Friday, January 31, 2014

We'll be in Paris soon, and I'm already daydreaming about what we'll do while we're there...  First off, I'm trying really hard to look upon the whole flying process as positively as possible.  I can sit for 8 hours without a whole lot of trouble - I've done it at work for decades, so being on an airplane isn't that big an adjustment.  I can hold hands with Belovedest, relax, and listen to music or some of my favorite apps on my phone.  I've recently downloaded Insight Timer, which has dozens of guided meditations that are grand for relaxing... and then I can switch to Moz, which is just one long soundtrack of thunderstorms.  A bottle of water, some skin serum, and I'm good for the night!

image - USA Today

The last two dozens times I've flown, I've worn my black argyle cardigan, so this time I'm NOT wearing it.  This cardigan will be great if, in fact, the weather takes a turn for the pleasant, and if it's cold, I will be able to snuggle myself silly.  My Julie Egli scarf that I got over the holidays is so amazingly beautiful, I know I'll wear it a lot in Paris.  My cross-body bag will probably be tucked into my briefcase for the trip...

Pearl stud earrings – Mikimoto, cardigan – Iro, scarf – Julie Egli
turtleneck – Merona, pants – Dorothy Perkins, cross body bag – Tumi
briefcase – Tumi, suitcase – Tumi, parka – Lands’ End, 
oxfords – Cole Haan (no longer available)

When we arrive, we'll head to out hotel across from the Pantheon!  Depending on timing, we'll either ditch our luggage and go out for breakfast, or head straight to our room and change clothes, because we've got a really busy first day planned.

Pantheon image - Wikipedia

We'll catch the train to St. Denis to visit the Cathedral.  It's chock full of French history (it was the burial place for many French kings), and it's considered to be the first truly Gothic structure.  I can't believe that we've never been there before.
St. Denis image - Wikipedia

And just a few hundred yards from the Cathedral is the Stade de France.  We do indeed have tickets to the Ireland/France rugby match - the final of the 2014 Six Nations tournament.

Stade de France image - Logis Hotels

So I'm wearing this:  spill beer on me or whatever, I will be ready!
Sweatshirt – Acne Studios, black waxed denim jeans –  
D RK SH D W by Rick Owens, turtleneck – L.L.Bean
shoes - Cole Haan (no longer available)

Sunday morning, I might make it down the hill to the Boulevard St. Michel, and crash into a cafe...  This will certainly be the worst jet-lag day, coupled with the excitement of the day before.  Leisure and people-watching is the order of the day.
Boulevard St. Michel image - Wikipedia France

So a cushy sweatshirt dress, a scarf, and some flat shoes will be perfect!
Hoop earrings – Yoola, scarf – Hinge, sweatshirt dress – Sacai,  
tights - DKNY, flats – Thierry Rabotin

When we head out Monday morning, we'll give the staff a handful of pieces of laundry... Planning to have laundry done is one of the best ways to both minimize packing and give yourself some flexibility if the weather changes.

Musee Cluny image - Wikipedia France

Monday, we'll probably not go terribly far out of our neighborhood - I love to visit the Musee Cluny.

And we're going to try to get into Fish, La Boissonnerie, for lunch.  A wonderful restaurant, and it will then give us the opportunity to wander around St. Germain for a while.

Image - Paris en Photo

A sheer sweater with a tank underneath, some skirted leggings, and accessories...  Since this trip is for indulging the inner tomboy, I'm going to wear sweatshirt-inspired clothes, and my athletic shoes, as often as possible. 
Skirted leggings – Eileen Fisher, earrings – Majorica, sweater – M Missoni, 
 Hermes Jardins des Metamorphoses (no longer available), 
bracelet – Majorica, black tank – Marc Cain

 In a few days I'll figure out what else we're going to be doing while we're in Paris, and I'll be able to finalize my packing plan!

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My life - wardrobe-wise - is now an interesting contrast between being in gym clothes, or leisure clothes, for much of my time, and then every now and then I have to look like I belong in a business meeting or a dinner party...

