Friday, July 01, 2011

Vivienne's Fashion Challenge

As a rookie, fledgling blogger, and someone trying to channel a frequently reluctant muse, I'm often very insecure about how this whole blogging thing is going.  Does anybody read?  Am I wasting my time?  Am I making a digital, online fool of myself?

So receiving the Fashion Challenge from Bliss ( meant the world to me.  And without further ado, I shall try to answer the questions to the best of my ability, keeping in mind that I speak for both myself and the elusive Vivienne.  (she answers emails when she's darned good and ready, and not a day sooner...)

(1)  What International brands would you like to try on, and why?

I have to admit this one is hard, because I've traveled so much and had occasion to try on most of the clothes that appeal to me.  Not that I've purchased them!!!  But if I could trade out my body for one that was taller and less... top-heavy, and if I could buy arms that were a reasonable length, and shorter (yes, seriously) legs, I'd go for:

Sonia Rykiel - no fan of black and white stripes can EVER avoid looking for her.  I never paid a lot of attention to her clothes until I saw her in person (repeatedly) at Cafe Flore in Paris, and then Vivienne had one of her sweaters on one day and I swooned.  Sadly, the sleeves are long enough on these that I could cut them off and make a 2nd sweater.  There's no good way to shorten sleeves on a sweater, so I buy Petites, or I don't buy.  No rolling up sleeves for me, thank you.

She really is this cute,
and she can be seen on the Blvd. St. Germain every day...

I could actually wear this...

And vintage Yves St. Laurent.  I thought he was so cool, and back in the 80's when my style tastes were formed, the clothes from YSL were the most desirable in the world.

I could really rock this suit...
(2) If you received something you didn't like, what would you say to that person?

Thank you.  I REALLY believe that it's the thought that counts, and I wouldn't hurt someone's feelings for anything in the world.  

That said, when my beloved bought me a pair of earrings that were just TOO large, I was honest and said that I was going to swap them for the smaller version.  If it's from your life partner, and you're investing some serious money, you want to make sure that you're not wasting your cash on something that won't see the light of day.  But that was almost like something I would buy myself and then reconsider - we're that close.

(3) Do you prefer giving or receiving?

Giving.  I have everything in the world that I need, and about 99.999% of what I want.  Making other people happy is the best feeling in the world, and I cherish every opportunity I can find to make it happen.

(4) Do brands influence you when you buy something?

Yes and no.  I do deliberately purchase from certain brands because I'm sure of the quality and the fit - primarily Eileen Fisher and Pendleton.  But I don't buy the things from them BECAUSE of the brand - to me the brand just represents fit and quality upon which I can rely.

And I'm devoted to Hermes scarves, because there is nothing else being manufactured in the world that compares to them.  I prefer vintage to new, because I'm a fan of jacquard fabrics, which are no longer in production.

Les Instructions du Roi -
there are tiny little guys on horses woven into the fabric!

Similarly, I will grab any pair of Stuart Weitzman Belgian loafers I can find on ebay, because they are comfortable, they fit me perfectly, and they are discontinued.  (why do I find the things I love, only to find that they're discontinued????)

But I can also say No, because I absolutely REFUSE to wear logos - if anybody wants to advertise on this torso, they'd better be prepared to pay some big bucks for the privilege!  I'm nobody's billboard, and I'm not so shallow or without opinions of my own that I would ever let the opinions of other people affect how I would spend my hard-earned money, or how I would present my carefully thought-out personal appearance.

(5) From 0 - 5, what do you think about the blog that tagged you?

Given that I was reading her most recent posting BEFORE 6 AM, I'd have to say that I'm a devoted follower, and would have to give her a 5.

(6) Your wish list?

Right now I'm in awfully good shape wardrobe-wise.  And since I start a new job on Tuesday, I won't be making any major investment until I get the lay of the land there as to what's appropriate.  However, I am planning to invest in a new winter coat this fall, and possibly a new pair of boots.  But if my new office is as casual as I suspect it might be, I may just save the money for a trip, and wear my heavy-duty parka all winter.


And now the hardest part of the whole game:  I need to tag four other bloggers.  I don't even know if there are four other bloggers READING this blog, but I'll throw some love out there and see what happens!

Department of Color - intelligent, thoughtful, mature in the very best sense of the word.  Someone I admire greatly.

Dead Fleurette - ignore the goth-overtoned name; she is the ultimate analyzer of purchases and wardrobe constructions.  And she's so cute!

Comme Coco - the name says it all.  I'm so inspired by some of the blogs by young women; they're SO much more mature than I was at their age.

