Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Yes, you saw this scarf a long time ago - KathKath actually gave me one to give away to one of you! But now they've made this beautiful pattern available in both silk and a cashmere blend, AND in both rectangle and square shapes... As if that wasn't enough, you can also get a 30% discount on anything on their site using the code vivkath30. Pretty sweet, I'd say!

UPDATE: KathKath assures me that they've got the discount code working, and that it's good through the end of 2017 (woo, holiday gift money might be GONE....) If you continue to have issues, feel free to contact them directly; there's a contact form on their site. They're truly nice women... hugs, Janice

Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath
Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath

Our heroine is long past the point where she worries about wearing pink to an interview. A floral watch and slightly floral earrings are just part of her personal style; if her potential employer doesn't think they're acceptable, she's the wrong fit for the job! (oh, the years it took us to get this much confidence, eh?)

An interview outfit in black and pink
earrings – Stephen Dweck; blazer – Lands’ End; Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath; watch – Olivia Burton; shirt – Lands' End; briefcase – Tumi; skirt – Lands’ End; pumps – Athena Alexander

In order to make sure that our "working from home, occasional meetings and dressy dinners" heroine doesn't get carried away in her shopping, I'm going to use the 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template to keep organized:

A black and pink interview outfit in the 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

To my mind, the first and most obvious thing to buy when you've only got the 3 starter pieces is another shirt or sweater - the shirt is the thing that will need to be laundered most quickly, and is also the most memorable piece...

And yes, this color is called "Garlic Clove." What ARE they thinking? I love garlic as much as any woman, and maybe more than most, but it's not something that I associate with a cashmere sweater!

adding a taupe sweater to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
sweater – Lands’ End

Once you get the sweater, just go ahead and get the cardigan! You may never wear them at the same time, but if the color is one that works well for you, why not have both pieces? (this of course assumes that you were going to eventually get a cardigan or jacket anyway...)

adding a taupe cardigan to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
cardigan - Lands' End

At this stage, our heroine has two tops, and 2 "second layers," so she should be looking for pants or a skirt. These pants the infinite advantage of being in the same fabric as her black skirted suit - always a smart thing to find if you can!

adding black pants to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
pants – Lands’ End

Time for a 3rd top, and it's about time to find something that integrates all of the colors in the wardrobe so far:

adding a print blouse to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
blouse – Giambattista Valli

Pink? Heck yes! A pretty cardigan makes a great top over other things, and can also be worn on its own...

adding a pink cardigan to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Banana Republic

This is normally where pants or a skirt would be added, but since the matching black dress is available, let's grab that. Having 4 black garments in the same fabric can make getting dressed really easy...

adding a black dress to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
dress – Lands’ End (483327)

My feeling was that this heroine was quickly becoming well-equipped for her client meetings, and that we could begin to branch out a bit. While this top is very business-appropriate under a cardigan or jacket, it can also be very pretty and feminine on its own at dinner...

Adding a pink top to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
top – Banana Republic

Maybe all of her clients aren't "starched shirt" dressy?

Adding a taupe cardigan to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Ralph Lauren

It is entirely possible to look and be businesslike while wearing twill pants...

adding a pair of taupe pants to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
pants - L.L.Bean

Since the Northern Hemisphere is catapulting into cold weather, a sweater might be wise!

adding a pink sweater to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
sweater – Marks & Spencer

Our heroine is due for another "second layer," which could be a cardigan or a jacket, any combination of these 3 colors. This one caught my eye, but don't discount the possibility of some sort of texture in a mix of taupe and black...

adding a tweed jacket to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
tweed jacket – Giorgio Grati

Modest enough for business - dressy enough for ANY restaurant they throw your way for lunch or dinner...

adding a black lace skirt to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
skirt – Iris and Ink

I feel that a solid black top is really long overdue! And why not velvet? It's very au courant...

adding a black velvet tee to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
velvet tee - Madewell

When all of this is stacked up together, you can clearly see that it makes a very versatile assortment! I could swoon if I opened a suitcase to this:

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

Accessories for this tomorrow?

love,
Janice

p.s. Just in case you were hesitating, all 4 of the black "suiting" pieces come in a mad range of sizes, including Petites, Tall, and Plus sizes...

