Saturday, February 06, 2016

Start with Art: Fumee d'Ambre Gris by Sargent

I spotted this painting ages ago, when I put together the "Images and Color Schemes: 100 Works of Art" file (which you can still buy here). So when one of you wrote to me, asking that I use this image on the blog, I was enthusiastically happy!

Fumee d'Ambre Gris by John Singer Sargent

This is the page that I included the the Images and Color Schemes file:

The exotic nature of the painting suggested a travel wardrobe, but I didn't want to go too far overboard into a desert vacation, so I went back to our "range of events" trips that so many of us are taking this spring and summer.

And I decided to break a few rules, too!


Generally, she's described as the eccentric aunt, but she prefers to think of herself as an iconoclast. An original. A truly self-defined woman...

And she doesn't wear high heels! Nor stockings...

But she can get dressed up as well as anyone, even if it's going to be one of those long weekends with everything from formal dinners to weddings to a picnic. She can pull this off, with carry-on luggage. Iconoclasts as very self-reliant!
Oval earrings – Nordstrom Rack; black pants – T by Alexander Wang; black tank
 – T by Alexander Wang; black bracelet – Vince Camuto; black sandals – Munro;
 bag – Luana Italy; coat – The Row; blush silk top – Theory; opal earrings –  
Kendra Scott; bracelet – Kendra Scott; gold sandals – Clarks
blush silk pants – Theory

One of the joys of making her own rules is that she can continue to wear culottes when everybody else thinks they're passe. (they should look around a bit - culottes are still EVERYWHERE in stores...) She's old enough to realize that her knees don't need to be out in public.
Natural tank - Uniqlo; sandalsOluKai; natural culottes – Baja East; 
hooded sweatshirt – Patagonia; gray tank – Uniqlo; seersucker shorts – 
Rag & Bone; sneakers – Tod’s

Her friends think Uniqlo is too "young" for them. She scoffs at those kinds of pigeonholes - nobody carded her when she went shopping, and if they had tried... well... she would have had to have a wee conversation with them...
Tunic – IDLF Uniqlo; bone earrings – Maiyet; cardigan – L.L.Bean; rose gold 
and diamond studs – Melissa Kaye; sequined scarf – Armani Collezioni; blush 
and white scarf – Brunello Cucinelli; dress – ISLF Uniqlo

She's quite pleased with what she's packing. That touch of black punches everything up a bit, and gives her some very unexpected options in an otherwise soft and subtle palette. It's like black eyeliner with grey hair...

She has dozens of options:

The young people always like to hang out with her; they think she's "cool." She enjoys their company immensely, and always learns from them, as much as they do from her. This is how life should be, eh?



Friday, February 05, 2016

Start with a Scarf: Reflections II by ImageDiary

WHAT a scarf...

Reflections II silk twill scarf by ImageDiary

And what delicious colors with which to work...

Reflections II silk twill scarf by ImageDiary

My goal here was to look for fluidity, as much as possible... 

What I wouldn't do for this dress, by the way. This is the kind of thing that you buy and then build outfits around - which wouldn't be difficult. While you can easily wear it as I show here, you could also put on tights, boots, a black cardigan and your Reflections II scarf in cold weather...

Scarf – ImageDiary; earrings – Pichaya; cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee shirt – L.L.Bean;
 silver cuff- Achara; loafers – Everybody; pants – J. Crew; earrings – MM Druck
 dress – Issey Miyake; cuff bracelet – Yuli; pumps – Cole Haan

scarf – Elizabeth Gillett; tote – Issey Miyake; sweater – Tsumori Chisato
skirt – J. Crew; slip-on shoes – Vans; striped tee – Frame Denim; necklace – 
Elina Miro; earrings – Simon Sebbag; cropped pants – L.L.Bean;  
ballet flats – Lanvin

This scarf was described as having "water drops" as the pattern:

Earrings – Charter Club; dress – IDLF Uniqlo; backpack - AmeriBag; sandals –  
OluKai; blue top – H&M; cropped pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan - L.L.Bean
 scarf Saachi; sandals – OluKai

Pearls seems pretty obvious, when the theme is water:

cardigan – Vince; earrings Uno de 50; sleeveless top – Rick Owens; shorts – 
 L.L.Bean; sandals – OluKai; sleeveless top – 3.1 Phillip Lim; tassel earrings –  
Cole Haan; pants – Tommy Hilfiger; bracelet – Withaya Cheunjit
slides – Donald J. Pliner

Necklace – Nareerat; tweed jacket –  Stella McCartney; boots – Clarks
tee – Majestic Filatures; jeans – L.L.Bean; sweater – H&M; earrings – Khun Boom;
 skirt J. Crew; pumps – Charles by Charles David; scarf – Mila Schon

PLEASE, cut the tag gizmo off of the blue sweater... What ARE they thinking?

