Thursday, June 22, 2017

This is a really old post - from back in 2012! The nice thing is that none of the garments have dated, and you could easily pull this outfit on and head off for a 2nd honeymoon looking beautiful...

camel cardigan – Organic by John Patrick (similar here), gold heart earrings – Alex and Chloe (similar here), white tee – Michael Stars, Scarf – Brooks Brothers (similar here), Denim coat – Derek Lam (similar here), camel pants – L.K. Bennett (similar here), penny loafers – J. Crew (similar here), camel bag – Vince Camuto (similar here)

In the early days of The Vivienne Files I spent a lot of time looking at camel as a neutral, because a lot of people asked me questions about where to find things, what colors to use as accents, etc. It was good fun, and I'm so happy to see that the posts haven't dated at all!

You can find this lovely flashback here; I hope that you enjoy it.


Can you Pack with Camel as your Neutral?
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I'm thinking that these kinds of posts could be known as "Wildly-Extravagant Wednesday..."

A Ridiculous Business Trip

She loved the ring from the moment she saw it, and now she wears it every day...

rose quartz, aqua chalcedony and labradorite ring set in gold by Ottoman Hands
Rose Quartz, Aqua Chalcedony & Labradorite Ring - Ottoman Hands

So when they told her that she had to fly to headquarters on Friday JUST TO DELIVER A FOLDER... she decided that she was going to stay through the weekend and go all-out. See an opera, do some serious dining, and people-watch...

Rose Quartz, aqua chalcedony and labradorite ring from Ottoman Hands
Rose Quartz, Aqua Chalcedony & Labradorite Ring - Ottoman Hands

She's got to go straight to the office when she lands, so she's going to fly in "grown-up" clothes. The flight's not all that long, so this will be fine - not a lot different from sitting at her desk for the morning. (except she doesn't have to do anything any more taxing than play Solitare of her phone...)

business travel outfit in navy and pink

earrings – Juith Ripka; cardigan – Acne Studios; scarf – Etro; watch - Rosefield; ring – Ottoman Hands; dress – Polo Ralph Lauren; briefcase – Brooks Brothers; shoulder bag – Catherine &Jean; pumps – Louise et Cie; suitcase – Rimowa

Maybe she's packing more than she needs if she's coming back Sunday evening. She doesn't care. And yes, she's packing a LOT of jewelry. She wants to; it's just that simple! She's going to get dressed UP this weekend...

Six-Pack in navy, aqua chalcedony and labradorite blue

green cardigan – Cruciani; labradorite earrings – Margaret Elizabeth; rose quartz necklace - Meira T; green scarf – Armani Collezioni; green earrings – Mahavir; navy silk tee – Polo Ralph Lauren; navy floral tee – Dorothy Perkins; bracelet – Chanel; ring - Argento Vivo; clutch bag – From St Xavier; navy silk pants – J.Crew; necklace – Alexis Bittar; pleated skirt - Jil Sander Navy; blue sweater – N.Peal; blue & white scarf – Rag &Bone; ballet flats – Me Too; navy loafers – The Row

She loves the elegance of her little travel capsule wardrobe!

8-piece travel capsule wardrobe in navy, aqua chalcedony and labradorite blue

2 outfits from a navy, green, pink and blue business travel capsule wardrobe

2 outfits from a navy, green, pink and blue business travel capsule wardrobe

2 outfits from a navy, green, pink and blue business travel capsule wardrobe

If her employers want to waste money sending someone to a different time zone just to do something that FedEx would do for 5% of the cost, who is she to complain?


Can You Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe Around a Piece of Jewelry?
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Of course!

black and orange travel outfit

tee – L.L.Bean (similar here); earrings – Shana Gulati; pants – Uniqlo (similar here); cardigan – Olive + Oak (similar here); scarf – Nordstrom; watch – Movado; flats – Eileen Fisher (similar here); tote – Street Level (similar here)

Flash back to one of my favorite posts - based upon a montage of images of a lunar eclipse, and see how just the right shades of orange can look great with black! Do notice the way the accessories echo her affection for the moon - moonstone jewelry, a single round button on a sweater, the round face of her watch (accented with a round gold dot!)...

Can I wear Black and Orange and not look like Halloween?
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Monday, June 19, 2017

A few people have asked me recently about packing for early autumn - needing a jacket, and probably a sweater or two, but still wanting a few lightweight tops. And others have been eager to see denim switched out for the navy that we've looked at for weeks! And then there are questions about how denim and khaki might be too... boyish?

