Friday, July 31, 2015

Start with Art: Silk Robe by Johanna Harmon

"Are you feeling okay? You seem to have been tired lately," he asked her last night.


Silk Robe by Johanna Harmon 

"Well, now that you mention it, between all of the stress at work, and the heat this summer, I do feel a little bit... wilted, I think you could say. Why do you ask?"




"Well, I've been thinking that we could use a long weekend away at The Spa in The Mountains; do you think you could get a Thursday and Friday off sometime in late September?"

Can she get a couple of days off???  She would QUIT her very irritating job in order to get away to go to the spa. Does she enjoy days wearing nothing but a bathrobe (or maybe nothing), being pampered, and then spending the evening eating gourmet cuisine in an elegant and romantic setting with her very best friend? CAN SHE GET A COUPLE OF DAYS OFF??? What a silly question...

"I need to check the vacation calendar at work, but go ahead and book us in. I'm sure I can work out something..."

He always said that he knew he would marry her the minute he saw that she had green eyes. That, and the first time he held her hand and felt how soft her skin is. THIS is going to be the weekend that they both remember those feelings...

Silk blouse – StrateasCarlucci; black trousers – Tod’s; earrings – YooLa;
 bracelet – Letters by Zoe; cashmere cardigan – Avant Toi; scarf – Radical Chic
ankle boots – Topshop; bag – MANU Atelier

cream crystal clutch – Whiting & Davisblack mother of pearl earrings
 – SlaneSolisring – Maya Magalbaroque pearl necklace – ginette_ny; 
shawl – Hermesseafoam sweater – Jardin des Orangersivory cardigan – Theory;
 floral sweater – Ted Bakerclutch bag – Urocomother of pearl earrings
 – Kendra Scott;  beaded dress – Adrianna Papell; velvet pants – 
Alexa Chung for AGfloral rectangle scarf – Ted Bakerpleated silk skirtEileen Fisher
suede tassel loafers – Jack Rogers; silk pumps – Pelle Moda



Six weeks later, driving home:

"Would you mind if we did this every 3 or 4 months? I think it's really good for both of us."

"No, not at all. I think it's a great idea."

inside, she's jumping up and down, and squealing like a 6 year old on Christmas morning...

love, 
Janice

Boticca.com Limited


Thursday, July 30, 2015

A New Scarf from Ananda Design! or How to Wear One Item All Year


Red and Black Cotton Butterfly Wrap Scarf - Ananda Design

As you well know, I'm not the blogger who gets buried in gifts from designers, so when I do receive something, it's a special day chez nous! And not many days get more special than this for me - can you imagine a scarf better suited to the woman who lives in black, and who's favorite accent color is red???

This scarf, from Ananda Design; is cotton, which is unusual for me, and it has tassels on the corners, which is REALLY not something I have in my closet. But I've had it wrapped around me and played with it a lot, and it's pretty wonderful. The cotton is of course a great fabric for a scarf that you use in warm weather to ward off over-enthusiastic air conditioning, and the tassels give just a little bit of heft to the corners, so that the scarf falls in all sorts of beautiful ways, with tassels in unexpected places. I'm going to love this scarf for a long time, I can already tell!

So get thee to their site and check out what they have to offer. I have certainly learned a lot about moving out of my usual "scarf zone" since this beauty showed up in my home...


Silver earrings  similar here; silk tank – Eileen Fisher
braceletMiansai (similar here); crepe capris – Eileen Fisher
sandals – Thierry Rabotin; scarf - Ananda DesignGold knot earrings – similar here
red cardigan – Eileen Fisher; black tee shirt – Eileen Fisher
pleated skirt – Eileen Fisher

Merino sweater – J. Crew; earrings – Alexis Bittar; jeans – Eileen Fisher; 
boots – Munroscarf - Ananda Design
Garnet and pearl earringsRoss-Simons; red sweater  - J. Crew;  
black wool skirt – J. Crew; wedge pumps – Thierry Rabotin

Black dress – Eileen Fisher; pearl earrings – Majorica; bracelet – Kenneth Jay 
Lane; black cardigan – Lands’ End; black pumps – Thierry Rabotin
scarf - Ananda DesignGold stud earrings – Kendra Scott; red cardigan
 – Eileen Fisher; red tank – EileenFisher; black trousers – Eddie Bauer;
 black flats – Cole Haan (similar here)

Please note that some of the things I've shown here from my wardrobe are no longer available, like my favorite Thierry Rabotin sandals and pumps. If similar things (something I would definitely buy to replace my item) are available, I link to them, but if I can't find something that will fill in pretty closely, I just don't link. I hate it, but I'm not going to have you chasing around looking at things that don't even resemble the item with which we started!

I'm really intrigued by the idea of "wardrobe heavy-lifters" - those items that you reach for constantly. For me, you can clearly see that it's my Eileen Fisher black separates, and a handful of pieces of jewelry that I wear frequently.