Cardigan – J. Crew; brooch – Chloe; blouse – Steffen Schraut; pants – J. Crew;
 boots – Clarks; sweater – Ferragamo; skirt – MICHAEL Michael Kors; necklace – 
 Swarovski; ring – Chico’s; boots – Bussola

There are plenty of possibilities in this capsule wardrobe!

And the accessories have a subtle harmony and appeal...

Yes, I've reused some black separates and black accessories, mainly to demonstrate how versatile they can be when you put them with different accent colors.

And OH YEAH, if you enter the discount code VFILES2016 when you're shopping at ImageDiary, you will get a 20% discount! Thanks Scottie!

(you'd love her - she's brilliant...)


UNIQLO USA Limited Offers

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Some Book Recommendations

Fashion box by Antonio Mancinelli available here

You might remember that I often quote one of my favorite "French fashion" advice books: Ma To-Do List: Dressing, by Jeanne-Aurure Colleuille and Laure Gontier. (available here) One thing from there that I've never told you about is a list of books that they consider useful for refining one's sense of fashion culture. Let me quote them:

"In order to understand the mechanics of the fashion industry, or to be ravished by inspired images... A choice of books both perfectly subjective and totally timeless, to play a bit on the more intellectual side of fashion."

1. The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola - all things department store. It reminds you of how very LONG we've been allowing ourselves to be tempted to buy things we don't need (and possibly can't use) with money we don't have, in order to impress people we don't even like! 
2. Allure by Diana Vreeland - Beautiful photographs, a forward by Marc Jacobs, and Diana Vreeland's wit and insight, edited by Jackie Onassis... What else could we want?
3.Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh - Wonderful photographs, lots of anecdotes. If you love her, you'll want this.
4. Jackie Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh - It's easy to forget how beautiful she was, and how much influence she had on many of us. This book helps us remember... 
5. Ultimate Style by Bettina Zilkha and Eleanor Lambert  - An illustrated history of the Best Dressed List. Eleanor Lambert was the the founder of the Best Dressed List, and even though they never include me (what ARE they thinking?), you will see some amazing, lovely, and utterly unrealistic fashions. But so beautiful...
6. Beautiful People by Alicia Drake - if you can read French, or are willing to try to decipher it, this dual portrait of Saint Laurent and Lagerfeld gives some fascinating insights into what really goes on behind the scenes. So she says....
7. Fashion Game Book by Florence Muller - it feels a little bit like a textbook, but when you want to look up some really famous fashion figure about whom you've never been quite sure, this is the reference book for you. After this, when someone refers to Jacques Fath, you'll KNOW what they're talking about!
8. Histoire ideale de la mode contemporaine by Olivier Saillard - Only available used, and sort of blindingly expensive. But this is the go-to guy for a LOT of books about fashion, including a really recent release that he co-authors with Tilda Swinton, called Impossible Wardrobes. The full list of his works current available is here.
9. I Love Your Style by Amanda Brooks - I was sort of surprised that this book made the list, but heck, it's not MY list... Lots of famous people pictured, along with observations about what makes their style THEIRS. Amanda gives you lots of ideas for finding your personal style; you might find some invaluable advice here.
10. Fashion Box by Antonio Mancinelli - 16 essential (ahem...) wardrobe items, and photographs showing them being worn by some beautiful women. It's sort of jarring for me to see Audrey Hepburn next to Sarah Jessica Parker on the cover, but if anything proves that there are timeless styles, that does it! While I don't for a New York minute believe that there are ANY essential items - really, NONE - this is an interest look at how to wear timeless pieces; the photographs are wonderful...

Yes, if you buy a book, I will get a few pennies in commission. It will keep the lights turned on chez Vivienne Files, and I'm always very grateful!


p.s. 12 outfits, based on a GLORIOUS scarf, tomorrow....

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Start with a Scarf - Hydrangea Haze by Ted Baker London

I love it when one of you falls into mad infatuation with something... This time, it's a lovely scarf!

Hydrangea Haze scarf - Ted Baker London

It's easy for me to be sympathetic to those who fall for something from Ted Baker - the floral prints are SO GORGEOUS... I actually own both a scarf AND a cardigan in the same fabric (no, I would never wear them at the same time, but I would pack them in the same suitcase in a heartbeat!).

You didn't hear it from me, but there's a tee shirt in this fabric here. And bags...

The ground of this scarf is deep navy, and for today I'm using the soft grey flowers, and shades of pink, as the accent colors. There's definitely potential to use blue and purple as accents, if that's your preference. 

Hydrangea Haze scarf - Ted Baker London

Trailing spouse, my comfortably shod foot...

She hates the term. Absolutely hates it. It makes her feel like some sort of an appendage, attached to the "important" member of their household.

Let's be serious, their relocation couldn't happen without her efforts!

