Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today (I write a day ahead...) is the 57th day of my shopping fast, and so far I'm feeling very minimal pain or unhappiness from my choice. I see beautiful things that I admire - every day! - but I remember something that I wrote a long time ago, and so I admire, and then I walk away. (literally, or digitally!)

But just because I'm not buying "clothes" - meaning all of those things that I wear out and about in the world - doesn't mean that there's no shopping that really should be done.

I pondered this question at length, and have concluded that there are, in fact, six categories of apparel that might need to be... "shored up" through the year. Not buying scarves, jewelry, or pretty sweaters might free up my attention (and money!) to better reinforce some of the weaker underpinnings (ahem...) of my wardrobe.

And thus I settled on these 3 categories:
  1. athletic apparel
  2. bras
  3. other undergarments
  4. outerwear
  5. socks and hosiery
  6. swimwear

Six categories is such a nice number, for a year-long project! (yes, they are in alphabetical order - it's the way my brain rolls...) A sensible person would tackle swimwear next because it's all over the market, but I'm going to stick to this list in this order because it reflects my needs, such as they are!

I fell into this idea when I literally tore the back out of a pair of running shoes - that's the sort of thing that I had said all along was going to be replaced when necessary! After that happened, I took the time to sort through all of my workout gear, and realized that I had a couple of pairs of shorts that were looking a bit seedy and down at the heels. My tee shirt assortment was pretty robust, if you don't mind wearing cotton 5K tees all the time - but my harder workouts require something more utilitarian. And dashing 2 blocks to the physical therapist called for some sweats to pull on over shorts and a top... When I finished my wish list, it looked like this:

A capsule workout wardrobe in grey and black
tees - L.L.Bean; sweatshirt - Livelihood;
skorts - L.L.Bean; sweatpants - L.L.Bean;
shoes - Adidas

Yes, this is most drab color-scheme possible, but it's what is most comfortable for me, and that's ALWAYS supposed to dictate your color palette, right?

The sweatshirt is from a company started by Joe Biden's daughter! Made in the US, which is terribly hard to find. It comes in six colors, including a gorgeous blush pink. You usually have to have them notify you when your size is available, because they sell out quickly. But I was notified that I could order in about 10 days, so that seemed worth waiting for...

And yes, the Adidas shoes are amazingly comfortable. They run a bit small, so if you order them, get 2 pair and make sure that 1 is a half-size down from your usual size. Remember, when mail ordering, always assume that you're returning stuff!

This shopping blow-out will have me pretty well set for athletic apparel (except maybe shoes - shoes take a beating...) until next spring...

I'm really looking forward to the March/April installment of this project, because I'm going to throw myself into the website at Thirdlove.com and see what they have to offer. I've already taken advantage of their "try one for free" offer, and I'm loving the results...

Does anybody else hate bra shopping as much as I do?


More from my 2017 Year Without Shopping Series:

My Year Without Shopping - March 2017; What do you buy when you aren't shopping for "clothes"?
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Monday, February 27, 2017

I saw this, and was immediately captivated. I am, of course, two months into a year without shopping, so the question of buying the scarf isn't really relevant to me personally, but it is something that we all confront: "Should I Buy This?"

Garden Gems silk scarf by Ted Baker London

It's an intriguing scarf - it's not really a traditional floral design, and the color scheme is subtle and quite pretty. I imagine that this would be very flattering on a lot of women! (and it comes with an ivory background - rather than the black - if that appeals....)

Garden Gems silk scarf by Ted Baker London with style notes and color palette

My thinking? Imagine a spectrum of outfits - from very casual to somewhat dressy - that would be perfect with this scarf. And then think seriously - are these outfits that I already own, or that I would be willing to eventually purchase?

So I'm starting with shorts, and migrating gradually all the way to a dress...

Shorts and a tee shirt; jeans and a sweater, to wear with Garden Gems scarf from Ted Baker London

a blouse and capris, and a cardigan, tee and trousers, to wear with Garden Gems scarf from Ted Baker London

Okay, I admit that this jacket is eye-wateringly expensive, but it's such a perfect addition to this wardrobe that I would have to be completely daft to pass it over. I really want you to see the possibilities of a textured fabric with this scarf...

a cardigan, blouse and cropped pants, and a blazer, tank and silk pants, to wear with Garden Gems scarf from Ted Baker London

a tunic sweater and skirt, and a dress, to wear with Garden Gems scarf from Ted Baker London

As I love to do, assembling all of the pieces of clothing together gives us a wardrobe that spans seasons and levels of dressiness. For one of those trips that includes a few destinations and a range of activities, this might be worth considering:

