Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A 2nd 3-Dress Travel Capsule Wardrobe


They were always really nice about it; her nephew always sent her the "Annual Beach House Room Reservation Worksheet," just as if she was going to be there for at least a weekend or two.

But she never went. Until now.

When the email arrived, she took the single room, for the Memorial Day Weekend. Shock waves reverberated around the extended family!

A travel outfit including beige trousers, a floral tee shirt and ivory cardigan.
Earrings – Lauren Ralph Lauren; watch – Anne Klein; pants – Uniqlo; 
tee – Uniqlo; cross body bag – Kipling; moccasins – Minnetonka
cardiganL.L.Bean; scarf – Nordstrom; tote - Merona

She realized that the things that kept her away weren't really "deal-killers" after all!

A weekend beach capsule travel wardrobe for someone who neither swims nor wears shorts.
Sage dress – L.L.Bean; tee – Uniqlo; blue print dress – L.L.Bean;
 hat – Eric Javits; sunglasses – Ray-Ban; blue tee shirt dress – L.L.Bean
bracelet – TJMaxx; water sandals – Lands’ End; espadrilles – Joy & Mario;
 wrap – Nordstrom

It's possible to have a perfectly nice beach vacation without actually swimming...

Beige, blue and soft teal summer travel capsule wardrobe.

Nobody is contractually obliged to wear shorts at any time in their life...

2 summer outfits without shorts, and with closed-toe shoes.

And you can walk in the surf while wearing shoes. In fact, one does not EVER have to wear sandals...

2 summer outfits without shorts, and with closed-toe shoes.

She might be considered a bit eccentric, but they're going to be SO happy that she's with them that they won't mind a bit! And she might even go back for the 4th of July...


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Monday, May 02, 2016

12 Months, 12 Outfits: May

Ivy Bromius - send me an email at theviviennefiles@gmail.com, because you won the Stowaway cosmetics! Congratulations! And thanks to all 185 of your for your intelligent, charming, and helpful comments...

Everyone should still check out the Stowaway cosmetics site, because they are lovely little pieces that get used up instead of expiring before you can finish them - and you can send back the empty containers for recycling - and THEY pay to get them back! I would love them for that if nothing else...

Now, to this month's update: 

Warm weather's coming! (I type, as I'm sitting in fleece running tights and a sweatshirt...)

When I was pondering what we needed to add to these wardrobes for May, I kept coming back to the idea that we need to be prepared ahead of time for the first warm days. Even if it's no more of an event than going to watch your neighbor's kids play soccer, you don't want to be caught off guard and unprepared. That's how badly conceived impulse purchases make their way into your closet!

First up, a reminder of the 6 scarves that we're using as our unifying themes for the wardrobes, through the 12 months:

If you'd like to refresh your memory about the first 4 outfits, and how we got to this point, you can find January here, February here, March here, and April here.

As always, please keep 2 things in mind:

1. You can do this kind of exercise without EVER owning an Hermes scarf - any beautiful thing can be your inspiration and unifying theme. Look around your world and your life for things that inspire you - things that "speak" to you, and that aren't LYING!!!

2. If you don't wear shorts, think of a skirt, or cropped pants, or pedal pushers. Yes, they still exist, and they're cute as heck... If you don't want something sleeveless, look for short sleeved, or 3/4 sleeved. Your wardrobe is about you, not about some arbitrary rules...

I looked at matching jewelry for this outfit, but just liked the idea of things that were slightly different...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Nordstrom Rack
shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – Lands’ End
flip flops – Vionic; bracelet – Kendra Scott

This NOT your ordinary tank top!

tank top – Emporio Armani; earrings – Kevia;
 shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean
 bracelet – Lead; flip flops – Vionic

Another sleeveless top that is a bit out of the ordinary - it's good to mix a bit of texture into a simple outfit from time to time...

sleeveless top – Dorothy Perkins; earrings – Catherine Malandrino
shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Lands’ End
bracelets – ABS by Allen Schwartz; flip flops – Vionic

I like the bright punch of the top and sandals with the otherwise very simple monochromatic outfit... If you were looking for a 2nd top to wear here, either matching olive, or a soft cream, would both be perfect.