Cashmere Jeans - nothing but the best - if she says it's wonderful, IT IS WONDERFUL.  Exquisite taste and beautiful photographs.


  1. Vivienne, I read your blog faithfully and love it. I really enjoy your posts and find your ideas very inspiring. I have been unable to post comments on most blogs for months now (and it is still not fixed, I don't know what to do), but have recently realised I can leave a note if anonymous comments are allowed. Merci for blogging and bringing us more of your Vivienne observations.


  2. I read every post you write and I adore your blog. You inspired me so much with the original Vivienne files and continue to do so now.

  3. Oh, thank you so much for the mention and for your kind words! This sounds like a fun challenge.

    I read your blog regularly and enjoy it immensely.

  4. Vivienne,
    Just wanted to let you know I read your blog regularly and really enjoy it. I joined the Yahoo FC group several months ago just so I could read the original Vivienne Files in the archives. I was thrilled to learn about your new blog and have been inspired by your ideas and posts. Please keep blogging and know that we're out here reading even when we don't take time to comment. Merci mille fois!

  5. Love to read your blog, never miss an "episode." ;o) You'd probably be surprised at the numbers of people who read your blog, if you'd go into the tools (or whatever) part of your blog and read the numbers. I myself am the world's laziest, worst blogger, but it shocked me the first time I saw the numbers.

    Love those boots. For a long time, I had a pair of to-the-knee equestrian boots on my wish list. Then I went to San Francisco last month and found a pair of black Doc Martens that lace to the knee and decided they'd work juuuust fine in lieu of equestrians. They are really badass, and I love them. I have a beautiful black boucle pencil skirt by St. John and one of those "snap" cardigans from agnes b., and the Docs are so adorable with these two classics.

    Anyhoodle, enjoy your last free weekend!

  6. Oh, now I have to comment because you brought me out of the woodwork! I am not a blogger, but read your blog on a regular basis. I found you tagged by Fiona on How to Be Chic (and read her blog too!) as well as Bliss. I am a black, white, and minimalist lady living in the big, colorful, and tacky state of Texas, so I appreciate your like minded sentiments!

  7. A reader from the UK coming out of lurkdom to say how much I enjoy your blog, and have read every post from the start but have always been too shy to comment.

    Congratulations on the new job

    Regards, Mme UK

  8. Lovely, lovely and understated chic items you've selected for your wish list. A long grey coat is the epitome of beauty. And I'm in agreement about the vintage Hermès scarves--I only have one jacquard (Amours), but the feel and drape is so beautiful. Here's hoping you have more in hand whenever you desire!

  9. I love that grey coat too! And of course, as you are well aware, I read you and probably say too much in my comments.; ) Merci for doing the challenge! I loved all your comments. xxBliss

    PS Thank you Anonymous "Alicia" for reading my blog!

  10. Thank you for allowing anonymous comments, I have tried to comment before-but I couldn't get it to work for me. I have read your blog from the beginning and I don't ever miss a post. I also read your archives (on the FC board) and wished you would come back and tell us more. The Vivienne files were a huge influence on the way that I dress. The post that you did 9 June (which supplied the pictures) is the BEST explanation of a capsule wardrobe I have ever read (and I have read a lot!).

  11. I hope it's not inappropriate to ask about your job hunt and how you landed the position you are about to begin. I am in my early forties and getting ready to embark on a job hunt after many years of being self-employed.

    I would love some pointers on how you went bout searching for a position in your field and whether or not you felt your age counted against you. I can't help feeling that I will have a tough slog of it when I am competing with young twenty or thirtysomethings for jobs.

    Thanks for your feedback and I love your blog!

  12. Vivienne, I for one say more power to you! I love your blog and am so glad that you found me so that I could find you. :). Great concepts showing your wardrobe...would love to know how you do that!

    Thanks so much for your very kind words..very thoughtful of you. I admit, with five blogs I am a bit hopeless with these, but this one look likes fun.

    I look forward to following and thanks again.
    Best wishes

    Jeanne xx cashmerejeans

  13. Vivienne...You're so right about Jeanne (casherejeans). When she says something is wonderful (your blog), she's right. I'm a first time reader this morning because of her Facebook post. Thanks for the insights...will be catching up on past posts.

  14. As you can see from my post I am reading this more than 3 years later. I love your topics, your observations, and I love your mastery of the written word. In case you ever see old posts, well, I thought you ought to know. I feel you are a true kindred spirit of mine, albeit much more capable of defining your taste.