17 piece travel capsule wardrobe in black, blush, sage green and ivory

And THEN it occurred to me - this is an EXCELLENT start to a Project 333 wardrobe! If you're really stuck on what to include, or how to get started, this might be one way to think about it:

17 piece "spectrum of outfits" wardrobe template

Just for fun, and just to test the thesis that this could be a versatile wardrobe, I pulled together 8 more ways to wear these pieces. Sixteen outfits from 17 pieces of clothing isn't a bad ratio - and I'm quite sure that I could find more ensembles without a lot of anguish!

a shorts outfit and a capri outfit to wear with the Garden Gems scarf by Ted Baker London

a jeans outfit and a cropped pants ensemble to wear with the Garden Gems scarf by Ted Baker London

two black trouser ensembles to wear with the Garden Gems scarf by Ted Baker London

a skirted suit outfit, and a dress ensemble to wear with the Garden Gems scarf by Ted Baker London

Should I put accessories with these outfits? Please say yes!


Should I Buy This Scarf? How to decide if you really ought to buy an accessory
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Friday, February 24, 2017

One last really fun visit to this Salvador Dali painting, and the wardrobes inspired by his color choices:

Head of a Woman by Salvador Dali, with style notes and color palette

The original wardrobe was for a woman who spent a great deal of time in fields and forests; today's heroine spends her time at the shore! Waterproof footwear, nylon bags, shell-inspired jewelry... Nobody but you might notice that you're consistent in your choices, but you will ALWAYS feel like yourself if the water is your second home!

A grey and denim blue outfit, with a choice of waterproof boots

Small earrings don't have to be boring, nor predictable:

grey outfit, with a choice of seashell-inspired stud earrings

If you're going to spend a lot of time near water, a water-resistant backpack is very useful...

shorts and a pink tee, with a choice of water-resistant nylon backpacks

Sunglasses, ALWAYS.

A pink and grey outfit with a selection of pastel sunglasses.

Yes, no matter how casual you are, you can always wear a scarf! Scarves don't HAVE to cost a fortune, but if you happen to love a scarf, WEAR IT, and let the chips fall where they may. Accessories are not meant to lay in a drawer waiting for the "right" occasion...

a grey and denim blue outfit, with three possible scarves

I'm mostly grown-up, but I still have a weird weakness for lockets! (I have nothing to hide in one, but no matter...)

And that bottom locket also looks a bit like a ballerina...

a grey and denim outfit with three choices of silver necklace

Water shoes! If you want to really enjoy being near water, it's important to be able to relax and not worry about your footwear, I say!

shorts and a pastel tee, with three choices of water shoes

If you like water, pearls and pearly-finished metals might appeal...

pink tee and denim shorts, with three possible pairs of silver earrings

Speaking as someone who had a potentially pre-cancerous critter hacked off of my scalp last month (resulting in a MASSIVE hair cut...), I'm strongly in favor of hats for all of us who spend time outdoors... Don't sacrifice a foot of curly hair to your dermatologist, no matter how cute he is!

a denim, tee shirt and cashmere cardigan outfit with a choice of denim hats

Water sandals... Sense a theme?

cashmere hoodie, print tee and denim skirt with a choice of water sandals

Generally speaking, most of us need to carry at least SOME essentials with us. If you're going to be outdoors, a durable nylon cross-body bag just makes sense.

jeans and a sweater, with a choice of nylon cross-body bags

And finally, if you're REALLY going to hang out near the shore, it just might rain... Being prepared was never so much fun!

a floral sweatshirt and denim shorts, with a choice of fun printed umbrellas

If I had to start from scratch, this wardrobe might be just the ticket...

sixteen piece travel capsule wardrobe in grey, denim blue and pink


More from the Salvador Dali, "Head of a Woman" series:

How to Accessorize a travel capsule wardrobe with lots of denim
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

From now on, I'm going to try to write the "birthstone" post a few days before the beginning of the corresponding month - in case you have a gift to find. (and yes, gifts to yourself are legitimate gifts!)

This turned out to be a much more difficult blog post than I expected. Normally, the first thing I would do is Google the word "aquamarine" and see how the color is "defined," i.e. how you arrange your RGB settings to get that color. (RGB is Red Green Blue - numerical settings that you can combine to get any color of the rainbow...) Then I'd change the word "Aquamarine" on each page to that shade of blue, as well as change the wee diamonds in the page dividers to that hue.

Well, THAT was interesting. It turns out that there are a wide range of opinions around the color, from light jade, through to a pretty true green, and then turquoise, fading into something that looks just about like a light water-blue topaz-ish color...