So I'm starting with this color scheme:

travel capsule wardrobe color wheel in denim, khaki, soft mauve pink and dark pastel blue

The first thing to be addressed is the need for something warm to wear on damp, cool days, or in the evenings:

A travel capsule wardrobe neutral core in denim and beige

denim jacket – L.L.Bean; watch – Rebecca Minkoff; cardigan – L.L.Bean; heritage stone pants - L.L.Bean; jeans – L.L.Bean; loafers – Ugg; sandals - Børn

Realistically, I should have included a pair of dark blue walking shoes... But these four pieces have lots of possibilities - one could include shirts and tee shirts in literally any possible color and you'd be able to get dressed pretty simply!

But let's start with that delicious muted pink that often shows up if you search for mauve:

travel capsule wardrobe additions in shades of muted mauve pink

tank – Gap; earrings – Stephen Dweck; bracelet – Alexandra Alberta; tee shirt – Gap; sweater - Aragona

Note of course that these pieces don't have to match exactly; if you're not planning to layer them together, they can vary quite a bit. And even if you were going to layer them up, a little bit of variation adds visual interest and can look really nice!

Next up is this blue, which is plain difficult to track down! So don't discount the possibility of looking at printed and patterned tee shirts to find the perfect color hidden within a flower...

travel capsule wardrobe additions in medium soft blue

tee– Uniqlo; sunglasses – Tory Burch; floral tee – Uniqlo; earrings - Gurhan; sweater – J.Crew; necklace - Gurhan; top - Oasis

After putting all of the pieces into the 13-Piece Template, it's clear that two more neutral "bottoms" are needed. I'm including a denim skirt, for that "sort of dressed up" evening that might occur. But if you're really opposed to skirts, either shorts or capris would work equally well here.

travel capsule wardrobe core pieces in khaki and denim

beige cropped pants – L.L.Bean; pouch bag – J.Crew; tote – L.L.Bean; denim skirt – J.Crew

Next, the elusive but always super-important scarves, that tie things together so beautifully. I looked for a long time, but I'm pretty thrilled with these 2! And note, for no reason known to me, the plaid scarf is a man's scarf. What in the WORLD gives a scarf gender? What we learn from this is that when we have a particular color in mind, check the mens' department. Because scarves have gender...

adding 2 scarves to a travel capsule wardrobe in denim, khaki, mauve pink and dark pastel blue

plaid scarf – Missoni; square scarf – Irene Paris

I ALWAYS check that the pieces that I've chosen will fit neatly and happily into the packing template. This, to me, is the absolute proof that the choices will work together. The equivalent, at home, is to spread everything out on the bed, or hang together on the shower rod. When you do this, you should see if you can quickly and easily put together LOTS of outfits from what you see in front of you.

  • Does each piece fit in?
  • Will each piece be wearable with a variety of pieces?
  • Can each item be dressed up or down? (within the limits of what you consider dressing up or down - for a casual vacation, dressing up might be sitting in the pub for dinner!)

13-Piece Whatever's Clean Travel Wardrobe in denim, khaki, soft mauve pink and dark pastel blue

This might be the most important thing - when you put together outfits, either in reality on your bed, or just in your mind, what accessories will you need? Here, as I said, a dark pair of walking shoes would be handy as HECK...

a travel capsule wardrobe in denim, khaki, soft mauve pink and dark pastel blue

Walk your way through your itinerary, with a notepad in hand, if you think it would be helpful. What can you do with your khaki capris if the morning is cool? If it's warmer?

2 ways to style khaki capris from a travel capsule wardrobe

I want to wear my denim skirt, but it's not really ALL that warm. Do I have things with sleeves that will work well with my skirt?

2 ways to style a denim skirt from a travel capsule wardrobe

My pants are obvious for cooler days - but it could always warm up A LOT during the day. What will I wear then?

2 ways to style khaki pants from a travel capsule wardrobe

What if I want to wear jeans but still look pretty? (Of course we all know that a happy smile is the best way to be pretty...)

What if there's frost on the ground when we wake up, but the temp is supposed to get up into the upper 20's?

2 ways to style jeans from a travel capsule wardrobe

It's often said that anticipation is half of the fun of a vacation; it might also be the best part of making certain that you're packed appropriately and completely!


Can I Pack Denim and Khaki and still look Pretty? What about including Mauve Pink and Dark Pastel Blue Accents?
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Friday, June 16, 2017

Do you remember this? I do, and I think of it as one of my finest hours! (well, MANY hours...)

travel capsule wardrobe in taupe with light blue and yellow accents

Sweater – OAK (similar here); triangle earrings – EF Collection; round earrings – Alexis Bittar; pearl bracelet – Effy; moonstone earrings - Temple St. Clair; scarf – Le Jardin de Leila by Hermes; clutch bag – Judith Leiber (similar here); tassel necklace - Avindy; cardigan – J. Crew; sweater – Betty Barclay; velvet jeans – Closed; (similar here) skirt – Suno (similar here); dress – Chi Chi; yellow shirt – Alexander Wang; ballet flats – Calvin Klein; sandals – Stuart Weitzman (similar here); boots - Seychelles; tote - Furla

If you'd like to flash back to the lovely trip that our heroine was taking with this travel capsule wardrobe, you can find her here.

