Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Winner!!! And my new plan...

There's just nothing more glamorous than posting an Excel formula to open a blog post!

Remember that delectable scarf from Kathkath that they offered to us last week?

Riad scarf - Kathkath

Well, Lorrie, send me your contact information so that I can forward it to Kathkath - because IT'S YOURS!

Congratulations to Lorrie, and thanks, as always, to all of you who hang around here with me and share my day...

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but Belovedest and I are moving, at the end of June. Just down the hall, but we've been given an irresistible offer on a REALLY irresistible apartment with a spectacular lake view, and so we're going to accept...

The new apartment is a 1 bedroom, which is a big step up for those of us who have always lived in studio apartments! But so far we've been very lucky - someone gave us an absolutely amazing bed and dresser, along with enough bedding for a small army! (and it's not just ANY bed - it's a hardwood sleigh bed, with a matching "dry sink" dresser; I could not have chosen nicer furniture if I'd looked for a month...)

But we do have a couple of things we want for the new place - a pair of bar stools (I'll post pictures of the kitchen once it's built - it's going to be all new from the cement floor and the studs up and out!), and a large framed mirror. And we're ONLY looking for things that are second-hand; there's so much used furniture in the world that we really don't need to have someone cut down a tree and manufacture something just for us...

And that got me to thinking about clothes, which is never far from my mind. Since I already have SO many clothes - more than enough - why don't I commit myself to buying only second-hand clothing for a while. Like a year...

So, starting today! I am only buying clothes that have already been purchased at retail by someone else. Things might still have tags on them, they may have never been worn, or they may be "gently worn", but I won't be the person carrying them out of a store in a shopping bag. Exceptions: lingerie, and running shoes. (used running shoes - not a good idea!)

I know that many of you make your own clothes (I'm still awed by some of your work!), and that many of you are vintage and resale experts. This is going to be a new challenge for me, but one which I embrace in the spirit of thrift and ecology.

Tell me of your "already depreciated" clothing adventures!



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Your Opinions, please

The extremely lovely people at She-Beads have made us an offer we can't refuse - they will make a one-of-a-kind bracelet for me to give away to one of you!

So, they asked me what color scheme I would prefer...

I have a preference - the colors of The Vivienne Files - greys, white and soft pink.

But in order to give us all a choice, I culled back through Pinterest to find the most frequently repinned images and color schemes, and the last four of these options came from there.

So which do you love the most? Which would make a gorgeous bracelet?

have a glorious holiday weekend,


Friday, May 22, 2015

How to Pack Light: The "Whatever's Clean" 13

One of the interesting things about writing The Vivienne Files is that I can see what posts are continually revisited, and what images get Pinned (and re-Pinned) on Pinterest. And without fail, every week, the "Whatever's Clean" wardrobes are at the top of the list.

That makes sense to me - there's really nothing in the world easier than being able to reach into your closet without looking and know that you can grab a coherent ensemble. 

So I've been thinking a lot about how "Whatever's Clean" can transfer to travel - it's an obvious fit. Especially for all of you who have to travel through a variety of climates, knowing that all of your clothes will work together makes it possible to relax about at least one aspect of your voyage.

I'm going to play with this idea off and on for a while, but I thought I'd start with a packing challenge that I know well - the long business/leisure trip that spans temperatures from cool autumn-ish to warm late spring-like temperatures. No winter coats, and no swimwear needed, but temperatures from the 50's F to the 70's F at least...

(random note: just put gloves and a knit had in your bag and leave them there! Last weekend, in Chicago, we were wearing sandals. Yesterday, when I went out for lunch, I wished that I had my gloves with me. Temperatures can swing - be prepared!)

In transit - you're going to somewhere cool, and you're going straight to the office! You want to make a bit of an impact when you arrive, so you select a bright blouse and a statement cardigan to wear while traveling.

yellow blouse – Moschino, earrings – Freida Rothman, cardigan – Kansai Yamamoto
watch – Karl Lagerfeld, skirt – Dolce and Gabbana, boots – Frye, bag – Tumi

Okay, that a great outfit, but you've got... six weeks? to go. How do you build? 