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Niin
shorts – Uniqlo; cardigan – L.L.Bean
bracelet – Kendra Scott; flip flops – Aetrex

Yes, I'm a big fan of these sandals...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Simon Sebbag
 shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean;   
bracelets – Dee Berkley; flip flops – OluKai

No red shoes, this month! But they're still bold...

Tank top – Lands’ End; earrings – Robert Lee Morris;
shorts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Lands’ End;
bracelets – Robert Lee Morris; flip flops – Sam Edelman

None of these May outfits is particularly amazing or complicated, but the options that they bring to the overall wardrobes is significant. Building with a plan has cumulative effects that grow as the months pass; you'd be pretty well outfitted for almost any travel with 11 pieces (and accompanying accessories).

Do you still have the same favorite that you had back in January? I do, but I'm pretty predictable!


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Something Exciting - I MUST Share!

I know that I promised you another 3-dresses suitcase today - rest assured that it's all queued up for Tuesday. (Monday is our regularly scheduled "1 Month, 1 Outfit" post). But my news was so exciting that I couldn't wait for you all to hear, literally.

A few days go, I was interviewed by the lovely and charming Betsy Talbot, romance author, and co-author of An Uncluttered Life website and podcast. She and Warren, her husband, left their "real" jobs a few years ago to travel, and have now settled down in Spain, where they continue to educate the world at large about how to make life simpler and more satisfying... (I highly recommend the podcasts - I binge listen to them when I'm running!)

Anyway! As part of their "Life Lab" program, they included an interview with ME!!!! It was so simple - talking with Betsy is like chatting with an old friend that you haven't caught up with in a long time. I think that the results sounds sort of intelligent, and kind of sensible...

At any rate, if you've always wondered what I sound like, in the digital flesh, here's your chance to hear.


I hope you like it... (sudden, almost overwhelming nerves just set it...)

must push the Publish button.... nerves.... nerves....


Friday, April 29, 2016

A 3-Dress Travel Capsule Wardrobe

My 3-dress plan worked so well in Paris that I thought I would experiment with some different ways to pack with dresses as the primary garments...

Imagine, if you will, someone who buys a cardigan that they love. Bright colors, a print she adores, and excellent quality. So when she's invited to a wedding weekend out of town, it only makes sense to build EVERYTHING around this sweater:

Earrings – Sam Edelman; tee – L.L.Bean; pants – Uniqlo
handbag – Patricia Nash; cardigan – Blumarine;  scarf – Nordstrom
shoes – Ecco; watch – Skagen; suitcase - Samsonite

She knows that there will be a dinner party 2 days before the wedding, and then the rehearsal dinner (to which she is invited), and the the wedding and reception. THREE days of events which have been described to her as "dressy."
Red dress – MSGM; earrings – Freida Rothman; small bag – Menbur
black dress – Lands’ End; fuchsia dress – Pleats Please by Issey Miyake
bracelets – Freida Rothman; necklace – Carolee; lace wrap – Glint
black sleeveless top – Dorothy Perkins; slingbacksTrotters;

She's a bit uneasy about just exactly what is meant by "dressy", but she packs in such a way that she's got options...

Each of the 3 dress can be accessorized in a variety of ways that either dial down or ramp up the "dressiness factor."

Does she care that her friends and family might see the same cardigan repeatedly? Not particularly... they have more important things to think about, and if she loves what she's wearing (and she's not wearing flat-out dirty clothes), that's what's most important.

I've got another variation of this in mind for tomorrow...


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

A 36-Hanger Wardrobe idea

It happens every year at this time - you would think that after living through 54 Aprils, I would know better. But we have a couple of warm days, and I start dragging warm-weather clothes out of storage... then the weather returns to normal (i.e. coats and gloves) and my closet looks like a I've lost all control. (because I HAVE let things get out of control...)

