Friday, September 30, 2011

Skirt – Diane von Furstenberg

Pearl & gold earrings – Lord & Taylor, Ivory blouse – Zac Posen, bracelets – Mathias Chaize, beige blouse – Paul Smith, necklace – Alexis Bittar, black blouse – Etro, onyx earrings – Primadina, black pumps – Bandolino, spectator slingbacksVaneli, black slingbacks – AK Anne Klein

Ivory sweater – Carven, cobblestone necklace – Kate Spade, Beige sweater – Alexander Wang, leather & brass necklace – Lanvin, black turtleneck – Vince, beige scarf – Burberry, black lurex scarf – Chan Luu, slingbacksManolo Blahnik, camel pumps – Kate Spade, black w/beige slingbacks - Prada

Beige cardigan – Zadig & Voltaire, black tee – 3.1 Phillip Lim, metal tube necklace – Topshop, suede & crystal bracelet – Ylang23, black cardigan – Michael Michael Kors, camel satchel – Banana Republic, camel & black clutch – Debenhams, white tee – Paul Smith, white cardigan – Ralph Lauren, beige tee shirt – J. Crew, Black pumps – Sergio Rossi, cap-toe ballerinas – AK Anne Klein, camel flat w/black bows - Leifsdottir
Brown hoop earrings – Yochi, Leather tee shirt – Yves Saint Laurent,  bronze clutch  Marc by Marc Jacobs, hooded sweatshirt – Bench, cobbelstone bracelet  Kate Spade, scarf – Artemis Wragge, drop earrings – Ranjana Khan, black beaded tank top – Diane von Furstenberg, sandals – KORS Michael Kors, bots – Aldo, sandals – Stuart Weitzman

Thursday, September 29, 2011

As many of you know, I've sworn off buying any new clothes (or shoes) for twelve months, beginning this September first.  I'm now 29 days into the project, and have felt no pain regarding it, so far.  In fact, it's been quite a relief to be able to just completely turn a blind eye to all of the "must-have" lists that float around this time of year.

Why is it that I don't see so many "must-have" lists for men?  They have more money than we do...  Maybe there's a connection there?  But I digress...

One thing that has become even more of a priority for me now is the upkeep and maintenance of the things I currently own.  This could sound like drudgery, but it really is quite gratifying for all sort of reasons:

  1. The obvious saving of money - alterations, mending, and shoe repairs are all much less expensive than the purchase of a high-quality new item.
  2. Everything that you don't throw away is (a) one more thing that doesn't go into a landfill somewhere, and (b) one more thing that doesn't have to have a replacement manufactured.  The amount of water pollution attributable to clothing manufacture worldwide would make you cry.
  3. The work that's done to take care of your items is work that's done locally.  My alterations are done in the basement of my building, and my shoe repair shop is 6 blocks from here.  I know the people doing the work, and I know that they have happy and comfortable working conditions, and make a decent living.

Speaking of shoe repair, I know many of you have told me that you don't live near a good repair shop.  Not to worry, my friends at Brooks Shoe Service have a service by which you can mail in your item and they'll take care of it.  In fact, if you email them at and tell them what you need, they will SEND you a UPS mailing label.  Pack up your stuff, send it off, and someone on Mike's staff will call you when the item arrives.  You can then discuss the options and the costs, and arrange for payment.  In a few weeks, you get a package back, and it's like a gift - you get something back that looks better than you could ever have imagined.

I recommend them wholeheartedly, and NO, I do not get any sort of kick-back or discount from them.  I have strong feelings about buying nice things and taking care of them, and Mike agrees with me - that's all.

Another favorite project for me is to replace buttons on garments which have lost their original luster.  Finding nice buttons, however, is quite a chore.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Way back when, Vivienne assured me that she was not always going to have a wardrobe of black, white and red garments - she fully intended, as her hair turned gray, and her skin tones softened, to transition to gray, rose, and cream.

This is how I envision than transition...

