Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Or, in my world, 8 = 42...

You might remember my excellent travel outfit:
brooch - Tiffany (no longer available), earrings - Majorica, necklace - Max and Chloe
tee shirt - Lands' End, bag - L.L.Bean, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, scarf - Julie 
Egli, cardigan - Eileen Fisher, loafers - Stuart Weitzman
I had this outfit on for an eternity of time, and I don't regret a thing!  It was ideal, and I will almost certainly wear something very similar for future trips.  But my suitcase was TOO MUCH STUFF...  I'd have been well-served to have just packed this:
marled sweater - J Jill (no longer available), black shirt - J Jill, blue scarf - 
Nordstrom, grey shirt - J Jill (no longer available), white tee - Lands' End
square scarf - Hermes, pearl bracelet - Majorica, pearl earrings - Majorica
pearl necklace - Majorica, waxed jeans - Eileen Fisher, hoop earrings - 
Katherine Seaman, black and pearl necklace - Majorica, pink scarf - Christian 
Dior (no longer available), woven flats - Cole Haan/Nike (no longer available), 
silver bracelet - Spring Street

I understand that this seems like amazingly little, but I need to remember something really critical about my trips to Europe - especially my trips to Paris:


I shop a lot.  I start shopping the second or third day, and I tend to wear my purchases almost immediately.  Thus, I leave things in my suitcase unworn, and I run out of space to bring back my purchases.  So for me, personally, and maybe nobody else in the world, eight total garments is plenty.

So what if I get there and can't find anything I want?  (yea, not going to happen in Paris...)

Remember, back when I explained the Triple Top Secret?  It's where a tee shirt, a button-front shirt, and a cardigan or sweater can be layered, or can be worn on their own.  This eight-piece total wardrobe of my suitcase plus what I wore on the plane includes TWO "threesomes" of tops...

Okay, this is boring.  You're going to smell to high heavens after a few days unless you do some laundry.  But, depending on what your weather is, you will have options, until you're shopping is finished.

The other great benefit that I found from having this range of tops is the ability I had to accommodate exceptionally warm temperatures in Paris.  On the warmest day, I wore pants without socks, ballet flats (with orthotics, thank you!), and an untucked linen shirt over the waistline of my pants, as a tunic.  Not bad for temps in the upper 70's!

And yes, accessories are key to keeping this from getting dull.  They're small, they're light, and they pack a pretty big punch.

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I bought.

(So you can visualize the 42 possible combinations, I'm showing them all.)


Monday, September 29, 2014

This was the view from our bed at the Maison Rika.  Notice one car, but a LOT of bikes...

What an adventure THAT was!  Belovedest and I had a wonderful time - of course we did - we were together.  And we learned some things that I think are worth sharing...

  • If you're connecting from a plane to a train, buy your train tickets in advance, even if you can't guarantee that you'll be on time. (and of course, you can't guarantee, because you're flying in, and planes are delayed)  It's MUCH less expensive to purchase train tickets in advance, and you'll be assured of a seat.  B and I had been promised by a couple of different people that it was ALWAYS easy to get train tickets from Paris to Amsterdam - au contraire, my friends!
  • When buying train tickets, even if you don't know your return time for sure, buy round-trip tickets.  Exchanging a ticket that's the wrong time is much less expensive than purchasing one-way tickets for each leg of the trip.
  • If you're delayed in a city for more than six hours, the first thing you do is sit down and make a plan.  The temptation to check your luggage and run out the door willy nilly is great, but ten minutes of thinking about what you'd really like to do can save a day of otherwise wandering aimlessly.  You might also have time to make reservations for a great meal...
  • When things get frenzied (i.e. you're late to your guest house and your cab driver is trying to drive you into a canal, taking the longest possible route), just take a deep breath.  Focus on what matters, which in this case is reining in the cabbie, and THEN worry about your housing.  Trying to multitask leads you to confusion, in which you NEITHER take care of crazy driver, nor text your guest house, and then mislay your cell phone for SEVEN days. (seriously, in a hidden pocket of B's briefcase, which I NEVER use...)
  • Don't feel that you must do the "done" things in a city.  B and I did not see ONE prostitute in Amsterdam.  We know of them, we've seen photographs of the physical environment in which they work, and we agreed that we might find it more unpleasant than edifying, so we chose to avoid that neighborhood.  I know some people will be aghast that we were in Amsterdam and chose to NOT go there, but we are happy with our choice.  Your happiness is what really matters, after all.
  • If you have a great meal, go back to that restaurant more than once.  You're not under contract to visit different restaurants every night (unless you're a travel/food writer), and the delight on the faces of the staff when they realize that you came BACK (as well as the champagne with which they might toast your return) makes it all worth it.  And you can try the other stuff on the menu that you had to miss the first time!
  • Pack less.  We saw MISERABLE people in the airport, on the subway, on the train, in the streets - all of them shackled to luggage.  Sometimes, preposterous amounts of luggage.  One couple in our Paris hotel must have been wretchedly crowded in their room...
Lots more to come - what I saw on the streets in Paris (although why didn't anybody ever tell me how handsome the men are in Amsterdam????), what I bought, our amazing room in Amsterdam etc. etc.