So I spend quite a bit of time thinking about organizing my closet. You already knew that! And this is my latest thought:

Step 1

Look at everything that's visible, and that I can remember from storage, and pick the 18 garments that I know I will want to wear in the immediate (2 weeks or so?) future. This isn't designed to punish me if the weather changes radically - it's more a goal of getting the clothes with which I wrestle each morning down to a manageable number.

Right now, the forecast is for highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s, so I chose the following:

white tee shirts - L.L.Bean (with my iron-on designs);
pants - Eddie Bauer, cardigan - L.L.Bean;
skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher, red sweater - J. Crew

white shirt - Lands' End; waxed cotton jeans -
Eileen Fisher (similar here); sweater - J. Crew; tee shirt -
; skirt - Uniqlo; sweater - Rika (not available)

1st dress - COS (not available); 2nd dress - J. Jill (not available);
3rd dress - COS (not available); chambray shirt - J. Jill (similar here);
cardigan - Dublin Woolen Mills (similar here);  jeans - L.L.Bean

Okay, that's 18 hangers...

Step 2

Look at everything that's left. Patience, creativity, and intelligence are all important here!

Put together another 18 ensembles (as many as 54 garments) from the vast unused remainders. Consider the upcoming weather (i.e. if right now I have the choice between a linen sweater and a cashmere one, I should probably be looking at the linen; even though it's cool right now, it's going to warm up soon.)

(no, all of my ensembles aren't identical, but since I don't even know what they ARE yet, I'm just showing place-holder garments)

Step 3

Put these 18 hangers into a large garment bag or two, and put them in my closet also. So they're there, but they're not THERE, as in "in my face" every morning.

And oh yea, if you don't have big garment bags, neatly arranging an old sheet over your 2nd 18 hangers would accomplish the same goal of protection and "out of sight-ness" that you want... Spending money shouldn't be a big part of this, until and unless you decide that this works for you.

Step 4

As needed by demands of the weather, or maybe twice a month (the 15th and the last day, maybe?), look at the current "active" wardrobe and choose an ensemble that needs to go on vacation. It might be that I've worn it constantly, or that it's now out of season... Remove those 3 pieces from my closet.

If I'm still completely contented with what I see, change nothing!

Step 5

If I decided to remove 3 things from my "active" wardrobe in Step 4, I need to look in the garment bag(s) and choose the 3-piece ensemble that most appeals, and that is most appropriate for the upcoming fortnight or so. Transfer each of the 3 pieces onto their own hanger, and move to the "active" wardrobe.

Step 6

Make sure that the 3 pieces leaving the 18 are clean, fit well, and are ready to store. Decide if these pieces are things that will be "back in the action" in the next few months, or if they're now sufficiently out of season to be rested in a remote storage area. (in my case, that's a big translucent plastic bin on the top shelf of my closet!)

Step 7

If the newly retired ensemble is going into "out of season", then maybe choose another ensemble to take it's place in the garment bag, with the rest of the "standby" garments.

Step 8

Repeat Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 as often as needed, if the weather dictates, or twice a month if you're getting bored with your "front of closet" 18.

Okay, that's a complicated way to explain that I'm going to have a "rolling capsule" (nod to Debbie Roes at Recovering Shopaholic for introducing me to the term) of 18 pieces that I'm going to gradually shift, 3 pieces at a time. If you don't own 54 pieces of clothing, I salute you - you are my role model.

There aren't any hard and fast rules here - I just came up with this idea, so it's not like there's a well-established tradition around how this works! But the goals are to keep a generous but still abbreviated number of pieces visible, while having the "on the bench" pieces queued up in an orderly fashion, close at hand.

THEN, you can buy 36 really gorgeous wooden hangers...

does this make sense? feasible? helpful? too few options? or too many?  As always, your opinions are valued!


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