Apparently I'm not at all alone, because many people have asked me about how to have a coherent wardrobe strategy when you dress for such a wide variety of activities.  

So I chose one of the very beautiful paintings suggested to me, and went to work.  This painting is an innovative combination of accent colors, some interesting asymmetry, and a wide range of grey through beige and taupe neutrals.  

First up - the gym!  Being able to use grey as a neutral is wonderful, because it's the quintessential color for sweats.  But you can always introduce the beautiful daffodil and turquoise for a little bit of personal signature and life.

The Breakfast Room – Childe Hassam, hoodie – Uniqlo, tee shirt – Merona, sweatpantsUniqlo, ballet flats – Nova Rosa, watch – Coach, grey tee – Uniqlo, blue sweatshirt – Blumarine, grey shorts – Moncler, sneakers – Keds

When you have to go out in public and sweat clothes just won't do it, a simple skirt and draped top, or a classic sweater and pants, are easy choices.

The Breakfast Room – Childe Hassam, earrings – Kendra Scott, tee shirt – Merci, skirt – La Garconne, sandals – Easy Street,  scarf – Halogen, sweater – Uniqlo, grey flannel trousers – Austin Reed,  driving moccasins  -  Vaneli

And then evenings can still be relaxed.  A dressy version of a sweatshirt, jeans that aren't blue, and comfy flats will work for a lot of activities.

The Breakfast Room – Childe Hassam, top - Stella McCartney, bracelet - Majorica, jeans - Uniqlo, ballet flats - Butterfly Twists,  sweater - Societe Anonyme, jeans - Uniqlo, ballet flats - Butterfly Twists
If you absolutely, positively have to look "dressy", a dress in your accent color with some AMAZING asymmetry is comfortable, especially coupled with flat sandals.  A drapey dressy blouse, some high-quality capris, a beautiful scarf and some flats are very useful for anything from a nice lunch to a concert or date.

The Breakfast Room – Childe Hassam, earrings – Alon Diller,  turquoise silk dress -  Maison Martin Margiela, clutch bag – Artessorio,  sandals – Balenciaga,  scarf – Yuh Okano, layered blouse – Dries van Noten, capris – Brunello Cucinelli, suede ballet flatsChloe

All together?

Lots of options!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What if you bought a new scarf, and you liked it so much that you decided to make EVERY clothing purchase, for a year, based on the colors of the scarf?

I get lots of questions about red, white and blue wardrobes, so when I was asked to address this scarf specifically, I thought it could be great fun.  

This looks like a tremendous amount of shopping, but do bear in mind that the average American purchases 68 garments and 7 pair of shoes per year, and that it's entirely possible that you already own a few of these items...  This budget is pretty extreme, but I'm pretty confident that you can find beautiful items for just a bit less money!

scarf - Fat Face
A parka, during the after-holiday sales, some warm boots, and spiffy gloves...  For Valentine's Day, a festive blouse?
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, parka – Joseph, jeans – Mango, gloves – Pierre Darre,  boots – Bogs, watch – Timex,  silk blouse – Marc Jacobs, tweed skirt – Tory Burch, pumps – Stuart Weitzman

March isn't warm, but at least it can be floral!  April might not be much warmer, but I'm certainly more than ready to haul out some white trousers by then.  
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, floral blouse – Stella Forest,floral earrings – Kenari, navy trousers – Chloe, boots – Purified,  bracelet – Brooks Brothers,  striped sweater – Dash, winter white trousers – Haute Hippie, ballet flats – Stuart Weitzman

