Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back from New York and trying to catch up on emails, keep the apartment from deteriorating into a wallow of clutter, and stay in touch with my friends... It's so nice having a wardrobe that uncomplicates things for me!

black tee shirt - Lands' End, silver earrings - similar here, silver necklace - Wayan Asmana,
denim dress - J. Jill, flats - Thierry Rabotin

scarf - Hermes vintage, silver earrings - similar here, sweater - Everlane, skirted leggings - Eileen Fisher,
boots - 

black cotton cardigan - Lands' End, silver earrings - similar here, black and white scarf - Paul Stuart,
blue jeans - 
Eileen Fisher, white tee shirt - Lands' End, shoes - Munro

white shirt - Lands' End, pearl earrings - Majorica, brooch - vintage shop, black waxed cotton jeans -
Eileen Fisher, sweater - J. Jill, boots - Clarks

Necklace - xxx, dress - COS, boots - Donald J. Pliner, earrings - similar here, scarf - Julie Egli, bag - Agnes B.
Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Monday, March 30, 2015

To whomever requested this painting as the basis for a wardrobe - a big thank you!

Steamboat leaving Boulogne by Edouard Manet

From time to time, I hear from women who need only the smallest of work wardrobes, because they work as temps - employees who go into an office for a very brief period of time. A wardrobe for this kind of work needs to be very conservative and very neutral; you don't really want to make any kind of a "mark" on the organization except for the excellence of your work!  I temped at a few times in the past - sometimes only for a day, and sometimes for as long as 2 or 3 weeks. This is the kind of work that allows you to have an extremely small work wardrobe, and to thus dedicate your income to other things!

While temping doesn't always require interviews, I've included a couple of interview outfits, just in case they are needed.

Blazer and trousers – Marc by Marc Jacobs, pocket square – Hermes, blue stud earrings – Karolin,  
ivory silk top – Jigsaw, loafers – Stuart Weitzman, watch – Skagen, briefcase – Pratesi

Knitted blazer – Armani Collezioni, pearl earrings – Bukkehave, pearl broochBukkehave
dress – L’Agence, slingbacks – Jimmy Choo

Printed blouse – Ghost, blue topaz necklace – Lee Renee, blue short-sleeved blouse – Joseph
grey short-sleeved sweater – Jaeger, fringed scarf – Florenz, grey skirt – Jaeger, blue cardigan
 – Marc by Marc Jacobs, small scarf – Shinerock London, grey blazer – Jaeger, grey trousers – 
Jaeger, tote bag – Desti Saint Handbags, dress – Sam and Lavi

I hear, time and time again, that it's just too boring to buy three matching pieces of clothing at the same time! The suit separates that I show here are going to run afoul of this objection, because they're all from the same company, and they match precisely. But I'm sticking with my belief that owning these kinds of core pieces will more than pay off for you as you find a million different ways to wear them! All shopping is not going to be exciting and thrilling - it shouldn't be, if you're buying intelligently chosen staple items for your wardrobe. You should, instead, feel a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and of accomplishment when you are able to find these kinds of timeless work-horse items. 

Carefully chosen and deliberately constructed, you now have a perfect 13-piece wardrobe, with only 2 pair of shoes needed, a couple of bags, and a handful of other accessories. Nobody is going to be overwhelmed by the mad variety of your wardrobe, but my experiences as a temp suggested that you were best served by wearing things that were conservative, of impeccable quality, which fit you beautifully, and were flattering. Variety is for some other area of you life!

 This very compact wardrobe still gives you enough possibilities for three weeks of work! 

And I guess it's terribly obvious, but this would also make a wonderful travel capsule wardrobe if you have business travel. I can see someone making an auditing visit wearing all of these things...

Tomorrow, I think I'll do a casual summer wardrobe from the same color scheme...


Looking Back:

2013: Project 333 for Winter: the Winners, and the Losers

2012: Chic sighting, and a cautionary note on "payday shopping"


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Although I was ill for a shockingly large portion of our vacation, I did manage to get some shopping done too!

