Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I hope these ladies don't have to sprint too far to escape the storm; they're not dressed for the 100 yard dash...

Approaching Storm by Eugene-Louis Boudin
Approaching Storm by Eugene-Louis Boudin

But it's a beautiful painting, and it so vividly evokes that feeling when the weather is about to turn. I was particularly drawn to the simple, neutral color scheme:

Approaching Storm by Eugene-Louis Boudin and a neutral color scheme taken from the painting

Other Things on Her Mind

She travels with a lot of gear... 

a black and white travel outfit
shirt – Lands’ End; watch – Marc Jacobs; socks – Topshop
loafers – Munro; earrings – Kate Spade; scarf – Bindya;  
jeans – L.L.Bean; cardigan – Closed; tote – Bohemia
suitcase – Tumi

Actually, she's ALWAYS carrying bags and bags of photography equipment, even if she's not traveling. Photography is what she does, and she does it well.  

adding black and white pieces to a travel capsule wardrobe
Shirt – Lands’ End; boots – Munro; scarf Emily Carter
tee – Lands’ End; sweater – Lands’ End; bracelets – 

So she decided ages ago that she was going to be very disciplined in her wardrobe. Not drab. Not boring. Just in control. For example, she wears jeans. Only jeans. If someone thinks she needs something else to wear, they're welcome to buy it for her!

adding beige and denim pieces to a travel capsule wardrobe
Cardigan – Uniqlo; blue socks – Hue; dot socks – Polo Ralph Lauren
beige & white socks – Hue; necklace – Alexis Bittar; blue jeans – L.L.Bean
tan jeans – L.L.Bean; scarf – Bindya; earrings – Gemma Collection
chambray shirt – J. Crew

And she buys clothes in 4 colors. They're plenty for her - she can always find what she needs, and she never has any trouble finding things that are interesting to wear. Interesting, and often very beautiful...

adding printed tops, and accessories, to a travel capsule wardrobe
Floral tee – Olsen; bag – Kate Spade; ring – Oona Collections;
 striped top – Hobbs; sunglasses – Ray-Ban; blouse - Equipment

When she gets to her hotel and unpacks, she's always delighted with what she sees arrayed in the armoire:

a travel capsule wardrobe in black, white, beige and denim blue

Plenty of options, and a range of different moods, based on the colors she chooses for the day:

two travel outfits based on black jeans

two travel outfits based on blue jeans

two travel outfits based on tan jeans

Do you remember how Ansel Adams dressed? Galen Rowell? Eliot Porter? Nope, she didn't think so...


NORDSTROM - Shop UGG Fall 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We've leaving in less than 2 weeks, which I means I need to get this sorted! I'm notorious for having my suitcase out a month ahead of time...

But seriously, I should start setting things aside so that (a) I don't forget anything, and (b) I don't carelessly wear something that I want to pack, 2 days before we leave, and find that I have to do laundry at the last minute. There'll be quite enough laundry the last morning, because we like to return home to clean sheets, clean towels, and as little in the laundry bags as possible!

As always, I start with what I'm going to wear on the flight. I'm still undecided about accessories (probably an upcoming blog post?) but I know that I'm going to wear comfortable but very neat pants, a simple tee, and a gorgeous cardigan:

travel outfit of black tee, black pants, and black tweed cardigan
Cardigan – Jaeger, tee – L.L.Bean
trousers – Eddie Bauer; oxfords – Munro

Please note that I link to the actual garments if they are still available, or I link to similar items if I can find them; my clothes are NOT all brand spanking new...

(brand spanking is SUCH a weird phrase, isn't it?)

