Thursday, October 19, 2017


You love this - romance, gracefulness, a deep color palette that remains feminine and quite pretty...
Bouquet des fleurs in the style of Jan van Huysum

And so for a short trip, you've isolated these few colors for your travel wardrobe. (yes, you acknowledge that the background might really be black, but you prefer navy!)

Bouquet des fleurs in the style of Jan van Huysum with style guidelines and color palette

You've Been Invited to the Beach, in Autumn...


Yes, it's sentimental, and romantic. And you're more than equal to a weekend of quiet time together!


travel outfit in navy and burgundy

You don't need a lot of things - just enough to keep your feet dry, and your heart warm...

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and burgundy

You can carry your bag easily enough, although a gallant companion might carry it for you...

travel capsule wardrobe in navy and burgundy

You have plenty of options - all of them lovely!

2 outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in navy, burgundy and white

2 outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in navy, burgundy and white

2 outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in navy, burgundy and white

Even rubber boots are romantic, if you're with the right person!

love,
Janice
Start with Art: Bouquet desFleurs in the style of Jan van Huysum
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Thierry Rabotin Gilbert black suede loafers from Hanig's Footwear Chicago
loafers - Thierry Rabotin

This is a shamelessly sponsored post! Yes, I was given a pair of shoes, which is a pretty sweet deal. But I hope that you know me well enough by now to know that if I didn't think that something was worth your time and effort, I wouldn't write about it - I'm not going to sell out and waste your time, and my good reputation...

Last week, I was invited to the Thierry Rabotin shoes trunk show at Hanig's Footwear. I've been buying shoes from Hanig's for... 25 years? maybe, and I've been buying Thierry Rabotin (1 pair every 6 months, VERY carefully chosen) since they began carrying them. So I just thought that they were inviting me because I'm an old, and pretty good, customer...

Heck no! They offered me a pair of CUSTOM SHOES, in exchange for a blog post. Honestly, I'd tell you about these guys anyway - they're really that good. Theirs was one of the first shoe stores that decided to focus exclusively on comfortable women's shoes - brands including my new friends Arche, Beautifeel, Cloud, L'amour des Pieds, Perlato...Their management saw the future of an older population that valued comfort, but that still insisted on style...

But THE TRUNK SHOW!!!! You could choose ANY style shoe made by Thierry Rabotin (and that's a LOT of styles...) and have the style made up, in their Milan-area factory, in any combination of leathers that they carry. The choices were sort of overwhelming...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

For a long time, I was thinking about strappy flats - I've owned similar styles, and I knew that I could cook up some amazing color combination...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

But I began to realize that something like oxfords might make sense... They have a lot of "moving parts" to customize...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

In the end, I wasn't terribly adventurous - I bought oxfords in black suede, black calf and silver. I won't receive them until after the winter holidays - you'll get to see them, believe me!

If you don't want to customize a pair of really racy shoes, you could always turn to the classics that are always in stock, and make a small change to color or texture to make the shoes exclusively yours.

stock Thierry Rabotin shoes at Hanig's Footwear Chicago

And since I'm in the middle of this stupid Foot Crisis 2017 (copyright pending...) I got totally crazy and replaced my tassel loafers, which are now living on someone else's feet, somewhere in Paris. (I donated them to the Red Cross store). The loafers at the top of this post are what I bought - I'm pretty delighted!

So what can you take away from all of this?

  • The assurance that there are both manufacturers and retailers that still make and sell the best possible quality shoes, with a dual emphasis on comfort and style. Fast fashion has not completely taken over the world!
  • The comfort of knowing that you're not alone in struggling to find comfortable shoes; women from all over the US order shoes from Hanig's...
  • The "someday" dream of having a pair of shoes in exactly the color and style that you want. While the trunk show is ended, you can still work with the management staff at Hanig's to have a pair of shoes made to your specifications. It might be once in a lifetime, but it is a dream that can come true...
  • In a larger sense, the knowledge that there are still lots of people making creative and offbeat items of all sorts - we haven't all been smashed into an H&M, Ikea sort of homogeneity...
  • The delight in knowing that there are still places - IN THE UNITED STATES - where retail work is considered a profession, and where expert subject knowledge is prized.
  • Whenever someone complains about how much you spend on shoes, you can always say "But JANICE..."

love,
Janice

Does Anybody Care About Making and Selling Beautiful, Comfortable Shoes? Heck YES!
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

You might think it's just a flying caterpillar, but the colors are so lovely....

