Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Someone sent me this painting a few days ago, and the first thing that I noticed (after just generally admiring the lovely art) was the touches of teal and cool brown accent:
How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

And I have to let you know that this painting set a record last week for the highest auction price EVER for a Canadian painting. Well worth it, in my opinion...

I was intrigued with the idea of a very conservative, mostly navy and grey wardrobe, accented with those two surprising accent colors. So I started with a few pieces, including a navy pantsuit. If you're looking for suit separates, I highly recommend Talbots - they have a variety of colors and fabrics.

Let's start with these basics - this is literally a Wardrobe Slot Machine, or a Whatever's Clean Wardrobe - you can't combine these 9 pieces badly, unless you start wearing pants on your head and tying the shirt around your hips as a skirt...

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I just wanted to picture ALL of the possible iterations of these garments - 27 in all. Sometimes it doesn't really sink in unless I see it...
How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I'm not advocating that you only own 9 pieces of clothing, but if you wanted to start a capsule wardrobe, or a travel wardrobe, these 9 wouldn't be a bad way to begin.

Now, I wanted to experiment strictly with accessories in the accent colors, just to see how it worked. First up, the deeply delectable laboradorite, set in gold. When shopping for this stone, make certain that it's got the right amount of blue/green visible for your preferences; some of these stones can be very brown.

laboradorite jewelry set in gold to accent a capsule wardrobe

Honestly, if someone gave me these six pieces of jewelry, I'd be tempted to overthrown the reign of the pearl in my life and start over! And that delectable square ring comes in six different stones... sigh...

The other thing that I wanted to visualize was if cool brown leather accessories would look right with navy and grey clothes. Men have been wearing brown leather shoes and belts with their suits for a long time, but their brown is more that warm cognac/caramel brown. This is quite a different animal:

Brown leather accessories for a capsule wardrobe

First up, three outfits, with the jewelry. I vote that this is a complete and utter success!

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

My feeling for the brown leather accessories is mixed - I can see the appeal, but I personally wouldn't wear it. It's much more a statement for the woman who loves it...

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?

I was considering building a larger wardrobe based on this painting, after I'm back from Paris. Does the idea appeal?

How Much Can Accessories Affect Your Capsule Wardrobe?
Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yes, I got back from Florida late Sunday night. And yes, I'm leaving for Paris on Thursday....

Somehow, that got past me when I was planning these trips individually! But it's going to be fine.

When planning a travel capsule wardrobe for cold weather, it's critical to start with your outerwear. During the day in Paris, virtually EVERYONE is going to see me in my coat, and only the rare person in a restaurant and maybe a museum will see what's underneath. Thus, the coat is pretty important!

For this trip, I felt like I wanted to wear my red Barbour jacket. Partly because I want a break from black, partly because it's a wonderful jacket (with two big snapped pockets that completely obviate the need for a handbag!), and partly because it's such a perfect color for the holidays.

I have a couple of secondary priorities for this trip, too:

  1. I want to take my hiking shoes with me, in case the weather becomes foul. The shoes have stellar traction, and are weather-resistant, which might be important. I figure that if I bother to carry them all the way to Paris, it won't rain, nor snow, the entire time we're there!
  2. So that I can maximize my relaxation on the flight, I want to take my Sennheiser headphones. My big, bulky, awkwardly-shaped Sennheiser headphones that have their own case. This changes a LOT for my carry-on bag.
So this is my plan:
  • three "pods," all based on black trousers - one pair of dressy-ish pants in which I will fly, one pair of corduroy pants, and a pair of black jeans.
  • three different, but primarily black and white, sweaters to go with each of the pairs of pants, and
  • the necessary tee shirts or white shirts to complete the outfits.

The big accent? SIX Hermes scarves!

This should be fun...

black, white and red winter travel outfit
cardigan - unknown (mine is from J.Jill); tote - L.L.Bean;
tee - L.L.Bean; pants - Eddie Bauer; shoes - Munro;
earrings - Majorica; jacket - Barbour (similar here); suitcase - Tumi

I've had my reindeer cardigan for a couple of years, and I really love it (mine zips, and is a little bit... less... "out there" than this one, but this one is perfect for the visuals here.) I really think that having it with me during the holiday season will be fun, at least for me if not for anyone else! With a sweater like this, only a simple tee shirt is needed.

My next "pod" takes shape around a comfy pair of black cords, a cashmere v-neck sweater, and white shirts! Add in some scarves, and I've got 3 outfits...

Please note that this plan absolutely REQUIRES laundry be done. I'm traveling with my friend La Photographe, so we're staying in a different hotel than I'm usually in - the Best Western Jardin de Cluny. Highly recommended - I love their single rooms, I love their breakfast, I love the location, I love the excellent staff...