One day, we walked a long way south through The Village and then over into Soho, where I was mystically compelled into the Eileen Fisher store... Two short-sleeved dresses were the happy result - dresses because they will accommodate my shifting body composition as I work out more, and sleeveless because I've lifted so many weights that my arms DESERVE some time out in public!

Belovedest had a store in mind he wanted to visit - the very charming little Miansai shop, which is the motherlode of leather bracelets. I've never been driven to have a leather bracelet, but when B and I decided to each get one as a sort of silly anniversary commemoration, I wasn't crushed to choose the black leather bracelet with the touch of red... One of the great pleasures of wandering through the neighborhoods in New York is that you find all sorts of little stores selling things that do NOT exist in your local mall!

My 2nd healthy day, our only real ambition was to walk up the Upper West Side, window shop, and have dinner. While the plan really didn't include shopping, when I saw the pearl earrings in the window at KTCollection Jewelry, I knew we were going to buy something... For the dedicated sentimental type who adores New York, this store also has necklaces made with old subway tokens!

We then wandered a long way north, and turned on our heels when hunger summoned, to make a beeline back to Pomodoro Rosso. Since I had been so ill, I was able to inhale large quantities of pasta with no fear of calories. Despite their fame as a "Seinfeld" restaurant, the food was great, the staff was lovely, and we left feeling both sated and coddled.

bracelet - Miansai, black dress - Eileen Fisher, ticking stripe dress - Eileen Fisher, pearl earrings - KTCollection
 Jewelry (not available online), black and grey scarf - Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop
(not available online), patchwork scarf - Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop

Next day, we had breakfast at our favorite breakfast restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien. If you ever have an opportunity to visit one of their locations, I warmly encourage you to stop in! Everything's organic, everybody's friendly, the bread is wonderful, and the spreads for the bread (especially the white chocolate spread, called Blondie) are out of this world. It is no exaggeration to say that we've been in LPQ locations in multiple countries, and multiple cities. They have locations here in Chicago, and a week doesn't pass that I'm not in one, sipping a large latte (served in a bowl, as it should be), and nibbling some bread.

From there, we walked through Central Park - freezing but so beautiful! We cut over to 5th Avenue in time to drop by Librarie Albertine, at 972 5th Avenue - the bookstore of the French Embassy in New York. From the first moment in the door, it feels like France! The security guards greet you in French, and of course the staff is all French. And the store itself is spectacular - a beautiful space! Even if you're not in the market for books, you really should treat yourself to a visit...

Mademoiselle by Rhonda K. Garelick, Theory of the Young-Girl by Tiqqun, How to Live by Sarah Bakewell

And finally, after an earlier false start, we made it into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had been here days earlier, when I fell ill. (it wasn't really a fall, it was more like being hit by a large truck...) We visited their exhibit "The Plains Indians, Artists of Earth and Sky". It was beautiful, moving, and a bit sad; if you want to see it, you need to get to the museum early in the day, because it's wildly popular...

Then I made a beeline to see the Iranian Mihrab, or prayer niche. Words won't do it justice, so I won't even try.

Mihrab, Metropolitan Museum of Art

When we were walking through the Velez Blanco Patio, the strangest thing happened. 

The lights went out; okay, that's not odd.

Then, a couple of spotlights came on, highlighting a couple of sculptures. Okay, that's a little bit strange.

And THEN, music started coming from somewhere, and shadow puppets appeared on one of the walls. THIS does not happen every day!

We had walked right into a performance of La Celestina, presented by the group Erratica. Composed by Matt Rogers, with puppetry by Manuel Cinema, it was unforgettable. A bit unsettling, just as good art sometimes will be. We considered ourselves to be brilliantly fortunate to have wandered into the right place at just the right time.

The Patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco, in more normal times

The last thing I really wanted to see this trip was the rebuilt Tullio Lombardo sculpture of Adam. In 2002, this statue FELL OVER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, breaking into dozens of pieces. The Met reconstructed it, in a process that is fascinating to learn. Check out the videos at this link to see the marvelous science and genius that brought the sculpture back from shards to a thing of striking beauty.

Adam by Tullio Lombardo
And of course, we shopping a little bit, in the museum shops. The two scarves in the image at the top were the fruits of my patient browsing!

If you're walking south from the Met, I can warmly recommend that you walk down Madison Avenue - there are some great consignment shops! Don't miss BIS Designer Resale (1134 Madison), Encore Consignment (1132 Madison), and Michael's (1041 Madison).

We walked until we almost dropped, and then napped for a bit. Our final dinner in New York was at Il Mulino, 37 East 60th. The food was excellent, but the people-watching was better; you've never seen a room more full of people who wanted to be big-time movers and shakers. Much posturing, much pretention. Happily, the service was utterly impartial in that they treated the humble and the grasping with the same professional care. And anybody who feeds me bolognese sauce this good is deeply loved, in my world!

It was a wonderful trip, even though I spent half of it feeling quite green and fluffy around the edges. A quick dash into Carnegie Deli for chicken soup is never wrong when you're ill...

But I think I owe Belovedest a do-over, don't you?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Yes, I took my gym clothes with me to New York. I was not in the gym once...
But, in my defense, I spent four days of our vacation sacked out in our hotel room, sicker than a dog. Our theory is that the very first meal we ate after arriving is the culprit, but if you've done any research into food poisoning, you know that it could have been anything for days before...

I am one of the very few people to go to New York on vacation and lose weight!

However, in the few days that we were able to be out and about, I did some excellent sight-seeing, and some power shopping! (remember POWER? Purchase Only When Everything's Right). I'll tell you more about what I bought, and where, tomorrow.

But I will close today with a beautiful image of an amazing place: Albertine, the bookstore at the French Embassy, across the street from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. They carry titles in French and in English, including the most comprehensive selection of French-language books and English translations in the US. Visiting the store is like a quick trip to Paris...

This is the upstairs of the shop:

Many lovely details tomorrow!

Looking Back:

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20, 2014: How to Pack for Springtime in Paris; Navy and Violets!

March 20, 2013: How to wear a camel v-neck sweater (still one of my favorite series EVER on The Vivienne Files!)


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Remember when someone asked about which Hermes scarf to choose for their Valentine's Day present?

In fact, when she got to the store, she found a scarf that's perfect for her, and that is NOT one of the six that we looked at last month!

Cavaliers du Caucase by Hermes

Just for fun, I pulled a color scheme from this scarf...

I'm quite certain that our fortunate friend has a lot of ideas about how to wear her new scarf, but I'm tossing out a handful of accessory ideas, just in case!

Round earrings – Alexis Bittar, clutch - Croft and Barrow, green and white bracelet – Alexis Bittar,
opal ring – Kathryn Bentley, crystal necklace – Sara Dudzinsky, crystal earrings – Sara Dudzinsky,
opal and blue topaz bracelet – Kohl’s, blue tote – Deux Lux, patent flats – White Factory, blue ballet
flats - Topshop

What do you think?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lush, opulent, elegant, but unexpected... She will spare no expense to indulge herself, but will never compromise on comfort and ease.

La Grande Odalisque by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres

CardiganMaster and Muse, grey turtleneck – Jardin des Orangers, pearl earrings – Nektar de 
Stagni, watch – Stuhrling, trousers – Topshop, Hermes Chasse en Inde silk scarf, tote – Dolce 
and Gabbana, loafers – Tod’s 

Blouse – Brunello Cucinelli, pearl necklace – Majorica, blush sweater – DKNY, pearl earrings – 
Kasun, clutch bag – Miss Selfridge, silk scarf – Weston, silver ballet flats – Sofft, skirt – Akris
bracelet – Kasun, gold ballet flats – Geox, cardigan – Equipment

S/S 15 Accessories at FORZIERI.COM