Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The 1st Five Steps: Shifting a Wardrobe from Cool Colors to Warm Colors

It's a timeless question, frequently asked here on The Vivienne Files: "I recently had my colors done, and was told that I should wear warm colors. Most of my wardrobe is black - HELP!!!"

First and foremost, always remember that you don't HAVE to do what one color consultant tell you to do. Remember this post, in which I describe two color consultations that I had. Two RADICALLY DIFFERENT recommendations.... sigh...

But if you choose to shift from cool to warm, I have some ideas about how it might be managed.

Let's start with the wardrobe from last Friday:

grey cardigan – Vince; blue cardigan – L.L.Bean; draped top – 3.1 Phillip Lim; blue turtleneck –  
Ferragamo; black cardigan – J. Crew; ¾ sleeve tee – Majestic Filatures; grey dress – IDLF Uniqlo;
 sleeveless top – Rick Owens; tweed jacket –  Stella McCartney; hooded cardigan – L.L.Bean; grey 
sweater – H&M; blue sweater – Tsumori Chisato; dress – Issey Miyake; blue top – H&M; grey top
 – Steffen Schraut; striped tee – Frame Denim; black tee shirt – L.L.Bean; cropped pants –  
L.L.Bean; black pants - J. Crew; flared skirt – MICHAEL Michael Kors; grey pants – Tommy Hilfiger;
  jeans – L.L.Bean; cropped pants – L.L.Bean; pencil skirt – J. Crew; shorts – L.L.Bean

If I do say so myself, this is a pretty gorgeous wardrobe, and would see you through a lot of activities and events. But if you're trying to move away from cool colors, you're going to have to make some changes. For each step, I have chosen 3 garments that I consider to be the most obvious "problems" in the wardrobe, and then made suggestions about what replacements to find.

Step 1: Replace the Harshest Colored Tops

I would first recommend getting rid of simple, relatively inexpensive things like dark neutral tee shirts - they're worn close to your face, so the unflattering nature of the color is most pronounced. In their place, I would find 2 light neutral tops that can still be worn with your black (or navy) pieces, but which put a slightly warmer shade nearer your face.

I would also suggest foregoing a sweater in a neutral and looking for an accent color top that you could wear frequently. As much as anything, this is a real "test drive" of your new color scheme. If you don't find that you like the accent colors recommended for you, when you're wearing them, then you might want to reconsider the entire "recoloring."

Ivory tee – Uniqlo; green sweater – L.L.Bean; cream tee – L.L.Bean

Step 2: A New "Suit" and Top

The next step is to replace a 2-piece "suit" sort of paring with 2 pieces in a new dark neutral. I'm getting rid of this hooded sweater, and the black pants, because they are both real workhorses in a wardrobe, and you want to find NEW pieces that can be worn at least twice a week. 

For the 3rd piece to replace in this step, I think a top that will match up very closely with your new 2-piece grouping is a good choice. 

Cardigan – Lands’ End; pants – J. Crew; short sleeve sweater – Lands’ End

Step 3: Another New "Suit" and Top

This step is sort of the same thing, in terms of replacing a 2-piece jacket (or cardigan) and pants (or skirt) ensemble. But this time, instead of dress pants,  I really want new jeans for this person! Jeans are something that can be worn frequently without arousing any attention.

Again, replacing a relatively unflattering neutral top with something equally versatile, but in your new color scheme, will give you a nice outfit from your new 3 pieces. Of course, these new garments also integrate nicely with everything else you've purchased so far!

Tee – IDLF Uniqlo; blazer – L.L.Bean; jeans – Armani Jeans

Isn't that the silliest photograph of a pair of jeans you've ever seen?

At this point I guess I should explain that, although the blue in this wardrobe isn't a warm color, it's pretty close to a warmer color, and it's an accent that will look great with all of the brown and olive that you're adding. Eventually, the blues are all going to migrate more into the turquoise range, but for now, I felt like it wasn't a big problem to keep them here.

Step 4: Yet Another Cardigan, Pants and Top

Same 3 pieces being replaced, but this time I've gone for a 2nd neutral. With a decent core of brown consolidated in this wardrobe, this is a good time to branch out into the green. (except for the gorgeous sweater you've had since Step 1, of course)

Cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee – Oasis; pants - Etro

Step Five: Getting Rid of Lingering "Bad" Garments"

At this point, the grey dress, capris and shorts stick out like 3 sore thumbs - time for them to be replaced!

