Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to the roots of the Vivienne Files

I still have copies of all of the postings from the original "Vivienne Files" (sending lots of love to everybody at the Yahoo group Je Ne Sais Quoi), and so in the interests of full disclosure and establishing context, I'm going to post them over the next few weeks.  Her French style perspective is timeless, so I'm not concerned that these posts are nearly 10 years old!

"I was burning up the e-mails today with a friend of mine in Paris - consulting with her about clothes, what to get rid of etc., and she hit me with the completely shocking statement: She owns 5 work outfits for hot weather, 5 work outfits for cold weather, and 5 which are "transitional".  She did point out that for some of the outfits, she will have two tops - like her black wool suit, which which she wears either a grey or a red sweater.  But, all told, her ENTIRE work wardrobe fits onto 15 hangers!

Can you imagine?  Or has anyone among us reached that dazzling level of focus?

Also, she says that she only owns clothes in 4 colors: black, grey, white and red - nothing else!  Not even a blue tee shirt, or a pair of khakis.  Even her jeans are black.  I would be fascinated to know if anyone here has focused that completely...

But to balance things out, she owns mountains of jewelry, and at least 50 scarves.  But I'm still reeling at her revelation of wardrobe discipline."


  1. Vivienne - when I first read this particular file in the JNSQ group, it had a profound effect on my life. Ever since, I have edited my clothing to six colors - black, white, red, gray, burgundy (dark red) and cobalt blue (no navy). This discipline has saved me more time and money than I could count, as I can quickly scan to see if there's anything I might need in one of "my" colors, and I can ignore the rest. Grand merci! Belva

  2. Wow, I would love to get to that point with my wardrobe! I find having too many colours is just too much choice, and makes dressing stressful. I just can't narrow down my colours!

    I'm a very fair redhead, with hazel eyes, and my hair is a copper colour. If you had any suggestions, I'd love it. I do avoid black and grey, pure white and dusty shades like blue grey or plum.

    Anyone who reads this -- love to hear what you think! And Vivienne thanks so much for this wonderful blog!

  3. I would love to be able to do that. I am a soft autumn and am having trouble because I can't wear any of those colors. My darkest color is a milk chocolate. If I don't buy the suit pieces together I can't get the colors to match. It's very frustrating.

  4. I understand Monica and Anonymous. I also cannot wear black, white, or grey. I cannot wear any dark colors, bright colors, or pastels. I need mid-tone colors which makes it difficult to build a good wardrobe. I have warm-toned skin and graying hair (which I no longer color, so now I have cool-toned hair. The combination of warm/cool makes clothes shopping more difficult.