Thursday, June 09, 2011

One French woman's Small, Simple wardrobe: Back to the roots of the Vivienne Files

This is from a posting on a discussion group in which I listed the entirety of 
Vivienne's work wardrobe.  She tells me that it has changed very little in the 
intervening years...  Note that I've assigned "days of the week" to these little
vignettes, but I don't think that necessarily corresponds to how and when
Vivienne actually wears these.

Here's the inventory... 
(1) Charcoal gray flannel pants, gray and black striped sweater 
(1b) red and gray twinset

(2) Black short knit skirt, black merino twinset
(2b) black and white striped turtleneck longer (tunic length?) sweater

(3) Black pants and blazer, black and white paisley blouse 
(3b) black and white mixed cashmere crew (3/4 sleeves)

(4) Long black wool crepe skirt, black cashmere cabled crew sweater 
(4b) white cotton shirt, black cardigan

(5) Black and white tweed pants, black with white trim twinset 
(5b) white tee shirt, black v-neck sweater

(6) Black and white tweed blazer and skirt (matches the pants, above) black cashmere short sleeved crew 
(6b) black merino long-sleeved crewneck sweater (matches the twinset up in #2)

Yes, I snuck a dress into here.  It just cried out to join the party...

That’s it. A black knit shirtdress, a black sleeveless sweater dress, a gray twinset, and a red cashmere  
turtleneck. Finito - 30 pieces of clothes. She's sort of interested in a gray skirt if she sees one she 
loves, and maybe a red tee shirt...

Alibris: Books, Music, &


  1. Very classic and very beautiful. If I worked in an office, I'd be copying Vivienne. :)

  2. Wow! I love how you illustrated Vivienne's outfits! It seems much more doable when I see it instead of imagine it! Thank you.


  3. I built these in PowerPoint, believe it or not! I just bumped up the size of them on the blog so they're more easily visible. Illustrating outfits works much better for me than just reading a list; I'm glad it helps for you too!

  4. Interesting and well put together. Thank you for creating this. It's quite useful.

  5. Well put together; this really brings Vivienne's wardrobe to life.

    And I've been chiding myself for not incorporating more color into my wardrobe because I live in a hot and humid climate. This underscores the timeless, smart approach to building a wardrobe with flattering neutrals. I like that she has adopted one punch of color in basics, but opened up her closet to a variety of colors in her scarf accessories.

  6. First, I love the black and grey sweater.

    Second, this whole wardrobe is very workable (with minor tweaks) for a lot of people. Classic and classy.

  7. Using this post as inspiration, I made my own "polyvore on the floor" and was finally able to see "see" the holes in my closet as well as the reason some items in the closet, despite intentions, languished. I *get* the logic of Vivienne's 12 pairs of shoes, the benefit of keeping the color range so narrow, the effect of "costumes" (on the closet as a whole) and can FINALLY see how 1 well chosen handbag can bring the whole image together. A total "aha" moment for me. Thank you so much!

  8. Interesting. Trying to do something similar to my wardrobe

  9. Very classic, very doable for anyone. I keep shoes to a minimum of 4 very good boots, pumps, low heels, and ankle boots, all in black. I'm petite and keeping my "line" all one color on the bottom seems to give me a more polished look. If I wore any other color for shoes I'd look fragmented. I could go with browns, or nudes, but then my wardrobe wouldn't be "minimalist". I keep stick colors in my tees, scarves, and jewelry, to draw the eyes up.