Monday, November 30, 2015

Oooh, olive is a difficult color to find, and when something turns up that's called olive, it could be anything from a nasty yellowish green pond-scum color, to this lovely deep and dusty green:

trousers – L.L.Bean; turtleneck – BLK DNM;
 jeans – Madewell; crewneck – Tommy Hilfiger (sold out - similar here)

You will, I'm sure, note that these colors don't match absolutely exactly perfectly. I don't have too much trouble with that, so long as they're lighter and darker versions of the same shade of green. It's a difficult color to find and to match, but well worth the effort. By virtue of being so uncommon, you will never blend into a crowd when you wear it! And it can be madly flattering...

First up, what neutrals look good with olive? I'm quickly learning that marsala/wine/burgundy goes with EVERYTHING - a change of accessories for a bit of freshness, and to include the perfect scarf. And camel/beige is a wonderful option...

Khaki vestL.L.Bean; pearl earrings – Majorica; infinity scarf – Renee’s 
Accessories; gloves – Johnstons of Elgin; chukka boots – Tory Burch; garnet 
stud earrings – JCPenney; dark berry vest – Eddie Bauer; maroon print scarf – 
Sylvia Alexander; maroon gloves - Orciani; maroon boots – Leonardo Principi

Bright colors were a little more challenging. I looked at red, but it felt too Christmas-ish, so I tried a more muted rust, which was ideal. There might be a plum color that would work well, but I couldn't find a vest anywhere in the color I envisioned, so I'm shelving that color scheme for another day. Turquoise, however, was abundant, and perfect. Again, the scarf was one of those things I stumbled upon, and couldn't believe how much it felt like it was made for us!

Rust fleece vest – L.L.Bean; carnelian earrings – Panacea; feather scarf – Echo;
 rust gloves – Yerse; rust loafers – Charles David; turquoise earrings – Lauren 
Ralph Lauren; turquoise vest – L.L.Bean; ruffled infinity scarf – Rising Tide;
 turquoise gloves – J. Crew; sparkle slip-ons – L’Autre Chose

Muted colors should have been more straightforward than they turned out to be, since olive is definitely what I would consider muted. I didn't want another variation on red or rust, so I then thought about the yellow color family. The gold fluffy vest was impossible to resist...

And then I really stuck my neck out and tried this slate blue color. I almost gave up, because finding a scarf took ages, and shoes were impossible. But I took my own advice and found understated, classic olive shoes to "ground" this outfit, and it all worked out well. I think that might be proof that if you really love a color, you should just be persistent and it will eventually turn up, somewhere!

Gold fleece vest – J. Crew; earrings – Sorrelli; fingerless gloves – Johnstons 
 of Elgin; striped infinity scarf – Pistil; suede boots – Steve Madden; blue earrings
 – Marco Bicego; hooded fleece vest – North Face; square scarf – YSL; blue 
gloves – Portolano; olive loafers - Pluggz

Pastels were surprisingly not tough - the sand/off-white vest is truly one of those items that can be worn with virtually any other color! And I finally decided that I really wanted to bring back this absurdly extravagant blush vest; this is the outfit for someone who only wears trousers and down vests grudgingly, while really wishing that she could be in her boudoir wearing swans-down mules and a satin negligee... Even the most delicate among us have to go out into the real world once in a while; a beautiful color and a swishy scarf can keep our soignee selves content until we can return to our hothouse environment!

Sand vest – J. Crew; abalone earrings – Kate Spade; scarf – Lua; ivory gloves –  
Portolano; chalk loafers – Coach; gold blush vest – Moncler; earrings – Kendra 
Scott (sold out, similar here); floral scarf – Mangrove; gloves – 
Lauren Ralph Lauren; penny loafers – Tod’s

Tomorrow, I'm going to look at my favorite grey/gray, and then camel... Other neutrals requested, before I move on to other inquiries in the world of wardrobes?

And to a bit of business:

Laura in Canada - do you still want to buy the blue L'Hiver Hermes scarf? If so, send me a note at

DBQMary - do you still want to purchase the red L'Hiver Hermes scarf? If so, let me know:

AND Francine Forestell - send me your mailing address - you won the Diana Vreeland book!

(I spend a LOT of time packing things - it makes me so happy...)   


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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Navy is always so elegant... These four pieces have so much potential!

Navy trousers – Austin Reed; turtleneck – J. Crew;
 jeans – Tommy Hilfiger; lambswool crewneck - Uniqlo

The olive accent keeps re-appearing! I really like using it as a secondary neutral with navy - it warms it up and gives it a rich glow. And of course, grey and navy were born to go together...