I Need a Wardrobe For Client Meetings and Dressy Evenings! Start with a Scarf: Vintage Rose by KathKath
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Monday, November 20, 2017

It might be the time of year, but I'm feeling very nostalgic about looking back through old posts here on The Vivienne Files! So when I was asked to revisit my little tale about an eloping couple, I couldn't resist the chance...

Here's where we left our heroine - wandering around Paris with her new spouse, smiling like a crazy lady, and making everyone around her smile...

elopement wardrobe in black, white, hot pink and orange
orange blouse - Jil Sander; sunglasses – BP.; triangle earrings - Bloomingdale's; blouse - Dorothee Schumacher; drop earrings - Meira T.; gold bag - Thacker New York (similar here); orange flower earrings – Dsquared2; gold flower earrings - Marianela Vargas; orange scarf- La Fiorentina; black crossbody bag – Halogen (similar here); orange clutch - Deux Cuirs; opal bracelet - Irene Neuwirth; cardigan - Marni (similar here); rose gold bracelet – Links of London; watch - Kapten and Son; pink lace dress - Dolce & Gabbana; tee – L.L.Bean; pants - See by Chloé (similar here); coral lace dress – Lela Rose (similar here); scarf –Nordstrom (similar here); open shoulder dress – Missoni; flats - MICHAEL Michael Kors; loafers – Tod’s; sandals- Sam Edelman; pumps - Calvin Klein; flats – Paul Green ; bag – Thacker New York; sandals - Sőfft

I'm not telling you that the snakeskin clutch comes in 13 colors...

They've decided that they want to go back to Paris for a long-ish weekend - maybe 5 days? But they want to be MUCH more casual this time! So she goes back to her original inspiration:

Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner with style guidelines and color palette

First, she looks at what she already has. PLENTY of bags, I'd say, and quite a few pairs of shoes. I have a feeling that this particular heroine rather likes shoes...

wardrobe holdovers from the elopement
white tee – L.L.Bean; orange flower earrings – Dsquared2; watch - Kapten and Son; gold flower earrings - Marianela Vargas; triangle earrings - Bloomingdale's; opal bracelet - Irene Neuwirth; rose gold bracelet – Links of London; gold bag - Thacker New York; black bag – Furla; orange clutch - Deux Cuirs; gold sandals - Sőfft; orange loafers – Tod’s; sweatpants – Madewell; black flats – Paul Green

Although this particular heroine is absolutely famous for being extravagant (her elopement wardrobe was a thing of credit-card-crushing wonder!), she's going to be more practical this time, and start with some essential neutrals:

5-piece neutral wardrobe in black and white with 2 pairs of black shoes
tee shirts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Uniqlo; jeans – L.L.Bean; fleece skirt – Uniqlo; boots – Naturalizer; ballet flats – Michael Kors

After she has this assembled, she gets to balance her practicality with some out-and-out fun!

turtleneck – Lands’ End; polo shirt – Lands’ End; dotted scarf – Halogen; button-front shirt – Lands’ End; necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane; paisley scarf – Charming Charlie; cardigan – Free People; fuchsia flats – Me Too

This what she's packing for the long weekend... They're not dressing up, not going out for fancy dinners - basically it's going to be a very relaxed flaneuse kind of break! Flaneur (feminine is flaneuse) is a wonderfully French word meaning "one who wanders...". Of COURSE the French has a word like this!

travel capsule wardrobe in black and white with orange and hot pink accents

Sweatpants aren't terrible to wear on a vacation, so long as they're not that horrid skin-tight lycra, and they're worn with something that's not a sweatshirt... They're particularly nice for flying or train-riding...