So while the "real" member of their family is working all day, she's hunting a place to live. And a bank. And a dry cleaner. And a grocery story. And a hardware store....
Linen shirt – Uniqlo; earrings – Komang Wijayana; pants – L.L.Bean
watch – Kate Spade; linen cardigan – L.L.Bean; scarf – Ted Baker London
flats – Trotters; bag – Longchamp

She only has a couple of days to get things done, and then, at the end of the day, she has a frazzled and nervous partner to calm down; starting a new position is always difficult. So she's channeling pretty flowers, in small, subtle doses. A little romance might do wonders to put things into perspective!

Even the face of her watch is in a floral design... and the pattern of her pumps...
drop earrings – Kendra Scott; marcasite stud earrings – Narinee; silver ring
 – Kenari; mother of pearl earrings – Ippolita; tee shirt – Uniqlo; navy sleeveless
 top – Odeeh; pink sweater – Equipment; grey rayon blouse – Uniqlo; navy lace
 skirt – J. Crew; jeans – L.L.Bean; rectangle scarf – Franco Ferrari
driving loafers – Robert Zur; slingbacksTrotters

The plan is that she's going back to their old home in just a couple of days, so she only needed to pack a few things - some for house-hunting, others for private dinners in the hotel room...

Everything's going to be fine; they both know what's important. They love each other, they want this move to work out well, and they're partners forever...



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Start with a Scarf: Hermes Panthera Pardus

The minute I saw this scarf in the store, I knew I wanted to use it here on The Vivienne Files, so you all could see it too:

Hermes Panthera Pardus

He's got green eyes! The colors, and the details here, are just gloriously beautiful. I always particularly admire the contrast edge on a scarf, because it's pretty, and because I can't even imagine how difficult it is to silkscreen that part, and then roll it and hand stitch it so perfectly. Artisan genius... and it comes in other colors!

Hermes Panthera Pardus

The range of possible colors that can be used here was pretty impressive, and a bit unusual. Hermes can always be counted on to come up with color schemes not seen elsewhere.

When I do wardrobes like this, please bear in mind two things:
  1. I don't expect that the whole world is going to use Hermes scarves as their starting point. The range of possible items that you can use as your focus and inspiration is vast; don't limit yourself when you're looking around our planet for beautiful things to spark your creativity.
  2. I strongly don't suggest that you buy an ENTIRE new outfit every month - that's way too much consumption for our planet to sustain! You should be looking to use items you already own, and you should plan to reuse things that you buy - especially things like neutral tops and bottoms, or great shoes.

Scarf – Hermes; tee shirt – L.L.Bean; bead bracelet – Astley Clarke; oxfords –  
Paul Green; apatite earrings – Uribe; cardigan – Gucci; pants – J. Crew; teardrop 
 earrings – Alexis Bittar; dress – H&M; cuff bracelet – Alexis Bittar
pumps – Kate Spade

scarf – Renee’s Accessories; tote – Karl Lagerfeld; tee – H&M; skirt – J. Crew
slip-on shoes – Halogen; striped sweater – Closed; black culottes – Vince Camuto;
 scarf – Nordstrom; earrings – Ippolita; ballet flats – Marc Fisher LTD

Earrings – Charter Club; dress – IDLF Uniqlo; tote – Whistles; sandals – OluKai;
 sleeveless top – L.L.Bean; cropped pants – L.L.Bean; jacket – L.L.Bean; scarf
 – Mark & Graham; sandals – Birkenstock

linen cardigan – Majestic Filatures; earrings – Cole Haan; cuff – Lupita 
Betancourt; sleeveless top – Dorothy Perkins; shorts – Prana; sandals – Nina;
 tee – Uniqlo; earrings – Vince Camuto; pants – Maison Margiela; taupe bracelet
 - Wallis; sandals – Birkenstock

Necklace – Ashanti; tweed jacket – Stills; boots – Clarks; tee – Majestic Filatures;
 jeans – L.L.Bean; sweater – J. Crew; earrings – Panacea; skirt – J. Crew; pumps

Cardigan – J. Crew; brooch – Forzieri; blouse – Bottega Veneta; pants – J. Crew;
 boots – Clarks; sweater – J. Crew; skirt – MICHAEL Michael Kors; necklace –  
Marni; ring – Mizuki; boots – Bussola

 Someone asked about how many pieces of clothing this comes to at the end of the year - and it's a nice, tidy 25!

 And I didn't count the accessories - you can be pretty flexible about how you work with accessories, in order to show your personal style. Some of us are always wearing scarves, where others of you might be more drawn to tons of bracelets. Choose your favorites, and express your preferences!

It would be remiss of me to fail to mention that a portion of the revenue from the sale of "Panthera Pardus" will go to support an organization called Panthera. It was founded by Robert Dallet, who was an artist with Hermes, and who devoted his life to studying, drawing and protecting wildlife. Beautiful things, supporting beautiful animals....


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