Her original wardrobe, as we pictured it here, is this:

The first thing I could picture would be a feeling of discomfort with bright red.  Not every day, but just a sense that these garments were moving to the back of the closet... so they move out and a beautiful rose pink takes its place.

The strongly contrasted black and white pieces would next make way for more muted items...

Black garments worn near the face would gradually give way to more charcoal gray.

As other black tops are ready to be replaced, they might cede their position in the wardrobe to a beautiful grayish blue - a lovely color with gray hair.

The striped sweater will give way to a sweater that's very similar, but a bit more gentle in it's contrast. And the black dresses will soften to gray...

Starkly white shirts and dead black cardigans will migrate to a soft, flattering cream.

And some day, the black suit will reach the end of its road, and be replaced by an equally versatile, but more more uplifting winter white.

The beautiful, dressy and versatile silk skirt could stick around for years.  But some day, an incredible skirt in pastels and gray will be the irresistible finishing touch on the wardrobe evolution.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jacket – M Missoni, Cardigan – Ralph Lauren Black Label, Long-sleeved shirt – Elizabeth and James, Tee shirt – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Dress Maxmara S Max, Sweater – Ralph Lauren Black Label, Pants – Malena Birger, Skirt – J. Crew
1. Flats - Clarks, Scarf – Hermès, bag – Rag and Bone
2. Boots - Tretorn, scarf – Missoni, hat - Borsalino
3. Ballet flats - Balenciaga, necklace – Andara, earrings – Coralie Leets
4. Boots - Koolaburra, ring – Blu Bijoux, bracelet – Balenciaga
5. Pumps - Born, scarf – Hermès, bag – Yves Saint Laurent
6. Canvas shoes - Keds, Labradorite earrings –  JCPenney, necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane
7. Flats – French Sole, brooch – Fantasy Jewelry Box, ring - Fantasy Jewelry Box
8. Moccasins - Frye, scarf – Pierre-Louise Mascia, bracelet –  Kimberly McDonald
9. Riding boots - Frye, scarf – Metropolitan Museum of Art, bag – Balenciaga
10. Ankle boots – Opening Ceremony, Bracelet – Alexis Bittar, earrings – Alexis Bittar
11. Pumps – Bandolino, scarf – Metropolitan Museum of Art, broochTarina Tarantino
12. Sandals - Vaneli,  necklace – Isabella Oliver, ring – Fantasy Jewelry Box

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cardigan jacket – M Missoni, Cardigan – Fat Face,  
Long-sleeved shirt – Organic by John Patrick, tank – Topshop, Dress –, 
Sweater – Rag & Bone, Pants – Levi’s, Skirt – Stella McCartney

1. Shoes – Pas de Rouge, Scarf –  Dennis Colomb, bag – Coach 
2. Brogues – Robert Clergerie, necklace – Francoise Iberl, earrings - Mawi  
3. Boots - Wetseal, scarf – Reiss, sunglasses - Fendi 
4. MoccasinsTod’s, ring – Swarovski, bracelet – Alexis Bittar

5. Flats – Chloe , scarf – Liberty of London, bag – Mulberry
6. Penny loafers – Fratelli Rossetti, Labradorite earrings – Monica Vinader, necklace – Citrine by the Stones
7. Ballet flats – Cole Haan, scarf – Liberty of London, bracelets – Alexis Bittar
8. Metallic flats - Toms, broochZina,  ring – Kenneth Jay Lane
9.  Flats – John Fluevog,  hat – Armani Exchange, bag – Reed Krakoff
10. Shoes – Tod’s, Bracelets –  Antik Batik, earrings – Alexis Bittar
11. Sandals – Cole Haan, necklace – Judith Jack,  earrings - Swarovski
12. Shoes – Cole Haan,  bracelet – Topshop, earrings – J.C. Penney

Artisan Jewelry Designs

Friday, September 23, 2011

my favorite scarf: De Tout Coeur.  A birthday gift from my beloved-est...
How many hearts can you find?

You're much better served to ask my friend over at Mai Tai's Picture Book.

