Thursday, March 23, 2017

A normal blogger would wait until this was finished to share it with you, but nobody's ever accused me of being normal!

I freely admit that I think Ted Baker London makes some of the most beautiful scarves, and that they are an excellent starting point for a well-chosen capsule wardrobe. This just screams spring to me... and if you're a pansy person (or you love someone who is) this would be a beautiful "no reason at all" gift:

Esme Enchantment scarf by Ted Baker London
Esme Enchantment Scarf - Ted Baker London

This beautiful floral is available in such wide-ranging lovelies as ballet flats, bags, 2 swimsuits, a cover-up, cropped trousers and a matching sleeveless top, a blouse, a tee shirt, a couple of skirts, a couple of dresses and of course other shapes and sizes of scarves. I have to admit that a tee shirt in this fabric would be tempting - it's a really easy to wear this beautiful print, without having to be "scarf adept." Or the sleeveless top in hot weather....

At any rate, the colors that we're going to have at our disposal are so lovely!

Esme Enchantment scarf by Ted Baker London with color palette

I've only made it through the first four months of the year, on the wardrobe-building front, which is why I hesitated about posting this. But I thought maybe seeing just a few months might give you an opportunity to better "digest" these outfits, rather than having a dozen thrown at you all at one time...

Yes, these outfits are long on basic garments; I don't think that there should be a lot going on in an outfit to distract from (1) the beautiful scarf upon which we're focusing, and most importantly (2) the beautiful woman wearing the clothes!

Esme Enchantment scarf by Ted Baker London with outfits for January and February
cardigan – Lands’ End; tee – J. Crew; loafers – AGL; earrings– Lonna & Lilly; pants – L.L.Bean; dress – Lands’ End; cardigan – Lands’ End; pumps – Trotters; earrings – Bloomingdale’s; pansy bracelet - Orchard Jewelry

Yes, a sleeveless dress in February might seem a bit nutty, but I'm thinking of Valentine's Day, and then of a dress that can be worn through the spring and summer. That's the beauty of the matching cardigan - it makes the dress wearable, and then gives you that bit of flirt factor if the restaurant, theater or other venue is warm...

Esme Enchantment scarf by Ted Baker London with outfits for March and April
sweater – Vince; bowed flats - Vaneli; earrings – Vera Bradley; skirt - Cityshop; necklace – Vera Bradley; pants – Comme des Garçons; sweater – Missoni; flats - Softwalk

I love cropped pants and ballet flats for spring; my legs really almost never get cold! (and yes, the earrings and necklace match; you don't ever have to wear them at the same time!)

This is what you have for clothing, so far; this would be a great long-weekend springtime travel capsule wardrobe:



And knowing that I'm going to be building substantially on this start in the next day, we can see where I am for a good core of neutrals, with a decent percentage of accents. This will of course "flesh-out" beautifully as the outfits are added...



Sorry for the miniature post today, but I've had a very difficult time getting myself moving; some days I just plain need rest, and my body will NOT be denied.

But I'm always thinking of you,
with love,
Janice

How to Gradually Build a Capsule Wardrobe: Start with a Scarf - Ted Baker Enchantment
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Someone asked me what this wardrobe would look like with ONLY ivory and black pieces, incorporating prints and patterns as the accents. And someone else asked what I would do if I were choosing how to build on the original 9 Neutral Building Blocks. So I thought I'd incorporate both ideas into one post - a last look at those 9 ivory and black pieces!

First off - these are the pieces that I would add, if I were going to build on the neutrals. It would be really easy to just get seven striped garments! But I always love a good marled sweater, the mitered skirt is a fun way to slim one's hips, and then there's that Keith Haring tee shirt that I like so much...

seven wardrobe accent pieces in black and ivory
cardigan – Lanvin; sweater - L.L.Bean; shirt - Uniqlo; 2-color top - Mint Velvet; tee shirt - Uniqlo; pants – Theory; skirt – Dorothy Perkins

And just for reference, the original nine wardrobe Neutral Building Blocks:

9 black and ivory wardrobe Neutral Building Blocks
v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; cardigan - L.L.Bean; sleeveless top – L.L.Bean; short-sleeve tee - L.L.Bean; long-sleeve tee – L.L.Bean; sweater - L.L.Bean; jeans – Brock Collection; shorts - L.L.Bean; pants - L.L.Bean

Imagine a trip - something around 2 weeks or so - and this 4x4 Wardrobe is what I'm packing:

a Four by Four Wardrobe in black and ivory

Of course, let's not forget that I have the 12 outfits (at least) that can be pulled together just using the original 9 solid-color garments:

12 outfits composed from 12 solid-colored neutral pieces of clothing

This first outfit looks like something I might wear to travel (maybe black pants instead of recklessly dangerous ivory?), and then the 2nd outfit might be what I'd switch into for hanging out in the hotel, or dashing off somewhere, if the weather's nice enough:

2 ways to wear a Keith Haring tee shirt
tee shirt - Uniqlo; loafers – Patricia Green; jeans – Brock Collection; cardigan - L.L.Bean; earrings – Astley Clarke; tote – Ted Baker London; wristlet– Vera Bradley; tee shirt - Uniqlo; shorts - L.L.Bean; bracelet – Tai; sandals – Cole Haan

I'd be certain to have one top that was soft, somewhat lightweight, and a little bit draped, just to be relaxed and a bit feminine.

2 ways to wear a black and ivory print pieced top
2-color top - Mint Velvet; ballet flats – Sam Edelman; pants - L.L.Bean; earrings – Poppy Finch; satchel – Sole Society; 2-color top - Mint Velvet; sandals – Cole Haan; shorts - L.L.Bean; sunglasses – DIFF; bracelet - Oro Pearls

While the marled sweater isn't exactly a solid color, it's such a subtle mix of colors that it's really easy to wear with more overtly "printed" garments.

2 ways to wear a black and ivory marled cotton sweater
sweater - L.L.Bean; bracelet - Oro Pearls; pumps – Rockport; skirt – Dorothy Perkins; scarf – Unpaired; sweater - L.L.Bean; wristlet– Vera Bradley; ballet flats – Sam Edelman; pants – Theory; necklace - Plumeria Exclusive London

Wearing the striped shirt with the striped skirt might be really risky, but having the solid v-neck sweater over the shirt keeps the actual "contact point" of the 2 fabrics from being visible, and limits the amount of shirt showing to just the collar and maybe a bit of the cuffs. I wouldn't be at all self-conscious about the mix of stripes, when limited in this way!

And I own the Hershel backpack - I'm loving it. It's surprisingly roomy, but doesn't feel bulky at all when I carry it. Sort of a Harry Potter-ish kind of a bag...

The silk scarf is small, and would tuck into the collar of the shirt easily. While it's a print, I think it will work well with the shirt, since the shirt stripe is subtle. I'd have to have them in hand to be absolutely positive...

2 ways to wear an ivory striped linen shirt
shirt - Uniqlo; pumps – Rockport; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; skirt – Dorothy Perkins; brooch – Banana Republic; satchel – Sole Society; shirt - Uniqlo; backpack – Hershel; small silk scarf – Halogen; pants - L.L.Bean; cardigan - L.L.Bean; loafers – Munro

It would be fascinating to try on this skirt and see just HOW those mitered stripes flatter... Normally, I would travel with a solid black skirt, but having something like this might be fun - it's not as if you're under contract to wear madly different outfits every day that you're traveling!

two ways to wear a black and ivory miter striped skirt
tote – Ted Baker London; sweater - L.L.Bean; rings - Freida Rothman; skirt – Dorothy Perkins; pumps – Rockport; earrings - Freida Rothman; short-sleeve tee - L.L.Bean; flats – Josef Seibel; cardigan - L.L.Bean; skirt – Dorothy Perkins; bag - Reiss

The pattern on these pants is so small that you needn't worry about them being unflattering - unlike some huge hibiscus pattern sprawled across your... body...

two ways to wear black geometric print pants
earrings – Poppy Finch; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; wristlet– Vera Bradley; pants – Theory; small silk scarf – Halogen; ballet flats – Sam Edelman; earrings – Astley Clarke; short-sleeve tee - L.L.Bean; flats – Josef Seibel; cardigan - L.L.Bean; pants – Theory; bag - Reiss

And yes, at this point you've seen all of the accessories before; having a theme for everything that you're packing means that a lot of things can work multiple shifts! And while I love this cardigan, the week that I buy a Lanvin sweater will be that week that has 7 Wednesdays in it...

2 ways to wear an ivory and black striped cardigan
cardigan – Lanvin; bracelet - Oro Pearls; sleeveless top – L.L.Bean; loafers – Munro; pants - L.L.Bean; scarf – Unpaired; sunglasses – DIFF; cardigan – Lanvin; sandals – Cole Haan; short-sleeve tee - L.L.Bean; shorts - L.L.Bean; backpack – Hershel

This is how everything looks, all pulled together for packing. I have to admit that I'd prune out at least 1 or 2 bags, and probably a pair of shoes. But I think that with some judicious folding and organizing, I could easily pack all of the clothes, jewelry and scarves with no trouble!

