Wednesday, February 22, 2017

You asked, and it was a really intelligent question - can I use denim in place of olive green, in a wardrobe from The Vivienne Files?

Heck yes! Neutral colors can be interchanged, especially in casual wardrobes in which rigorous color matching isn't terribly important. Let's recreate a recent wardrobe and make this substitution, to see how it works out.

First up - remember this amazing painting by Salvador Dali? I've changed the associated color palette to include the denim that we want:

Head of a Woman by Salvador Dali with style notes and color palette

I'm starting from the same point as before - a solid core of grey garments:

Four by Four Wardrobe Starting Point of four grey garments
grey cardigan - Lands' End; jeans - L.L.Bean;
capris - L.L.Bean; shorts – Patagonia

The first difference is immediate - instead of the olive tee shirt from before, I found a shirt that feels very denim-ish!

how to add a denim blue tee shirt to your wardrobe

From here, things look very familiar for a few steps:

how to add a grey tee shirt to your wardrobe

how to add a pink long-sleeved tee shirt to your wardrobe

how to add a pink hooded sweater to your wardrobe

Already, you can see that the row of "What I Have" across the top looks really coherent and visually "comfortable" with the denim blue. Adding jeans doesn't alter that comfort level...

how to add blue jeans to your wardrobe

This is a great shirt, but OH MY GOODNESS, it needs to be washed. Repeatedly. While I completely abhor distressed jeans (I'll tear my own clothes, thank you very much...), I would like to see this shirt look just a tiny bit more softened and faded. I'm sure that we're all qualified to take care of that on our own, eh?

how to add a denim shirt to your wardrobe

A slightly different tee shirt here, more a cool color palette than the somewhat warm-ish one from before:

how to add a pastel print tee shirt to your wardrobe

Denim shorts can be tricky - I like the softer fabric here, and the drawstring. It keeps these from looking like our 1970s-era cut-offs...

how to add denim blue shorts to your wardrobe

I debated about replacing this tee shirt, because it still has echoes of olive in it, but I ultimately didn't want to abandon it, because it includes that pink that matches the sweater so very well...

how to add a bright print tee to your wardrobe

As always, if you detest skirts, get another pair of jeans, or a pair of cropped jeans, or capri jeans, or whatever other clever name them devise. Pedal pushers? Clam diggers?

how to add a denim skirt to your wardrobe

Everything else remains the same...

how to add a pink tank top to your wardrobe

how to add a floral sweatshirt to your wardrobe

So I changed 6 of the 16 garments, and the overall wardrobe impression is VERY different. One of the real beauties of denim is that our eyes are trained to see it as an all-purpose neutral, and thus it feels like it goes with everything. I don't like to match the denim pieces, because that ends up looking... awkward, to me. But this wardrobe has literally dozens of outfit possibilities...

a sixteen-piece "Four by Four" casual travel or capsule wardrobe in grey and denim blue with pink accents

Do you want me to go back through the grey and olive accessories and change things our for denim? I never mind looking at tons of accessories!


How to substitute denim for olive grey in a capsule wardrobe
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yes, we're playing catch-up here; the idea of writing about birthstones wasn't sent to me until late in January, so I missed writing about garnets during "their" month. And going forward, I'm going to write about each stone a few weeks before it is "in season," so that if you're inclined to get something in anticipation of a birthday, you'll have a chance to plan ahead some.

Since this posts follows so quickly on the heels of the post about the February amethysts, I stuck with the same garments (for the most part) and just found new and lovely accessories!

One of the fun things about garnets is the range of shades of red available - everything from a pretty bright "true" red through to a deep maroon or burgundy shade. That makes it easier for you to find garnets that suit you perfectly.

And if you're planning to visit Prague, be warned - Garnet jewelry is everywhere there, and maddeningly tempting! The only time I ever visited, I was so overwhelmed that I ended up leaving with no purchases. It's worthwhile to have a few ideas about what you want before you travel; I was utterly unprepared...

Yes, this is the same bracelet - one with silver, one with gold. I love having that kind of option!

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

If you're going to be really active, you can still wear a pair of earrings, and maybe a ring (if your hands aren't going to be involved, or if you're wearing gloves of some sort...)

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

One of the best things about wearing athletic apparel is that the colors are always ALL OVER THE MAP, and it doesn't matter. Even if you're going out for a 10 mile run, you can still wear your garnet earrings and ring... just to glance down at from time to time, and smile...

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

Yes, you've seen these dresses before, but they're very versatile, and lend themselves to any accessory color I can find...