We are landing in Rome and then immediately getting our rental car and driving up into the mountains. It could be warm, it could be cool - September isn't easy to predict anywhere! But I'm keeping my option open to change out of my tee and into a sleeveless top as soon as possible, maybe even before we leave the airport:

adding a white sleeveless top to a travel wardrobe
blouse - J.Jill

If I find that it's legitimately hot when we arrive, I might also swap out long pants for cropped ones, and ditch my oxfords for ballet flats...

adding black cropped pants to a travel capsule wardrobe
Capris – L.L.Bean

It's at this point that I have to start thinking strategically. If I don't, I could easily just start flinging all of my warm-weather clothes into my bag... One would assume that I would know better, but one would be WRONG! I've had below-average packing experiences within the past year, so discipline and structure are key.

And a note right up front, before we get too far into this process: my wardrobe is WOEFULLY, MONOTONOUSLY MONOCHROMATIC. Yes, it's all black and white. I get absolutely bored with clothes, after looking at thousands of pieces all day...

Plus, it's not like I look boring wearing these clothes. I have a head full of uncontrollably curly hair, so I wear a headband all of the time. I always wear earrings, and glasses, too. There's a lot going on above the neckline for me, so simple clothes are sort of calming...  

I will sneak a few bracelets into this mix too... maybe an necklace? Heck, a scarf might even make the trip...

But I understand that this wardrobe would be really difficult for most women. I show it partly to clarify for myself what I'm doing, and partly to show the process in the simplest terms possible.

SO! Next step is another top - this would normally be a great place for a black and white stripe, or print. I'm opting for simple white, but almost any solid color would work well here. A red tank top, or a bright blue tee shirt?

add a white tank top to a travel capsule wardrobe
Tank – L.L.Bean

My understanding of the climate in the mountains of the Abruzzo is warm days with very cool evenings - no air conditioning! But this does mean that dinner (and gelato) will be eaten while wearing a 2nd layer, so a black cardigan will get a workout on this vacation.

add a black cardigan to a travel capsule wardrobe
Cardigan – Line

Although we're staying in a friend's house, we're not planning on laundry, so sufficient "tops" are going to be important. Maybe this is cheating at the packing plan, but I love both of these blouses, and have always intended to bring them both with me:

add a couple of sleeveless blouses to a travel capsules wardrobe
tops - Lands' End

Many women would find highs in the 60's or 70's Fahrenheit too cool to want a pair of shorts, but those are the temperatures that make me happiest - plus I sort of lack the gene that makes normal people feel too cold! But I understand that these may not make it out of my suitcase; we'll monitor the weather forecasts the last few days before we leave, and if the forecasts drop, these could be left behind in preference to a pair of jeans:

add a pair of black shorts to a travel capsule wardrobe
Shorts – J. Crew

Another tee - I'll probably have at least 1 top too many. That will comfortably accommodate any moments of flying food/drink to which I might be prone. Surprisingly, I'm foregoing a solid black tee in this step!

add a fun black tee shirt to a travel capsule wardrobbe
tee - Agnes B.

Here's where the whole thing might go to pieces of the weather turns cold - 2 linen dresses. I'll bring leggings - at least 1 pair - to layer under my dresses if it's cool. (leggings are never, EVER, worn as trousers. if the... tops of your thighs?... are visible, you're showing TOO much...)

Of course I have, at this stage, 2 cardigans with me. But if we start seeing forecasts for highs in the 60's or lower, these dresses might have to be replaced with.... hmm.... a long-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved tee, and a pair of jeans.

It's clear that I might have to re-do at the last minute if the weather turns. Oh bother...

add a pair of dresses to a travel capsule wardrobe
dresses - Eileen Fisher (similar here); leggings - Hue

A normal person would take black or blue jeans. But I have this romantic vacation image in my mind, walking hand-in-hand with Belovedest, somewhere on an Adriatic beach, wearing rolled-up white jeans and a sleeveless top. Sunset over the mountains...

add a pair of white jeans to a travel capsule wardrobe
Jeans – L.L.Bean

At this point, I'm in pretty good shape, but in the interests of packing a tidy Four by Four, (or jinxing things by having 13 pieces of clothing in my luggage), I'm going to add a 3rd cardigan. This is styled like a sweatshirt, but it's cashmere, so it straddles the casual/dressy possibilities beautifully. I bought it last year, and can't imagine why I waited so long...

add a black hooded sweatshirt to a travel capsule wardrobe
cashmere hoodie - L.L.Bean

This looks very tidy, sort of fool-proof, and quite a bit like me. Having this down in "writing" is tremendously helpful to me to help avoid that mindless overpacking to which even I am prone...

a 16 piece black and white travel capsule wardrobe

Do you want to see accessories? And have you had difficult packing experience(s) like my current one?