Cecropia moth with style guidelines and color palette

Your understanding is that the first interview is going to be most of the day in their offices, and then a break before they take you out to dinner; they want to make sure that you know which fork is which!

an interview outfit and an outfit for a dinner interview, in shades of brown
tweed jacket – Tara Jarmon; brown quartz earrings - JCPenney; watch – Movado; print shirt – Lands’ End; bag – Coach; pumps – Trotters; skirt - Nehera Sipa; cardigan - Frett Slow-Made Knitwear; earrings – Julie Sion; clutch – Banana Republic; pumps – L.K.Bennett; dress – Lands’ End; scarf – Eileen Fisher

It's a kitchen gear company - why would you be interested in their job if you didn't know your salad fork from your dinner fork? Of course you're hired! For the first few days, you're going to have options to dress nicely if there's going to be a meeting, but otherwise the offices seem quite casual...

six additions to a business wardrobe in shades of brown with red and orange accents
buttoned cardigan – Lands’ End; waterfall cardigan – Lands’ End; earrings - Ri Noor; pendant - Salome; scarf - Faliero Sarti; short-sleeved sweaters – Lands’ End; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; dress – Lands’ End; shoes - Topshop

This is the the tiny wardrobe that you have before your first paycheck arrives - you can get through a week of work without too much trouble...

an 11-piece work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown with accents of red

a week of work outfits from an 11-piece work capsule wardrobe in brown with red accents

Hallelujah for that first paycheck! You're learning that you spend a lot of time working with the receiving staff, and hanging out on the loading docks - warm, cozy layers are a good idea!

six additions to a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown with accents of orange and red
earrings - Poppy Finch; rings – Feather+Stone; scarf – Faliero Sarti; plaid shirt – Uniqlo; ivory tee – Lands’ End; cardigan – Snobby Sheep; brown cords – Lands’ End; buttoned cardigan – Lands’ End; jeans – J Brand; oxfords – Dansko; boots – Lucky Brand

You're starting to have enough pieces in your wardrobe to be able to get dressed without having to plan out your week in advance!

17-piece work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown with red and orange accents

When that second check shows up, you're ready to add some vivid accents! You're realizing that a nice fleecy jacket won't be too casual, and that canvas shoes will be just fine some days...

six additions to a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown, with accents of orange and red
fluffy hoodie – Uniqlo; scarf – Pyaar; earrings – Ying; eternity necklace - Alex Woo; cream and camel flannel shirts – Uniqlo; orange sweater – Uniqlo; multistrand necklace– Heidi Daus; backpack – Madewell; sneakers – Ugg; checked pants – Stella McCartney; scarf - Bottega Veneta; khaki pants – Land’s End

For now, you're going to stick with these 23 pieces and see how far it can take you...

23-piece work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown with accents of red and orange

You have lots of possibilities - days when the corporate peeps are around and you need to look managerial, days when you're on the docks helping shift mountains of boxes...

3 ways to wear a plaid jacket in a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear a camel cardigan jacket from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear an ivory cardigan from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear a classic camel cardigan from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear an orange fluffy jacket from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear a dark brown cardigan from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

3 ways to wear a vicuna cardigan from a work capsule wardrobe in shades of brown

Mixing shades of brown might feel tricky, but after a few weeks of doing it you'll find that you grow more confident about what works. It's all a question about what YOU find comfortable and appropriate...

love,
Janice
Can a More Casual Work Wardrobe have Personality? Start with a Moth...
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Monday, October 16, 2017

I've received some requests for wardrobes that address the desire to return to the workforce without completely sacrificing personal expression. Of course, this is going to depend entirely on the nature of the office in which you find yourself - some are still pretty strict, while other will let you wear pretty much anything that gets you into the office without getting arrested!

But let's assume that you need to start out pretty cautiously; all of the internet "chat" about the office talks about their very old-school image, in the eyes of the public. Once you're in, and find your niche, you can branch out a bit.

This photograph was on that amazingly fun site Design Seeds - I thought that these colors would be a good starting point, since it includes good old corporate navy and grey, while introducing some really lovely accent colors...

an ocean photograph with style guidelines and color palette

For the first 2 interviews, I've kept things pretty conservative, without being absolutely "cookie-cutter" bland... And I made a point of finding a navy suit that also has pants available - having all three pieces in the same fabric opens up all kinds of options...

