Friday, December 29, 2017

Recently, someone asked me to re-visit a post that I did over 5 years ago, in blue and brown...

After 5 years, absolutely NOTHING shown in the original post was still available - I know that's not a surprise. So I have recreated the original outfit, and what was packed, as best I could - it's a rough approximation...

The hardest thing was that I could NOT find a trench coat in the same turquoise blue that was used originally, so I've migrated the entire capsule wardrobe into a more "brown and blue" color scheme, starting with a wonderful scarf!

Hermes Electrique silk scarf in blue and brown
Hermes Electrique

I isolated the colors with which the wardrobe will be built; I didn't really define the style because I'm somewhat duplicating an existing wardrobe...

Hermes Electrique silk scarf in blue and brown with color palette
Hermes Electrique

You've Earned a Few Days in a Warmer Climate...


Okay, it might not be toasty warm, but it will be at least 50 degrees warmer than Chicago, where the temperature is around ZERO...

After everything that she did for her sweetheart, her sweetheart's co-workers, her sweetheart's family etc. etc. over the holiday season, it's time for the 2 of them to head south for just a few days to thaw...

travel outfit in blue and brown
earrings– Wild Lilies; cardigan – Uniqlo; scarf - Hermes Electrique; coat – Emporio Armani; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; gold loafers - Vaneli; bag - Jil Sander

She's made this trip before, and so she packs exactly what she took the last time...

travel capsule wardrobe in blue, brown, beige and white for a warm weather vacation
bracelet– Nakomol Design; hoop earrings – Philippe Audibert; brown tee – Lands’ End; sunglasses – Le Specs; chandelier earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane; clutch – Milly; brown dress - Laviniaturra; blue tee – L.L.Bean; blue cardigan – Missoni; white Henley – L.L.Bean; cropped chinos – Land’s End; ballet flats – Botkier; lace top – No.21; shorts – L.L.Bean; blue dress – Lands’ End; striped tee – Madewell; brown sandals – Olukai; gold sandals – Kork-Ease

But her sweetie reminds her that they are going to stay a few more days this trip, so she realizes that she should add at least another piece of clothing, or 2 or 3!

In order to make sure that she's not just adding something willy-nilly, she looks at a plan for her packing:

a partially-filled 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template in brown, beige, blue and white

This makes it really clear what she needs to add! Since it might be cool in the evenings, a sweater's not a bad idea. Since there will be flowers there (unlike the snow at home!) she's going with a pretty tee shirt, and since it's a romantic getaway, a few sequins are ALWAYS smart...

3 additions to a 4 by 4 Wardrdobe template, in beige, gold and a floral print
cardigan – L.L.Bean; floral tee – Per Una; sequined skirt - J.Crew

This is how it all stacks up now - what an easy wardrobe!

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template in brown, beige, blue and white for a warm-weather vacation

As always, she mentally rehearses what she'll be wearing...

2 outfits from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in brown, beige, blue and white for a warm-weather vacation

2 outfits from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in brown, beige, blue and white for a warm-weather vacation

2 outfits from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in brown, beige, blue and white for a warm-weather vacation

2 outfits from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in brown, beige, blue and white for a warm-weather vacation

If she can go away every New Year's weekend, she doesn't mind WHAT happens in December!

love,
Janice

Brown with Blue - Start with a Scarf! Hermes Electrique
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Our heroine from yesterday has a tidy and very well-planned wardrobe, after her few additions to what she used for business travel. But she's in pretty serious need of some accessories, I'd say!

First off, let's remember what her inspiration is for her wardrobe:

Madame Paul Escudier by John Singer Sargent with style guidelines and color palette

Our heroine finally got her well-deserved (and long overdue!) promotion, and picked up a few more garments to finish up her wardrobe. She's going to be traveling a LOT...

But she didn't buy anything BUT garments - no more shoes, scarves, nor jewelry. That's just not fun!

4 by 4 Wardrobe in shades of brown and cream with teal accents and minimal accessories
lip stain – Yves Saint Laurent BlackRed Code; nail colour – Chanel Pirate; jacket – L.L.Bean; brown earrings - Latelita London; tee – Ojai Clothing; sweater – Uniqlo; blouse – Blue Les Copains; ivory blouse – Equipment; watch – Skage; leopard scarf – Saachi; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; teal shirt – Lands’ End; cardigan – L.L.Bean; dress - Dusan; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; necklace – Nest; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; sweater – L.L.Bean; teal tee – L.L.Bean; ivory sweater – Lands’ End; teal cardigan – L.L.Bean; clutch – Inge Christopher; twill pants – L.L.Bean; suede skirt - Vince; high-waisted pants – Uniqlo; corduroy pants– L.L.Bean; handbag - Orciani;boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.; pumps – Athena Alexander

Although she's made her reputation at work for her empathy and her ability to provide coaching and correction in a warm and constructive manner, she is at heart also a really organized woman! After a bit of thinking, she decided to try to have a structured approach to her accessory wardrobe, in the same way as which she had planned her clothing. This is her plan, designed specifically for her needs and preferences:

a partially-filled 6 by 4 Accessory Template
brown earrings - Latelita London; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; watch – Skagen; necklace – Nest; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; leopard scarf – Saachi; handbag - Orciani; clutch – Inge Christopher; pumps – Athena Alexander; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.

In her methodical manner, she looks at her color scheme and realizes that she doesn't have a classic pair of cream earrings; cream = PEARLS to many of us...

And she loves her lone bracelet so much that she knows that she would wear a couple more - maybe one that blends shades of brown, and one that is mostly brown but picks up her teal accent color...

(This is a very efficient and effective way to fill in "spots" in your accessory wardrobe: What are your main wardrobe colors? Do I have a (bracelet, pair of earrings, etc.) in that color, or in colors that will integrate that color with my other clothes?)

adding a pair of earrings and 2 bracelets to a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
earrings – J.Crew; first bracelet – Alexis Bittar; second bracelet – Sydney Evan

After she searched high and low for the perfect bracelets, and her simple but fun earrings, her plan looks like this:

Second Stage in a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
brown earrings - Latelita London; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; pearl earrings – J.Crew; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; watch – Skagen; brown bracelet – Alexis Bittar; labradorite bracelet – Sydney Evan; necklace – Nest; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; leopard scarf – Saachi; handbag - Orciani; clutch – Inge Christopher; pumps – Athena Alexander; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.

She's working from top to bottom on her Accessory Wardrobe plan for our purposes, although I think that most of us would have started with shoes...

A brooch can make SO MUCH difference. This looks like it's going to be a big year for floral fabric brooches, so she finds a perfect one... And a couple of amazing necklaces, too!

(regarding fabric brooches - don't get sucked into paying hundreds of dollars for one of these unless you have lots of extra cash, and you find something that you absolutely adore; there are going to be literally thousands of these everywhere for very modest investments...)

adding a brooch and 2 necklaces to a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
fabric floral brooch – Chanel; brown necklace – Alexis Bittar; pearl necklace – Judith Jack

She has so many more options now than she had just a few weeks ago - and her accessories all look so lovely together!

Stage 3 of a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
brown earrings - Latelita London; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; pearl earrings – J.Crew; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; watch – Skagen; brown bracelet – Alexis Bittar; labradorite bracelet – Sydney Evan; teal necklace – Nest; fabric floral brooch – Chanel; brown necklace – Alexis Bittar; pearl necklace – Judith Jack; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; leopard scarf – Saachi; handbag - Orciani; clutch – Inge Christopher; pumps – Athena Alexander; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.

She really loves her 2 scarves, but she knows that a couple more could help a lot - especially with her knit dress! She might be able to find a scarf that she could wear with her dress, that would also bring her favorite teal color into the mix. That would open the door for carrying her teal handbag, or wearing labradorite earrings.... hmmm....

Adding 2 scarves to a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
birds silk scarf - Aspinal of London; scroll print scarf – Liberty London

This is shaping up nicely! Our heroine is pleased...

Stage 4 of a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
brown earrings - Latelita London; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; pearl earrings – J.Crew; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; watch – Skagen; brown bracelet – Alexis Bittar; labradorite bracelet – Sydney Evan; teal necklace – Nest; fabric floral brooch – Chanel; brown necklace – Alexis Bittar; pearl necklace – Judith Jack; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; leopard scarf – Saachi; birds silk scarf - Aspinal of London; scroll print scarf – Liberty London; handbag - Orciani; clutch – Inge Christopher; pumps – Athena Alexander; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.

Now, the leather goods! She's got a lovely handbag, but she could really use a bigger tote bag. A pair of loafers would be useful on days when she has a lot of walking to do. She might also want a pair of dressier flats to wear with her sweater dress, and nice riding boots would look absolutely perfect with her suede skirt...

Adding a bag and 3 pairs of shoes to a 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
tote – Tumi; brown loafers - Arche; ballet flats – Nine West; boots - Cole Haan

Oh, THIS is going to make so much difference. She's going to travel a lot, and those 16 pieces of clothing are going to be worn frequently, but she can change up the feel of her outfits a lot with these accessories in hand!

Finished 6 by 4 Accessory Wardrobe
brown earrings - Latelita London; labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; pearl earrings – J.Crew; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; watch – Skagen; brown bracelet – Alexis Bittar; labradorite bracelet – Sydney Evan; teal necklace – Nest; fabric floral brooch – Chanel; brown necklace – Alexis Bittar; pearl necklace – Judith Jack; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; leopard scarf – Saachi; birds silk scarf - Aspinal of London; scroll print scarf – Liberty London; loafers – Arche; boots - Cole Haan; handbag - Orciani; clutch – Inge Christopher; tote – Tumi; ballet flats – Nine West; pumps – Athena Alexander; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.;

Now, when our heroine looks at her completed wardrobe, it feels much more personal and uniquely hers. Accessories make so much difference...

a fully-accessorized 4 by 4 Wardrobe in shades of brown with cream and teal accents

She now decides to re-visit her outfits that she assembled yesterday, and see how much more interesting everything looks!

2 ways to wear brown pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in browns, cream and teal

2 ways to wear a caramel knit dress from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in browns, cream and teal

2 ways to wear brown high-waist pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in browns, cream and teal

2 ways to wear a brown suede skirt from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in browns, cream and teal

2 ways to wear brown corduroy pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in browns, cream and teal

Anybody who handles their purchases with this kind of discipline well deserves to be a Global Manager, don't you think?

love,
Janice

Can You Plan Your Accessory Wardrobe? Madame Paul Escudier by John Singer Sargeant
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Remember when we visited this gorgeous painting?

Madame Paul Escudier by John Singer Sargent

Our heroine was sent off to visit a corporate service center because of a major client complaint... and this is (an approximation of) what she packed for that trip:

travel capsule wardrobe in brown and teal with cream
labradorite earrings – Heather Hawkins; tortoise earrings – Vanda Jacintho; necklace – Nest; brown earrings - Latelita London; silk scarf – Hermès Les Legends de l'Arbre; lip stain – Yves Saint Laurent BlackRed Code; nail colour – Chanel Pirate; teal cardigan – L.L.Bean; tea lshirt – Lands’ End; ivory silk blouse – Equipment; bracelet - Auree Jewellery; ivory sweater – Lands’ End; dress - Dusan; jacket – L.L.Bean; high-waisted pants – Uniqlo; corduroy pants– L.L.Bean; clutch – Inge Christopher; watch – Skage; handbag - Orciani; teal tee – L.L.Bean; leopard scarf – Saachi; boots – Marc Fisher Ltd.; pumps – Athena Alexander; totepack - Knomo London

Global Service Director?


Well, of COURSE she'll take the position! She's been doing the work for months, so it's about time she was given the title, the office, and the SALARY...

When they called her into the Executive Suite to give her the news, they cited her ability to get along well with people at all levels of the organization, without being abrasive or seeming to be too much "home office-ish."

She attributes at least a tiny bit of her success to her image - warm and approachable. And what could be warmer than a cozy brown wardrobe - nothing inappropriate, but nothing too stuffy, either.

The plan is to build on success, starting here:

9 pieces in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

She realizes right away that a simple brown sweater would make a LOT of difference...

Core of 4 garments in dark brown
jacket – L.L.Bean; sweater – Uniqlo; high-waisted pants – Uniqlo; corduroy pants– L.L.Bean

As much as she would like to use more teal in this wardrobe, she quickly realizes that finding teal pants, or a nice teal skirt, is going to take a lot more time than she really has, so she decides that she's going to take advantage of the rich beauty of blending shades of brown...

10 garments in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template

This wasn't at all taxing to find, and she absolutely loves the possibilities. Some of the places that she has to visit are in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota - there's NEVER too much cashmere when you're going there in February!

a 2nd Core of 4 in light brown
sweater – L.L.Bean; cardigan – L.L.Bean; twill pants – L.L.Bean; suede skirt - Vince

This is quickly becoming very versatile, and quite attractive...

14 garments in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template
Add caption

All she wants now for her 4 by 4 Wardrobe is a couple of printed tops - maybe a nice blouse to wear with her suede skirt, and something that has both teal AND brown in it, to help merge those two colors in outfits:

2 printed tops in teal and brown to finish a 4 by 4 Wardrobe
blouse – Blue Les Copains; tee – Ojai Clothing

This is her finished wardrobe - if she wears a 3-piece outfit when she's traveling, she will pack the other 13 pieces... For a 10-day or 2 week business trip, it should be just right...

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in 2 shades of brown, with teal and cream accents

She takes a few minutes to play around with different combinations (snapping photos with her phone, to her help remember when her possibilities are...).

2 ways to wear brown trousers in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

2 ways to wear a brown knit dress in a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

2 ways to wear brown pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

2 ways to wear a brown suede skirt from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

2 ways to wear brown pants skirt from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe

She realized almost immediately that it was time to pick up at LEAST another pair (or 2) of shoes... More accessories are in her future; she's going to try a 4 by 4 plan for those too!

love,
Janice

Brown with Teal & Cream - Expanding a Successful Travel Wardrobe
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Our heroine has this lovely wardrobe...

4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents

But she's really going to need some accessories! She already has 1 scarf, but because so MUCH of this wardrobe is solid navy, more than 1 scarf can come in handy...

adding a scarf to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
navy cardigan – Uniqlo; navy sweater – Uniqlo; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; first scarf – Caslon; square scarf – Vince Camuto; third scarf– Nordstrom

Please understand that any (or ALL) of the accessory suggestions that I make would be great with this wardrobe - this isn't some sort of "guess the "best" accessory" game... I personally could easily make a case for this heroine to own at least a handful of scarves!

I wanted a pretty, floral pendant for her now - something that echoed both the floral motifs of her original painting, and also had a "water-ish" feeling. (no, that's not really a word, but you know what I mean...)

adding a pendant to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
suede shirt jacket – Banana Republic; navy sweater – Uniqlo; corduroy pants – L.L.Bean; first pendant – Zales; second pendant – HSN; third pendant – Ice.com

And a bracelet - I think that bracelets are an undervalued possibility when it comes to adding just a touch of interest and ornament to an outfit.

adding a bracelet to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
jacket – Madewell; paisley shirt –Lands’ End; knit pants – L.L.Bean; first bracelet – Ippolita; second bracelet – Judith Jack; third bracelet – Alexis Bittar

Someone suggested that this heroine might be a good candidate for a silver shoe wardrobe - why not? These clothes are pretty simple, so a snazzy shoe choice might be fun for her!

adding silver shoes to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
green sweater – H&M; knit pants – L.L.Bean; first shoes – Treasure & Bond; second shoes - Sarto by Franco Sarto; boots – Loeffler Randall

Our heroine has a pretty gorgeous little velvet backpack, but I think she might need a small crossbody bag too, for days when she wants to keep her hands free, and only needs to carry the minimum necessities.

adding a navy bag to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
jacket – Madewell; navy top – Uniqlo; jeans – Marks and Spencer; first bag - Zac Zac Posen; second bag – Longchamp; third bag – Shinola

Yes, she already has a watch, but it's flowered... I'm going to suspect that she might wish that she had a more classic watch for those days when she's just NOT feeling floral!

adding a watch to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
sweater – Banana Republic; blouse – Florence Bridge; jeans – Marks and Spencer; first watch – Jack Mason; second watch – Breda; third watch – Hamilton

If she's going to have a skirt, she will probably want dressy shoes...

adding silver pumps to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
ombré pink top – Vince Camuto; skirt – Whistles; first shoes – Tabitha Simmons; second shoes – Sigerson Morrison; third shoes - Sarto by Franco Sarto

A simple outfit like this just cries out for a scarf, or maybe a beautiful necklace!

adding a necklace to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
navy sweater – Uniqlo; skirt – Whistles; first necklace – Lafayette 148 New York; second necklace – Ippolita; third necklace – Judith Jack

Yes, you always need sunglasses. If your sunglasses look great with your entire wardrobe, maybe you'll remember to wear them ALL the time?

adding sunglasses to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
tee shirt – Banana Republic; ivory denim pants – Eileen Fisher; first sunglasses – Bottega Veneta; second sunglasses – Polaroid; third sunglasses – Fendi

I've become a convert to ballet flats - for year I thought that I couldn't wear them because I couldn't keep them on, and someone finally convinced me to try a different pair. Turns out that they were just never fit properly for my feet! You live, you learn...

adding silver ballet flats to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
green sweater – H&M; ivory denim pants – Eileen Fisher; first shoes – Athena Alexander; second shoes – Naturalizer; third shoes – Kate Spade New York

It's fun to have festive earrings - although your definition of festive can be VERY personal! Some of us can sustain quite a bit more in this category than others. Or maybe you should own a range of earrings to accommodate your mood, and the particular event...

adding floral earrings to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
ombré pink top – Vince Camuto; knit pants – L.L.Bean; first earrings – Dsquared2; second earrings – La Perla; third earrings – Stephen Dweck

I feel that anybody who really loves blue should look into the possibility of lapis earrings. They aren't necessarily very expensive, and they can be so pretty...

adding lapis earrings to a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents
navy cardigan – Uniqlo; paisley shirt –Lands’ End; ivory denim pants – Eileen Fisher; first earrings – Neeru Goel; second earrings – Neeru Goel; third earrings – Shanker

These are always my favorite images - I think that looking at this gives me a real "feel" for the heroine. Arranging everything on the page isn't easy, but seeing everything together like this is well worth the effort!

a 4 by 4 Wardrobe in Navy with floral accents and accessories

As always, let's make certain that our heroine is going to have a full range of outfits available:

3 ways to wear ivory denim pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe inspired by Monet

3 ways to wear navy pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe inspired by Monet

3 ways to wear a navy skirt from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe inspired by Monet

3 ways to wear navy pants from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe inspired by Monet

3 ways to wear dark wash jeans from a 4 by 4 Wardrobe inspired by Monet

And just as a reminder, this is our inspiration...

Water Lilies by Claude Monet with style guidelines and color palette

If you've ever seen the Monet Water Lilies in person, you know that they are HUGE, and that it would be possible to take a snapshot of a small portion of a panel and come up with almost any color combination imaginable. He used every color in the world on the paintings... What genius...

love,
Janice

Accessories Can Make ALL the Difference! Monet Water Lilies...
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