Dress – IDLF Uniqlo; capris – Patagonia; shorts – L.L.Bean

After these 5 steps, you have 15 new pieces of clothing - more than half of the 25 pieces with which this wardrobe started. You're still sitting with a black cardigan and a couple of skirts, but those pieces are still wearable (albeit a compromise) with your warmer tops.

Please note that there's no time-frame in which this MUST be done. Many of us might try to complete one step each month, which other might try for a step each week. I can only advise not to rush yourself, and to be acutely aware of how you feel during this process. 

If, at any time, you start to have doubts about these color changes, STOP SHOPPING. Gut check your responses. Ask the advice of true friends, with good taste. Go back to the color consultant and ask for a re-do. Do whatever it takes, but don't spend yourself into an unsatisfactory wardrobe when your heart is saying no...

Thursday, I'm going to finish the shift in this wardrobe, and in the days following, I'll make the same updates with the accessories!


p.s. I am leaving town, rather unexpectedly, and for an undetermined period of time. I've got posts for you every OTHER day until the end of next week, though!

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Monday, February 08, 2016

Start with a Scarf: Version 2 Hydrangea Haze by Ted Baker London

I was working on a casual version of this when everybody started asking for a casual version... Sometimes we all think very much alike!

Hydrangea Haze scarf – Ted Baker London

I swapped out the pinks for purple and blue - a great color combination. I also softened the grey from the first version of this wardrobe (revisit it here) for a pure white. 

And then I found that these 2 accents were VERY difficult to find... at least in items that meet my many requirements!

Hydrangea Haze scarf – Ted Baker London

On Campus?!?!?

Yes, of course I'd like to go visit - we're talking about my favorite freshman in the whole wide world. But we're staying ON CAMPUS for Parents and Grandparents Weekend!
Tee shirt – L.L.Bean; earrings – Pandora; pants L.L.Bean; watch –  
Kate Spade; linen cardigan – L.L.Bean; scarf – Ted Baker London
flats – Trotters; bag – Longchamp

Sleeping in a dorm. Eating in a dorm. LIVING IN A DORM.... (showers...)

I'm the grandmother....

And to make it more complicated, the weather is iffy, and the range of possible activities is hard to encompass, based on what we're being told. (sometimes, my favorite freshman is a little bit unclear on the details.) Of course, if we get away for a meal, we'll go into town and have a nice dinner too...
Stud earrings – Sam Edelman; sweatshirt – Lands’ End; bracelets – Gillian 
Julius; windowpane top – Uniqlo; rain jacket – L.L.Bean; purple cardigan – 
 Viyella; navy sleeveless top – Odeeh; chain necklace – Karine Sultan; print 
top – Viyella; skirt – Uniqlo; jeans L.L.Bean; capris – Mint Velvet; stripe
d top – Mint Velvet; canvas shoes – Keds; driving loafers – Robert Zur

But I'm a grandmother - I've learned a lot! This is easily doable in a carry-on bag, with a bit of planning.

Everything fits the template: 

I have lots of options:

Coolest grandma ever, I'm just sayin'...



Saturday, February 06, 2016

Start with Art: Fumee d'Ambre Gris by Sargent

I spotted this painting ages ago, when I put together the "Images and Color Schemes: 100 Works of Art" file (which you can still buy here). So when one of you wrote to me, asking that I use this image on the blog, I was enthusiastically happy!

Fumee d'Ambre Gris by John Singer Sargent

This is the page that I included the the Images and Color Schemes file:

The exotic nature of the painting suggested a travel wardrobe, but I didn't want to go too far overboard into a desert vacation, so I went back to our "range of events" trips that so many of us are taking this spring and summer.

And I decided to break a few rules, too!


Generally, she's described as the eccentric aunt, but she prefers to think of herself as an iconoclast. An original. A truly self-defined woman...

And she doesn't wear high heels! Nor stockings...

