Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Start with these beautiful scarves (mixing a cool blue with a warm russet red) to choose a small, uncomplicated travel capsule wardrobe that would see you from a dressy dinner to a very casual day sightseeing.  Enjoy!
Two scarves in camel and terracotta, with blue accents
square scarf - Hermes vintage,  cashmere wrap - Nordstrom

A blue, camel and terracotta color scheme as a base for a travel capsule wardrobe
This is our color-scheme

Travel outfit of a camel cardigan and trousers, with a terracotta striped tee shirt and matching scarf, and beige accessories
tee shirt - L.L.Bean, earrings - Nicola Crawford, cardigan - L.L.Bean, corduroy pants - L.L.Bean,  
watch - Lucien Picard, loafers - Pedro Garcia, tote - Lacambra

Travel Six-Pack capsule wardrobe in camel and blue: dress, skirt, sweater, cardigan, trousers and tee shirt
dress - Gucci,  gold bracelet - YooLa,  camel cashmere crew - L.L.Bean, blue cashmere 
cardigan - Eric Bompard, camel skirt - Max Mara,  camel pumps - Stuart Weitzman, camel 
jeans - Mango,   striped tee shirt - J. Crew

Two travel outfits with camel jeans, from a Camel Terracotta and Blue Travel Capsule Wardrobe

two outfits taken from the travel capsule wardrobe in Camel, Terracotta and Blue

Accessorizing a camel dress with blue, or with terracotta, from a travel capsule wardrobe in camel, terracotta and blue

Unique Artisan Decor

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Everybody talks about learning from failure, but there are some excellent lessons to be learned from our successes, too.

I've been really loving my summer wardrobe, and thus have decided to carefully think about the garments that I'm wearing frequently, and consider the possibility of finding a cool-weather version of those garments.  Building on my summer successes, if you will.

First and foremost, I'm wearing a black tank FREQUENTLY.  The logical shift for cooler weather, to my mind, will be a long-sleeved top with a similar cut and a similar neckline. Something like this:
tee shirt - Eileen Fisher, tank top - Eileen Fisher

So my favorite summer outfits will transition like this!  A simple tank and skirt, with a cardigan over my shoulders, will become more like a simple black dress, with the cardigan ON, a scarf, and closed-toe dress shoes.

 My favorite blue  cardigan will get some extra mileage with a tee shirt, and a scarf to lend a bit more warmth and a sense of cooler weather.
 My sheer grey sweater and capris can go much further into the autumn if I put long-sleeves under the sweater, add a scarf, and my favorite granny boots... My capris are long enough that they look great with short boots!
 My favorite black and white cardigan is usually worn over my shoulders this time of year, but as the weather cools down,I will be able to continue to wear it - jazzed up with my black & white loafers. Although many people would only wear spectator shoes in warm weather, I'm perfectly happy wearing them all year.
 And being able to wear pink into the cooler weather will be a great joy!  I have a beautiful scarf that I bought for my honeymoon, which will give my beautiful pink sweater more of an autumn-ish feel.
When shopping for the new season is so overwhelming, and SO tempting, it just makes sense to start with a plan, and to focus on purchases that you KNOW will be wardrobe successes!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I missed a chance last week to go see this exhibit, so I'm going to see it Thursday, with Belovedest and his mother.

We stopped by the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday, to renew our annual memberships, and to check that we wouldn't need special tickets to see the Impressionism exhibit. And I bought a copy of the exhibit catalog, for one of you.

Send me an email at, and tell me your name, and your contact information (email address is best).  Friday morning, I'll put all of the names on a (hopefully very LONG) list, and generate a random number to choose the winner of the book.  Your book is still shrink-wrapped, so you can have that thrill of unwrapping it and thumbing through a pristine book full of beautiful pictures and some fascinating text...

Oh yea, I'll pay the shipping too.  Doesn't matter where in the world you are. It's the least I can do for my friends.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: The Swing.  On loan from the D'Orsay to the Art Institute of Chicago for this special exhibit.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

I might be the last blogger in the world to be mentioning the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, but it's certainly worth mentioning, IF you have a clear idea of what you're planning to purchase for this fall and winter.  Nordstrom marks down selected NEW merchandise for a couple of weeks, before returning those items to their regular price in early August.  IF, AND ONLY IF, you KNOW what you need and want, this can be a great opportunity.  If you just wander in unprepared, you're doomed - everything looks delectable, and you will leave laden with parcels, flat broke, and confused...

I'm going to show you a few things that are currently on sale, and I've chosen them to reflect the colors that Pantone has advised us will be big this fall.


cardigan - Halogen, blouse - Pleione

blouse - Lafayette 148 New York, ruched tee shirt - Caslon

sweater - Nordstrom, blouse - Fever

blouse - Eileen Fisher, hoodie - Zella

dress - Eileen Fisher,  tee shirt - Amber Sun

tee shirt - Caslon, cardigan - Eileen Fisher

PS - You can find the latest Pantone Color Planner and other documents in the Planning Documents section of the website.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I'm back - trying to wrestle all of the technical glitches off of The Vivienne Files, and get lots of exciting new posts ready for you.  I have MISSED all of you so much...


