I suspect that I’ve given this away before – I know I’ve written about it! It’s a funny little guide (in fairly easy French) about building an ideal closet if you’re lazy – who can’t enjoy that? Copies of this float in and out of my library without explanation; I suspect they might reproduce…
The “Paresseuses” is a series of books, and a blog. Check them out; there are fewer more entertaining ways to improve your French language skills!
So leave me a comment, and please let me know what your biggest wardrobe challenge is as we move toward the “winter” holidays. (Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but I always REALLY want to hear from those of you in other climates, please!) Sunday evening when I’m working on next Monday’s post, I will generate a random number, and the person who commented at that point in the list will be the winner.
I love to hear from you – your comments are more important to me than you can know. They give me encouragement, information, and guidance in equal measure, and are one of the biggest sources of satisfaction that I receive in writing The Vivienne Files.
2012: Six Pack: Taupe and Denim Blue
Good morning! My biggest challenge isn't some big fete. It is just the day to day practicalities of living in theGreat Lakes region. So warmth *and* style!
It looks like a really nice little book.
My challenge is how to wear skirts and dresses and be warm – I'm a lectureur, I want to wear shoes not boots indoors, and I have bad relationships with pantyhose as I tear them all the time. I know that one of solutions is thicker tights in black, but I also want to wear my other shoes, not only the black ones. So I have to find some shoe-dress/skirt-thights combo.
Oh yes–I'd love to win that little book. My biggest wardrobe challenge for winter is looking chic and pulled together while wearing my warmest puffy coat, super snaggy toque, big scarf and thick boots.I tend to look like a toddler or the littlest boy in A CHristmas Story…the part two of that is carrying the nicer shoes, and making the transition when I arrive at an appointment. What's a girl to do?
I always have plans to dress up for the family dinner on Christmas Eve (the day we celebrate in Scandinavia), but then I get stuck in the kitchen and there's always some clash in the what's-on-the-stove-when planning that eats up my getting dressed slot and I end up eating in jeans and a stained T-shirt.
OK, that wasn't really a wardrobe challenge, more a time-management challange. But my wardrobe is split up into very, very nice things and very, very casual things. If I had more items inbetween, maybe I could get dressed, then cook and then transition to the dinner table by just adding some accessories. Not the stressful wriggel-into-nice-dress-and-tights-while-the-egg-timer-is-beeping-frantically I'm trying (and failing) now.
A pretty apron is part of the plan, yes. :-)
Still it's not really doable to cook for hours (we're talking Swedish Smorgasboard here) in a sequin dress and the shape wear that goes with it. I need to fill the gap with some nice but still comfy and practical clothes.
Kathy Niederkorn says
I have begun using an apron again to preserve my clothes. Then you can dress up and wear the apron to protect your outfit and remove the apron and voila beautiful you.
P.S. there are so many cute aprons out there now.
Put the clothes you are going to wear on a hanger on the door. Maybe, as you say, the transition from jeans to slinky dress is too much. What about dressing up your jeans? Long earrings, sparkly or shiny silk or satin top and "party" shoes? When Im in a rush, dressing up the jeans I'm already wearing is easy.
Now the discipline part. Do your hair and basic make-up and nails before you start cooking, even if it is early in the morning. Somehow the day gets busier as we go along.
Can I come for dinner please?
I love the paresseuses!
My challenge for my winter closet this year is to reduce it as we are planning to move in February and I don't want to carry away some clothes that I will not wear again. So I'm doing my own project 333, with adapted rules to get rid off old and unworn clothes. I also need to learn how to buy fewer things that match together for an optimal wardrobe building.
I strongly dislike winter and cold weather so I don't like to shop for or even look at winter clothes, which leaves me cold and, at times, inappropriately dressed which makes me strongly dislike winter. It's a terrible circle.
Thalie F says
It's definitely winter here, the land is covered by a few inches of snow. We should have a beautiful white Christmas!
Balancing my dressy wardrobe with the casual style of my inlaws always poses a challenge come the holiday season. How to dress down my corporate outfits without giving up my sense of style.
It looks like my kind of book! My biggest challenge in winter is trying to look slimmer and taller while wearing lots of extra padding with flat boots or shoes – virtually impossible as I'm only 5' and a tiny bit tall!
