Thursday, March 06, 2014

My Favorite Style is Inappropriate for my Life!

I think many of us wrestle with this - we really adore an aesthetic and style that just does NOT translate into our day-to-day life.  For example, say this is your idea of a great room - Diana Vreeland certainly thought so:
Diana Vreeland living room
image - Architectural Digest

But this is your typical wardrobe - simple, high-quality neutrals that really don't reflect that colorful exuberance above:


eight piece neutral wardrobe
all clothes - L.L.Bean
For starters, a red tee shirt seems like the easiest thing to slide into this closet.  But consider a richly patterned cardigan and/or skirt.  Remember when making your choice that you want to work with your neutral core, so you should look for elements of black and white, if possible.  And more importantly, these items should satisfy that longing for ornate opulence that sings in your heart.

three red, baroque, ornamented garments
Cardigan – Lands’ End, skirt – Desigual,  tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins

Suddenly, your simple garments clearly reflect the colorful brilliance of your aesthetic of choice.

two outfits that incorporate ornamented red garments into a neutral wardrobe

two outfits that incorporate ornamented red garments into a neutral wardrobe

two outfits that incorporate ornamented red garments into a neutral wardrobe

two outfits that incorporate ornamented red garments into a neutral wardrobe

two outfits that incorporate ornamented red garments into a neutral wardrobe

If this feels comfortable for you, then you can branch out and feel assured that you're on the right track.  A very few accessories will continue this theme in your wardrobe without going overboard.
three red accessories - scarf, bag and shoes
Scarf – Franco Ferrari, ballet flats – Cole-Haan, bag – Betty and Betts

 Now, you can really dress up some of these combinations! 

neutral garments accessorized with red

neutral garments accessorized with red

neutral garments accessorized with red

neutral garments accessorized with red

neutral garments accessorized with red


  And if you find that this is truly where you heart lies, then gradually, carefully find some jewelry that includes both the rich reds and the sense of ornamentation and detail that you relish.
red jewelry with a baroque, ornamental sensibility
Red agate earrings – Chen Fuchs, red agate ring – Chen Fuchs, bracelet – Laurana, earrings – Argento Vivo, beaded bracelet – Khun Boom, necklace – Ancha, brooch – Robert Goossens, round garnet earrings - Allurez
 Thanks for this question - it was an interesting exercise that I enjoyed!

Birthstone Jewelry at Allurez

24 comments:

  1. one word-great!!!

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  2. One word - BEAUTIFUL
    Thanks for all your wonderful work.
    Trudy in Oz

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  3. What colorful 'magic' - GREAT ideas that would work with ANY of your own personal favorite colors. . . thanks again for the inspiration and motivation.

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  4. Magical! Posts like this make editing my own closet so much easier! THANK YOU!!!!

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  5. I have always loved that room. From what I've read, there's nothing particularly valuable in it (though that fabric must be very $$$). I love that humble wicker chair mixed in with all the opulence--a very Billy Baldwin touch.

    I have a wardrobe of plain things and really need to rev up the accessories. Your visuals are very instructive. Thanks as always.

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  6. Your creativity astounds. I am so impressed with this idea! My mind is whirling with what I could add to a warm simple wardrobe and am awaiting your further ideas on this theme.

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  7. Fantastic! You have outdone yourself. This is exactly why I keep returning to your blog.
    Neutrals - check
    Silhouettes - in progress

    Then on to find the inspiration that will serve as the basis for trying to recreate the magic of this post!

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  8. You always seem to think outside the box and it's eye opening. Scarves, paintings and now a room as wardrobe inspiration...can't wait to see where you'll head next.

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  9. Brilliance! I feel I need to take a deep breath and proceed with cautious enthusiasm (or maybe enthusiastic caution)!

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  10. Ditto, ditto, ditto

    Deb from Vancouver

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  11. Fantastic. I love the way you break it down and make it manageable. Bravo!

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  12. oH, Wow! My mind is whirling and I feel giddy. Definitely need to move with enthusiastic caution. This opens up a whole new world.Thank you soooooo much. Deb in Kentucky

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  13. One of your best posts ever because you show us what to do to achieve the look we want. It's one thing to look at a room and say, "I love that." It's another thing altogether to know what steps to follow to get a wardrobe that doesn't look contrived or costumy.

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  14. Excellent post. Red is my primary accent color, but your suggestions apply to everyone's favorite accent color. I'm marking this one for reference.

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  15. Love this post! I'm trying to build around a core of navy and cream with bright green/turquoise as accents. This has given me some great visuals to think about.

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  16. Love! Love! Love! That deep rich red has been difficult to find the past few seasons. Sure hope this means it's back. Excellent post.

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  17. Oh my. Stunning, absolutely stunning.

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  18. Fabulous examples! Thank you so much for showing how just a little pop does so much.

    P.S. It's great to see the feminine pieces I crave included. :)

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  19. Wonderful post. My mind is swimming with possibilities Thank you.

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  20. Interesting. But my problem is that my life used to be as the Big Boss of lots of people, making TV appearances even. Now I'm work-from-home mom. It's better now that my kid is bigger, but a couple of years ago, I had to wear sneakers all the time so I could take off running when my child would wrench her hand from mine and step out into the very busy street by our house. My style is pencil skirts, heels, hose, cinched waist suits, etc. My life is sweats. Running after a kid, having to sit on the grass at the park (no benches), deciding to be a good mom and do cartwheels and somersaults with my kid. None of it is possible in a pencil skirt. Maybe if I worked in an office and got to dress up five days a week, I could reconcile myself better. I have yet to find a way to have the style I yearn for and feel myself in along with the ease of movement and inevitable dirt/stains that come from kids. Also, I'm a very late mom, and now am in my mid-50s, with a kid in fourth grade. So I have the whole age thing thrown in there, too.

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    1. Oh, please don't give up on who you are. You are making beautiful decisions with your priorities and you will never regret these love-motivated choices. But there is most certainly a casual equivalent of your elegant style. Ballet neck Ts? Layers of fun bracelets? Pants tailored to you? Trust your instincts, try on different options, follow your heart and let your clothes reflect YOU. You sound like a lot of fun - does your style show that? You have depth and experience. How blessed your daughter is!

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  21. Love this series Janice!

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  22. Don't care for the room at all but thoroughly adore the wardrobe. Love the post!

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