Friday, February 27, 2015

This is a wonderful Friday to pause for a minute, to appreciate the beauty and the abundance of our lives, and to tell our loved ones what they mean to us.

I'll be back soon - I wouldn't want to miss the fun we share!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

As soon as I did the earlier version of this painting (found here), people emailed me asking that I use a different mix of colors, and that I do a business travel version of a wardrobe. So I'm combining requests here - I hope it works out!

I kept many of the elements of the original travel outfit, just swapping out the sportier tee shirt with something just a smidge dressier, and then coordinating earrings and a scarf with this new top.

pink top – Uniqlo, earrings – Forzieri, grey trousers – Planet, watch – Relic, cardigan –
 Michael Michael Kors, scarf – Manipuri , woven flats – Paolo, canvas tote – Urban Travel

grey long-sleeved tee – Mint Velvet, silver hoop earrings – Topshop, bracelet – Topshop
dotted tee shirt – Proenza Schouler, pink shirt – Equipment, “shark tooth” necklace – Alexis Bittar
grey skirt – Max Mara, cardigan – Uniqlo, Hermes Chasse en Inde,  silver boots – Gucci, trousers –


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another week with incredibly cold weather. For those of you who live in warmer climates, you just have to take my word for it that this weather is exceptional, even for Chicago. Consistent lows below zero or in the single digits, days upon days of highs MAYBE in the teens. Dry dry dry air, wind to knock you over... just lovely!  I actually love winter, but this is even more extreme that I would prefer. But we carry on, in style!

As before, if I can link to my item, or something substantially similar, I will provide a link. The absence of any link means I couldn't find anything close enough...

Denim Shirt - J.Jill, jeans - Eileen Fisher, earrings - similar here, cardigan - Dublin Woolen Mills,
scarf - Nordstrom, boots, Bogs

I know I've mentioned it before, but these Bogs boots are the WARMEST I've ever owned. They're not pretty, but in Chicago, in February, when the temperature is 11 degrees Fahrenheit at noon, everybody looks a bit... bulbous...

earrings - Judith Jack (similar here), sweater - J. Jill, shirt - Uniqlo, scarf - Paul Stuart,
skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher, boots - Munro

My pool deck... this is the best place I will ever live in my entire life!

My scarf is similar to this, but one side is cashmere and the other is silk. I spent a FORTUNE on it about 15 years ago and almost had a heart attack at the time. But now, I don't remember what that price actually was... (there's a lesson somewhere in there!)

cardigan - Eileen Fisher, earrings - Majorica, scarf - Paul Stuart, turtleneck - Uniqlo,
shoes - Thierry Rabotin, jeans - 
Eileen Fisher

turtleneck - Lands' End, earrings - Majorica, slouch pants - Eileen Fisher, sweater - Eileen Fisher,
athletic shoes - Munro

earrings - Alexis Bittar (similar here), grey flannel trousers - Saint James, scarf - Hermes,
turtleneck - L.L.Bean, loafers - Stuart Weitzman

Note that this scarf is long unavailable, but the design (called L'Hiver - Winter) often turns up second-hand. It's a total imitation of a Bruegel painting... It probably wasn't the most "blendy" colored scarf I could have worn, but I felt that the winter theme was appropriate for my adventures outdoors!



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Someone sent me a photograph of this delectable item - a shawl, no longer available, from Hermes - and asked if it would be possible to build a little something beautiful around it. Ooooh, yes, this is DEFINITELY possible...

Shawl -  Hermes - no longer available

First up, a color scheme, as always. Using camel as the neutral, there's a whole range of maroon, dark red, bright red, and hints of yellow here - lots of possibilities!

My imagination called this transition season dressing - either spring or fall. Maybe for business, or for pleasure. One dress, for a splashy night out, and otherwise dressy but not fussy separates for business or elegant sightseeing.

(Note that the accessories are either angular, or have a woven element in them, to harmonize with the geometric woven design of the shawl. This is how I amuse myself!)

blouse – Emma Brendon, earrings – Maiyet, cape coat – Ted Baker, watch – Shinola,
 loafers – G.H. Bass and Co., trousers – Acne Studios, tote – Vince Camuto

Red dress – Diane von Furstenberg, gold clutch – Suedemaroon sweater – Enzo Costamaroon
 cardigan – Zanierigold woven hoop earrings – Ayako Kanari, maroon trousers – Lanvin, gold woven 
bracelet – Yoola, gold knot necklace - Giuliana Valz-Gen, metallic tee – J. Crew,  gold sandals – 
Stuart Weitzman, gold loafers – Tod’s striped shirt – Weekend Max Mara

Of a Kind

Monday, February 23, 2015

A recent request prompted this capsule: lightening up burgundy/grey/forest green into brighter cranberry, light mossy green and grey - specifically for a 3-week trip to France this spring.  A lovely trip, and beautiful colors with which to work!

Just for fun, I searched (and searched) until I found a painting to complement this idea:

Peripheral Vision 2 by Elis Cooke - available HERE

It's very exciting to me to feature a work of art that's still available to purchase! Check these out - the art is very lovely...