(I'm putting general guidelines onto these images, thinking that I'm going to replicate this general idea tomorrow in a completely different palette, with a less dressy feeling...)

five-piece job interview wardrobe for a conservative office
blazer – Lands’ End; pearl earrings – Lagos; striped shirt – Lands’ End; skirt – Lands’ End; briefcase – Ted Baker London; watch – Skagen; tweed jacket – Fay; pearl necklace – Lagos; dress – Lands’ End; pumps - Calvin Klein

For her first wave of wardrobe additions, the clothes are all going to stick to really basic pieces, in the 2 neutrals. Hallelujah for tweed, which gives you at least a little bit of interest! (Ideally, there would be a skirt that matched the jacket shown above - THAT would be helpful...)

I'm sticking with black leather goods for now; men wear black leather with both navy and grey, so it's not something that can offend someone. Navy might be more fun, if you can find things that delight you.

And the first glimpses of accent colors are making an appearance...

Adding six pieces to a conservative office wardrobe in navy and grey
cardigans – Lands’ End; chalcedony earrings - Azuni London; necklace - Latelita London; scarf – Armani Collezioni; short-sleeved sweaters – Lands’ End; tweed skirt – Boden; navy dress – Lands’ End; slingback shoes – Vaneli

This isn't abundant, but it would make an absolutely foolproof travel wardrobe for work, and it's completely inoffensive and classic...

an 11-piece starter office wardrobe in navy and grey

Not a million options, but at least you can get dressed for the first weeks of work! Wait for that first paycheck...

getting dressed for a week from an 11-piece work wardrobe in navy and grey

I've been just dying to get this cardigan in here! I love the audacity of the stripes, and the colors... sigh...

If you're truly in a strict environment, you might need to buy a grey suit instead of a cardigan and pants, and your cardigan might be a subtle nubbly tweed rather than these exuberant stripes; it's important to actually get on the ground in an office and see what's being worn by the "powers that be."

adding six more relaxed and distinctive pieces to a work wardrobe
labradorite earrings – Shinola; ring – Shinola; silk scarf - Aspinal of London; striped shirt – Lands’ End; grey tee – Lands’ End ; striped cardigan – Lands’ End; pants – RED Valentino; grey cardigan – L.L.Bean; navy pants – Lands’ End; blue loafers – Sam Edelman; grey loafers – Vaneli

(I'm not telling you that this amazing scarf costs a FRACTION of the price of an Hermes...) And yes, those loafers aren't quite navy... The nerve!

This is starting to look a little bit more generous, and slightly more varied. If you had a LONG business trip in front of you, this wouldn't be the worst way to go...

a seventeen-piece work wardrobe in navy, grey and shades of green

Each new piece now fits into your existing wardrobe in a variety of ways, which keeps you from getting bored with a limited wardrobe. It also offers you all sorts of possibilities from very formal to much more relaxed...

three ways to wear an accent striped shirt in a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a grey tee shirt in a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a striped cardigan in a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear grey pants in a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a grey cardigan in a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear navy pants in a work capsule wardrobe

Okay, let's hypothesize that our heroine's office turns out to be... moderately conservative, but not fanatic. No bare legs, no exposed knees nor armpits, but a bit of color and pattern is okay. So she/I start shopping around...

THEN... I saw these teal pieces at Harvey Nichols. I think our heroine would throw all caution to the wind and stock up! (there's even a trench coat...)

adding six pieces to a work capsule wardrobe
blazer – WTR; scarf - Karine Assaf; pearl earrings – Matta; pearl & jade necklace – Matta; ivory sweater – Lands’ End; knit top – WTR; colored pearl necklace - Belpearl; silk blouse – WTR; bag - Lautem; loafers – Trotters; tweed pants – L.L.Bean; cashmere & silk scarf – Nordstrom; teal pants – WTR

Now the completely wardrobe has a decided point of view! She still has plenty of options for events and occasions that require a quite strict appearance, but on days when she's her own mistress, she can live it up in her favorite colors!

a 23-piece work wardrobe in navy, grey and shades of green

And as before, the new pieces give her lots of additional outfit options:

three ways to wear a teal blazer with a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a teal knit top with a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a teal silk blouse with a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear a cream shell with a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear grey herringbone pants with a work capsule wardrobe

three ways to wear teal pants with a work capsule wardrobe

I think I'm going to try this tomorrow with autumn and earth colors, and a rather less conservative work environment...

love,
Janice

Can a Corporate Wardrobe have Personality? Start With Nature! An Ocean Photograph by LBToma
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