Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Coast Road by Fanny Brennan

Thanks a ton to the reader who sent this suggestion to me - I wasn't familiar with Fanny Brennan. It's particularly interesting that these paintings are tiny - the size of postcards. Her sense of humor is very appealing!

Coast Road by Fanny Brennan

The colors in this painting are wonderfully striking and clear. I'm going to use black as the base here, but a summer wardrobe using white, with these bright colors would be lovely. And the hills in the distance are colors that suggest shades of denim.... lots of possibilities here.

Going Alone

You have planned this trip for a long time. You bought athletic shoes and started walking every evening, after work. Longer and longer, faster and faster. You understand that being in better shape will make sightseeing a lot less tiring. 

You started eating better. Every time you ate something, you asked if this was something that you would order from a cafe in Paris...

The travel wardrobe was planned with meticulous care. You know that you don't look like Fanny Brennan, but you decided that you were going to take her bold color approach to heart. This is the trip where your exuberant, confident side will finally get to shine! Every indulgence of which you've ever dreamed was made reality. And yes, the people in the Hermes store were VERY nice...

Despite your wardrobe indulgence, you saved money. Diligently, with great discipline. Thinking that one of them would go with you, your treat... mother? one of your sisters? or nieces?


So you're going alone. They don't approve.

Hermes Zenobie, Reine de Palmyre silk scarf; shoes – Kate Spade
bangle bracelet – Alexis Bittar; green blouse – Michael Michael Kors
earrings – Alexis Bittar;  trousers – Joseph; blazer – Joseph
carry-on bag – Longchamp

If they were to come see you off at the airport, they might not recognize you; no baggy canvas pants nor stretched out polo shirts here! None of them had noticed how much weight you'd lost... sigh....

"Are you sure that a red suitcase is appropriate?"

Shut up, little voice in my head!

black clutch bag – Stella McCartney; blue striped shirt – J. Crew; cloud scarf
 – Kathkath;  green ring – Alexis Bittar; nail polish – Anna Suiblack shirt – J. Crew;
 fringe earrings – Alexis Bittarcrinkled scarf – Yasuyuki Machidabracelet – Anna Beck
red sweater – J. Crew; black and blue necklace – Alexis Bittarwhite 
tux shirt – J. Crew; blue brooch – Schumachergreen tee – American Vintage;
 black skirt – Joseph; red wrap dress – Diane von Furstenberg; short boots – Steve Madden
black cardigan – The Elder Statesmanpumps – Donald J Pliner;
black jeans – Alexander Wang; blue knit dress – M Missoni

"Really, Chelsea boots? You're not a Beatles fan anymore..."

"Do you think it's appropriate for a woman your age to wear bright colors like this?"

Yes ma'am, I do!

Every time you see all these things hanging on your spare clothes rack, you smile. The red nail polish might be the real kicker...

Casual dinners? Maybe an movie or concert? You're prepared...

And the ballet is a MUST, just to get into the Opera Garnier. You're prepared...

Long walks just taking in the sights? You're prepared.

"But you are going to need more clothes than that!"

Well no, actually. I'm going to spend all of the money I saved to buy YOUR plane ticket, and spend it on laundry. (and food, and a nicer hotel room, and any taxi I want, and front balcony opera tickets etc...)

Wait 'til they find out that you took French classes...


Artisan Made Jewelry Designs


  1. I love the sophisticated boldness of this capsule, the diversity of the colours, the three scarves that incorporate each of the key colours but look all very different from each other, and the way that the wardrobe is knitted together with the black. I could do this sort of look :) Jazz

  2. Janice, please stop flirting with a story & start actually writing one. You can do it! Just follow any one of your wardrobe ladies on her trip & tell us everything that happens. We believe in you & what you can do! I'm pretty sure at least one of us is in publishing.

    1. Agree! I found myself thinking, this is a woman who will turn heads! And probably either have a fling or meet the love of her life!

    2. What a great idea! Haven't the clothes taken on a new life since she started writing little vignettes!

  3. Your stories just go straight to the heart! I've been imagining a trip alone for months, only in my case it was only a weekend at a B&B... And the red suitcase will be easy to spot on the luggage carousel!

  4. Beautifully put together, as usual! I follow various blogs, but I rarely ever get excited enough about anything to seek out the pieces shown. The Vivienne files averages a click or two per post from me. I adore those short boots.

  5. The story-ette is as much fun as the lively wardrobe!

  6. Your stories bring the wardrobe alive. After all, what are clothes for, if not to experience life with? Keep it up. It's so much more fun when we can imagine our alter-ego in these clothes on these adventures. (she says while sitting here in her running shorts and tee) Janice, you have a gift. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Yes, another, "I''ll show you" story. Love your collection of brave, adventurous and independent women. I can hardly wait until you bring them together for a trip to???

    Deb from Vancouver

  8. I just love your stories... :))

  9. I love the colors, the clothes and the story! What beauty!

  10. Janice, your stories delight me! I always have images of where my clothing could travel. I have a Hermès scarf in those colours and I'm going to NYC in September for a week. I'll bet that I could shop my closet and put together a version of that wardrobe. There would be many approving nods as your traveller walked through the streets of Paris. Quelle joie!

  11. I can so relate to this scenario. I love travelling alone. This is a great wardrobe for people who want to have lots of color, but not carry a lot of clothes. And your heroine can also spend some of that money she saved buying one or two great new pieces in Paris. I love the red suitcase. I always buy totes and luggage in fun colors or prints. They don't always go with my outfits but they always make me happy! My newest weekend carry-on is red with large white polka dots.

  12. Loved the story and the wardrobe, and all of my luggage is red.

  13. Another winning story and wardrobe! Yes to the red suitcase.

  14. I clicked on the Joseph trousers and got transferred to the Farfetch website where the header says:

    "On a yacht? Try our new store to port delivery service in the Mediterranean."

    Just how many people are shopping from their yachts where they need to have a delivery service just for them?

    1. Would make a fun story line!

    2. That makes me think of The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" ...............

  15. I adored all you wrote in this post, especially: Every time you ate something, you asked if this was something that you would order from a cafe in Paris...Merci!

  16. Wonderful scenario Janice! Like the others, I really enjoy your vignettes of capable, cheeky, stylish women. Thanks too for the introduction to Fanny Brennan. I'm looking forward to shopping my wardrobe to see if I can make a version of this vibrant capsule. Robyn x

    1. I second the thanks for the introduction - I'd not heard of her and now I'm hooked!

  17. This is the precise weblog for anybody who needs to seek out out about this topic. You notice so much its almost arduous to argue with you. You positively put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  18. What fun your capsule tales are - always remind me of those intriguing J Peterman catalogues. I'm catching up reading the last two weeks worth as we zip by train to Milan after our Music and Markets Amalfi and Tuscany tour. This is one of my favorite combinations - the colors are gorgeous! And I can certainly see this lady enjoying each moment in Paris :)