A great dress breaks in spring, but is grounded with navy shoes and a beautiful bag.  When summer truly sets in, stripes are the perfect ticket, paired with a white skirt.  (do befriend your dry-cleaner...)
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, dress – Marc Jacobs, bag – Cambridge Satchel, pumps – VC Signature, bracelet – Made Sriasih, striped tee shirt – Burberry Brit, skirt – Planet, sandals – Aerosoles
We're mostly still working during July, so another dress will be useful.  For your brief summer break, navy shorts, along with spiffy sunglasses and canvas shoes all still blend beautifully with your chosen color scheme.
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, earrings – Caipora Jewellery, dress – Planet, gold bracelet – Kamryn Dame, sandals – LifeStride, sunglasses – Balmain,  tee shirt – T by Alexander Wang, belt – Isabel Marant, shorts – A.P.C., canvas flats – Keds
Yes, I would definitely wear white loafers in September, if only just to shock the bourgeoisie.  October is the time to get some gorgeous boots...
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, cashmere sweater – 360 Sweater, earrings – Majorica,  tweed pants – Svek, white loafers – Trotters, bracelet – Caipora Jewellry, cardigan – Brooks Brothers,  navy suede skirt – Ruffian, boots – Frye
A plaid shirt is quintessentially autumn, but velvet pants change everything.  And a white dress for the winter holidays?  We're shocking the rest of the world...
Freesia Floral Print Scarf – Fat Face, plaid shirt – Velvet by Graham Spencer, navy velvet pants – Windsmoor, cardigan – Dorothy Perkins, loafers – Tods, earrings – Matta, ring – Neeru Goel, winter white dress – Valentino, slingbacks – J. Renee

And by the end of the year, all of your purchases will make up a beautifully organized and coordinated wardrobe!

And boy, do you have options!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

earmuffs - Pendleton

I grew up in a very snowy and cold place, so these Polar Vortexes don't completely overwhelm me, although they're pretty doggone dreadful...

My parents were particularly adept at handling the cold, and so I have a few ideas and insights that might be useful.

  • Cover your head - at least your ears.  It seems really obvious, but lots of people manage to skip this part.  If your hair absolutely won't sustain a hat, at least put on some earmuffs - those bare ears sticking out of the side of your head are a freeze magnet.
  • And you should avoid wearing big earrings, necklaces next to your skin, or anything metallic that touches you directly.  Metal gets cold, and cold metal against your flesh is really bad...
  • Don't forget to wear sunscreen or something gooey and emollient on your skin.  The air is super-dry when it's this cold, and your skin is not going to be happy.  AND...  gooey stuff will help hold in some of your heat.

David Walliams entering the English Channel at the start of his cross-channel swim 4th July 2006
David Williams, entering the English Channel, slathered in something called Channel Swimmer's Grease.  Seriously.
  • Do NOT go out with wet, or even damp hair.  I once saw someone's hair BREAK... Her very long hair was hanging down the outside of her coat, and a six-inch long chunk of it as big around as a broom handle SNAPPED OFF...  She absolutely had to have a new hairstyle the next day.  It was astonishing...
  • In a similar vein, consider keeping your nails as the very shortest possible length with which you're comfortable.  Nails get really brittle in cold weather, and when you combine that with the fumble-fingered joys of cold hands, snapping off a couple of your nails INSIDE of your gloves is a definite possibility.  And a really painful headache...
  • Many thin layers are as good or better than one heavy layer.  This is particularly handy if you live somewhere that doesn't merit stockpiling cashmere.
  • And on that note, 2 pair of thin socks will be better than one pair of heavy ones.  And don't cram your feet into tight boots with too many socks; constructing your circulation won't help you stay warm.
  • Leather soled shoes aren't the best, unless they're multiple layers like men's welt-bottomed shoes.  Thin soles on cold pavement = frostbitten toes.
  • You've probably got to cover your face when you go out -  might I suggest that you tie a cotton handkerchief around your face BEFORE you put on your regular winter scarf.  It's softer, and washable, and more absorbent.  You know your eyes are going to water, and your nose is going to run.  Might as well have your hanky right there... (why don't we just quit pretending that only men need handkerchiefs?)
handkerchiefs - Nordstrom 

  • Cold helps you lose weight.  Really.  Seriously.  University of Maastricht researchers published results in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.  They theorize that the increase in obesity could result in part of the overall warming of ambient temperatures in our homes and workplaces.  Turning down the thermostat certainly saves money, will help the environment, and if it helps weight control, I'm on it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Yes, I was going to take the day off,  but I had this post finished...

