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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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Well, no. There's no such thing as truly timeless clothing... Unless you're still wearing a toga!

That said, I was just looking at a post that I did FIVE YEARS AGO, and I would cheerfully pack and wear any of the clothes shown. Some are still available, and in all cases it was possible to find something similar!

Given that clothing will eventually wear out, I consider that "sufficiently timeless." Can I coin that term?

travel outfit in navy with hunter green accents
Scarf – Hermès, gold earrings – Lord & Taylor (similar here), necklace – Isharya (similar here), turtleneck – Bally (similar here), jacket – John Lewis (similar here), gloves – Portolano, handbag – Reed Krakoff (similar here), suitcase– Victorinox (similar here), skirt – Stella McCartney (similar here), navy tights – Nordstrom, loafers – Robert Zur (similar here)

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and hunter green
Navy blouse - Stella McCartney (similar here); gold hoop earrings – DeLatori (similar here); navy cardigan – Maison Martin Margiela (similar here); plaid shirt – J. Crew (similar here); green cardigan – Woolrich (similar color here); trousers – Stella McCartney (similar here); belt – John Lewis (similar color here); necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane (similar here); suede ballet flats - Chloe (similar here); jeans - J. Brand; bracelet – Seasonal Whispers (similar here); plaid scarf – Amicale (similar here); striped tee – Mango (similar here); suede desert boots – Grenson (similar here)

travel outfit in burgundy and navy
Scarf – Hermès, gold earrings – Links of London (similar here), necklace – Kenneth Cole (similar here), turtleneck – Crumpet (similar here), jacket – John Lewis (similar here), gloves – Forzieri, handbag - Balenciaga (similar here), suitcase– Victorinox (similar here), skirt – Stella McCartney (similar here), navy tights – Nordstrom, loafers – Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar here)

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and burgundy
Navy blouse - Stella McCartney (similar here); garnet earrings – Janis Provisor (similar here), navy cardigan – Maison Martin Margiela (similar here); plaid shirt – Paul Smith (similar here), garnet hoop earrings – Stephen Dweck (similar here), cardigan – American Retro (similar here), trousers – Stella McCartney (similar here); garnet bangle – Max and Chloe (similar here), belt – Topshop (similar here), oxfords – Rag & Bone (similar here), jeans - J. Brand; striped sweater – Burberry Brit (similar colors here), striped scarf - black.co.uk (similar here), boots – Debenhams (similar here)

I love navy with these rich colors; they just feel like autumn...

love,
Janice

Is Classic Clothing Really Timeless?
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Monday, November 13, 2017

A very dear reader is going on an exciting trip soon - with friends! - for 12 days. The weather could be cold, or it could be moderate and pleasant. What to do?

Plan, plan, plan...

Let's start with something that might be her travel outfit, and build from there:

travel outfit for cool weather in navy and grey with a purple coat and scarf
earrings – Lalana; jacket – Michael Kors; shirt – Lands’ End; watch – Anne Klein; sweater – Press; scarf – Missoni; tote – Botkier; boots – Hunter; pants – L.L.Bean

I know that her jacket is purple, and that she wants to wear navy and grey. From that, I developed these guidelines. Your choice of motif could be floral, or paisley, or plaid, or whatever strikes your fancy (I'd probably try something with stars, knowing me...)

Washable fabrics are logical for travel, and the idea of being able to layer is sort of inherent in our whole project, but still important to remember as we work our way through this. These kinds of guidelines might seem like over-thinking things, but I find them useful!

color palette and style guidelines for a travel capsule wardrobe in navy and grey with purple accents

Since my goal is to make this wardrobe as foolproof and interchangeable as possible, I'm going to keep all of the pieces organized in a "Whatever's Clean 13" template. I've added the guideline at the bottom for temperature - the garments to be worn on temperate days will be more to the left, and the pieces for wet and nippy days will be on the right.

step 1 of a Whatever's Clean 13 wardrobe in navy and grey

I'm thinking that it's generally easier to find grey clothes for cold-weather rather than warm, so I'm going to make the snuggly clothes choices in grey. In the rush of packing, make sure that you don't forget a warm hat or headband, and some gloves! The merits of whimsical socks are worth considering too...

wardrobe cluster in grey for cool weather
cardigan – L.L.Bean; earrings – Lalana; grey turtleneck – L.L.Bean; cashmere beanie – Halogen; striped tee – Marks and Spencer; corduroy pants – Patagonia; sweatshirt – L.L.Bean; gloves – Nordstrom; socks - Smartwool; clogs – Birkenstock

After this first step, this is the template. At this stage, you could literally get dressed in the dark without problems, which is one of my goals!

step 2 of a Whatever's Clean wardrobe in navy and grey

We're not really needing things for out-and-out HOT weather in this capsule, but a few options for days when it's sunny and pleasant. This longer cardigan would be a nice change of pace from the purple jacket on a day that permitted....

Never forget your sunglasses, no matter WHAT time of year!

wardrobe cluster in navy
cardigan – Patagonia; earrings – Neeru Goel; striped tee – J.Crew; sunglasses – Bonnie Clyde; gingham shirt – J. Crew; velvet skirt – J.Crew; flats – AGL; jeans – L.L.Bean; scarf - Missoni

(these J.Crew pieces are available through Nordstrom, just in case they are among your favorite retailers...)

Here's the final template. Maybe layering a plaid shirt over a striped tee shirt would give you a headache, but it's certainly possible! And a velvet skirt might be a bridge too far for some people, but a skirt in a different fabric can give you a nice change from endless pants, as well as give you an option for a relatively dressy evening out.

step 3 of a Whatever's Clean wardrobe in navy and grey

This is how it all stacks out with accessories. This of course doesn't show undergarments, toiletries, or nightwear. Warm tights and a set of long underwear wouldn't be silly at ALL...

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and grey with purple accents

Here's where the wardrobe rubber hits the vacation road! Can everything work together to give a range of outfits suitable for whatever Mother Nature throws at you?

Heck yes! If it didn't work, I'd re-do it before you saw it!!!

3 ways to wear grey corduroy pants for changing weather

3 ways to wear a navy velvet skirt for changing weather

3 ways to wear dark navy jeans for changing weather

3 ways to wear navy pants for changing weather

Of course you don't have to be planning a trip in order to think in these terms when you're organizing your closet and making purchase decisions; being able to fill in your own "Whatever's Clean 13" template from your own clothes can help you see what you could really use during the upcoming seasons.

love,
Janice

Is it Possible to Pack a Foolproof Suitcase? What if the Weather is Uncertain?
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