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

If you want to carry over the garnet color scheme into other areas of your wardrobe - beyond just jewelry - there are a mountain of options! I'm particularly smitten with the idea of a velvet baseball cap - the tomboy in me will never die...

How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

I'll get to the March birthstone later this week; I should have enough time to find a few new outfits, too.


How to wear Garnet, the January Birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Someone sent me a link to this beauty... What excellent colors!

Longchamp Neo Fantasie Polka Dot travel bag
bag - Longchamp

If you love this fabric but don't want a large tote, there's a smaller tote available, as well as a shoulder bag...

This bag includes a bunch of the classic neutral colors - beige, white, shades of rust into dark brown, maybe some black? I'm deliberately NOT including any sort of style guidelines here because I think that this is a case in which a wide variety of personal styles could accommodate this bag.

I'm going to focus pretty much on warm-weather attire here, but imagine for cooler weather - a navy winter coat with camel trousers... a navy wool skirt with an ivory sweater and brown riding boots.... mmm....

Longchamp Neo Polka Dot bag with color palette
bag - Longchamp

This is sort of a styling free for all - I just let my imagination wander toward whatever outfits I would like to wear, or that would be fun for travel. I'm including one long-sleeved dress, just because it's really beautiful, and for an early spring event it could be a perfect choice.

navy dress outfit, navy sweater with khaki shorts outfit

For me, warm weather cries out for some tee shirts...

navy striped tee shirt with khaki pants, orange tee with navy and white checked pants

This dress would be so nice on a really hot day, when you had to look dressed up, but didn't really want to put too much effort into it:

ivory dress, navy & cream breton top with khaki capris

I know that many of you aren't crazy about wearing skirts, so you can easily substitute dark navy jeans for the denim skirt, and maybe navy seersucker pants for the skirt - but I thought the skirt was classic summer attire...

rust tunic with denim skirt, white sleeveless top with navy seersucker skirt

Even though I assembled these outfits without really referring back and forth among them, when I aggregate all of the various pieces, it comes together in a pretty nice travel or capsule wardrobe! I would of course have to include a navy cardigan, but that's just me...

14-piece travel capsule wardrobe in navy, ivory, tan and rust

If you were sincerely going to use this capsule for travel, you might want to whittle down on the shoes a little bit - or maybe, since the wardrobe is pretty compact, you could just go mad and take all of the shoes with you! (sometimes, you just have to go a bit crazy...)

accessories for a navy, khaki, rust and white capsule wardrobe

These 14 pieces of clothing, and wee pile of accessories, go together in a LOT of different ways - here are 8 more ensembles taken from these pieces. This would see you through a lot of vacation trips pretty beautifully, I'd say!

white sleeveless top with khaki shorts, ivory dress worn casually

rust tee with khaki capris, navy dress worn with a scarf

rust tunic with navy and white checked pants, navy sweater with khaki pants

navy and cream breton top with khaki shorts, navy & white tee with denim skirt

I particularly like the idea of the very last outfit - the striped tee with the dotted kerchief, the classic tennies and a denim skirt. Quintessential summertime...


How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe Around a Statement Tote Bag
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Yesterday, I finally got up the courage to tackle a wardrobe based in olive and grey, and it turned out pretty great, I think. it was based on this most amazing painting by Salvador Dali and color scheme:

Head of a Woman by Salvador Dali with style notes and color palette

But a simple wardrobe isn't really useful, nor fun, until you add the accessories...

A choice of black shoes to wear with olive and grey

Feminine is Where You Find It

She works outdoors quite a bit - half the time in the lab, and half the time sitting on the ground, counting the plants and animals she finds in a 1 meter square of virgin ground.

Sometimes it's virgin prairie, sometimes forest...

It's meticulous work - the difference in finding 5 plants and finding 7 can mean a lot, when you're talking about the global health of a species...

But she never gets bored - she understands that the smallest wood louse is important, in the grand scheme of things...

Her friends think that her job is very grubby...

They can't picture doing what she does, although they understand that it's important. They would want to be able to dress up more, and feel more feminine.

But she knows better. Flowers are everywhere in her life...

Nothing is more feminine than nurturing - and that's what she does!

She has dreams, too...

Her work is the kind of thing that might, just might, make a really big difference to the world. And she never forgets that!

The smallest flower could be the cure for a terrible illness. An obscure ground cover plant could change the landscape of drought...

A wee pink flowering plant might be named for her some day. THAT would be feminine...


How to Choose Accessories for a Grey and Olive Wardrobe - Start with Art: Head of a Woman by Dali
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