Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A little more of the text from this section of the book:

"To build your "capsule wardrobe" can be intimidating, and also can represent a substantial outlay of money!  Why not take things step by step, and focus on the essentials necessary for each season.  This permits you to gradually, purchase by purchase, build an ideal wardrobe. Several paths can be considered and adapted according to your personal  needs and life style, as well as the weather where you live."

White jeans – J. Crew, striped top – Dorothy Perkins, butterfly print top – Izabel London, black sleeveless top – P.A.R.O.S.H., watercolor tee – IRO, turquoise tee – Lauren Ralph Lauren, swimsuit – Miraclesuit, beaded tunic – Antik Batik, printed tunic – Emilio Pucci, plaid dress – Suno, mariniereArmor Lux,  linen cardigan – DKNY

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Back to my new favorite French fashion book, where I found four capsule wardrobe suggestions for each of the four seasons.  I intend to show you all of them...

But first, a quote with which they open this section of the book, from Angelica Huston.

"It's easy to think that you don't have anything to wear, but this is really a problem of identity.  If you have a well-developed self image, you know what is "you" no matter what the trends of the moment."

9-piece spring capsule wardrobe from "Ma To-Do List: Dressing"
Rain jacket – Helly Hansen, leather jacket – Versace, chinos – Phase Eight
unlined jacket - Brian Dales, scarf – Tildon, white cotton shirt – Comme des Garcons, watercolor 
tee shirt – Mango,  silk blouse – Nina Riccijeans – Closed
Neiman Marcus Last Call (Neiman Marcus)

Monday, April 28, 2014

I said on Saturday that the idea of a wardrobe slot machine could be expanded, and one of my dearest friends was eager to see how this would play out.  For some of us, the idea of getting dressed for work every day is just plain annoying - nobody is going to pay much attention to what we're wearing, as long as we're appropriately dressed.  So I promised her that I would show an example that would give her more than a week's worth of shirts or blouses (i.e. six), and then show how it could be expanded.

six top layers x six shirts or blouses x six pants or skirts =216 combinations.  

She could literally shop once a year and then forget about work clothing for a long time...  In the hottest weather, it might be wise to substitute out some short-sleeved tops for the heavier things, and a lighter skirt for the leather, but the concept remains solid. (and let's remember, the executives where she works wear long-sleeved shirts, WITH UNDERSHIRTS, 12 months out of the year)

(I lust mightily for this leather skirt, and I so UTTERLY do not need another piece of clothing...)  But imagine, if one only had 18 pieces of fall/winter clothing, what excellent pieces could be justifiably purchased...

18 garments make 216 outfits! 18 perfectly interchangeable pieces of clothing in black, white, grey and denim
argyle cardigan – Apt. 9, chambray shirt – Nili Lotanblack jeans-  Eileen Fisher ,black cardigan – Jaeger, tee shirt –  Mint Velvet black pants – Eileen Fisher, grey sweater- Marc by Marc Jacobs,  turtleneck Majestic Filatures, black skirted leggings Eileen Fisher, grey cardigan – Tess Giberson, grey tee shirt – Mary Portas, grey trousers – Acne, black sweater – Burberry Brit , white shirt – Dolce and Gabbana, leather skirt – Theory, black blazer- Mango, white turtleneck – Velvet , pinstripe pants - Jaeger

This is what 216 outfits look like.  Please note that this is the same outfit shown repeatedly - even with my super-long attention span, I was NOT going to put together all of the possibilities.
a visual representation of just how many outfits 216 REALLY is - it's a big number!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

I've been in the live-in caretaker role for quite a while now - since we got back from Paris, I've only been home a handful of days...  In order to uncomplicate my life, I just put some clothes into a backpack and hopped on the train, hoping for the best.

Turns out that my instincts were great - I was wearing three garments, I packed six, and there was literally NO combination that wasn't wearable.  I felt like my clothes were a perfectly weighed slot machine upon which I couldn't lose...

These were the clothes that I had with me: (okay, these aren't exactly the same garments.  My cardigans are from Lands' End, and are years old.  My denim shirt is from J. Jill and is no longer available. Everything else is Eileen Fisher...)

argyle cardigan – Apt. 9chambray shirt – Nili Lotanblack jeans- Eileen Fisher
  black cardigan – Jaegertee shirt – Mint Velvet, black pants – Eileen Fisher 
sweater- Marc by Marc Jacobsturtleneck- Majestic Filatures, skirted leggings- Eileen Fisher

I'm not kidding anybody here - this is a pretty monochromatic wardrobe, and nobody who saw me frequently was fooled into believe that I had traveled with steamer trunks full of clothes.  Of course, that wasn't really the point.

Having this kind of versatility accomplished a lot for me:
  1. Whatever was clean could be worn
  2. I didn't have to think about it
  3. If a garment become unwearable for some reason (torn, stained, etc.) it didn't really matter, because everything else I owned could still be worn in the absence of any 1 piece.
It didn't hurt that I had 3 scarves with me, and a whole mountain of jewelry... the accessories were absolutely critical to changing up my appearance and giving my poor patient a little bit of variety.