And just around the corner: 5àSec, the same-day laundry service that makes this travel plan work!

My second "pod" is a simple turtleneck and jeans, with three different (quite old, in 2 cases) scarves that will look perfect with a red jacket.

The only other things I'm taking will be those hiking shoes on which I've set my heart, a change of shoes from the ones I'm wearing on the flight, and another tee shirt!

what to pack for Paris in the cold weather
1st scarf - Hermes Les Fetes de Roi Soleil, 
2nd scarf - Hermes Entente Cordiale, 3rd scarf - Gucci;
 white shirts - Lands' End; cords - L.L.Bean
cashmere sweater - J. Crew; 4th scarf - Hermes Parures des Maharajas,
 5th scarf - Hermes Les Clefs, 
6th scarf - Hermes La Cle des Champs; turtleneck - Lands' End;
 jeans - L.L.Bean; hiking shoes - Keen;  
athletic shoes - New Balance, tee shirt - L.L.Bean

I'm not worried about wearing athletic shoes most of the time; the last time I was in Paris, most of the people that I saw were dressed in just about this way. We don't have anything dressy planned, and it's more important to be comfortable than anything else. Wearing New Balance shoes puts you in the majority in Paris!

Assuming that I have 3 or 4 pieces of laundry done two times, I'll be in great shape - I have all of the following outfit options:

2 outfits including a reindeer cardigan

three outfits including a black v-neck sweater and an Hermes scarf

three outfits including a black turtleneck and an Hermes scarf

Partly as an experiment, and partly just to cut down my luggage as much as possible (so as to accommodate the aforementioned headphones and hiking shoes), I'm minimizing my accessories significantly. Normally, I'd take all of my earrings (it's not that many, really), all of my headbands, and a stack of bracelets. For this trip, this is a pretty clear representation of what I'm taking. There will probably be about 5 pairs of socks, and I suspect I'll wear a red headband...

minimal accessories to pack for Paris

It's almost amusing how much I'm rearranging in order to get these headphones into my bag! But I really am curious to see how much having them with me can change the experience on the plane - I know that last night, my headphones were so inadequate that I had to really turn up the volume of things in order to just drown out the women in the row behind me. (not a pretty story...) This might not be a great experiment, but I'm going to see!

travel extras - Sennheiser headphones and a Cocoon electronics organizer
These grid boards with lots of elastic straps are genius - I use mine for my back-up phone battery from Anker, my charging cords, my travel chopsticks (yes...), and anything else that dangles around in my bag. The back has a zipper pocket that would be ideal for documents you need at some point, or even spare currency. They come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose a size that's optimal for you. It's wondrous for tidying up my bag!

So beginning Thursday, and through next week, you'll still have blog posts on The Vivienne Files, but I won't be responding to comments or questions. I'm only taking my phone with me, and it's really appallingly inadequate for communication, beyond Instagram. But DEFINITELY follow me on Instagram (where I'm called the poorly-capitalized and spaced "viviennefiles" without the quotes) to see what I'm seeing.

And of course I'll report back...

A travel capsule wardrobe for a winter trip to Paris, France
Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Subtle colors are always harder for me, because I'm such a dyed in the wool black and white wearer. But these works of art are so beautiful, and the wardrobes are always so delightful (once I get them finished to my satisfaction!)

Click on the date below each image to go to the original post...

This painting is so gorgeous; I had to work quite a while on these wardrobes in order to do it justice!

The Vivienne Files November 9, 2015 and
The Vivienne Files November 12, 2015

Such beautiful colors here, too! These are difficult to find in our very enormous, but very limited, clothing world. What has happened that there is more clothing than ever, and fewer real options?

The Vivienne Files July 12, 2016

This is the lovely painting that launched THREE wardrobes:

The Vivienne Files February 23, 2015 and
The Vivienne Files February 26, 2015
The Vivienne Files March 4, 2015

The painting is so beautiful, and the subject is just so... evocative? exotic? I'm not sure of the right word, but I know that this painting continues to capture my attention and imagination.

This is one of my all-time favorite wardrobes, and certainly one of my favorite characters!

The Vivienne Files February 6, 2016

This is a painting that makes me want to pack up and head to the station! What a lovely color scheme, too....

The story of this heroine is particularly stirring, and the evolution of her work wardrobe in the 2nd installment includes some of my best insights, I think...

The Vivienne Files November 6, 2015 and
The Vivienne Files November 10, 2015

This was one of the early "Start with Art" posts that I did. I'm still so smitten with this painting, and the subtle weirdness that is so alluring...