3 ways to wear sweatpants from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

It's a skirt, so it's sort of dressy. But it's made of fleece, so it's cozy - the best of both worlds!

3 ways to wear a sweat skirt from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

And you can't go wrong - virtually anywhere in the world - with black jeans...

3 ways to wear black jeans from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

I love revisiting earlier wardrobes from The Vivienne Files - if you have any others that you'd like to see expanded or updated, you have only to ask...

love,
Janice

Can You Expand a Successful Travel Wardrobe? Revisiting Start with Art - Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner
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Friday, November 17, 2017

These are so much fun...

Grey is tough! It's really difficult to find things in shades that look good together... But you can easily imagine these tops with jeans, and a pair of nice grey pants will go anywhere short of a barn or a beach...

Four Key Pieces for the winter holidays, in grey
silk blouse – Maison Flaneur; pearl-embellished cardigan – Neiman Marcus; pants – Uniqlo; bow sweater – J.Crew

Little touches like snowflakes on your ears, or a sparkly clutch bag, can elevate the dressiness quotient of a classic outfit:

2 grey outfits for the winter holidays
snowflake earrings - Unwritten; loafers – Tod’s; wristlet – Kara; pearl hoop earrings – Samira 13; loafers - Botkier

Of course, if you have genuine grey pearl jewelry, the pearls on your cardigan will not look as nice, but that's not something worth worrying about - it's the holidays!

2 grey outfits for the winter holidays
earrings – David Yurman; ring – Tara Pearls; boots – Vince Camuto; clip-on earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane; velvet flats – Vaneli

One of the very best things about choosing a signature color for holidays (or anything else!) is that you can then collect really nice, high-quality things from year to year and assemble a small but very elegant party wardrobe!

Four Key Pieces in wine for the winter holidays
velour top – Uniqlo; wrap blouse– Dorothy Perkins; wide-legged pants – Uniqlo; cashmere cardigan – L.L.Bean

Garnets look wonderful with this color! And the mules at the top are sort of an amazing mix of gold and silver? Or maybe not gold, but sort of a rusty, wine-touched beige? I'm not sure...

2 wine outfits for the winter holidays
garnet necklace – Saranarat; ring – Emma Chapman Jewels; mules – Seychelles; earrings – Gianluca Anzani; crystal ballet flats – Lauren Lorraine

2 wine outfits for the winter holidays
square earrings – Jenny Packham; clutch- La Regale; pewter flats – Mercedes Castillo; flower earrings - Iradj Moini; wine velvet flats – Vince Camuto

Although I'm choosing these pieces with the upcoming winter holidays in mind, this kind of approach could work for anyone who only needs to get "fancy" once in a while...

What other colors would you like to see? Plum and hunter green are on the list!

love,
Janice

Grey or Wine? What do I Need to Wear for the Holidays?
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

I really wanted to look back at another of these wardrobes; they truly were the moment when I began to hit my stride as a blogger and see the goal of "timeless" come into focus.

Of course these clothes would eventually date - in a decade of two! As I said before - they're sufficiently timeless! These images are from a post on December 30th, 2011, and if you saw a woman wearing these clothes today, you'd admire them just as much. Eschew trends and invest in the classics is my motto...

travel outfit in camel and navy for cool weather
Scarf – Hermès, gold earrings – Links of London (similar here), necklace – Van der Straeten (similar here), turtleneck – Aviu (similar here), jacket – John Lewis (similar here), gloves – Portolano (similar here), Handbag - Mulberry (similar here), suitcase– Mulberry (similar here), skirt – Stella McCartney (similar here), navy tights – Nordstrom, brown loafers – Ralph Lauren (similar here)