 Kule: The Perfect Striped Shirt, Shop Now

Monday, August 22, 2016

I love doing these... and this dress just calls my name. How can I NOT own this in black? This dress also comes in yellow (remember last week's post about a yellow dress?), black, and raspberry, which is a gorgeous rich hot pink... sigh...

red sleeveless dress
dress - Lands' End

It probably doesn't amaze you to learn that when I do similar blog posts, I reuse the original template, and just make the appropriate changes. So after I went into this template and changed the dividers in the middle from red to yellow, I removed the yellow dress from every page, and just plunked the red dress in...

And didn't have to change ONE THING, for these two options! How many different colors could work here? Certainly the black dress would be perfect here, if even a bit drab, and the raspberry dress would work with these accessories, too. We are continually reminded of the merits of an "accessory family," eh?

How to wear a red dress with black and white accessories, or black woven accessories
Dress – Lands' End;  
earrings – Savvy Cie; tote – Kate Spade; sandals – Sam Edelman
bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane; wallet – Hobo; sling-backs –  Trotters 

Here, I kept the cardigans and shoes (I'm starting to really love those grey wedges), but changed the scarves for some that did the magic of tying the red and the different greys together.

How to wear a red dress with a grey cardigan
Dress – Lands' End;  
 wedges – Clarks
cardigan – Theory; scarf – Kathkath; flats – Dr. Scholl’s

In the first example here, I changed the scarf for a nice cuddly one, but I kept the original scarf in the second example. If you know what your accent colors are, and you're fortunate enough to find a scarf the includes more than one of them, you can splurge a little bit; the additional versatility makes it pay off...

How to wear a red dress with a navy jacket or cardigan
Dress – Lands' End
field jacket – L.L.Bean; boots – Aquatalia; scarf – Look by M;  
cardigan – Steffen Schraut; silk scarf – Vince Camuto; pumps – Sőfft

Here's an interesting thing - when I showed the yellow dress with these white pieces, I was perfectly find with white jewelry. When I put the red dress in here, I really felt that another touch of red would look better. Maybe red nails and/or lips would work, too...

How to wear a red dress with a white cardigan or jacket
DressLands' End
earrings – Madewell; cardigan – J. Crew; sandals – Jack Rogers
denim jacket – Levi’s; bracelet – Barse; canvas shoes - Keds

Of course, the original floral jacket and cardigan from last week didn't have a chance with a red dress! But in the second outfit, I was able to just change the cardigan, while keeping the rest of the accessories the same.

The first example here was chosen to give a more summery, casual feel to the dress. I think canvas shoes and a tote bag go a long way toward conveying a relaxed image...

How to wear a red dress with a printed or floral cardigan
Dress – Lands' End
 tote – L.L.Bean; cardigan - Only; espadrilles – Sperry Top-Sider;  
cardigan – Boutique Moschino; earrings – Lele Sadoughi; bag – Henri Bendel
flats – Shoes of Prey

And here is yet another pair of ensembles in which I had nothing really to do after I changed the yellow dresses for the new red one. It's becoming clear that these two cardigans and accessory sets would work well with almost any bright color... and they could be mixed with each other, too!

How to wear a red dress with a black and white jacket or cardigan
Dress – Lands' End
earrings – Alexis Bittar; jacket – Diane von Furstenberg; bag – Glint
sandals – Naturalizer
cardigan – Iris von Arnim; earrings – White House Black Market
satchel – Sole Society; oxfords – Nine West

The red cardigan from last week's post about the yellow dress matches this red dress perfectly, and I was REALLY tempted to keep it... but I decided to plunge headfirst into some really bold color combinations. These aren't necessarily for the faint of heart, but they could be just the ticket for a grey day when everybody is in a foul mood...