But she can get dressed up as well as anyone, even if it's going to be one of those long weekends with everything from formal dinners to weddings to a picnic. She can pull this off, with carry-on luggage. Iconoclasts as very self-reliant!
Oval earrings – Nordstrom Rack; black pants – T by Alexander Wang; black tank
 – T by Alexander Wang; black bracelet – Vince Camuto; black sandals – Munro;
 bag – Luana Italy; coat – The Row; blush silk top – Theory; opal earrings –  
Kendra Scott; bracelet – Kendra Scott; gold sandals – Clarks
blush silk pants – Theory

One of the joys of making her own rules is that she can continue to wear culottes when everybody else thinks they're passe. (they should look around a bit - culottes are still EVERYWHERE in stores...) She's old enough to realize that her knees don't need to be out in public.
Natural tank - Uniqlo; sandalsOluKai; natural culottes – Baja East; 
hooded sweatshirt – Patagonia; gray tank – Uniqlo; seersucker shorts – 
Rag & Bone; sneakers – Tod’s

Her friends think Uniqlo is too "young" for them. She scoffs at those kinds of pigeonholes - nobody carded her when she went shopping, and if they had tried... well... she would have had to have a wee conversation with them...
Tunic – IDLF Uniqlo; bone earrings – Maiyet; cardigan – L.L.Bean; rose gold 
and diamond studs – Melissa Kaye; sequined scarf – Armani Collezioni; blush 
and white scarf – Brunello Cucinelli; dress – ISLF Uniqlo

She's quite pleased with what she's packing. That touch of black punches everything up a bit, and gives her some very unexpected options in an otherwise soft and subtle palette. It's like black eyeliner with grey hair...

She has dozens of options:

The young people always like to hang out with her; they think she's "cool." She enjoys their company immensely, and always learns from them, as much as they do from her. This is how life should be, eh?



Friday, February 05, 2016

Start with a Scarf: Reflections II by ImageDiary

WHAT a scarf...

Reflections II silk twill scarf by ImageDiary

And what delicious colors with which to work...

Reflections II silk twill scarf by ImageDiary

My goal here was to look for fluidity, as much as possible... 

What I wouldn't do for this dress, by the way. This is the kind of thing that you buy and then build outfits around - which wouldn't be difficult. While you can easily wear it as I show here, you could also put on tights, boots, a black cardigan and your Reflections II scarf in cold weather...

Scarf – ImageDiary; earrings – Pichaya; cardigan – L.L.Bean; tee shirt – L.L.Bean;
 silver cuff- Achara; loafers – Everybody; pants – J. Crew; earrings – MM Druck
 dress – Issey Miyake; cuff bracelet – Yuli; pumps – Cole Haan

scarf – Elizabeth Gillett; tote – Issey Miyake; sweater – Tsumori Chisato
skirt – J. Crew; slip-on shoes – Vans; striped tee – Frame Denim; necklace – 
Elina Miro; earrings – Simon Sebbag; cropped pants – L.L.Bean;  
ballet flats – Lanvin

This scarf was described as having "water drops" as the pattern:

Earrings – Charter Club; dress – IDLF Uniqlo; backpack - AmeriBag; sandals –  
OluKai; blue top – H&M; cropped pants – L.L.Bean; cardigan - L.L.Bean
 scarf Saachi; sandals – OluKai

Pearls seems pretty obvious, when the theme is water:

cardigan – Vince; earrings Uno de 50; sleeveless top – Rick Owens; shorts – 
 L.L.Bean; sandals – OluKai; sleeveless top – 3.1 Phillip Lim; tassel earrings –  
Cole Haan; pants – Tommy Hilfiger; bracelet – Withaya Cheunjit
slides – Donald J. Pliner

Necklace – Nareerat; tweed jacket –  Stella McCartney; boots – Clarks
tee – Majestic Filatures; jeans – L.L.Bean; sweater – H&M; earrings – Khun Boom;
 skirt J. Crew; pumps – Charles by Charles David; scarf – Mila Schon

PLEASE, cut the tag gizmo off of the blue sweater... What ARE they thinking?

Cardigan – J. Crew; brooch – Chloe; blouse – Steffen Schraut; pants – J. Crew;
 boots – Clarks; sweater – Ferragamo; skirt – MICHAEL Michael Kors; necklace – 
 Swarovski; ring – Chico’s; boots – Bussola

There are plenty of possibilities in this capsule wardrobe!

And the accessories have a subtle harmony and appeal...

Yes, I've reused some black separates and black accessories, mainly to demonstrate how versatile they can be when you put them with different accent colors.

And OH YEAH, if you enter the discount code VFILES2016 when you're shopping at ImageDiary, you will get a 20% discount! Thanks Scottie!

(you'd love her - she's brilliant...)


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