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and camel
Navy blouse - Stella McCartney (similar here); drop earrings – Chan Luu (similar here), navy cardigan – Maison Martin Margiela (similar here); print blouse – Tucker (similar here); champagne pearl stud earrings - Majorica, long cardigan – Chloe (similar here), trousers – Stella McCartney (similar here); belt – Burberry (similar here), bracelet – Chan Luu (similar here), ankle boots – ALF (similar here),jeans - J. Brand; striped turtleneck - Kolor (similar here), print scarf – Dorothy Perkins (similar colors here), riding boots – Frye (similar here)

travel outfit in olive and navy for cool weather
Scarf – Hermès, gold earrings – Links of London (similar here), necklace – David Aubrey (similar here), turtleneck – Chloe (similar here), jacket – John Lewis (similar here), gloves – John Lewis (similar here), Handbag - Mulberry (similar here), suitcase– Mulberry (similar here), skirt – Stella McCartney (similar here), navy tights – Nordstrom, brown loafers – Ralph Lauren (similar here)

travel capsule wardrobe in olive and navy for cold weather
Navy blouse - Stella McCartney (similar here); drop earrings – Nak Armstrong (similar color here), navy cardigan – Maison Martin Margiela (similar here); blouse – Moschino (similar colors here), olive cardigan – Old Navy (similar here), trousers – Stella McCartney (similar here); belt – Burberry (similar here), bracelets - 1928 (similar here), ankle boots – ALF (similar here),jeans - J. Brand; plaid front sweater - Daks (similar here), print scarf – Yigal Azrouel (similar here), riding boots – Frye (similar here)

Five pieces of clothing (a cardigan and top, with jeans, pants and a skirt), as well as a piece of outerwear - these are the neutrals around which an amazing number of possibilities revolve... It doesn't feel terribly intimidating when you break it down to just six things!

love,
Janice

Navy, Camel and Olive truly can be timeless...
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I just got back from a quick trip to Florida, which I didn't mention to you ahead of time because we were trying (and failing!) to surprise a family member! Oh well, we still had a smashing good time, with an early Thanksgiving dinner thrown in for fun...

So this is a pretty brief post, about a photograph that I've been thinking of for months. I saw this when I saw the Irving Penn exhibition last spring in New York:

Spilled Handbag (Theatre Accident) by Irving Penn
Spilled Handbag (Theatre Accident) by Irving Penn

I love pretty much everything about this, but I'm particularly smitten with the overall beauty and quality of everything this mythical heroine is carrying - an elegant pocket watch, a wee gold pen, a whistle to summon a cab (!!!) etc. There's so much possible back-story here that I've spent more than an hour or two pondering her life...

So what would my bag tell about me?

Spilled Handbag (Blogger Accident) by Janice Riggs
bag - Agnes B. (similar here); back-up battery - Anker; gloves - Fownes Brothers; white handkerchief - Nordstrom; pill box - Port and Polish; headphones - Bose

I call this Spilled Handbag (Blogger Accident) by Janice Riggs. Not quite the same caliber of image, but I think it tells you quite a bit about what's going on in my life right now!

My handbag was purchased in Paris, from the French brand Agnes B. - which would strongly suggest that I'm a big fan of Paris, and the French... This bag is amazing - when I travel, I can put my liquid toiletries AND my tablet in here, along with everything that I normally carry.

Gloves tell you that autumn has DEFINITELY arrived in Chicago!

I carry a memo book at all times because I always see things that I want to remember to tell you, and I am afraid that I'll forget something.

The back-up battery for my phone suggests that I plan ahead, and that I have a bit of a phobia about not being able to contact Belovedest and my mother.

A handkerchief? I was raised well... (and why these are for men, and not just for everyone, is something I will NEVER understand... do women not need a handkerchief from time to time?)

My pill carrier tells you that I have a chronic illness but that I'm living with it with style - what an elegant way to carry 2 weeks worth of medication!

Green chewing gum? I ONLY chew the green stuff... that just tells you that I'm a bit nutty!

And good headphones? I listen to lots of podcasts - some about sports, and a lot from The Teaching Company. I'm never going to give up trying to learn and improve...

Do you carry anything that's really you? Share!

love,
Janice

Does Your Handbag Reflect Your Life?
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