And I must share something sort of inexplicable that I keep running into: there are MEN'S scarves, and WOMEN'S scarves. Why, in all the worlds, would this be? But please be advised - if you're looking for a scarf in a plaid, paisley, or timeless menswear pattern, look in the men's department. They are usually less expensive too, which REALLY hacks me off.... sigh...

Olive vestL.L.Bean; earrings Heidi Daus; olive mittens – J. Crew; marled 
infinity scarf – Renee’s Accessories; olive boots – Vince Camuto; star stud
 earrings – Adriana de Gadea; grey fleece vest – Lands’ End; plaid scarf –
 Nordstrom; gloves – C by Bloomingdale’s; grey suede boots – Tod’s

You knew there would, eventually, be a red vest in here somewhere, right?

Another tip for anyone trying to replicate these ideas: sometimes, you are just NOT going to find everything in the same colors, or colors close enough to wear together. Don't force it - that will just end up looking wrong. I sort of knew all along that I had very little chance of finding purple boots or shoes of any sort that would work with this vest. But one can ALWAYS revert back to the core neutral - these waterproof navy boots aren't a compromise in any way. And the gloves turned out the same way; navy were by far the most attractive choice.

Never settle for 2nd best....
Red vest – J. Crew; red carnelian earrings – Lucky Brand; plaid scarf – J. Crew;
 red gloves – Portolano; penny loafers - G.H.Bass and Co.; purple earrings –
Dana Buchman; purple vest – The North Face; paisley scarf – Charming Charlie
navy gloves – Halogen; rain boots – Sam Edelman

The muted colors were such fun - the maroon works beautifully here, too! And I couldn't resist that fuzzy vest... And note, both of these scarves are for men. Just bizarre, that...

Gold fleece vest – J. Crew; drop earrings – Alexis Bittar; cashmere-lined leather 
gloves – Lord & Taylor; navy plaid scarf – Begg & Co., suede boots – Steve 
Madden; cluster stone earrings – The Limited; dark berry vest – Eddie Bauer;  
plaid scarf – Brooks Brothers; maroon mittens – Me to We; maroon boots
 – Toms

I was able to keep the off-white accent as one of the "soft" accents, with just a chance of scarf. That is a color that will probably go with any neutral you can imagine, I suspect.

And I loved the idea of mixing shades of blue. I don't see people do it very often, and it looks pretty nice, if I do say so myself!
Sand vest – J. Crew; abalone earrings – Kate Spade; plaid scarf - Topshop
 ivory gloves – Portolano; chalk loafers – Coach; blue quartz earrings – Ippolita
blue vest – Lands’ End; paisley jacquard scarf – Chico’s; tweed wristlets – Pistil
slip-on sneakers - Vince

Tomorrow, olive green is the neutral color! THAT will keep me busy...


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Friday, November 27, 2015

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to look at the possibility of different accent colors for a few neutrals - today let's think about dark chocolate brown!

First up, the core four garments upon which we will build these outfits. Having these 4 pieces can make your life so much easier....

Ryder pants J.Crew; cashmere turtleneck – J. Crew; 
 jeans – Austin Reed; ribbed crewneck - Michael Kors Collection

I took the same approach, starting with two neutral colors that could serve as accents in a mainly brown wardrobe. If you were building a wardrobe with more than 1 neutral, you would have lots of options like this:
Olive vestL.L.Bean; green earrings – GFG Jewellery; scarf – L.L.Bean; olive 
mittens – J. Crew; olive boots – Vince Camuto; navy earrings – Kendra
 Scott; navy vest – J. Crew; navy scarf – Tory Burch; navy
 gloves – Halogen; navy boots – Lucky Brand

I loves these bright colors - you would certainly stand out in a sea of black winter coats if you wore one of these vests!  And for many people, these are much more flattering colors...

Orange vestHunky Jackets; carnelian earrings – Ippolita; tie dyed scarf –  
La Fiorentina; orange gloves – MRZ; orange loafers – Tod’s; green onyx earrings
 – Latelita London; green vest – MICHAEL Michael Kors; green Bolduc au Carre
 scarf – Hermes; green gloves – Barnum; green loafers – Patricia Green

I was so happy to see that the maroon items that I showed with black ALSO look great with brown. What a flattering color! And the blush - it's an extravagance, but it makes a beautiful outfit - much dressier and more elegant than is expected when you say "a sweater and a down vest."
Gold blush vest – Moncler; earrings – Kendra Scott; pearl-trimmed scarf – Perla;
 gloves – Lauren Ralph Lauren; penny loafers – Tod’s; cluster stone earrings – 
The Limited; dark berry vest – Eddie Bauer; square floral scarf – Faliero Sarti;
 maroon mittens – Me to We; maroon boots – Toms

I certainly could have included the blush color as a pastel, don't you think? But I really wanted to look at this off-white/sand/whatever they call it color. (although this could also be a neutral, I think...)