These were the options that I had:

I could have gone further with this concept - a grey cardigan, grey tee shirt, grey pants, a white shirt, blue denim jeans...

This isn't a travel solution for most people, but in a pinch, it's nice to know that you can grab the right handful of clothes and be set for a few days.


Friday, April 25, 2014

It's a question that comes up often - what are the best shoes to wear with navy clothes?

Well, men have, for generations, worn black shoes.  Nobody would expect them to wear anything different; navy shoes worn with a navy suit would be inappropriate for most men in most business settings.  I've never felt that there was anything wrong with women doing exactly the same thing...

Or you can thrown yourself into the project of finding navy shoes that work with your clothes.  Generally speaking, I think this means looking for about the darkest navy you can find that doesn't look like black.  But then you've got to make sure that you keep your shoes together and that they don't migrate into your black clothing outfits...  Unless you want them to...

But there are other, more "out there", but interesting, options.  My favorite men, and menswear stores, have for a lot time been paring brown or cordovan (hard to find, but worth the trouble!) with navy.  This approach is particularly great if you find really beautifully-made shoes that show the excellent quality of the leather.
Blazer and pants – Mango, penny loafers – Cole Haan, boots – Munro, dress – The  Pretty Dress Company, slingback sandal – Via Spiga, kitten heel sandals- Manolo Blahnik, tee shirt – White Stuff,  navy shorts – Dorothy Perkinsplatform sandals – Dansko,  ankle strap sandals – Miz Mooz

An alternative that I always like, whenever shoe color becomes an issue, is to just find something beautifully metallic.  While this might be pushing the dress code envelope in some offices, for many of us it is a great option to consider.  This works very well if you always wear some signature jewelry in a particular metal!  Just make sure you find a shoe with a muted and rich-looking metal finish - nothing too plastic or garish.

Blazer and pants – Mango, rose gold penny loafers – G.H. Bass, dark silver oxfords – DV by Dolce Vita, dress – The  Pretty Dress Company, silver sandals – Stuart Weitzman, gold sandals – Pelle Moda,  tee shirt – White Stuff,  navy shorts – Dorothy Perkins, gold espadrilles – Sperry Top Sider,  silver slip-ons – DV by Dolce Vita

Never lose sight of the fact that you can match or tone your shoes to other parts of your ensemble - your blouse or shirt, under a suit, or to your accessories...  and in the summer months, a carefully chosen pair of white shoes can go a long way.  White shoes can look really cheap, so proceed with caution!

Blazer and pants – Mango, red onyx hoop earrings- Bhavesh, red loafers- -Marc Joseph New York, slip-onse360 Easy Spiritdress – The  Pretty Dress Company, wedge sandals -  Ecco, turquoise metallic sandals - Kurt Geiger, amethyst earrings- Shanker,  turquoise earrings- Alon Diller,  tee shirt – White Stuff,  navy shorts – Dorothy Perkins, turquoise sandals – Inuovo, purple flip flops - Teva

Blazer and pants – Mango, earrings- Matta, purple loafers- Ferragamo, white loafers – Lanvin, dress – The  Pretty Dress Company, charm bracelet- Olga Hinojosa, red sandals – Stuart Weitzman,satin d’orsay pumps – Pelle Moda,  tee shirt – White Stuff,  navy shorts – Dorothy Perkins, rose quartz earrings – Sandra and Lily, coral canvas moccasins – Minnetonka, flat sandals - Sbicca

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Warm accent colors with navy and beige?  Absolutely!
all tops - L.L.Bean, scarf - Vismaya

I've changed up the cardigan again - this one is a splurge and a half, but the navy and coral are beautifully presented here:

Cardigan – Piazza Sempione, sweater- Acne Studios, blouse – PeopleTree,  striped tee – People Tree

And just to show some other possible choices, I've picked out a new skirt and a pair of outrageous summer pants.  I personally would wear these pants in a heartbeat, but your mileage may vary!
Palazzo pants –Dorothy Perkins, blouse – Velvet, skirt- ASTR, plaid pants – Isabel Marant Etoile

This gives you this 24-piece wardrobe; isn't it fascinating how changing just a few of the garments makes so much difference in the overall feel of the ensemble?

lots of stuff

As always, lots of possible ways to wear these - from the most casual, to reasonably dressy activities.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Many of you mentioned mixing shades of blue with your navy and beige, citing the always beautiful suggestion that this reminds you of the sand and the sea. How can anybody make this happen?

all tops - L.L.Bean, scarf - Theodora and Callum 

Say this is your summer shopping - these are the accent colors that you use, rather than the red and green that I used earlier.  So your color scheme is this:

In addition to changing out the accent colors, I'm going to make two simple changes to the original core wardrobe.  First, I want to include a floral sweater that does justice to our chosen accent colors:

navy floral cardigan - Yumi, sweater - Acne Studios, dotted blouse - People Tree, tee shirt - People Tree

and I'm swapping out the patterned skirt from earlier for a solid navy skirt with a bit of texture. 

navy pants - Dorothy Perkins, patterned tunic - Velvet, navy skirt - Societe Anonyme, jacquard pants - 'S Maxmara

Our 24 pieces now look like this:

Options?  We have LOTS of choices now...