Nice to be home with you all,


Friday, September 26, 2014

This sort of screams "winter holidays" to me, but if you look good in green, this could be the best suitcase ever!
Sweater – Desigual, dark green jade earrings – Zandra Lorena, green loafers – Tod’s,
 scarf – Linea, ivory pants – Dorothy Perkins, quilted coat – Closed
bag – Parfois
Tee shirt – North Face, suede skirtRalph Lauren Black Label, cardigan
Dolce and Gabbana,malachite earrings – Barbora Rybarova Jewellery,
 silk scarf – Hermes,  ivory silk blouse – Hoss Intropia, jeans - Closed, floral top
 – Dorothy Perkins, pumps – Roger Vivier, gold necklace – YooLa
gold clutch – Lacambra

              Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies         

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Please bear in mind that I prepared this post before I left for my vacation, so some of the links might be dated...

This is a great, unique, way to accent black and grey; coral and turquoise are often found together, and there's some AMAZING jewelry available (usually in warmer weather) that combines these two colors.  But of course we don't wear real coral anymore - it's pretty endangered...

a 4 by 4 cold weather travel capsule wardrobe in Coral, Turquoise, Black and Grey
Black v-neck sweater – Closed, black jeans – R13, tee shirt – Kin, black cotton trousers – Mango
grey tee – Kin, grey jeans – Uniqlo, grey cashmere sweater – Uniqlo,  wool trousers – Reissombre 
sweatshirt – Proenza Schouler, fair isle turtleneck – Jaeger, cardigan – Violeta, striped tee – Isabel Marant Etoilecoral sweater – Jardin 
des Orangers (sold out), turquoise tee – Jane Norman, coral tee – Warehouse
turquoise cardigan – John Lewis, Ikat print scarf – Vince Camuto, turquoise stud 
earrings – Alon Diller, pearl and calcite bracelet – Anusara, onyx wavy earrings – 
Camen Anocibar, tassel necklace – Jennifer Loiselle, suede short boots – Aquatalia,
 loafers – Paul Green, tote bag – Solomon Appollo
paisley scarf – Liberty London
A color scheme graphic in Coral, Turquoise, Black and Grey

In both of these Cores of Four, I chose high-necked tee shirts to go with v-neck sweaters.  This way, if you want to layer the grey tee under the black sweater, (or vice versa) it will show nicely.  These little details can make a lot of difference in how versatile your clothes can be. 

A core of 4 in black: v-neck sweater, jeans, tee shirt and trousers
Black v-neck sweater – Closed, black jeans – R13
tee shirt – Kin, black cotton trousers – Mango
A Core of 4 in grey: tee shirt, jeans, v-neck sweater, and trousers
Grey tee – Kin, grey jeans – Uniqlo
grey cashmere sweater – Uniqlo,  wool trousersReiss

 I have a deep and abiding passion for the Fair Isle sweater...

An expansion four in grey and black: on ambre sweater, a Fair Isle turtleneck, a tweed cardigan and a striped tee
Ombre sweatshirt – Proenza Schouler, fair isle turtleneck – Jaeger
cardigan – Violeta, striped tee – Isabel Marant Etoile

What excellent accents - on a cold day, these would be a nice touch of brightness!

A Mileage Four with a coral sweater, a turquoise tee shirt, a coral tee shirt and a turquoise cardigan
Coral sweater – Jardin des Orangers (sold out), turquoise tee – Jane Norman
coral tee – Warehouse, turquoise cardigan – John Lewis

When looking for accessories and jewelry, make sure to always have swatches, or a skein of embroidery floss, with you in order to make sure that your shades are correct.  Both coral and turquoise can vary WIDELY (and wildly) and you can get some icky clashes once you get something home...