When I used to live in the Caribbean, my challenge was to get through the party season with a limited budget. Dressing up was fun. Now, I live in Europe, and my challenge is to hit the right balance when I dress up for Christmas parties, where if I wear a dress, I'm overdressed. One of the downsides of village life. :-(
My biggest challenge is that 90% of the clothes offered are black or they have a black ground to them and thus only coordinate with black. I wish there were more options with browns, caramels, bronze, copper, ivory for neutrals. I personally think that black works on only a small percentage of people. But it is considered "safe" and thus sells …… On the plus side it keeps my wardrobe small as I have no black anything !
Your blog actually features more non-black than most, but the stores area still mostly black, Anne
I know what you mean! Try finding a pair of colorful yoga pants!!! Who decreed that yoga pants should come in black, charcoal, and maybe, MAYBE a very dark blue? Come on people, it's yoga!! Can't we have some fun!?
Ok… let's see if I can get the comments to work. As often as not, it eats my comment and I'm left back at square one. My biggest challenge is trying to reconcile all the various "spheres" of my life. I telecommute, so I spend most of my days in casual "loungewear." A few times a year, I need to go into the office and look very conservative/professional. My in-laws believe in celebrating the holidays in style – I have to have some very fancy duds a few times a year. And then there's "the rest" of my life – school, church, "life." None of these spheres seem to intersect!
How to provide the right amount of flattery in colors to be seen by artificial light so early in the day in the winter season. I once attended an event where the lighting was mood/dim around dinnertime. My dress, that was fine otherwise, was way too dull for the lighting and I felt invisible.
Roz Murphy says
Vivienne, I read and love your blog every day. My biggest challenge is that, even though I love the neutral colors I'm trying to build my wardrobe around (indigo denim and gray), although I dress up my clothing with a scarf, nice earrings, etc., I still feel like I look kind of boring. What to do? (I do love my accent colors–aqua and fuschia, and feel great when I wear those colors close to my face.)
Like lots of others here, my biggest challenge is having something appropriate and stylish to wear for the 1%. If I curate my wardrobe and manage to consolidate all of my activities into a cohesive collection that fits 99% of my life, I'm invariably left with a 1% event. Could be a holiday party. This week it is a memorial service. I should add that my 99% is casual, so no cocktail dresses or corporate outfits to put into play.
(1)There are a lot of poor quality cashmere sweaters out there. I'm looking for good quality merino sweaters. (2)Non dumpy accessories for both city and casual outdoor wear (3)A wedding in Wisconsin! Low key, late afternoon and hipster. What would Charlotte Rampling wear?
Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life says
May I put in a non-compensated plug for LL Bean's Signature (their more "modern" line) merino sweaters. I bought both a cardigan and a turtle from them this fall and I am enjoying both so much. They are thin, soft, and very well made. Oh, and they are machine washable!!! They have others that would be thicker/warmer, I believe, but these are great for layering, which this many-hot-flashes-per-day woman requires!
Charlotte Rampling would wear a St. Laurent "le smoking", which you can approximate with narrow black pants and a well-cut matching jacket (Theory, Tahari and J. Crew carry items like this) and not too much underneath. What's great about that is that you can wear the pieces, separately or together, forever- unlike a dress.
Janice Riggs says
What Duchesse said, with some killer jewelry – either statement earrings, or an eye-catching necklace (which would emphasize the question of what's under the jacket…).
I'm thinking I really need to put together a "going out" capsule. I'm pretty much set for every day, with my winter uniform of pants + turtlenecks or V-neck sweaters, but I could use some slightly dressy (yet comfortable) warm dresses, nicer sweaters etc… to feel a bit more polished when going out.
Terry A. says
My biggest challenge also has to do with finding merino cardigans, in the color I want, with the neckline I want, and at a price point that I can afford. I'd be willing to splurge a little on the last one, if the first two preferences were met.
Good morning, my biggest challenge in the winter in Vancouver is dressing for the rain. Right now we have almost 3 weeks of lovely sunshine. blue skies and cool temperature. Bliss. But soon the rain will start again and I find juggling an umbrella is frustrating; so great rain hats are the answer and are very hard to find.