Both pair of earrings are amazing, by the way. They were made to go with the scarves, I swear. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm ever going to find what I have in my mind, but my persistence is always rewarded. Patience is essential when one is shopping, even if it's only vicariously!

Sand vest – J. Crew; abalone earrings – Kate Spade; cream scarf – Diesel
ivory gloves – Portolano; chalk loafers – Coach; green earrings – Kate Spade
 green vest – L.L.Bean; green scarf – BP; green gloves – Hermes; spruce 
loafers – Cole Haan

You can easily see how owning a couple of these little accessory families could give you a TON of mileage with a small, core wardrobe in brown. 

Which makes me think I might be able to get some use out of a red vest, eh?


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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Something that I struggle with a lot, personally, is my accent color, or colors. I'm always thinking that something other than red should be my "color", but who am I kidding? I keep coming back, over and over, to red...

So I was playing around with a variety of accent colors, using simple black garments as a core, and building around quilted vests, just for the heck of it...

When you're looking for these vests, make sure you look for "quilted," rather than "down," unless you specifically want down. Some of the vests with synthetic insulation are just as warm, and quite lovely; you'll miss them if you don't include everything quilted...

Yes, these would make nifty little templates for buying gifts, too. But if you go shopping on Thanksgiving Day, don't tell me, because it will make me feel really bad for the staff that has to work. I spent enough years in retail to believe that everybody deserves at least a couple of FULL days off...

And for the multitudes among you who don't wear black, I'm also going to visit this idea with a few more neutrals, both warm and cool. Brown, grey, olive, and navy are on my list...

First, the 4 garments:

pants – J. Crew; cashmere turtleneck – J. Crew;   
jeans – L.L.Bean; cabled crewneck – J. Crew

My first experiment was to use a 2nd neutral as the accent color. This is kind of fun, because you might also have a complete outfit in the accent color, and use black as the accent for that, etc etc...

Brown vestLands’ End; brown earrings – Kendra Scott; leopard print scarf – 
Roberto Cavalli; brown leather gloves – Agnelle; brown boots – Munro; metallic 
gray vest – Lands’ End; gray earrings – Kendra Scott; grey scarf – Missoni
grey cashmere gloves – Uniqlo; grey boots – Steve Madden

 For what it's worth, I'm NOT suggesting that these ensembles be worn with ALL of the accent pieces - that might be a bit overwhelming. I'm sure that these images will get separated from this text almost immediately, and someone is going to think that I've gone completely daft...

Second up, I had to look at bright colors - they seem so natural with black. Many of us are going to gravitate to these immediately!

Hot pink vest – Lands’ End; pink earrings – John Hardy; pink fingerless gloves
 – Betsey Johnson; pink infinity scarf – Missoni; pink loafers – Gucci; lapis earrings
 – Latelita London; blue vest – Lands’ End; blue infinity scarf – Chelsey; blue 
 fingerless gloves – Scoop; clogs – Dansko

These are colors that you don't immediately think of when you think of an accent for black, but I really like the way both of them look. I think, for someone transitioning from black to warmer colors, these might be excellent ways to get started. Test-driving a color in a small "sample" like this would never be a bad idea.
Olive vestL.L.Bean; green earrings – GFG Jewellery; olive mittens – J. Crew
olive plaid scarf – Banana Republic; olive boots – Vince Camuto; cluster stone 
earrings – The Limited; dark berry vest – Eddie Bauer; square floral scarf – 
 Faliero Sarti; maroon mittens – Me to We; maroon boots – Toms

Similarly, for those among us who are developing lighter hair as we age, the juxtaposition of pastel colors with black is unusual, but could be very flattering. I would consider adding light blue to my wardrobe just to own those amazing blue loafers...
Pink vest – Lands’ End; crystal earrings – Kendra Scott; cashmere gloves – Ann 
Taylor;  infinity scarf – Missoni; pink sneakers – Maison Margiela 22; blue earrings
 – Alexis Bittar; light blue vest – Lands’ End; blue scarf – Kenzo; blue gloves –
 Lord & Taylor; blue metallic loafers – Gucci

But, after everything, I'm pretty certain that I'm a red girl...

And you?