4 by 4 Wardrobe in Ivory and Black with accessories

I'm going to take another look at 4 paintings, with the same neutral colors at the core, next week or the week after. I might miss a post tomorrow, because I've got something large-ish that I'm working on, and I might not have the stamina to finish it in 1 day. If I'm missing tomorrow, I apologize in advance!

love,
Janice

For more on Personalizing a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe, please read:

How to Build an "All-Neutral" Capsule Wardrobe in Ivory and Black
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ah, here's where the heroines with the wardrobes from last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and yesterday all come together, and where we get to see just HOW much a few accent piece can change the look of very simple, neutral pieces of clothing.

First up - all four of these women own the SAME black cashmere cardigan. But once they put it into the mix with their own things, the results are very different:

two ways to wear a classic black cashmere cardigan
bracelet – Komang Suastra; sleeveless top – L.L.Bean; skirt – Vanessa Bruno; earrings – Wadarat Supasirisuk; cardigan - L.L.Bean; sandals – Børn; earrings – Bloomingdale’s; cardigan - L.L.Bean; pumps - Louise et Cie; short-sleeve tee - L.L.Bean; skirt – Aspesi; pearl bracelet - Khun Boom

Someone didn't mention to our last woman (the very avant garde lady) that we were getting dressed up, but I don't honestly think she's the kind of person who would mind...

2 outfits that include a black cardigan
earrings – Swarovski; labradorite bracelet – Sydney Evan; tank – Missoni;pants– Labo Art; cardigan - L.L.Bean; sandals – Michael Kors; cardigan - L.L.Bean; sneakers – Cole Haan; tee - Uniqlo; pants - L.L.Bean; earrings – Kendra Scott; bracelet - Swarovski

If these four women were sitting in a restaurant together, I don't think anybody would be inclined to walk up to them and point out that they all have the same cardigan...

And the black pants become even more of a "background" item when worn with a distinctive top, and some accessories that echo the wearer's personal style:

2 ways to wear a pair of black trousers
bag – Coach; velvet tee – Hale Bob; ankle-strap shoes – Halogen; pants - L.L.Bean; earrings – Lulu Frost; blush bag – Angela & Roi; floral sweater – Gerry Weber; bow flat – Summit; earrings – Alexis Bittar; pants - L.L.Bean

2 ways to wear a pair of black trousers
black bag – Ted Baker; light teal cardigan – Classic; tassel flats - Louise et Cie; pants - L.L.Bean; earrings – Alexis Bittar; earrings – Oscar de la Renta; pants - L.L.Bean; ; sweater – MSGM; bit-trimmed loafers – Hispanitas; yellow bag - Proenza Schouler

When you wear something close to your face, it's more memorable, and thus people around you are going to notice if you and your friends are all wearing the same thing. That said, I still think that these four ensembles look VERY distinctive, one from the others.

two ways to wear an ivory sweater
earrings - Majorica; skirt – Vanessa Bruno; sweater - L.L.Bean; flats – Lucky Brand; scarf – Eileen Fisher; mint scarf – Hinge; sweater - L.L.Bean; flats – Shoes of Prey; earrings – Vera Bradley; pants - Christian Pellizzari

two ways to wear an ivory sweater
star scarf – Mango; skirt – Acne Studios (sold out already!!!); sweater - L.L.Bean; earrings – Marc Jacobs; pumps - Aerosoles; earrings – Lulu Frost; sweater - L.L.Bean; pumps – Cole Haan; tropical print scarf – Sole Society; skirt - Parden’s

Similarly, a black v-neck sweater might be somewhat more memorable than a pair of black pants, but once you've put a lovely scarf, a distinctive piece of jewelry, and either unique pants or a skirt, nobody's going to notice that you and your friend are wearing the same sweater.

two ways to wear a black v-neck sweater
scarf – Nordstrom; cropped silk trousers – P.A.R.O.S.H.; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; mules – BP.; ring - Baumgarten di Marco; ring – Meredith Leigh; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; pumps - Louise et Cie; pearls – Kenneth Jay Lane; skirt – Aspesi

two ways to wear a black v-neck sweater
bag – Diane von Furstenberg; slingbacks – Vaneli; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; skirt – Acne Studios (sold out already!!!); necklace - Justine Clenquet; scarf – Rockins; pants – Only; v-neck sweater – L.L.Bean; short boots – Aquatalia; bag - Chloé