Deb from Vancouver
My biggest challenge is finding the balance between casual and dressy – the parties I attend are not ultra-dressy affairs, but I like to make an extra effort. Being warm while doing so is a challenge, too.
Thanks for the giveaway. My biggest wardrobe challenge is holding onto stuff that I no longer wear. It's hard to get rid of it. I've been having some success with taking pictures of items, and keeping the picture. I'm looking into some upcycling projects as well.
Thank you for your generous and giving spirit, Janice. I read daily but comment seldom. My biggest wardrobe challenge is finding the balance of how many items I actually need for my many eclectic collections: the office weekly wardrobes, the casual weekend jean wardrobes, the hiking mountains wardrobes, the dressy affair wardrobes. I need at least a few different outfits for each activity in a wide range of temperatures. Where I live can be 100 degrees with high humidity or like today, 10 degrees with snow.
Deb in Kentucky
I have no problem with finding dressy clothes I like for church, parties, recitals, concerts. My problem is that I like being dressed up but my lifestyle is very casual — I'm a housewife/farmwife/homeschooling mom in a rural county in Virginia, and I'm most comfortable in longish skirts — lower calf to above the ankle — but the kinds of tops that look best with that length (high to mid hip) don't look good at all with the few pairs of pants I own. Not to mention finding sturdy/casual skirts in that length. I have a couple of denim skirts and one moleskin, and I'm thinking about buying a corduroy one this winter. Plus I'm top heavy, and it's hard to find roomy tops that aren't sloppy-looking. So, actually I guess that's a year-round problem, not a holiday one. :-p
hostess of the humble bungalow says
Oh I would love to read this book…my biggest wardrobe challenge is to find simple classic pieces that don't break my budget….I have champagne tastes on a beer budget now that I am retired and living on a pension!
My biggest winter wardrobe challenge is to wear layers without adding too much bulk.
Janice, I just want to send you a HUGE thank you for showing me how to get out of wardrobe boredom ! I used to buy duplicates of an item, in different colors, such as tees or turtlenecks and still felt bored by my wardrobe, no matter how many pieces that I owned ! Your series of the 4×4's, the Not So Crazy Eights, and the Starting from Scratch as well as the Triple Top Secret have shown me how to include the variety I crave wfroutfit to outfithave shown me that it's the variety of styles within a capsule wardrobe
My Tablet keeps changing the words so sorry ! Make that variety I crave from outfit to outfit and have shown me that it's the variety of styles within a capsule wardrobe that make all the difference !
Anne Hampton says
My biggest challenge is that I am tall and plus size. Also my work clothes (I am a massage therapist) is uniform polo with either khaki or yoga type pants and sneakers.
My challenge is to find a normal cap,to adjust style and colour of the cap,gloves and warm scarf to my winter wardrobe.I usually wear official/classic clothes but in winter i love to wear a puffer coat -it is very cosy in winter cold and snow.However puffer jacket looks more sporty than official,so it is difficult for me to create stylish look.Thank you very much for your questions!Best regards!
amber, please check out the hats at Golightly Cashmere- warm, well-made and in beautiful colours.
My challenge is to find a new winter coat. The one I have now is nine years old and although I've taken good care of it and replaced the lining among other worn out parts, I think this is the last year I can wear it without looking like a clocharde. I'm petite, with very large chest. The coats that fit the chest are too big otherwise. I'd love to have a coat where one could see that I actually have a waist. So far no luck…
My challenge is that I live in a fairly warm area but we do get ice storms and a few days of very cold weather, followed by warm or cool or both in the same day. Plus I travel to Europe a couple times a year and have to have warm clothes–in spite of what I consider cold, miserable temps, my husband's family likes to get out and go for long walks.
Sophie Newberry says
I love Les paresseuses! I have two of their books (maternity, but funny!).
My biggest challenge for this holiday season is my huge belly… as I am expecting my first in January. Most of my mat wardrobe has a capsule feel, but I need something special for Christmas I think.
Congratulations on the little one!
I do remember you talking about this book before…and I would love to get my mitts on one. I agree with the above comment about the poor quality of cashmere–it is so hard to find sweaters that I like, aren't too bulky (or hot), and drape correctly for me. And the cashmere sweaters I do have have been a bit disappointing.