And when you're searching for things that are turquoise COLORED, don't forget to look for calcite that's been dyed blue.  It's very common, and quite inexpensive...

The Integration Four+ of scarves, jewelry, shoes and a bag, in Coral Turquoise, Black and Grey
Ikat print scarf – Vince Camuto, turquoise stud earrings – Alon Diller
pearl and calcite bracelet – Anusara, Onyx wavy earrings – Camen Anocibar
tassel necklace – Jennifer Loiselle, suede short boots – Aquatalia, loafers – 
Paul Green, tote bag – Solomon Appollo, paisley scarf – Liberty London

Artisan Made Jewelry Designs

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Please remember that I put these six-packs together last month, so that there would be pretty things to spark your imagination while I'm on vacation.  It's entirely possible that some of these garments won't be available anymore, but there's a world full of pretty things, if you search long enough!
Tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, silver hoop earrings – Katie Lees Jewellery, cardigan – Jardin des Orangers, jeans – Dolce and Gabbana, wrap – Nordstrom, tote bag – Deux Lux, driving moccasins – Sperry Top-Sider, Suitcase – Tumi
Long-sleeved top – Marc by Marc Jacob, grey skirt – Evans, grey tunic – Mint Velvet, grey pearl earrings – Allurez,  scarf – Front Row Society, grey pearl and silver necklace – Allurez, geometric clutch bag – Asya Malbershtein), grey wool pants – Michael Kors, blue tee – A.P.C. grey dress – Stefanel, wedge pumps – Cole Haan, patent penny loafers – G. H. Bass and Co. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Coat – Ter et Bantine, scarf – Rag and Bone (yoox), black loafers – Robert Clergerie (stylebop), trousers – Miu Miu (my Theresa), black tee – Dorothy Perkins, cardigan – Calvin Klein, earrings – Max and Chloe, tote bag – Marni

Green sweater – Dolce and Gabbana, onyx earrings – David Yurman, ivory silk blouse – Jaeger, black sweater – Alexander Wang, skirt – Lutz Huelle, scarf – Mary Katrantzou, corduroy pants – Stella McCartney, black and gold bracelet – Caipora Jewellry, black pumps – Munro, ivory sweater – Stefanel


Monday, September 22, 2014

I don't want everybody to feel like I've beaten the "navy and grey" horse to death, but I had a lot of requests for variations of those colors, and they all take on their own feel...  Please remember that I prepared these posts back in August, so you'd have pretty things to read while I'm on vacation; if the hyperlinks don't work, or an item is sold out, I sincerely apologize!

This is the color scheme - three of the colors we've worked with before, but this bright plum color changes everything.  What once was a soft and muted palette takes on a brightness and life that can be included in an outfit on a day that feels right, or you can always stick with the softer colors when that's what you prefer.  It offers a nice range of versatility in mood.

    Navy henley – Uniqlo, jeans – Mango
navy shirt – Uniqlo, corduroy skirt – Peter Jensen
Grey tee – Kin, grey jeans – Uniqlo
grey cashmere sweater – Uniqlo,  wool trousers – Reiss 

A lot of "marled" fabrics here - it could be a signature for sweaters for this particular person...

Turtleneck Chloe, striped tee – Mint Velvet
jacket – Uttam, cardigan – Acne Studios

I have a serious crush on the turtleneck in the last photo, and on the plum crew neck here.  Clearly I need to pay attention to my fondness for the marled sweater, eh?

plum tee – J. Crew, tee shirt – T by Alexander Wang
violet sweater - Fatface, blue silk blouse - Equipment

Since the scarves seemed flowery to me, I stuck with a flowery motif for some of the jewelry.
Square silk scarf – Antagoniste, silver flower earrings – 21dgrs, flower bracelet
 – Ngurah Gede, silver flower necklace – Kadek Hendra, long scarf - Minuet,
 hoop earrings – Simon Sebbag, bag – Brooks Brothers, ankle boots –
 Sam Edelman, loafers – Walking Cradles 

I really like the choices this provides - that plum tee shirt with a scarf and almost any of the "bottoms" would be bright and cheery, but on a day when you wanted to stay low-key and muted, solid grey with silver jewelry would still look elegant and pulled-together.

Shop Luxe and Unique Gifts for Her at AHAlife.com!