The only thing more neutral than blue jeans might be jeans in any other color. These 4 outfits show the range of possibilities available to someone who owns a pair of ivory jeans:

two ways to wear ivory jeans
tote – Allsaints; sunglasses – Ray-Ban; jeans – Brock Collection; sweater – L.L.Bean; olive shoes – Sperry; mint tee – J.Crew; ivory shoes – Geox; sunglasses - Shwood; jeans – Brock Collection; tote – Ted Baker

two ways to wear ivory jeans
sweater – Acne Studios; cap-toe shoes – Lanvin; sunglasses – Ted Baker London; jeans – Brock Collection; ring – Rachel Jackson; sunglasses – Perverse; cube ring - Nektar de Stagni; jeans – Brock Collection; long-sleeve tee – L.L.Bean; cardigan – M Missoni; waterproof shoes – Hunter

When these wardrobes are show together with their accessories, and the painting which was the original inspiration, you can see clear personalities. There's no way that these wardrobes could be confused for each other!

L'Encens by Ferrand Khnopff with a wardrobe inspired by the painting

L’Encens – Ferrand Khnopff

Untitled by Julian Lethbridge with a wardrobe inspired by the painting

Untitled by Julian Lethbridge

Rousseau's Carnival Evening with a wardrobe inspired by the painting

Carnival Evening by Henri-Julien-Félix Rousseau

Leger's Le Pot a Tisane with a wardrobe inspired by the painting
Le Pot a Tisane by Fernand Leger

I hope that the lengthy process has demonstrated a little bit more clearly the potential that a core of neutral garments has within even the most distinctive wardrobes. Many people who struggle to get dressed every day might be well-served to seriously consider the usefulness of adding just a couple of versatile neutrals to their wardrobe.

love,
Janice

For more on Personalizing a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe, please read:

Four Different Ways to Wear Black and Ivory Neutral Building Blocks in a capsule wardrobe
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Monday, March 20, 2017

So far, we've been relatively subtle in our accent colors... THAT'S going to change!

Le Pot a Tisane by Fernand Leger
Le Pot a Tisane by Fernand Leger

I see many things in this image, but I do NOT see a pot of tea!

What might be the thing that really threw this painting into the "must address" bucket for The Vivienne Files is the surprising presence of that beautiful purple. (and yes, a wee touch of green!) Normally, I think most of us, if we were painting this, might be tempted to use blue alongside the red and yellow. But that's why he's Leger, and we're not...

I also really appreciate the degree to which these colors are strong, but not jarring or neon. That takes a bit of skill...

Le Pot a Tisane by Fernand Leger with style guidelines and color palette

I know we're getting a bit weary of seeing these, but I have to always remember that many of my readers aren't following these series in order, and might stumble into this post without any advance notice of the overall plan. So, in the interests of full information, these are the 9 neutral garments upon which I'm going to build a nifty little travel wardrobe for our intrepid heroine:

9 wardrobe Neutral Building Blocks in black and ivory

And these are a dozen outfits that this person already has, before I've added even one accent garment:

12 outfits composed from 9 Neutral Building Block garments

And just to keep me honest, and focused, this is how these 9 pieces fit into a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template. Even if I've done a certain wardrobe plan a bunch of times, it never hurts to stop and remember what I'm trying to accomplish!

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template, with 9 wardrobe Neutral Building Blocks

These colors are closest to those that I normally wear, so I had a particularly good time choosing these! If someone who really loves me is reading this, I would wear that Keith Haring "star" tee shirt in a New York minute...

seven wardrobe accent pieces in yellow, red, purple, and black and white

Even though the top row of each of these templates has remained the same (as well as 75% of the 2nd row...), just seven different garments give each wardrobe a very different personality, I think!

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, ivory, red, yellow and purple

This is my favorite part of the exercise - can someone really WEAR these clothes in enough different ways to be able to honestly call this a capsule wardrobe? I'd say yes, in this case:

12 outfits assembled from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, ivory, purple, yellow and red

a dozen outfits from a 16-piece travel capsule wardrobe in black, ivory, yellow, red and purple

Tomorrow, our heroines are all going to meet up, and compare outfits! I'm still barely started on this, so it will be a surprise for all of us to see just how it all turns out...

love,
Janice

For more on Personalizing a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe, please read:


How to Accent a Neutral Capsule Wardrobe with Brights - Start with Art: Le Pot a Tisane by Leger
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