I would love to win the Les Paresseuses book. It would an welcome addition to my "Avec Style" which is helping me with my French. What a great way to learn a language!
I just retired this Summer and am now working on my acting career. Most of my wardrobe is black and I am looking to brighten it up for my new career direction as well as the coming holiday season. I purchased the scarf called "Exotic Garden" from the Art Institute of Chicago (http://www.artinstituteshop.org/item.aspx?productId=5422) and would love to use its colors to begin the process.
Thank you for your help.
So nice of you to encourage comments. I thought you would receive far too many!
After reading your blog a long time, my wardrobe is now much more coordinated. I gave away things in the wrong colours that I'd bought online and after this I had more choice! The paradox is explained by the fact that you have to see what's there before you can put it on and it has to be clean and ironed. Suddenly more things in your wardrobe go with each other!
Since I've gone much more casual keeping up with the times, like those above my challenge is the 1%: going to a meeting in the city for the bank or a political function. A tailored jacket really helps but its these 1% occasions that are hard…
Can't say how much you've helped me. I now think really hard before I buy something.
My biggest challenge is finding smart casual clothing that is warm enough for our freezing cold weather.
My biggest challenge, as I try to pare down my wardrobe, is to shift my mindset in a more "vivienne" like direction, so that I think of my wardrobe as essentially "seasonless" even though the weather gets so cold in the Northeast!
As Vivienne once asked, "Doesn't your husband wear the same wool suit all year round? Why is it different for women?"
My biggest wardrobe challenge is finding shirts that fit me– I have broad shoulders but a petite frame, so blouses don't sit right. I guess my biggest challenge is finding a tailor that can fix my wardrobe problems. What I would really like is a made to measure or custom shirt, but I haven't found good places for a woman to get those.
Julie Bower says
Hi and thanks. My biggest challenge, after the purge, is my grey and fading complexion. Stumped in Alabama.
Julie Bower says
Grey Hair….next time I'll preview.
My challenge this year is to find a winter coat that is not black! I am working on a serious closet purge and utilizing some of your worksheets as I plan purchases. Your blog is the one I look most forward to every day.
Well after several years of skin problems we discovered I'm allergic to black dye. Needless to say replacing all my black clothes is probably my biggest challenge this winter.
Rebeca Arbona says
My biggest winter wardrobe challenge is to fight the urge to give up entirely. When the weather gets cold, I just want to bundle up in comfy, cozy clothes and swaddle every exposed inch of my skin in black. Said another way, my challenge is conquering a deep-seated instinct towards fashion hibernation.
As others said, my challenge is looking nice & put together while wearing the layers required to stay warm in the great Northeast.
Marilyn Leslie says
I would love to win your little book. My biggest challenge is getting back into my winter wardrobe. Many things that fit last year are more than a liltte snug. I have been exercising and dieting, but change comes slowly and in the meantime I must have clothes to wear!
Thank you, Marilyn
My biggest wardrobe challenge in winter is finding leight weight but cozy layering pieces. I dislike heavy coats & sweaters.I found a vintage faux fur coat that's light as a feather but not good for every day coat.
Pamala Bell says
My biggest challenge is transitioning from my ad-agency Michigan wardrobe (and my own 75 sf closet) to a semi-retired Florida gulf-coast beach wardrobe (and a shared 48 sf closet). I have too many shoes and sweaters, with too few cool daysnights to wear them. Even my up-north summery clothes are not right – too heavy, wrong colors (too somber), and wrong styles. It's a process!
I don't know if I could read the book, as I know virtually no French, but I want to chime in on my biggest fashion challenge too.
I also adore your blog and am always so happy to see a new post in my inbox. I've been minimizing my wardrobe and following Project 333 since April, and using your advice as my overarching guidelines.
My biggest fashion challenge is being too particular. I feel like I know too much now about proper fit and pant length and body proportions. I wish it were easier to find quality clothes and boots to fit ME. If I had the time, I'd make and sew my own clothing, but I am a homeschooling mom of four… :-) I'm working on replacing my favorite clothes with quality items that will last longer, as my current core of shirts are wearing out very rapidly (since I only wear my favorites now).