So, that makes blogging a little bit more challenging, but it gives the person who wants to wear aquamarines a delightful variety of options! When you bear in mind that clear stones can be faceted, while milky or opaque stones can be polished, you have even more ways to wear your March birthstone!

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

Here we have some of the really green-ish stones, then moving into some that are distinctly blue.

And I felt like looking at sweatshirts, because I'm discovering (in my mid 50's...) that a comfy sweatshirt can be a hard-working part of a casual wardrobe. And there's no reason that your casual wardrobe can't be color-coordinated and beautifully accessorized, right?

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

I love my short-sleeved sweatshirt...

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe
Sweatshirt – Uniqlo; earrings – QVC; ring – HSN;
shoes - Naturalizer; skort – L.L.Bean

I switched out the dresses, but kept to the general idea of a beautiful piece of jewelry and a lovely scarf. Add a pair of comfortable, pretty shoes, and you're dressed!

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

The most interesting part of writing this post, for me, was to see that there were aquamarines that appear to be pink! (And this is NOT an expensive piece of jewelry, by any stretch of the imagination!)

The 2nd necklace here uses the aquamarines as an accent with other materials - yet another possibility when you're looking at your birthstone. Maybe you'll find a piece that combines your birthstone with that of one of your favorite people...

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

This beige dress looks so comfortable... sigh....

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe

You can see here on this page the variety of shades of light blue possible when we talk of aquamarine. All of these things just scream SPRING to me; it might be a bit too soon, but it's wise to be prepared!

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe


More from the Birthstone Series:

How to wear aquamarines, the march birthstone, in a capsule wardrobe
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

You asked, and it was a really intelligent question - can I use denim in place of olive green, in a wardrobe from The Vivienne Files?

Heck yes! Neutral colors can be interchanged, especially in casual wardrobes in which rigorous color matching isn't terribly important. Let's recreate a recent wardrobe and make this substitution, to see how it works out.

First up - remember this amazing painting by Salvador Dali? I've changed the associated color palette to include the denim that we want:

Head of a Woman by Salvador Dali with style notes and color palette

I'm starting from the same point as before - a solid core of grey garments:

Four by Four Wardrobe Starting Point of four grey garments
grey cardigan - Lands' End; jeans - L.L.Bean;
capris - L.L.Bean; shorts – Patagonia

The first difference is immediate - instead of the olive tee shirt from before, I found a shirt that feels very denim-ish!

how to add a denim blue tee shirt to your wardrobe

From here, things look very familiar for a few steps:

how to add a grey tee shirt to your wardrobe

how to add a pink long-sleeved tee shirt to your wardrobe

how to add a pink hooded sweater to your wardrobe

Already, you can see that the row of "What I Have" across the top looks really coherent and visually "comfortable" with the denim blue. Adding jeans doesn't alter that comfort level...

how to add blue jeans to your wardrobe

This is a great shirt, but OH MY GOODNESS, it needs to be washed. Repeatedly. While I completely abhor distressed jeans (I'll tear my own clothes, thank you very much...), I would like to see this shirt look just a tiny bit more softened and faded. I'm sure that we're all qualified to take care of that on our own, eh?

how to add a denim shirt to your wardrobe

A slightly different tee shirt here, more a cool color palette than the somewhat warm-ish one from before:

how to add a pastel print tee shirt to your wardrobe

Denim shorts can be tricky - I like the softer fabric here, and the drawstring. It keeps these from looking like our 1970s-era cut-offs...

how to add denim blue shorts to your wardrobe

I debated about replacing this tee shirt, because it still has echoes of olive in it, but I ultimately didn't want to abandon it, because it includes that pink that matches the sweater so very well...

how to add a bright print tee to your wardrobe

As always, if you detest skirts, get another pair of jeans, or a pair of cropped jeans, or capri jeans, or whatever other clever name them devise. Pedal pushers? Clam diggers?

how to add a denim skirt to your wardrobe

Everything else remains the same...

how to add a pink tank top to your wardrobe

how to add a floral sweatshirt to your wardrobe

So I changed 6 of the 16 garments, and the overall wardrobe impression is VERY different. One of the real beauties of denim is that our eyes are trained to see it as an all-purpose neutral, and thus it feels like it goes with everything. I don't like to match the denim pieces, because that ends up looking... awkward, to me. But this wardrobe has literally dozens of outfit possibilities...

a sixteen-piece "Four by Four" casual travel or capsule wardrobe in grey and denim blue with pink accents

Do you want me to go back through the grey and olive accessories and change things our for denim? I never mind looking at tons of accessories!


More from the Salvador Dali, "Head of a Woman" series:

How to substitute denim for olive grey in a capsule wardrobe
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