What are yours?

love,
Janice

Artisan Made Jewelry Designs


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Start with Art: Rose Garden by Ute Laum

I am really glad that I asked you all to send me painting suggestions - otherwise, I would never have seen this gorgeous thing!

Rose Garden by Ute Laum 

This is an example of a painting in which the camel/cognac plays a very small, but absolutely essential, role. None of the other colors would have nearly the same impact if the golden touches were missing.


Today, I'm sorry there's no story, but I've received so many requests for travel wardrobes that I feel like I should address the overall logic or philosophy of putting together a capsule travel wardrobe. There's probably no way that I'm ever going to be able to answer all of the travel questions I receive, so I think an overview of how I think about travel wardrobes might help a little bit. It bothers me no end that I just can't put together hundreds of wardrobes, to fulfill every possible request and answer every potential question.

Starter - always pick a dark neutral color. Travel is inherent not the cleanest activity, and having a Core of Four in a dark neutral gives you a good base for the rest of your travel wardrobe. Two tops, two bottoms, but there's flexibility in that guideline. The tops can both be "next to the skin" pieces like sweaters, blouses or tee shirts, or you can include a cardigan, which will do a LOT of heavy-lifting when you're on the road. And the bottoms can include jeans, trousers, capris, skirts, and shorts in any combination that suits your destination and planned activities. I'm ALWAYS going to tell you to include a pair of long pants, just as I'm always going to tell you to have a pair of closed-toe shoes. You have NO idea when the weather can get cold; the 4th of July weekend here in Chicago saw temperatures below 20 Centigrade...


Linen cardigan – Jaeger, jeans – Lee;
Shimmer tee – Mint Velvet; skirt – True Religion

Second step for traveling is to pick a secondary color - maybe a neutral - to bring with you in some quantity. I was thinking of this trip as being one that spanned moderate to cold temperatures, so the camel "segment" of our wardrobe is more woolly. (and suede - y...)

Again, this is a good place to go with two tops and two bottoms - same guidelines as for the First Core of Four. (note that camel is a color for which it's not really necessary to precisely match colors - a nice "family blend" is sufficient.)


Cardigan – Closed; trousers – Max Mara;
Sweater – Dondup; suede skirt – Stouls

In planning your wardrobe, this next color choice might be most important - you need an accent color that will work equally happily with each of your first two colors. The painting made this easy - shades of pink! Note that tee shirts and blouses don't have to all match, since you almost certainly will never wear them together.


Light pink tee – L.L.Bean; striped oxfordL.L.Bean;
Dark pink tee – J. Crew; cardigan – J. Crew

At this point, you have 12 pieces of clothing, and you could certainly close your suitcase and be fine. But in the interest of providing more options, you might want to include 4 more pieces.

This is a great place for a second accent color; same constraint applies in that it must work beautifully with both neutrals you've chosen. This is also the time to introduce another "bottom", in either of your neutrals, or maybe a print. I always like to consider adding a white shirt to any wardrobe, because of the ease of integrating it with any other colors. I know that it's going to need to be laundered at some point, but a menswear-styled shirt might be one of the easiest pieces of clothing to have cleaned, because it so closely resembles a man's shirt. And if you want to pack a dress, it does NOT have to be neutral! You should at least consider making sure that it works with your neutrals, though, so that you can use your cardigans or jackets with it.

Blue tee – P.A.R.O.S.H.; navy trousers – J. Crew,
Tuxedo shirt – Thomas Mason; blue dress – Joilie Moi

Accessory packing is where the fun is! Scarves are, for me, essential; look for scarves that include some combination of one of your neutrals with one of your accent colors. There's really no reason not to pack as many scarves as you want - they're light and small, and they make a big difference in the appearance of an outfit.

I try to limit packing to 3 pairs of shoes. In theory, if you were going to wear an outfit from this capsule, you could have a 4th pair of shoes (the ones you wear in transit)  - maybe camel oxfords?

If you're struggling for shoes to wear with a "non-neutral" dress, don't forget the possibility of nude pumps or sling backs. (nude = YOUR skin color, not mine, and not what some department store calls nude)

And jewelry - nothing mad expensive - is another light and easy thing to pack that can change the look of what you're wearing. Even something as small as a ring can make more difference than you might think! (okay, there's a mad expensive bracelet in here...)



