Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Start with a Bird: Northern Flicker

When your wardrobe plan gets difficult

When I received a note about building a wardrobe around the coloring of a Northern Flicker, I was really excited; taupe and black, with accents of orange? What's not to love?

But as most of us have found, it's one thing to choose and truly commit to a color scheme, and quite another to actually FIND the items that you envision. These beautiful shades of taupe are pretty straightforward to find in winter clothing, but to find them for summer was quite another story!

Northern Flicker - photo credit unknown

 I specifically chose this photograph because it gives us two really great, and complementary, accent colors to mix in with the taupe and black. At this point in this project, I was filled with enthusiasm, and thought that this was really lovely:

The first core is always pretty simple - black summer clothes are everywhere. I tried not to be overly influenced by the presence of Lollapalooza in my front yard; never have I see quite so many skimpy clothes...

Tank top – Cotton Citizen; shorts – L.L.Bean; 
tee shirt – Cotton Citizen; skortL.L.Bean

But here's where wardrobe building got a whole lot more difficult! This is a subtle color that's not easily found - most browns are yellower, or oranger, or just different. A soft, dusty taupe like this abounds in cashmere sweaters, but not in tee shirts or shorts!

So what to do if this happens to you?

  1. Be patient, and keep looking. There's more clothing in our world now than there has ever been before. More than you can imagine. More than we all need, times 10. Look at sites you've never before considered, and at store websites that you usually disregard. Definitely consider looking at sites from other countries - colors that are out of favor in one place might be popular elsewhere.
  2. Concentrate on more easily-accessible parts of your wardrobe. It wouldn't be wrong to buy 2 "Cores of 4" in black, while you were waiting for taupe to finally make it to the summer wardrobe world.
  3. Stash some spending money to have readily available when you see something that's perfect. There's nothing worse than seeing the ideal item and not having cash to pay for it!

Tee shirt – Rick Owens; taupe shorts – Tommy Hilfiger
cardigan – Vanessa Bruno; jeans – NYDJ

These colors weren't profoundly easier to find either! The green that I wanted was warm and sunny, not cool and ocean-like. And I never want vivid neon orange - this orange needed to be bright and strong, but still wearable. Happily, J. Crew has tee shirts in almost any color imaginable, and to endlessly wonderful Title 9 carries tops in some colors I don't see anywhere else.

Orange tee shirt – J. Crew; green top – Title 9
orange tank – LnA; shorts – Ted Baker

This part was a little bit easier - when I realized that I needed a top with some coverage, I was fine; taupe is a popular color for fall and winter. And the dress has the "speckled" texture that I wanted to include as an homage to the marking of the northern flicker.

White tank- J.Crew; green pants – Incotex
sweater – J. Crew; dress – Joseph

Accessories were easier, hallelujah! I was looking for mostly taupe pieces, in textures that were natural, and has some dotted, spotted, or speckled feeling if possible. And while you may not love Birkenstock sandals, rest assured that there are plenty of other taupe flat sandals available!

Teardrop earrings – Alexis Bittar; drusy pendant – Nordstrom; stone bracelet –
Bourbon and Boweties; round earrings – Lonna & Lilly; cross body bag – La Regale;
bucket bag – Marc by Marc Jacobs; black and beige sandals – Franco Sarto;
beige sandals – Birkenstock; D’Orsay pumps – Vince

Overall, I'm not unhappy with the way this turned out. Patience was the key quality I really needed to make this come together! And you can clearly see that if I had chosen to lean more toward the black neutrals, away from the taupe, I would have had plenty of opportunity to do so!

As always, I try to use the 4 by 4 Wardrobe template to keep myself honest - although I tossed in 1 extra pair of shorts into the Mileage 4 just because they appealed to me so much!  You don't have to be handcuffed to any template, but the overall principles built into the guidelines should always be kept in mine!

Does this work for you?


Dorothy Perkins Women's Clothing from UK

Monday, August 03, 2015

Start with a Scarf: Hermes Cavaliers du Caucase

She never thought she'd be a mom of teenagers in her sixties. But life intervened in the form of two precious and adoptable kids. She has a more casual lifestyle now, but she still loves beautiful clothes. Call her style casual luxe. Her life is all about her children, but she does allow herself a few treasured indulgences...