I suggest that you think about what you could substitute out for any ONE garment in your travel outfit.

  • floral cardigan - OFF,  solid black cardigan - ADD
  • yellow blouse - OFF, white shirt - ADD
  • yellow blouse - OFF, denim shirt - ADD
  • yellow blouse - OFF, purple tee shirt - ADD
  • yellow blouse - OFF, black tee shirt - ADD
  • yellow blouse - OFF, red tee shirt - ADD
  • black straight skirt - OFF, black pleated skirt - ADD
  • black straight skirt - OFF, black capris - ADD
  • black straight skirt - OFF, black dress trousers - ADD
  • black straight skirt - OFF, black jeans - ADD

It's always wise to have lots of tops, because they are most likely to need to go to the laundry, they are close to your face and are more memorable (both for you and those around you), and you can switch out necklines and sleeve lengths to address changes in climate.

Jewelry and scarves are critical; I didn't show scarves here, but I would probably include one scarf or necklace for each top packed i.e. five. They're small, they're light, and they give you the feeling of something different to wear. For this example, I chose all jewelry that mixes yellow and white gold, so that you're not standing in a hotel room in the pre-dawn darkness trying to tell if your earrings are silver or gold. NOT a question you need to consider...

All tops – L.L.Bean, skirt, capris, trousers and jeans – Uniqlo,
yellow and white gold hoop earrings – Kohl’s, gold and silver bracelet – Marc by Marc Jacobs
black clutch bag – Sabrina Zeng, yellow and white gold pendant – Marco Bicego,
ballet flats – Born, wedge sneakers – Taryn Rose

This shows all of your "stuff". It's a lot of black - if you keep to a dark neutral for your major "below the waist" pieces, you can cut way back on the number of shoes that you pack. Just assume that if you're packing carry-on for more than a month, you're going to grow tired of some of your garments. But if you're moving from place to place, the people around you aren't going to notice nor care that you're wearing the same 13 garments week after week, and you're saving yourself time and hassle by not having to deal with a lot of luggage!

And yes, you're going to have to have laundry done, probably once a week. The money you don't spend paying to have a suitcase checked will be easily eaten up having laundry done! But don't assume that you have to have the hotel do you laundry; there are a lot of "same day" laundry services which cost much less, and do a wonderful job.

And don't, whatever you do, send all of your shirts, or all of your pants, to the laundry at the same time! That's asking for trouble - everything damaged, lost, etc. Just too much out of your control; don't risk it.

There are at least 80 ways to wear these 13 pieces. That will easily get you through six weeks! In reality, you're probably going to find combinations that you like the best, and wear them often. But it's good to have lots of choices - if a garment blows out somewhere between Milan and Berlin, you still can get dressed!

"Whatever's Clean" 13 pieces for long term travel

Does this work for leisure travel? Heck yes! Just think about substituting shorts or capris for dress pants and skirts, tank tops for blouses etc. I would like to work more on this idea, so if you have a particular trip upcoming that worries you, leave a comment about it and I'll think...


Looking Back:

2014: Start With Art - Version 2: Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

2013: One dress - Six ways, in Black, White and Pink

2012: What to wear with a necklace: dragon pearls


Thursday, May 21, 2015

RED Cowboy Boots - Integrating a Wild Splurge into your Wardrobe

We've all done it. Something just CALLS OUT YOUR NAME... and the next thing you know, you get home, and you have a pair of red cowboy boots in your hands. Maybe not cowboy boots, but something that's outside of your normal wardrobe confines...

There's nothing wrong with this, if the item in question has true "whappage" - if it really strikes you, appeals to you, speaks to you on some deep level.  Let's just figure out how to incorporate this newly exposed facet of your persona into your existing wardrobe.

These are the culprits in question:

Boots – Lucchese

And your normal wardrobe (I know, because you told me...) is grey and camel. Let's grab a couple of simple outfits with which we can work - jeans and sweaters are temperamentally well-suited to cowboy boots. Just a reminder - if you're going to purchase jeans to wear with your boots, take the boots with you. The way the leg of your jeans falls over, or into, the top of your boots is important!