Blue earrings – ABS by Allen Schwartz; pearl bracelet -  Carolee; pink earrings
 – Ted Baker; hoop earrings – Alfani; blush and beige scarf – Cathayana; blue square
 scarf – wrq.e.d; rose square scarf – Collection Imperiales by Hermes; camel boots
 – rag & bone; gold necklace  - Anne Klein; pink ring – French Connection; sling 
backs – Trotters; tote bag – Meckela; blue bracelet – Ippolita; navy flats – Vaneli

I would be comfortable traveling for an unlimited amount of time with this assortment of clothing:



As always, a wide variety of possible combinations:





As with all Four by Four wardrobes here, these choices fit neatly into our template:


Assuming a reasonably narrow range of weather conditions, could you travel for a month or six weeks with just 16 pieces of clothing?

love,
Janice

Dorothy
Perkins(US)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Start with Art: Edith and the Kingpin by Jack Vettriano

"Edith," they told me, "make sure you rest when you're at that beach resort, and get your health back."

"Uh huh..."

Edith and the Kingpin by Jack Vettriano


I never go swimming within an hour of having a meal, so when the luncheon salon closed, I went over to sit on the window seat in the lounge, to watch the activities outdoors. I hadn't been there more than a minute when he sat down next to me.

Earrings – Shanny Alon; orange top – Jaeger; trousers –  J. 
Crew; scarf – Tyger Tyger by Hermes; watch – Kate Spade New York
navy cardigan – Ann Taylor; orange socks – Darn Tough Vermont
loafers – Cole Haan; tote – Brahmin

He was really quite familiar, especially since we hadn't been introduced! But he knew the names of absolutely everyone staying at the resort, and he told the funniest little stories about each of them...

His conduct was far from gentlemanly; he kept his hat on (Father would have been appalled) and he was wearing those funny two-toned shoes that only really fast men wear. I admit that I felt a little bit uncomfortable with his manners!

tee shirts – L.L.Bean; navy capris – J. Crew; leather and brass 
earrings - CAIA; linen ombre scarf – One Kings Lane; gold bracelets
 – ABS by Allen Schwartz; orange necklace – ABS by Allen Schwartz; paisley
 scarf – Brooks Brothers; ivory flutter-hem top – J. Crew; clutch – Fossil
dress – J. Crew; square stud earrings – Ily Couture; cognac brown silk top
 - Joseph; navy cotton skirt – J. Crew; ballet flats – Naturalizer; 
oxfords – SoftWalk

After a few minutes, a couple of other men came into the lounge, and just stood near the door with their hands behind their backs - almost like policemen! They were wearing hats, too, and those outlandish shoes.

When the man sitting beside me saw them, he got up to leave. But just before he walked away, he turned around, looked back at me, and... not exactly smiled, but looked decidedly pleased.



After the 3 men had left the lounge, I decided that I might as well leave too; if that was the way that men behaved there, then I should not stay in that room all by myself!

But as I walked toward the lift, I realized that I was already planning in my head what I wanted to wear to lunch tomorrow...



Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, maybe?

love,
Janice


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Start with Art: Untitled, 1953 by Mark Rothko (revisiting navy and cognac)

Wow! When I ask for help finding art, you all jump right to the rescue!  And isn't this a great version of navy and cognac, with a striking pink accent?

Untitled, 1953 by Mark Rothko
Untitled, 1953 by Mark Rothko

I snuck in a touch of white... and if you look really closely, our celadon green from last week is present, just a slight touch, along the bottom of the painting.

color scheme of navy, cognac and pink drawn from Untitled, 1953 by Mark Rothko

I kept the navy garments, but changed out everything else here. In honor of the block-like angularity of the Rothko painting, our accessories are now going to be square, or include a square motif if possible. (even the tote bag here has an embossed texture with a square feeling to it - and it's on sale...) I took the cognac accessories down a notch darker, to show the options that are available if you're not comfortable with the original orange-ish brown used earlier.


a navy and pink travel outfit with brown leather accessories
earrings – Marc by Marc Jacobs; pink tee – J. Crew; trousers – J. 
Crewwatch – Kate Spade New York; scarf – Paul Smith; navy 
cardigan – Ann Taylorpink socks – Free Press; loafers – 
Cole Haantote – Brahmin

Here, I changed out the accent long-sleeved top for a silk tunic that picks up our newer chestnut brown. I found us some slightly darker shoes too...


(and I'm not telling you that the rose and navy scarf from our friend Yuh Okano is on sale...)


travel capsule wardrobe in navy, pink and chestnut brown
tee shirts – L.L.Bean; navy capris – J. Crew; necklace – Shanny Alon
rose blouse – Equipment; rose and navy scarf – Yuh Okano; gold 
bracelets – ABS by Allen Schwartz; paisley scarf – Brooks Brothers
clutch – Fossil; dress – J. Crew; square stud earrings – Ily Couture
chestnut brown silk top - Joseph; navy cotton skirt – J. Crew
ballet flats – Naturalizer; oxfords – SoftWalk

This combination really gives you some wide-ranging choices!



travel capsule wardrobe in navy, bright pink, and chestnut brown



Thanks to all of your art sleuthing, I'm going to be able to look at more variations of this travel wardrobe. 

I'm so grateful to you all for being so good to me!

love,
Janice

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