And a couple of days later our heroine decided to start building a larger wardrobe around the same color scheme; this was what she found and how it worked out...

Through the end of the summer, I'm going to "flash back" twice a week (I'm targeting Tuesdays and Thursdays...) I hope that this isn't an inconvenience for any of you; I have a couple of trips coming up (of COURSE I do...) and I find that I need a bit of time to get things sorted out chez nous.


Revisiting a Favorite Pair of Posts: The Golden Stairs by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Her Favorite Artist

Everybody probably has one that they like the most, but this is the one about whom she wrote EVERY English language essay she had to write, all through high school and college.

She has framed posters in her home. She's read the biographies. She even listens to music that was supposed to be the artist's favorite.

And now there's an exhibition.... IN MADRID.

Madame de la Soir silk scarf by Santorus
Madame de la Soir silk scarf by Santorus

She has no vacation time to take. Okay, maybe 2 days...

Madame de la Soir silk scarf by Santorus with style guidelines and color palette

But she has some airline miles to spend...

travel outfit in shades of teal with black

cardigan – LOFT; earrings – Freida Rothman; scarf - Santorus; crossbody bag – Angela Valentine Handbags; watch - Rebecca Minkoff; sleeveless top – Lands’ End; weekend bag – Sole Society; socks – Topshop; shoes – Munro; pants – L.L.Bean

And enough money for a few hotel nights...

tote bag six-pack travel capsule wardrobe in black, silver, teal and hot pink

teal dress – Lands’ End; earrings – Freida Rothman; cardigan – Marks & Spencer; black dress – L.L.Bean; silk tee – Theory; bracelet – Freida Rothman; bag – Thacker New York; hot pink dress – Diane von Furstenberg; floral blouse - Peter Pilotto; silver socks – Dorothy Perkins; silver sleeveless top – Marks & Spencer; lounge shorts – Uniqlo; turquoise sandals - Naot; black sandals – Munro

And enough money for a couple of AMAZING dinners...

9-piece travel capsule wardrobe in black, silver, teal and hot pink

Yes, she's going alone. Nobody else is going to want to spend 2 solid days in 1 museum...

two outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in teal, hot pink, black and silver

Well okay, she might make it to the other museum, too.

two outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in teal, hot pink, black and silver

And yes, she'll be tired when she gets home.

two outfits from a travel capsule wardrobe in teal, hot pink, black and silver

But this is once in a lifetime. Unmissable. She would kick herself every day for the rest of her life if she didn't do this...

And we HATE self-kicking, don't we?


How to Pack for a Quick, Dressy Trip? Start with a Scarf...
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I thought that this would be the easiest color scheme imaginable; that the clothes would virtually jump off of the screen at me... WRONG!

wardrobe color scheme in navy, beige, white and 2 shades of grey

I thought I would start as I have been for a while, with the navy and beige neutrals. I swapped out the watch for silver, thinking that it would be better with the grey pieces to come...

And I found a pair of sandals that weren't quite as "warm" in hue, so that they might bridge the gap better also.

summer wardrobe key pieces in navy and beige

classic navy cardigan – L.L.Bean; watch – Cluse; tank top - L.L.Bean; classic navy shorts – L.L.Bean; heritage stone pants – L.L.Bean; ivory sandals– Cole Haan; sandals – Børn

Then... I tried to find dark grey. And, after an honest 2 hours of looking for a lovely, rich charcoal grey linen, or a lustrous lead-grey raw silk, I threw in the towel. Some colors just don't exist in large numbers during some seasons, and at a point that only you can choose, you have to quit beating yourself up by looking in vain...

But much better, I moved onto lighter grey! And realized that I had to choose between "warm grey" and "cool grey." Since beige is one of the purported neutrals in this wardrobe, I thought that the warmer grey might be a better choice than the very bluish cool colors... And I found some nice goodies!