How to wear a red dress with a blue cardigan, or a purple cardigan
Dress – Lands' End;  
earrings – Nordstrom Rack; necklaceBunai; blue cardigan – Lands’ End;  
red flats – Clarks;
 purple cardigan – Lands’ End; earrings – Kate Spade; scarf – Missoni
purple flats – Nine West

Next, to find a great grey dress.... And what other colors?


Wolf and Badger

Friday, August 19, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, Belovedest and I were wandering around Chicago when we happened upon a store called The Shudio. Yes, it's a "hybrid of a retail shop full of eco conscious goods... combined with a metalsmith jewelry studio."  And yes, this is some fun...

I could have purchased a lot of things, but I'm trying very hard to avoid that kind of reckless madness (especially with THREE big vacations coming up in the next year!), but I did buy a lovely little black leather wristlet, from a company called CHC. They donate 10% of their revenue to a local organization for homeless women, and all of their materials are local. Pretty nice; I was happy.

But when I got home and dug out my bag for our upcoming trip to Italy, I realized that my current assortment of bags is pretty much perfect. Seriously!

This is my current "bag wardrobe."

Overnight bag – Nu-G; tote – L.L.Bean
satchel – Agnes B.; cross body  - BP.
wristlet - CHC (My specific bag is no longer available...)
This isn't EXACTLY what I own, but it's pretty close, and it was assembled in a pretty haphazard manner. The overnight bag was bought (late one evening!) in Paris, when I realized that I had "outshopped" my luggage. The tote bag was just plain whappage at L.L.Bean, as was the satchel from Agnes B. My cross body bag was given to me by my mother-in-law....  Clearly, there wasn't a lot of meticulous planning here!
Overnight bag – Token; tote – Sole Society
bucket bag – Sole Society; cross bodyFossil
wristlet – L.L.Bean

What makes this "wardrobe" perfect for me, right now, is that it accommodates a range of "what do I need to haul around?" without a lot of redundancy. If I'm really, truly going away for a few days, but not to the point that I need a real suitcase, the overnight bag is perfect.... For just 1 night, or to someplace where I just want to bring swimwear, or a clean tee shirt, my tote bag is great. It's also the go-to carry-on bag for all flights...
Overnight bag – Sole Society; tote – Street Level
saddle bag – Sole Society; cross body bag – BP.
wristlet – Fossil

For those times when a real honest to goodness handbag is called for, I have my Agnes B. bag. I've somehow managed to scratch the bottom of it REALLY SEVERELY, but my shoe repair guy polished the scratches, and it just qualifies as patina...
Overnight bag – Sole Society; tote – Longchamp
shoulder bag – Louise et Cie; cross body bag – Longchamp
wristlet – Alexander Wang

My life includes lots of occasions where I want to carry my wallet and my phone, but keep my hands free - and the crossbody bag is ideal in that situation. Mine is just big enough to fit my house keys and a lipstick, too.
Duffel bag – Sole Society; tote – Longchamp
satchel – Sole Society; cross body bag – Tumi
wristlet – Nancy Gonzalez

Finally, I do, often, want to have my stuff IN MY HAND. My wristlet holds just about the exactly same things as my crossbody bag, but it feels more secure, and easier to access. Many people could be very happy with just 1 of the 2 of these, though.
Backpack – Fjällräven; tote – Kimder Beans; 
shoulder bag – Coach 1941; cross bodyElizabeth and James
wristlet – Matt & Nat

(don't forget that a nice sleek backpack is a great overnight bag...) 

There's really no hard and fast rule to follow to get the right bags for your life; I think it just requires a little bit of self-analysis, and some thought. Sort of like building a wardrobe of clothes, or shoes, or jewelry....

What's the most useful bag you own? Did you plan for it, or find it by accident?


Beara Beara