She's an expert at all things Hermès, and her site has TONS of videos on how to fold and tie scarves.

Available on her website are some beautiful necklaces, horn bracelets, and really amazing scarf rings.  I know that some people counsel us against using scarf rings, but I'm a firm believer scarf rings ROCK.  If your concern is that a scarf ring looks a little bit "mumsy", just check out how Mai Tai uses them and you will never feel that way again!

You can thank me later...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

blazer – Rag & Bone, Cardigan – Diane von Furstenberg, silk shirt - Equipment, raspberry shell - Topshop, skirt – Lanvin, pants – Rachel Pally, jeans – Rag & Bone, Scarf – Ken Scott

Turquoise dress – Diane von Furstenberg, black cardigan – Hazel Maud, Turquoise leather coat – Sylvie Schimmel, white tee shirt – Topshop, black skirt – Dorothy Perkins, white pants – M Missoni, alpaca coat – Betty Jackson, wool jacket – Sonia by Sonia Rykiel  
printed blouse – Matthew Williamson, Purple blouse – Dorothy Perkins, white cardigan – Debenhams, dress – Barbara Tfank, flowered tee shirt – Debenhams, Turquoise long-sleeved tee shirt – Oasis, skirt – Dolce & Gabbana, off the shoulder top – Donna Karan

Floral scarf – Browns, turquoise drop earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane, abalone ring, earrings – Judith Jack, purple suede clutch – Christian Louboutin, feather drop earrings – Asos, block print scarf – Pierre-Louise Mascia, blue agate necklace – Chan Luu, peacock bangle – Alexis Bitar, turquoise 5-stone necklace – 1928, watch – Movado, gold links necklace – Yvs Saint Laurent, black pumps – Valentino, amethyst stud earrings – Bounkit, blue briefcase – Loewe, brooch – Fantasy Jewelry Box, gold button earrings – Marco Bicego, zig zag scarf Missoni, white sandals – Stuart Weitzman, purple loafers – Lacoste, purple pumps – Aldo, espadrilles – O’Neill

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One of the stranger joys of keeping a laptop for a REALLY long time is that you stumble across files that you completely forgot existed.  To wit, I found my old travel planning file from 2003/2004!  And thus I can tell you with a great deal of certainty what I wore on a combination business and leisure trip I took to Copenhagen and Berlin in late August and early September 2004.  What a blast from my wardrobe past it was to find this.

travel essential capsule wardrobe in black, white, red, purple and turquoise

travel essential capsule wardrobe in black, white, red, purple and turquoise

As with all business trips I take, I grew to roundly detest all of these clothes by the time I got home.  But this trip required only a carry-on bag, and I always consider that a success!

Artisan Jewelry Designs

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yes, it means “the perfect wardrobe for lazy women”!  It’s part of a series of whimsical little paperbacks for “des paresseuses” that includes things like cooking, dieting etc.  But this one is particularly appealing; while some of the suggestions aren’t really appropriate for everyone, there are enough thought-provoking ideas in here to leave one feeling that the time reading was well spent.  And practicing my reading in French is never a waste of time!

As with almost any “wardrobe” book, this one has “the ultimate check-list” for the perfect wardrobe.  I list them here without comment; I fully intend to debunk at least some of these in my series “Customizing the Classics” when I have a chance!

(and if anyone else has this book and can better translate these terms, PLEASE chime in with a comment.  While my French is very good, it is FAR from perfect.)