Warm grey wardrobe additions for warm weather

tee – H&M; scarf - Ter de Caractère; striped top – A.P.C.; earrings – J.Jill; floral tee – Uniqlo; cardigan – Rag & Bone; bracelet – J.Jill; jeans – Marks and Spencer; shoes – JSlides

Next up I felt that I needed to get a few more pieces in navy, in order to give the wardrobe some balance; when I started plugging the various pieces into the 13-Piece Template, it just had an overall feeling that was very light... Two pair of pants help with the overall wardrobe balance, provide some cover for those of us who really prefer darker colors below the waist, and also serve to hide the schmutz that inevitably accompanies travel...

two pair of navy trousers to add to a warm weather travel wardrobe

floral pants – Uniqlo; shoes – Superga; jeans – L.L.Bean

The most fun almost certainly came when I looked for pieces mixing the various colors - beige and navy, or warm grey and navy, are pretty easy to find... And some things, like this scarf, are pretty fun, too!

adding beige and navy pieces to a travel capsule wardrobe

earrings – Passiana; striped top – Fat Face; bracelet - Khun Boom; tote – Neiman Marcus; backpack - Everlane; scarf – Fat Face; sweater – A.P.C.

After all of my early hair pulling, this came out rather nicely:

13-piece travel capsule wardrobe in navy, beige and cool grey

I think that it would have been really easy to have used gold jewelry, rather than silver. Or maybe pieces that mixed both metals? But just in the interest of experimentation, I stuck with my original silver choices...

a travel capsule wardrobe in navy, beige and warm grey

Some of these combinations are subtle, and might not suit everyone. I think that makes this a much more interesting wardrobe than I initially expected when I realized that I was working with all neutrals!

2 ways to wear beige pants with navy or with warm grey

two ways to wear flowered navy pants

two ways to wear navy shorts with beige print tops

two ways to wear warm grey jeans with navy

two ways to wear navy jeans with warm grey

I'm wondering if I've exhausted navy and beige? I'm always happy to press on forever (more or less) in the face of interest in the project... let me know!


How to Pack for a Holiday in the Mountains: Navy, Beige and Warm Grey
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Most of the time, clothing (and thus The Vivienne Files) is about covering ourselves with efficiency, good value, and a coherent personal image. But it's worth remembering just every now and then that clothing can also be the object of extravagant fantasies...

Someone's happy, excited, full of energy, and just plain bursting with joy - that's what this painting felt like to me:

Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner

So They're Just Going to Elope...

Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner with style notes and color palette

No date worked for everyone. No location was good for most people. It just got more and more difficult...

travel outfit in black and white with orange accents

Cardigan - Marni; scarf - La Fiorentina; tee – L.L.Bean; pants - See by Chloé; watch - Kapten and Son; crossbody bag – Halogen; loafers – Tod’s; overnight bag - Everlane

So when the offer was made "why don't we just take the train to Paris and elope?" she was ALL over it...(yes, she has another suitcase somewhere...)

black trousers and softly draped pumpkin silk blouse

Earrings – Dsquared2; blouse - Jil Sander; pants - See by Chloé; crossbody bag – Halogen; flats – Paul Green

They'll arrive a bit late in the day, but still have time to freshen up and go out for a nice dinner...

The next day, she will be in the hotel spa all morning, because they've got a date at Notre Dame in the afternoon:

pink lace wedding dress with accessories

Scarf –Nordstrom; bracelet - Irene Neuwirth; dress – Dolce & Gabbana; earrings - Meira T.; pumps - Calvin Klein

She's not changing clothes after the wedding - they're going to walk around a bit, have cocktails at a cafe, and then a lovely romantic dinner...

The next day is reserved for sightseeing at their very favorite places:

pink and orange floral lace dress with accessories

Sunglasses – BP. ; dress – Lela Rose; earrings - Marianela Vargas; bag – Thacker New York; sandals - Sőfft

Maybe her dress is too dressy? She doesn't care! This is a SPECIAL weekend, thank you!

They have a blockbuster dinner planned for later...

off-the shoulder dress in orange and pink print, with accessories

Dress – Missoni; earrings – Bloomingdale’s; clutch - Deux Cuirs; sandals- Sam Edelman

They're taking the late train back the next day... The hotel knows that they are NOT checking out early!

draped soft raspberry blouse with black pants and accessories

blouse - Dorothee Schumacher; bracelet – Links of London; pants - See by Chloé; flats - MICHAEL Michael Kors

In addition to her "street clothes," she has to pack at least a few other things...

Robe – I. D. Sarrieri; bra - ThirdLove; bikini - ThirdLove; strapless bra – Natori; slip shorts – Jockey; half-slip - M&S Collection

She's bringing an insane amount of stuff with her for just a couple of days!

What to pack to elope, in pink and orange

But she will look at these clothes for the rest of her life and remember this most wonderful weekend...

An elopement wardrobe in black, white, pink and orange

It's a good thing that they're NOT having a wedding - she spent all of money that she had been saving for it on her elopement wardrobe!


Pack For a Special Occasion by Starting with Art: Vernal Yellow by Lee Krasner
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