These boots could also be worn with a dressier trouser, bearing in mind that you're always going to have that joie de vivre in your outfit that these boots deliver. Maybe appropriate for work, depending on your office; appropriate for fun evenings - DEFINITELY!

Grey jeans – 7 for all Mankind, grey sweater – Saint Laurent Paris
camel ankle jeans – Oui, camel sweater – Michael Kors

For me, the first, and the easiest, way to pull together various colors and sensibilities in an outfit is a great scarf. It's important to remember that scarves don't have to be meticulously folded and tied! Just lay the fabric around the back of your neck, loop it over in the front once (or not), and go. Complicated knots can be fun - I do them sometimes - but they're only really appropriate when you're wearing something very tailored and structured. Any outfit that includes cowboy boots is going to have a more relaxed insouciant air that means the scarf should be soft and uncontrived...

Heraldry print scarf – Roberto Cavalli, fringed scarf – Valentino,
Butterfly scarf – Valentino

Red handbags are easy to find, and they're a lot of fun! It's an easy way to incorporate red into your wardrobe without having to have it "on your person" constantly.

Red tote – COET, backpack – EDDIE, sachel bag – Betty and Betts

Even something as small as a piece of jewelry can add another spark of red to your outfit, and keep your cowboy boots from feeling lonely...

Parachute cord bracelet – We Are All Smith, red agate earrings – 
Caipora JewelleryResin ring – gyamjo JEWELS, woven necklace – Vlum

I could see wearing these:

What's your wild splurge? I'd be happy to see what I can suggest...


p.s. I'm gradually putting more scarves on the "Things for Sale" page; look up at the top, underneath the "Vivienne" tiled floor.

Looking Back:

2014: Start with Art: Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

2013: The Blue and White "Whatever's Clean" Summer Wardrobe, with Accessories

2012: Mother of the Betrothed goes HOT (a guest post at tishjett.com)

2011: Things Europeans would know about: the Heineken Cup - my favorite (DUBLIN!!!) rugby teams wins the European championship, and I'm obsessed...


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Dusty Pink Jacket: Integrating an Accent Color

Ahh, sometimes you receive a gift that's lovely, but...

A dusty, soft pink jacket is a wonderful gift - there are few of us who can't wear this color successfully, but what if you've never before owned ANYTHING else in this color?

Happily, a coat's a great thing to integrate into the rest of your wardrobe, because you can wear whatever you want under the jacket, add one well-chosen accessory, and everything will look pulled-together and thought out.

Here's an example of the coat:

Coat – Stutterheim

From here, your options are wide open! A beautiful scarf?

Coat – Stutterheim, op art scarf – Emilio Pucci, circular patterned scarf – Alexander McQueen,
Floral scarf – Charlotte Hudders, roses scarf - kathkath

A beautiful bag is a great idea!

Coat – Stutterheim, gold-trimmed leather tote – Michael Kors, leather and plexi bag – Poupee Couture
shoulder bag – Miu Miu, soft sided tote – My Choice

Lots of other possibilities...

Coat – Stutterheim, hatMissoni, glitter sunglasses – Miu Miu
belt – Mauro Grifoni,  sunglasses – Sheriff and Cherry, nail polish – Butter
 (color Loverly), umbrella – River’s Edge

And don't forget jewelry. Earrings, a ring, or a bracelet will still be quite visible with your beautiful jacket.

Coat – Stutterheim, double arrow bracelet – Dreams of Norway
moonstone and black pearl earrings – Michelle Oh, rose gold rose 
quartz ring – H.Azeem London, rose quartz and blue triangle bracelet – 
Maria Lau, rose quartz stud earrings – H.Azeem London, floral brooch – Alok Jain

It's well worth remembering that, while most of us make sure that our outerwear blends flawlessly into our wardrobe, we could choose something a bit more adventurous, and integrate it into our wardrobe with just a couple of intelligent accessories.


Looking Back: