Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Yesterday, we left our heroine with a really lovely 16-piece wardrobe, but pretty much in need of more shoes, and at least a couple of pieces of jewelry. (okay, this is not NEED in the biological survival sense, but more need in the "being appropriately dressed for business" sense...)

So, as I love to do, let's work through one accessory at a time and assess the possibilities.

This very simple outfit cries out for a necklace, at least to me:

adding a necklace to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Lands’ End; blazer – Lands’ End; garnet floral necklace – Zayd Makarim; pearl necklace – Putu Gede Darmawan; onyx rose necklace - Khun Boom

The same necklace can of course be worn here, but I'd like to see my heroine with a softer, more rounded handbag. A briefcase is essential, but not every day...

adding a handbag to a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
cardigan – Lands’ End; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Lands’ End; left bag – Frye; buckled bag – Shinola; third bag - Serapian Milano

Okay, I'm the first to admit that floral boots aren't likely the next thing that this heroine needs! But they are very popular right now, and if she's ever going to own a pair, this is the year to do it. And what a fun way to bring some feminine zest to a simple pant-suit outfit...

(I almost got in trouble here - I found a pair of STAR boots... which I do NOT need...)

adding floral boots to a 4 by 4 dressy wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
blazer – Lands’ End; shirt – Lands’ End; pants – Lands’ End; first boots – Dolce Vita; second boots – Gabriella; third boots– Sam Edelman

You can go a long way with 1 pair of pumps, but if you're traveling for business, having a 2nd pair of dress shoes can be handy - especially if it rains, you feel like a change of footwear to wear to dinner, or your feet just cry out for different shoes!

(note - the Vaneli slingbacks also come in fabric, in a color they call "platinum," but which is pretty close to taupe in my eyes...)

adding black pumps to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
cardigan – Lands’ End; blouse - Giambattista Valli; skirt – Lands’ End; cap-toe slingbacks – Vaneli; patent pumps – Vince Camuto; fabric pumps - Adrianna Papel

While we're stocking up on shoes for our heroine, she will certainly want some loafers at some point in time...

adding black loafers to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
cardigan – Banana Republic; pants – Lands’ End; hardware loafers – Salvatore Ferragamo; studded loafers – Sesto Meucci; tassel loafers – Ecco

The classic simplicity of this outfit will set the perfect stage for another scarf. And please don't be dissuaded from these black separates just because this dress looks like it would fit a piece of spaghetti - these items come in a very full range of sizes, including Regular, Petite, and Plus.

adding a scarf to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
cardigan – Lands’ End; dress – Lands’ End; first scarf - Louise Coleman; solid pink scarf - Faliero Sarti; third scarf – Salvatore Ferragamo

Many people don't even own a brooch, but I figure if you're wearing a blazer with lapels, those lapels are the perfect place for a little something distinctive!

adding a brooch to a 4 by 4 dressy wardrobe in black, pink and taupe
blazer – Lands’ End; top – Banana Republic; pants – Lands’ End; hand & rose brooch – Hilda Cachi; pearl bar brooch – Nadri; white resin brooch – Kenneth Jay Lane

A classic black dress deserves pearls...

adding a pearl necklace to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
dress – Lands’ End; cardigan – Ralph Lauren; braided necklace – Eloquii; pearl station necklace – Majorica; triple strand pearls – Kenneth Jay Lane

Some days you just want pink earrings...

adding pink earrings to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
sweater – Lands’ End; cardigan – Lands’ End; pants – L.L.Bean; top earrings – Stephen Dweck; second earrings – Neetu Barathi; pearl earrings – Buana

While this wardrobe, and this heroine, already has a couple of scarves, it might make sense to look for something a little bit warmer? Or just another scarf, because SCARVES!

adding a scarf to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink
sweater – Marks & Spencer; skirt – Lands’ End; first scarf – Avenue; second scarf – Missoni; third scarf – Elie Saab (yoox)

For many people who work at a desktop, a bracelet can be more of an annoyance than an asset! But at dinner, it can be a lovely touch - especially when it echoes your favorite floral motif...

adding a floral bracelet to a dressy 4 by 4 wardrobe in pink, black and taupe
jacket – Giorgio Grati; top – Banana Republic; skirt – Lands’ End; first bracelet – Coach; second bracelet –Bling Jewelry; third bracelet - TJMaxx

TJMaxx (and Marshalls) might not be your favorites, but they're worth our consideration right now because they continue to pay their employees in Puerto Rico, even as their stores there remain closed. A humane and generous thing to do in the face of ongoing disaster...

Never EVER forget sunglasses. Your eyes will thank you some day! And of course they're incredibly handy for looking cool...

adding sunglasses to a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, pink and taupe
blazer – Lands’ End; sweater – Lands’ End; skirt – Iris and Ink; top sunglasses – Salt; second sunglasses – Ray-Ban; third sunglasses – Kate Spade

This last outfit - such a simple but luxurious top, with a lace skirt - just needs another little touch of something lacy to pull it all together. Earrings are SO easy, and timeless!

adding floral earrings to a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, pink and taupe
velvet tee – Madewell; skirt – Iris and Ink; first earrings – Wadarat Supasirisuk; second earrings – Wadarat Supasirisuk; third earrings – Rupadana

As nice as the wardrobe looked with just the clothing, there's always something about adding accessories that gives a real feeling of style to the entire grouping:

a 16-piece 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink, with accessories

We've already seen a stack of outfits possible from this 4 by 4 Wardrobe, but I love to ponder a few more of the possibilities:

3 ways to wear a black dress from a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

3 ways to wear a black lace skirt from a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

3 ways to wear taupe or beige pants from a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

3 ways to wear black pants from a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

3 ways to wear a black skirt from a dressy 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

Just as a reminder for those of us who are new to this grouping, this is the beautiful scarf upon which the wardrobe is based (thus the proliferation of floral and rose motifs!):

Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath with style guidelines and color palette
Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath

Remember that the lovely owners of KathKath are offering us all a 30% discount on anything on their site, using the discount code vivkath30...

love,
Janice

I Need Accessories For Client Meetings and Dressy Evenings! Start with a Scarf: Vintage Rose by KathKath
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Yes, you saw this scarf a long time ago - KathKath actually gave me one to give away to one of you! But now they've made this beautiful pattern available in both silk and a cashmere blend, AND in both rectangle and square shapes... As if that wasn't enough, you can also get a 30% discount on anything on their site using the code vivkath30. Pretty sweet, I'd say!

UPDATE: KathKath assures me that they've got the discount code working, and that it's good through the end of 2017 (woo, holiday gift money might be GONE....) If you continue to have issues, feel free to contact them directly; there's a contact form on their site. They're truly nice women... hugs, Janice

Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath
Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath

Our heroine is long past the point where she worries about wearing pink to an interview. A floral watch and slightly floral earrings are just part of her personal style; if her potential employer doesn't think they're acceptable, she's the wrong fit for the job! (oh, the years it took us to get this much confidence, eh?)

An interview outfit in black and pink
earrings – Stephen Dweck; blazer – Lands’ End; Vintage Rose Scarf by KathKath; watch – Olivia Burton; shirt – Lands' End; briefcase – Tumi; skirt – Lands’ End; pumps – Athena Alexander

In order to make sure that our "working from home, occasional meetings and dressy dinners" heroine doesn't get carried away in her shopping, I'm going to use the 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template to keep organized:

A black and pink interview outfit in the 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

To my mind, the first and most obvious thing to buy when you've only got the 3 starter pieces is another shirt or sweater - the shirt is the thing that will need to be laundered most quickly, and is also the most memorable piece...

And yes, this color is called "Garlic Clove." What ARE they thinking? I love garlic as much as any woman, and maybe more than most, but it's not something that I associate with a cashmere sweater!

adding a taupe sweater to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
sweater – Lands’ End

Once you get the sweater, just go ahead and get the cardigan! You may never wear them at the same time, but if the color is one that works well for you, why not have both pieces? (this of course assumes that you were going to eventually get a cardigan or jacket anyway...)

adding a taupe cardigan to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
cardigan - Lands' End

At this stage, our heroine has two tops, and 2 "second layers," so she should be looking for pants or a skirt. These pants the infinite advantage of being in the same fabric as her black skirted suit - always a smart thing to find if you can!

adding black pants to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
pants – Lands’ End

Time for a 3rd top, and it's about time to find something that integrates all of the colors in the wardrobe so far:

adding a print blouse to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
blouse – Giambattista Valli

Pink? Heck yes! A pretty cardigan makes a great top over other things, and can also be worn on its own...

adding a pink cardigan to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Banana Republic

This is normally where pants or a skirt would be added, but since the matching black dress is available, let's grab that. Having 4 black garments in the same fabric can make getting dressed really easy...

adding a black dress to a 4 by 4 wardrobe
dress – Lands’ End (483327)

My feeling was that this heroine was quickly becoming well-equipped for her client meetings, and that we could begin to branch out a bit. While this top is very business-appropriate under a cardigan or jacket, it can also be very pretty and feminine on its own at dinner...

Adding a pink top to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
top – Banana Republic

Maybe all of her clients aren't "starched shirt" dressy?

Adding a taupe cardigan to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
cardigan – Ralph Lauren

It is entirely possible to look and be businesslike while wearing twill pants...

adding a pair of taupe pants to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
pants - L.L.Bean

Since the Northern Hemisphere is catapulting into cold weather, a sweater might be wise!

adding a pink sweater to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
sweater – Marks & Spencer

Our heroine is due for another "second layer," which could be a cardigan or a jacket, any combination of these 3 colors. This one caught my eye, but don't discount the possibility of some sort of texture in a mix of taupe and black...

adding a tweed jacket to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
tweed jacket – Giorgio Grati

Modest enough for business - dressy enough for ANY restaurant they throw your way for lunch or dinner...

adding a black lace skirt to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
skirt – Iris and Ink

I feel that a solid black top is really long overdue! And why not velvet? It's very au courant...

adding a black velvet tee to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
velvet tee - Madewell

When all of this is stacked up together, you can clearly see that it makes a very versatile assortment! I could swoon if I opened a suitcase to this:

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in black, taupe and pink

Accessories for this tomorrow?

love,
Janice

p.s. Just in case you were hesitating, all 4 of the black "suiting" pieces come in a mad range of sizes, including Petites, Tall, and Plus sizes...

I Need a Wardrobe For Client Meetings and Dressy Evenings! Start with a Scarf: Vintage Rose by KathKath
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Monday, November 20, 2017

It might be the time of year, but I'm feeling very nostalgic about looking back through old posts here on The Vivienne Files! So when I was asked to revisit my little tale about an eloping couple, I couldn't resist the chance...

Here's where we left our heroine - wandering around Paris with her new spouse, smiling like a crazy lady, and making everyone around her smile...

elopement wardrobe in black, white, hot pink and orange
orange blouse - Jil Sander; sunglasses – BP.; triangle earrings - Bloomingdale's; blouse - Dorothee Schumacher; drop earrings - Meira T.; gold bag - Thacker New York (similar here); orange flower earrings – Dsquared2; gold flower earrings - Marianela Vargas; orange scarf- La Fiorentina; black crossbody bag – Halogen (similar here); orange clutch - Deux Cuirs; opal bracelet - Irene Neuwirth; cardigan - Marni (similar here); rose gold bracelet – Links of London; watch - Kapten and Son; pink lace dress - Dolce & Gabbana; tee – L.L.Bean; pants - See by Chloé (similar here); coral lace dress – Lela Rose (similar here); scarf –Nordstrom (similar here); open shoulder dress – Missoni; flats - MICHAEL Michael Kors; loafers – Tod’s; sandals- Sam Edelman; pumps - Calvin Klein; flats – Paul Green ; bag – Thacker New York; sandals - Sőfft

I'm not telling you that the snakeskin clutch comes in 13 colors...

They've decided that they want to go back to Paris for a long-ish weekend - maybe 5 days? But they want to be MUCH more casual this time! So she goes back to her original inspiration:

Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner with style guidelines and color palette

First, she looks at what she already has. PLENTY of bags, I'd say, and quite a few pairs of shoes. I have a feeling that this particular heroine rather likes shoes...

wardrobe holdovers from the elopement
white tee – L.L.Bean; orange flower earrings – Dsquared2; watch - Kapten and Son; gold flower earrings - Marianela Vargas; triangle earrings - Bloomingdale's; opal bracelet - Irene Neuwirth; rose gold bracelet – Links of London; gold bag - Thacker New York; black bag – Furla; orange clutch - Deux Cuirs; gold sandals - Sőfft; orange loafers – Tod’s; sweatpants – Madewell; black flats – Paul Green

Although this particular heroine is absolutely famous for being extravagant (her elopement wardrobe was a thing of credit-card-crushing wonder!), she's going to be more practical this time, and start with some essential neutrals:

5-piece neutral wardrobe in black and white with 2 pairs of black shoes
tee shirts – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Uniqlo; jeans – L.L.Bean; fleece skirt – Uniqlo; boots – Naturalizer; ballet flats – Michael Kors

After she has this assembled, she gets to balance her practicality with some out-and-out fun!

turtleneck – Lands’ End; polo shirt – Lands’ End; dotted scarf – Halogen; button-front shirt – Lands’ End; necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane; paisley scarf – Charming Charlie; cardigan – Free People; fuchsia flats – Me Too

This what she's packing for the long weekend... They're not dressing up, not going out for fancy dinners - basically it's going to be a very relaxed flaneuse kind of break! Flaneur (feminine is flaneuse) is a wonderfully French word meaning "one who wanders...". Of COURSE the French has a word like this!

travel capsule wardrobe in black and white with orange and hot pink accents

Sweatpants aren't terrible to wear on a vacation, so long as they're not that horrid skin-tight lycra, and they're worn with something that's not a sweatshirt... They're particularly nice for flying or train-riding...

3 ways to wear sweatpants from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

It's a skirt, so it's sort of dressy. But it's made of fleece, so it's cozy - the best of both worlds!

3 ways to wear a sweat skirt from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

And you can't go wrong - virtually anywhere in the world - with black jeans...

3 ways to wear black jeans from a black, white, orange and hot pink travel capsule wardrobe

I love revisiting earlier wardrobes from The Vivienne Files - if you have any others that you'd like to see expanded or updated, you have only to ask...

love,
Janice

Can You Expand a Successful Travel Wardrobe? Revisiting Start with Art - Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner
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Friday, November 17, 2017

These are so much fun...

Grey is tough! It's really difficult to find things in shades that look good together... But you can easily imagine these tops with jeans, and a pair of nice grey pants will go anywhere short of a barn or a beach...

Four Key Pieces for the winter holidays, in grey
silk blouse – Maison Flaneur; pearl-embellished cardigan – Neiman Marcus; pants – Uniqlo; bow sweater – J.Crew

Little touches like snowflakes on your ears, or a sparkly clutch bag, can elevate the dressiness quotient of a classic outfit:

2 grey outfits for the winter holidays
snowflake earrings - Unwritten; loafers – Tod’s; wristlet – Kara; pearl hoop earrings – Samira 13; loafers - Botkier

Of course, if you have genuine grey pearl jewelry, the pearls on your cardigan will not look as nice, but that's not something worth worrying about - it's the holidays!

2 grey outfits for the winter holidays
earrings – David Yurman; ring – Tara Pearls; boots – Vince Camuto; clip-on earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane; velvet flats – Vaneli

One of the very best things about choosing a signature color for holidays (or anything else!) is that you can then collect really nice, high-quality things from year to year and assemble a small but very elegant party wardrobe!

Four Key Pieces in wine for the winter holidays
velour top – Uniqlo; wrap blouse– Dorothy Perkins; wide-legged pants – Uniqlo; cashmere cardigan – L.L.Bean

Garnets look wonderful with this color! And the mules at the top are sort of an amazing mix of gold and silver? Or maybe not gold, but sort of a rusty, wine-touched beige? I'm not sure...

2 wine outfits for the winter holidays
garnet necklace – Saranarat; ring – Emma Chapman Jewels; mules – Seychelles; earrings – Gianluca Anzani; crystal ballet flats – Lauren Lorraine

2 wine outfits for the winter holidays
square earrings – Jenny Packham; clutch- La Regale; pewter flats – Mercedes Castillo; flower earrings - Iradj Moini; wine velvet flats – Vince Camuto

Although I'm choosing these pieces with the upcoming winter holidays in mind, this kind of approach could work for anyone who only needs to get "fancy" once in a while...

What other colors would you like to see? Plum and hunter green are on the list!

love,
Janice

Grey or Wine? What do I Need to Wear for the Holidays?
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