  1. Jeans which give me a hot figure
  2. Black pants, in which I forget all of my insecurities
  3. A denim skirt
  4. A little black dress
  5. A dress with spaghetti straps, which I can wear summer and winter
  6.  A white shirt
  7. A strappy top in silk
  8. Tee shirts – long- and short-sleeved, to wear with a skirt or with jeans
  9. A pile of tank-tops, which I can wear in the summer, and then recycle in the winter under a jacket
  10. v-neck which gives me super-cleavage
  11. twin-set in an accent color to give me a bit of energy
  12. men’s style jacket
  13. Denim jacket
  14. Trench coat
  15. Scarf – to knot around neck or toss nonchalantly around shoulders
  16. Silk scarf – to wear around the neck, in the hair, or as a belt
  17. Belt – somewhat funky, to give a hip touch to any outfit
  18. Opaque tights – to help a summer dress work in the winter
  19. Matching bra & panties in a flesh tone
  20. Frankly fake necklace
  21. Extravagant earrings which glamorize my outfit in 5 seconds
  22. A beautiful watch
  23. Superstar sunglasses
  24. A pair of gloves in an accent color
  25. Tote bag
  26. Small evening bag
  27. Ballet flats
  28. Black high-heels
  29. Thong-style sandals
  30. Riding boots 

An interesting list, eh?

Available here from Amazon Canada - only one copy available! or here from FNAC France.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Since I’ve quit shopping, I’m starting to really notice the garments upon which I frequently rely when I’m scrambling to get dressed.  Foremost among them has to be my agnès b. cardigan.  It’s made of a sweatshirt fabric, and has pearlized snaps down the front.  I can wear it almost anywhere I would wear a black cashmere cardigan, but it’s more… relaxed?  Cool?  Fun?  All of the above, I think.

The agnès b. stores that I’ve been to in Paris (Village de Bercy, rue de Marseille, rue de Castiglione) all share the same qualities of clarity, light, and ease of shopping.  Nothing is crowded, things aren’t layered to the point of being impossible to dissect, and everything looks terribly appealing.  The staff is always very kind and helpful, and shopping for French classics has never been so much fun! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jacket – Stella McCartney, Dress – Max Mara, Pants – Stella McCartney, Skirt – Stella McCartney
Tee shirts – T by Alexander Wang

Tux blazer – Topshop, charcoal cardigan – Dorothy Perkins, white blouse – Topshop, black pleated skirt – Dorothy Perkins, gray wool skirt – Monsoon, jeans - Levis

Peach blouse – Equipment, peach tee – Dorothy Perkins, petrol blue sweater – American Vintage, petrol tee shirt – American vintage,  yellow sweater – N. Peal, yellow tee – Dorothy Perkins, red knot-front top – Dorothy Perkins, red sweater – Stella McCartney

Scarves – Hermès, gray pumps – Banana Republic, silver link bracelet – Michael Kors, silver hoop earrings – Michael Kors, taupe low-heeled pumps – Mia, pearl and gold earrings – Mikimoto, pearl necklace – Fallon, riding boots – Debenhams, gold earrings – Vince Camuto, watch – Michael Kors, black earrings – Bottega Veneta, black brooch – Kenneth Jay Lane, studded flats – Loeffler Randall, gold bracelet – David Yurman, gold ball earrings – JCPenney, black pumps – Kate Spade, taupe & black flats – Debenhams,  pearl earrings –, pearl brooch – Chanel, pearl bracelet – Banana Republic, taupe leather bracelet –, rough diamond earrings – Munnu,  taupe loafers – Sambag, two-tone pumps – Miu Miu

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweater - Vince, ¾ sleeve tee shirt – Michael Stars, velvet skirt – Chanel, corduroy pants – Ermanno Scervino  
Belted cardigan – MICHAEL Michael Kors, Tweed jacket – A.P.C., leather jacket – Quicksilver, cardigan – United Bamboo

Navy cardigan – M. Patmos, bone blazer - Gucci, camel blazer – Rag & Bone, ivory cardigan - Missoni
Yellow blazer – Theory, Rose cardigan – Diane von Furstenberg, Blue cardigan – N. Peal,  Pink blazer – Acne

Gold cardigan – Topshop, turquoise blazer – Iva,  red blazer – Hermès, hot pink cardigan - Patagonia

Long cardigan – Missoni, applique jacket – Manoush, Leopard cardigan – Dolce & Gabbana, Plaid jacket – Moschino Cheap & Chic, block print cardigan - Quicksilver