 Liberty London makes this scarf is a variety of colors, some assorted sizes, and at least two different fabrics that I know of, but no matter how it's done, the Ianthe scarf is a popular classic.  But this scarf is subtle, understated, and challenging...

I really honed in on the subtlety of the coloring, and determined that very muted, dusty or milky colors would blend best.  The overall curved patterns combine to form a starburst feeling, which I wanted to hold in the back of my mind, and the very fine detailing meant that I was going to be watching for small stones in jewelry, fine but visible textures in fabric, and little finessed details that would only be apparent to the truly observant.

scarf - Liberty London

The jewelry - I'm always drawn to pearls, and the softness of the taupe pearls on the taupe cord were a natural fit.  The bracelet has the texture that I was looking for, and the great ring has both the starburst shape overall, combined with the tiny stones that give texture to the large geometric.  The brooch is sort of the same idea - it radiates out from a central motif, but has a lot of small details that lend richness and texture.  The earrings are both a perfect color, and share the starburst thought, as well as the delicate lines that make up the gold setting.

Scarf – Liberty London, pearl and silk necklace – Nikki Baker, cord and silver 
bead bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs, ring – Thierry Mugler, brooch – 
Adriana Orsini, earrings – Kalan by Suzanne Kalan

Colors have got to be subtle, for me, for this scarf.  I always look first for blue or red, and this very dusty, almost opalescent blue blouse felt right.  The watch is classic, but still has that bit of soft color that is one of my guiding aesthetics today.

For jeans, something with just the slightest bit of dusty color, along with some fun sunglasses, are balanced by the textury and soft sweater.  Woven shoes in a darker color ground the outfit without clashing or calling too much attention to themselves.

Scarf – Liberty London, silk blouse – Saint Laurent, pants – Maxmara
watch – Coach,  saddle shoes – Sebago, sunglasses – Elizabeth and James,
 sweater – Ted Baker, grey cotton pants – Swildens , flats – Sketchers 

And I always look for the red family - this absolutely gorgeous color would look good on pretty much anybody!  The earrings have the elongated diamonds that the scarf introduced, and the clutch share that diamond-y idea.  On the outfit on the right, notice the variety of buttons on the boots - those are the details that are the delight of the discerning...

Scarf – Liberty London, earrings – Alexis Bittar,  dress – JilSander
clutch bag – Suede, leather jacket – Alessandra Marchi, beige sweater – Theo,
tweed pants – Toast, boots – Dansko

While warm weather isn't the best time to wear scarves, you can still be consistent with your aesthetic motivations - here, by wearing the colors of your scarf, as well as a bit of texture in the shorts (yes, I would wear these shorts in  New York minute...), and the bracelet reflects the black and grey tones of your inspiration scarf.  Your comfy sandals have texture too...

And a simple tee shirt in muted blue, along with soft-toned pants and ballet flats still seem to share the overall ideal that we're pursuing.  Note the starburst pattern in the earrings, and the small stone details?

Scarf – Liberty London, tank top – Uniqlo,  Bermuda shorts – Societe 
Anonyme, bracelet – Chan Luu, sandals – Propet, earrings – Peggy Li,  
tee shirt – T by Alexander Wang pants – Etro, ballet flats – Pretty Ballerinas

And finally, for work, you can always get texture from a combination of sweater and skirt, and fun shoes that have a bit of small-detail sparkle...

Evening?  Let's work on the warm end of the spectrum with a blouse and pants in the same tones, and then kick it up a few miles with lacy earrings and similarly detailed pumps.

Scarf – Liberty London, sweater – Samuji, tweed skirt – Oasis, briefcase –  
Mandarina Duck, thinestone flats – Sperry Top-Sider,  lace earrings – Krista R.,
  silk blouse – Mauro Grifoni, pants – MSGM, lace pumps – Lucy Choi London

All together, this is a great wardrobe!

 Which gives you quite a few options:


Artisan Jewelry Designs