The Vivienne Files January 3, 2014



Friday, November 25, 2016

First, I've got to admit that I don't think that "abstract" is the perfect term to use here, but what I mean to say is that these paintings share a complete lack of identifiable objects in them. To me, that just makes the colors more important. If you're more knowledgeable about art terms, please set me straight here, and I'll make the correction when I'm back from vacation.

Belovedest is a big fan of Rothko, and he's converted me. These colors are much more complex in person than you can ever imagine; it's worth seeking out one of his works and spending some time in front of it. There's more here than you would suspect...

The Vivienne Files July 27, 2015

I like to imagine that the name of this painting has something to do with the way that the artist includes olive and pink - seemingly conflicting colors - in a way that works so beautifully. And the heroine of this little story is a fearless favorite:

The Vivienne Files August 25, 2015

I find this painting SO stirring; the colors just delight me... and the story that goes with this post is my ideal travel dream...

The Vivienne Files September 3, 2015

More Rothko - I find the balance in his colors schemes and constructions very... satisfying. And this post has another one of those heroines that I love...

The Vivienne Files August 27, 2015

This is my kind of art - I like things tidy, you know...  and this is another one of those heroines that has a quiet mastery of life that drives the people around her CRAZY...

The Vivienne Files April 19, 2016

This sort of has an object in it. Kind of. But I'm including it with these other pieces of art because I wanted to make sure that we got it in here somehow!

The Vivienne Files March 19, 2016


Italist - 728x90 New arrivals Fall winter 16 17

Thursday, November 24, 2016

You've long since known that I love scarves, and I believe that they're an excellent basis upon which to build a beautiful wardrobe. Here are some of my favorites!

This scarf is so lovely - crisp, but soft colors, gently blended:

The Vivienne Files November 5, 2015

If you have a fondness for flowers, you MUST get to know Ted Baker London. You don't have to buy; you can just admire, and glean ideas... This scarf generated 2 color combinations and two wardrobes:

The Vivienne Files February 3, 2016 and
The Vivienne Files February 8, 2016

Don't forget to check museum shops in your quest for the perfect accessory; museums get things that you'll never see in any other place... And this shawl is still available here!

The Vivienne Files August 31, 2015

Kathkath makes some of the most beautiful scarves, and this is a perfect example. You could build a wardrobe around these colors and never look back...

The Vivienne Files November 13, 2015

Here's another example of subtle colors that can do amazing things, from my friend Scottie at Image Diary!

The Vivienne Files February 5, 2016

Here's another scarf from Image Diary, in an entirely different palette. The stark graphic nature of this scarf is memorable, and the colors offer lots of possibilities... The wardrobe for these colors broke a LOT of rules, and is really lovely!

The Vivienne Files May 14, 2015

It always amazes me how very MANY color combinations are possible in the world...


Farfetch UK

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I never wear navy, but I am always drawn to it for The Vivienne Files. Navy might be the most versatile neutral color available for planning a wardrobe...

It would be easy to say that this color scheme works because orange and blue are opposite to each other on the color wheel, and thus compatible. I think there's more to it than that, though! The white in this wardrobe turned out to be key...

The Vivienne Files Tuesday March 29, 2016

One of you sent me the link to the painting, and I'm SO glad that you did! The best part of writing The Vivienne Files - no question - is getting to know you all, and to share your ideas, knowledge and excellent taste. What's not to love about these whimsical nuns? In "real" life, I'm sure that they're wearing black, but this image looks very navy, so I used navy as an accent. I still love this one...

The Vivienne Files February 3, 2015

Another suggestion from one of you - and WHAT a painting. These little touches of camel made this travel wardrobe really unique, but easy to assemble, and tremendously versatile:

The Vivienne Files July 29, 2015

Oooh, I love me some cool, soft colors. And when you find them in an evocative and subtle painting like this, there's everything to adore. This color scheme could be a life-long project:

The Vivienne Files January 8 2016

One of the great oversights of my education, and of my adult life: I had NEVER seen this painting until one of you send me a link to it! I just love these little ones, and their beautiful garden; who wouldn't want to dress in a way that was inspired by this? The wardrobe that I assembled was for warm weather, and abounds with feminine, graceful details...

The Vivienne Files June 30, 2015

This is a fabric sample from a Buddhist garment that I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago - another set of lovely soft colors grounded in the versatility of navy as the neutral. The story with this wardrobe is fully of life and adventure..

The Vivienne Files January 25, 2016

I hope you're enjoying this look back at some of my older posts; I'm certainly having fun re-reading them!