiful, and such inspiring colors!  I was completely unfamiliar with this artist; my readers send me the most wonderful things...
 “Yellow Tree”, by Linda Jacobson available from Saatchi Art
I chose a muted palette from this painting - I think I'm in a muted mood today.  Would you like to see a 2nd post (after my vacation!) based on this painting, with more vivid colors?  

I've been asked to clarify the role of the various "fours" in the 4 by 4 Wardrobe, so I'm going to do that while working with this painting.  Multitasking...

The First Core of Four is designed to give you two tops and two "bottoms" (I don't know why, but lots of people are completely bothered by the term bottoms...) that can be worn as four outfits.  It's the most simple and high-mileage combination of neutral clothes you can find, and it makes a great base upon which to build your wardrobe.
Green silk blouse – Equipment, green corduroy pants – Peter Jensen, green sweater – Madewell, green jeans – Maison Scotch
A second Core of Four (another four blue-on-blue outfits), now gives you sixteen different combinations! (4 x 4 = 16).  Yes, these outfits aren't the cutting edge of trendy fashion, but they're certainly acceptable and appropriate pretty much anywhere you can wear jeans, and if you love these colors, they'll be outfits that make you happy.
Blue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frame, blue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.
 But as we all know, you need more tops than bottoms, and so we have an Expansion Four of tops that can be worn with either color of jeans.  When I'm looking for these, I try to find tops that combine the two colors with which we're working, in order to introduce some prints into the mix.  Texture can be nice too...
Metallic sweater – Alexander Wang, plaid silk shirt – Equipment,  green tee shirt – Kain, floral blouse – Sugarhill
And finally, we introduce the accent colors in order to really be able to wear these clothes A LOT without seeming to be limited in our colors.  This Mileage Four gives you a final ration of tops to bottoms of 3:1, which is not a bad target.  What you wear above the waist is much more noticed and memorable than your trousers or skirt, so it makes sense to have more variety in shirts and sweaters.  Also, many of us find that we can easily wear jeans more than once without laundering them, but tee shirts have to be washed ALL THE TIME...
Camel sweater – Warehouse, blue tee – Majestic Filatures, camel silk blouse – Ana Pires, blue sweater – Warehouse
Woman does not live by clothing alone - you've got to at least wear shoes!  The role of integration is to give you a sense of coherence in your outfits.  For example, if you wore a green sweater with blue jeans, it would all hang together if you were also wearing a blue scarf that picked up the color of the jeans.

 In the original 4 by 4 wardrobes, I used only 4 items to Integrate the Wardrobe. Those wardrobe were for hot weather, and were very minimal  - we were really pulling together the very least necessary for a beach vacation or similar activities.  Since then, I've surrendered to my longing for accessories and expanded the number, but you could certainly get by with just a couple of pairs of shoes, a bag, and one scarf, or one pair of earrings.  Always remember - the choices are yours, and nobody else's!
Fringed scarf – Nordstrom, aquamarine stud earrings – Ayako Kanari, cord and silver bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs,  jade earrings – Zandra Lorena Sajbin, jade necklace – Zandra Lorena Sajbin, blue subtle striped scarf – Apoccas, crossbody bag – Rebecca Minkoff, loafers – Geox, ankle boots – Sole Society
Green silk blouse – Equipment, green corduroy pants – Peter Jensen, green sweater – Madewell, green jeans – Maison ScotchBlue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.Metallic sweater – Alexander Wang, plaid silk shirt – Equipment,  green tee shirt – Kain, floral blouse – SugarhillCamel sweater – Warehouse, blue tee – Majestic Filatures, camel silk blouse – Ana Pires, blue sweater – WarehouseFringed scarf – Nordstrom, aquamarine stud earrings – Ayako Kanari, cord and silver bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs jade earrings – Zandra Lorena Sajbin, jade necklace – Zandra Lorena Sajbinblue subtle striped scarf – Apoccas, crossbody bag – Rebecca Minkoff, loafers – Geox, ankle boots – Sole Society

                        Dorothy Perkins(US)

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Trend to (Maybe) Try: An Upgraded Sweatshirt

One of the joys of having all of our core basics covered in our wardrobes is that, if a trend happens along that holds some interest and appeal, we can give it a try!  This year, sweatshirts with some sort of enhancement seem to be everywhere.  I've seen jeweled, beaded, embroidered, textured, and printed ones - some of them very beautiful.  These can be worn with nice trousers and good-quality leather shoes on casual Friday in most offices.

However, be careful, because some of these sweatshirts, while very lovely, are BLINDINGLY expensive.  Happily, there are also very similar products available at more reasonable prices.  Just check to be sure that your new purchase is put together reasonably well, and isn't manufactured somewhere with abysmal safety records.

These are a few budget-busters.  But if I were made of money, I'd have numbers three, four and six boxed up and shipped over tomorrow - sweatshirts suit my "Bolshoi drop-out/la garconne" wardrobe to a T!

Houndstooth short-sleeved Theory, black quilted – Neil Barrett, black and white – Mother of Pearl, floral – Roberto Cavalli, butterfly print – Valentino, architecture print – Carven

These are in many ways similar to the sweatshirts show above, but at a fraction of the cost.  At least two of these look, to my eye, as if they could easily compete with their high-priced siblings.