Hermes Cavaliers du Caucase silk scarf
Hermes Cavaliers du Caucase

Hermes Cavaliers du Caucase silk scarf, and a color scheme drawn from the scarf

Merino cardigan – J. Crew; washable cotton trousers – J. Crew;
¾ sleeve cotton shirt – Cotton Addiction; stretch jeans – 7 For All Mankind

white cardigan – Henri Lloyd; white jeans – J. Crew;
Short-sleeved top – J. Crew; white relaxed pants - Uniqlo

Print shirt – J. Crew; sleeveless top – J. Crew;
Striped tee – Alexander Wang; blue shirt – J. Crew

Yellow sweater – Uniqlo; dress – J. Crew;
Green sweater – Uniqlo; print shirt – Charles Tyrwhitt

Striped crinkle scarf – Eastex; yellow “We All Love Macarons” scarf – Julie 
 Cocco; opal earrings – Tressa Collection; silver Om earrings – Wadarat Supasirisuk;
 tote bag with pouch – Ted Baker; mint balloon scarf – Dickins & Jones; lapis 
ring – Lagos; onyx necklace – Neeru Goel; ankle boots – Munro; blue flats –  
Aldo Leofreni; white huaraches – Naturalizer; sling back pumps – Trotters

Every plan she ever had for her life has fallen completely apart.

She's never been happier....

This, by the way, is a true story; the first 4 sentences are a direct quote from the wonderful woman herself!


 Artisan Made Jewelry Designs

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Start With Art: The Boating Party, by Mary Cassatt

"Mom wants us all to come down for the Regatta... I know we said that after the kids quit sailing we wouldn't go, but I think it would really mean a lot to my mother."

Well, that's a loaded invitation, isn't it? But that's okay, you know she misses her only son, and that she cherishes her memories of Regattas from years past...

"Of course we can go. I'm assuming that we'll be there for the entire week?"

yes, you're a saint...

The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt; painting of a family in a rowboat
The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt

The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt, and a color scheme drawn from the painting

While navy isn't the color that covers the most area of this painting, it's definitely the "anchor" ***cough, cough*** color here.

A First Core of Four of navy tee, shorts, cardigan and skirt for a warm-weather trip
Linen tee – J. Crew; linen shorts – Dorothy Perkins;
Linen cardigan – J. Crew Factory; linen skirt – J. Crew Factory

Same thing with white - especially when you're thinking nautical, navy and white are your obvious bases. And there's just no combination more classic, crisp and refreshing for summer.

A Second Core of Four of a white top, skirt, tank and capris, for a warm weather vacation
White linen sleeveless shirt – Equipment; white linen skirt – Eileen Fisher;
White linen tank – Frame Denim; white linen caprisEileen Fisher

Tops for hot days, tops for cloudy cool days, tops for windy nippy days...

A Mileage Four of four tops in yellow and blue, for a warm weather vacation with cool days possible
Print shirt – Boden; CardiganBoden;
Ribbed-knit top – Boden; yellow top – Diane von Furstenberg

And dresses, because one's mother-in-law's friends always love to see a young lady in a dress. It doesn't matter if you're in your 60's, you're a young lady to them! And it's nice to be appreciated for wearing something nice...

An Expansion Four of two dresses, a pair of trousers and a tee shirt, in yellow and navy, for a warm weather vacation
Yellow dress – Basler; navy linen pants – Raquel Allegra;
Striped tee – J. Crew; navy dress – Tommy Hilfiger

If there were ever a time to pull out some marine and nautical themed accessories, this is it! It shows that you're completely in the spirit of the event. (just to tempt you, those yellow thongs come in FOURTEEN colors...)

An Accessory Four+ for a warm weather trip; a family of accessories with a nautical feeling and a color scheme of navy, white and yellow
Anchor bracelet – Humble Chic NY; sailor knot earrings – Kate Spade
braided cord necklace – J. Crew; shell earrings – momocreatura; anchor-print
 scarf – Lua; paisley scarf – Violeta by Mango; tote bag – Jonathan Adler; navy 
espadrilles – Andre Assous; white sandals – BP.; yellow 
thong sandals – OluKai

"Mother, may I borrow a handful of hangers for the guest room? I have a couple of dresses with me that will look nicer if I hang them..."

"Oh dear, let me come in with you while you unpack. You always have the most beautiful clothes, and I LOVE to see how you coordinated everything. I knew when you two got married that you were terribly clever..."

Remember, that's a compliment!

A Four by Four travel capsule wardrobe in navy, white, blue and yellow, for a warm weather vacation

two outfits from a navy, yellow, blue and white travel capsule wardrobe for warm weather

two outfits from a navy, yellow, blue and white travel capsule wardrobe for warm weather

two outfits from a navy, yellow, blue and white travel capsule wardrobe for warm weather

two outfits from a navy, yellow, blue and white travel capsule wardrobe for warm weather

Maybe, if you really love your mother-in-law, you can teach her about the 4 by 4 philosophy... and nothing makes your husband love you more than the care you show to his mother.

The Vivienne Files 4 by 4 Wardrobe Template, with a summer travel capsule wardrobe in navy, white, blue and yellow


S/S 15 Accessories at FORZIERI.COM