For our purposes, I isolated these colors, but there's also clearly an opportunity for white, cream, and a gentle blue, as well as a touch a deeper charcoal. This painting could generate a palette with which one could live forever.

As always, our travel outfit includes closed-toe shoes, a cardigan, and a scarf. But this tee-shirt is a "performance fabric" for more active endeavors! And these are the only "dressy" pants you're going to see. 

Grey trousers – Planet, gren quartz earrings – Allurez, watch – Relic, cardigan – Michael Michael 
Kors, woven flats – Paolo, tee shirt – Patagonia, scarf – Arte, canvas tote – Urban Travel

My first stop for finding clothes that would work well for activities was Patagonia; delightfully enough, they have a number of garments in soft, medium moss green! Sometimes these things just work out... 

Green button-front shirt – Patagonia, silver hoop earrings – Topshop, bracelet – Topshop
green tank – Patagonia, silver glitter headband – Miss Selfridge, berry tank – L.L.Bean, grey 
linen shorts – L.L.Bean, plum rose tee shirt – L.L.Bean, grey long-sleeved tee – Mint Velvet, grey 
linen capris – Poetry, ¾ sleeve green tee – Fat Face, striped top – J Crew, print wrap skirt – 
Patagonia, grey tunic dress – John Lewis,  bone hiking shorts – Sonomasneakers – Josef 
Seibel, sandalsTrotters, silver jeweled sandals – ZiGi Girl

Three pair of shoes in a bag might seem excessive, but these will all pack pretty small and rather flat, and the give you options to dress up a bit in the evening. Also, sometimes when your feet are killing you, a change of shoes can save your day.

You now have options for all kinds of activities in warm weather, or evenings that begin to feel cool. The green button-front shirt is a great layer of a tee shirt if it's cool, but it's also designed for sun protection. One dress and one skirt - neither of them particularly posh - still let you be a bit more festive when you're in the mood. Plenty of tee shirts, and your cardigan can be tossed over any combination:

I sure hope this helps a little bit!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

I defy you to find someone who looks at more pieces of clothing, pairs of shoes, or accessories than I do. Any day I'm working on The Vivienne Files, (and that's 6 days a week!) I look at hundreds, if not thousands of things. While I reject the vast majority of them as being unworthy of your attention, I still see lots and LOTS of things that are beautiful. Really, astonishingly, beautiful. (remember that green velvet dress?)

Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland

So I constantly have to remind myself that, just because something is beautiful, doesn't mean that I really want to own it. The absolutely amazing Samuel Beckett Bridge, in Dublin, is beyond lovely, but I don't really need to take it home with me. (could you imagine trying to move this to Chicago? Not that Chicago couldn't use a couple more bridges...)  So I've figured out that admiring something doesn't necessarily meant that I want to own it - I don't have a real desire for it...

scarf - Radical Chic

So what happens when I see something that I really WANT? (like this utterly wonderful scarf above) I can see how I would use it, I really love lots of things about it... and I'm the woman who has snowflakes on all of her electronic wallpapers. I figured out how to cut out six-pointed snowflakes as a little girl, because I KNEW that snowflakes didn't have eight points. I'm just screaming nuts about snow!

But I don't need it. I have scarves in abundance. And I really ought to be putting away my money for upcoming travel, and for replacing essential clothes that don't fit because of my shifting body composition. 

Very few of us get everything we want. I will not be among those elect. I don't know that I want to be. 

However, if I were to suddenly sell a couple of my extra scarves...


Is this just greed, in the final analysis? How does one handle these desires?

much love,

p.s. I have a couple of "World of Hermes" magazines - from Spring/Summer 2013, and Spring/Summer 2014. If you want them, email me at, and we can make arrangements for you to pay postage. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

A couple of days ago in this post, I included this page:

Earrings – Militza OrtizLe Voyage de Pytheas scarf – Hermes, bracelet –
Adriana Orsini, necklace – Lydell NYC, watch – Armitron,
 brooch – Gianni Versace

And someone asked if I could build a wardrobe around this scarf. Since I already had a pretty clear vision about the details of the scarf, and the color scheme was familiar, it was pretty straightforward!

Maybe because I'm freezing my toenails off, or maybe because I've received lots of questions about seeing some warm-weather travel capsules, but I pictured this as a long weekend to a warm destination. (PLEASE notice that I included starfish earrings to go with the fish mosaic border of this scarf; it's details like this that keep me amused!)

Tee shirt – Giorgia and Johns, toteReed Krakoff, earrings – Allurez
 watch – Peugeot, trousers – Emilio Pucci, cardigan – East, loafers – Ferragamo

Green dress – Massimo Alba, espadrilles – Tod’s, gauze blouse – Stefanel
pink beige shorts – L.L.Bean, yellow tee – American Vintage, blue tee – 
American Vintage, sparkly dress – Erika Cavallini Semi Couture, slingbacks – 
Bella Vita, clutch bag – Dareen Hakim, flat sandals – Oscar de la Renta

This would keep you covered for a few days, eh?

Pearl Jewelry - Allurez


Artisan Crafted Jewelry