Friday, July 19, 2013

dotted skirt - CC

Navy sweater -  Maison Martin MargielaScarf – Brooks BrothersBoots – Frye, Pink sweater – Proenza SchoulerNecklace – Georg JensenSandals – Softspots
Anchor-trim sweater – Lucien Pellat Finet,Pearl necklace – Ann TaylorNavy suede flats – Brooks BrothersQuartz earrings – Nikki Bakergreen boucle tee shirt – Michael KorsHermès vintage scarf,   Suede flats – Butter 

Navy tee shirt – Paul SmithStriped bag – TL 180,  Pumps – Bettye MullerWhite embellished tee shirt – 3.1 Phillip LimLeather bracelet – TotokaeloStriped flats – Jenni Kayne

Tank top – Organic by John Patrick,  Earrings – Georg JensenCanvas slip-ons – KedsNavy peplum top – Madewell,  Canvas bag – Pietro AlessandroEspadrilles – Cole Haan

Striped sweater – A.P.C.Scarf necklace – Wallis FashionBoots – Opening Ceremony,  Dotted blouse – Madewell,  navy cardigan – Rag & Bone,  Slingback pumps – Trotters 

Leather-trimmed sweater – 3.1 Phillip LimScarf – Lands’ EndSuede boots – Stuart Weitzman,  Beaded cardigan – Stella McCartneyPearl necklace – Gabriel FrantzenBallet flats –Repetto 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Realistically, Project 333 makes packing a snap - you don't have terribly much from which to choose, and if your garments were wisely chosen, most of them should go together pretty well.  But I always find it comforting to have a plan in mind, when those phone calls arrive.  I've had a few near misses recently with having to travel at the last minute, so I'm happy to have the following plan for the balance of the warm weather.

Travelling for me almost always involves flying - my relatives are scattered about the planet. Even on the hottest summer days, airplanes are cold (it's always WAAAY below zero at 35,000 feet), so a cardigan, a light wrap, and SENSIBLE shoes are always appropriate.

In these clothes, I could go straight to almost anything short of a reception with the Queen...

My packing gives me options from relatively dressy, in one of my dresses, with ballet flats and a scarf, to very casual - jeans and tee shirts.  Because the weather is warmer and I'm wearing shoes without socks, I like having a few more shoe choices.  Nothing much in the world packs flatter than ballet flats, so I don't feel like I'm crazy taking 2 pairs...  A smaller handbag for everyday usage, a couple of scarves, and a few pieces of jewelry, and I'm ready to handle whatever is thrown at me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I am on vacation for the next week,  and thus will not be able to respond to comments.  I have a couple more posts queued up, but The Vivienne Files will fall silent the last week of July.  I apologize for the abrupt disappearing act; rest assured that I will be back soon. 

 Even those of us who would rather wear gym clothes sometimes have to go on business trips...  so we have to pack in a way that strikes a balance between work-appropriate and our personal style. A tuxedo-ish coat, some dapper trousers, and youthful pleated skirt and cardigan make up the core around which everything else will revolve.

An accent color is important - purple is used here - another simple cardigan,a snazzy turtleneck, and a silk blouse all work together. The oxfords were irresistible.

The tops appealed to my tomboy side, but they still will look fine with the black suit pieces... And you can't travel without loafers!

Sigh... but a dress will be required, and some tweed pieces finish out the wardrobe in a way that our inner tomboy can feel comfortable,but still fit in at the obligatory work functions.  And pumps... sigh... At least they have low heels!

Since this wardrobe has some vivid color, and a lot of pattern and texture, a lot of accessories aren't really needed - a couple of beautiful scarves,  jewelry, SUNGLASSES (always sunglasses), and some tights, which bridge the gap between a skirt (for business) and loafers (for my inner rebellious child).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Me, Venice, January 2003

Yes, someone hates what you're wearing.  Someone else hates what I'm wearing.  Ultimately, there is absolutely NOTHING any person can wear that will be pleasing to 100% of the population.

Okay, maybe the only person who hates your outfit is some disenfranchised 14 year old with purple hair and a bad attitude.  But the underlying message is the same - you can't make everybody happy.

We know that about so many other aspects of our lives, but we can lose sight of it when it comes to getting dressed.  The idea of choosing a polarizing garment (like my favorite skirted leggings) can be terrifying for some people- they'd much rather wear safe, neutral garments that doesn't say anything, rather than wear something that makes a statement to which some might disapprove.

Giving yourself permission to please yourself, first and foremost, is key to finding a signature and living joyfully in that signature.  But it's very difficult...

Wanting to please other people is a critical part of living in society, and of being a nice person.  But if you know that you're going to have limited success in choosing garments that meet with everyone's approval, you can concentrate on being yourself, and letting your genius, your kindness, and your great big heart shine through in your actions.

me, age three.  How my mother got my hair that straight, I will never know...