Stacy Jo McDermott says
I think Oekmama's challenge outweighs mine by a long shot. I need to lose 12 lbs and don't think even you Janice can help me ��.
My biggest challenge is putting pieces together for an "on trend" but not too trendy look. I have the current pieces in my wardrobe, but when it comes time to get dressed in the am, (and I'm in a hurry) I can not seem to get it done. And yes, I'd like to lose 12 lbs. too!
Love your blog! My biggest challenge is to consistently plan my outfit ahead of time. When I do so, the day goes smoothly; when I don't, the day is hectic to say the least.
I am from Australia so we are moving into hot summer. I like my clothes and they mostly fit and co-ordinate. So maybe I don't have a challenge. Love this blog. It is so informative, interesting and thought provoking (in a happy way). Thanks Janice.
Gone are the days when I lived in the northeast and used to pack up my summer clothes and bring out the winter clothes. Living in the southeast can be quite a challenge for dressing for the Holidays. Take this week for example. Our weather will be dropping 40 degrees in one day but may climb back up to 80 degrees in a couple of days. So, that favorite outfit I planned on wearing will be nixed and substituted for something else. You have helped my over the years to accommodate my wordrobe for these occasions but I will have to admit that I am always a work in progress. Gratitude comes your way for all of your advice!
Debbie Jordan says
Hi Janice – have loved your blog since i stumbled upon it in June – I was 'googling' about what to pack for a week holiday up to sunny Queensland (Australian northern state) I think I have read every post in the blog and dream 'capsule wardrobes' lol! I have just signed up for a 2week trip to Italy and London in July 2015 with some fellow choristers and the first thought was 'what will I pack'. I love Navy blue, coral, creams as my basics – but also have lots of orange and red and a bit of teal in the wardrobe but not sure which one to add to the europe packing. It is coming onto summer now in australia, so its a good time to fill in the blanks – could you give me some suggestions to a travel wardrobe or do a capsule wardrobe in these colours ? lots of love debbie j, Melbourne Victoria, Australia
J'aimerais gagner "L'armoire idéale"! Mon défi est… trop de noir!
Janice Riggs says
Desole, madame, but ce n'existe pas: "trop de noir". c'est comme trop de chocolate!
I'm with Duchesse. My biggest winter wardrobe challenge–aside from avoiding hat hair while staying warm–is not disappearing in all that black. Living in NYC and traveling often to Paris I find that black is indispensable, but even with a lovely collection of scarves it just adds to the seasonal gloom and torpor.
My biggest challenge is that I need to plan for some serious shopping in Florida at the end of January. I currently live abroad and miss LLBean, Ann Taylor, Black|White, and decently priced quality shoes. I need a vision!! So, I'm working on trying to identify key pieces for my Project 333, but I'm still struggling a bit with my colors. I think I'm a cool and soft but not sure. Thank you :)
My challenge is finding nice sweaters and coats that are wool-free. I can't wear even merino or cashmere. I have large upper arms so finding items with big enough arms so that I can layer underneath is also a cold-weather challenge.
I just came across your blog. I am in love, I was/am thinking about doing the project 333 challenge and was trying to find other examples. I didn't think I would come across so so many resources! I also have a desire to learn french so I thought this was a quite a treat. I am excited to go back and read your blog.
Grammy Goodwill says
My biggest winter wardrobe challenge is knowing what to wear with skirts. I don't own any nice boots and no one seems to wear pantyhose any more. I question if tights "fit" with the material in my skirts. I'm lost.
Finding Fifty says
I love the order you put into creating a wardrobe. I've just retired and gone from two wardrobes to one. I've gotten great ideas about how to downsize and end up with the one wardrobe that suits me.
LD Siess says
Thank you for the chance to win, and thank you for the ideas and bright joy you bring with your hard work! My winter challenge, like that of some others, is to cut down on wearing so much black, so gloomy as sleet and snow accumulates under gray skies!
My biggest winter challenge is to stay warm but still stylish. Finding a hat that works for me and doesn't ruin my hair would be the top problem. Medima makes some great angora blend camisoles (although I haven't seen them in a while and would like to get afew more) so that takes care of indoors. Someone I work with told me he wears a very thin North Face down jacket, which keeps him warm, and then wears a more stylish coat on top of that. I might just try that!