Grey cable knit – Dorothy Perkins, navy dotted – White Stuff, grey striped – Steven Alan, black floral – Morgan, grey abstract – Wood Wood, black white floral sweatshirt - ChicNova

Are there any other current trends we should examine?  Let me know!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Lavender, Jade, Denim and Grey

One more visit to the denim and grey Core of Four - this time, with accent colors of lavender and jade.  All of the shades are cool - some are soft and gentle, and others are almost vivid.  Lots of options here!
Zigzag stripe scarf – Missoni, moonstone earrings – Anzie lavender scarf – Faliero Sarti moonstone bracelet - Shanker, pearl and moonstone necklace – Nalinee, striped scarf – Faliero Sartigrey loafers – Tod’s, striped bag – Kao Pao Shu, ankle boots – SoftWalkgrey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – J.W. Anderson, grey corduroy pants – Patagonia, grey Henley - Uniqloblue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.heather green top – North Facegrey smock top – Isabel Marant Etoile, white collar and cuff shirt – Etro, cardigan – L.L.Beanlavender v-neck shirt – Gap, green cardigan – Uniqlo, green silk shirt – Uniqlo, lavender Henley shirt – L.L.Bean
Grey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – J.W. Anderson, grey corduroy pantsPatagonia, grey Henley - Uniqlo
Blue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.
One of the nicest things with the shades of lavender - they can easily be blended so long as you have the same basic tone.
Heather green top – North Face, grey smock top – Isabel Marant Etoile, white collar and cuff shirt – Etro, cardigan – L.L.Bean
 Once you find someone who's selling a color that you love, it makes some sense to stock up!
Lavender v-neck shirt – Gap, green cardigan – Uniqlo, green silk shirt – Uniqlo, lavender Henley shirt – L.L.Bean
I looked for moonstone jewelry for this collection.  Moonstone has such a lovely iridescent, almost colorless quality that picks up the colors that you wear.  I think it's beautiful (and it's one of the three birthstones for those of us born in June!)
Zigzag stripe scarf – Missoni, moonstone earrings – Anzie lavender scarf – Faliero Sarti moonstone bracelet - Shanker, pearl and moonstone necklace – Nalinee, striped scarf – Faliero Sarti, grey loafers – Tod’s, striped bag – Kao Pao Shu, ankle boots – SoftWalk

Friday, September 12, 2014

A 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Pink, Rose, Denim and Grey

This color palette felt to me like it was giving you permission to indulge in a variety of shades of pink, and so that's sort of what I did.  I also took this opportunity to pretend that the person choosing this wardrobe had a deep and abiding passion for stripes.  That sort of fondness/obsession is great in a wardrobe, if it's deeply and truly felt. You should definitely wear your heart on your literal sleeve if you know what you like, and you're happy sharing it with the world.  It certainly makes shopping more focused, and you project a clear point of view to everyone around you!
Grey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – Acne Studios, grey corduroy pants – Patagonia, grey Henley - Uniqloblue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.grey striped shirt – Isabel Marantgrey smock top – Isabel Marant Etoile, plaid shirt – Esprit, blue striped shirt – Isabel Marantrose pink cardigan – Uniqlo, pink cotton shirt – Ted Baker, striped tee shirt – Uniqlo,  striped shirt – Velvetgrey and blue striped scarf – Missoni, bar earrings – Burcu Okutlinen and crochet scarf – Handmade by Hayley, silver cuff bracelet – Achara, striped scarf – Faliero Sartigrey loafers – Tod’s, tote bag – Coet, grey suede boots – Aerosoles
Grey jeans – Current/Elliott,grey sweater – Acne Studios, grey corduroy pants – Patagonia, grey Henley - Uniqlo
Blue tee shirt – Uniqlo, cuffed blue jeans – Frameblue sweater – Steven Alan, dark wash jeans – A.P.C.

Why yes, the grey and blue shirts are the same, except for the color.  When you find shirts that fit well, it's not crazy to stock up.  Difficulty with fit is why many of us avoided button-fronts for so many years.  Finally, manufacturers are figuring out that they might want to make these in a wider variety of cuts...  I personally have great luck with Lands' End Petite shirts, if anyone with shorts arms and a full balcony wants to venture into the shirt market.  
Grey striped shirt – Isabel Marant, grey smock top – Isabel Marant Etoile, plaid shirt – Esprit, blue striped shirt – Isabel Marant
Always remember that a simple cardigan can be worn alone, as a sweater - sort of a two for one purchase!
Rose pink cardigan – Uniqlo, pink cotton shirt – Ted Baker, striped tee shirt – Uniqlo,  striped shirt – Velvet              
Here's where the stripe fondness became really fun - notice the subtle ridges in the bracelet, and the stripe-like nature of the silver earrings! 
Grey and blue striped scarf – Missoni, bar earrings – Burcu Okut, linen and crochet scarf – Handmade by Hayley, silver cuff bracelet – Achara, striped scarf – Faliero Sarti, grey loafers – Tod’s, tote bag – Coet, grey suede boots – Aerosoles
The nicest thing about having a good-quality core of solid garments is that you can indulge in a preference for things like stripes for a while, and then if you decide that you want to branch off into plaid or floral or metallic, you don't have to spend buckets of money in order to put together a few outfits showing your new crush.  When you are well-rooted in your base colors, you can express yourself in a variety of ways, so that you feel current, and always happy!
                        UNIQLO Europe Ltd