November 21, 2018
You know when you read that this is our heroine’s favorite painting that her wardrobe will be interesting:
This heroine definitely has her own preferences, but she’s smart enough to have a plan that keeps her wardrobe purposeful and organized:
Back in January this very interesting woman took a trip – packing lots of linen shirts, and plenty of scarves!
And then in April she was on the road again – maybe driving to see a quilt exhibit, or a dog show, or a new arboretum… She has a wide range of interests!
In July she traveled for a family wedding; why do I suspect that she’s a lot of fun at any gathering?
It’s clear that someone really likes her – she was invited along for the season opening of the opera back in October! She really pulled out all of the stops getting dressed for this trip… (I would consider doing something embarrassing for this blouse… or for the “starry” dress from July…)
I wasn’t quite sure what she would find when she assembled all of her travel capsule wardrobes – these colors are very unexpected, and she has covered every option from tee shirts for a road trip to a velvet skirt for the opera! But they all “hang together” pretty well:
What’s really stunning, to me, is her accessories!
Here’s where I’m challenged – what can one find to suggest for a woman who so clearly knows her own mind, and who has managed her wardrobe so well? I fell back to the 4 by 4 Wardrobe template, to see if there was anything glaring that I could see that she really needs…
One might make the case for a black shirt, tee shirt, or blouse, but I frankly suspect that this woman has already considered that idea and chosen something in a pastel instead! Perhaps a pair of black jeans? Or a floral skirt that has a black background, and that includes in the print all of her favorite pastels? (or an aquatic print – THAT would be so perfect for her…)
And what about her accessories? At first glance it might seem that she has some excess, but for someone who has retired, it makes sense that her accessory collection might be large. For example, if you buy a nice watch when you graduate from college (maybe it’s a graduation gift…), but another one for your 40th birthday, and then one for retirement, you do indeed own 3 watches. Is this too many? Who among us can decide that for someone else?
Similarly, if you purchase a really lovely handbag every 5 years for your entire life, your heirs are going to be happily surprised when they have to clean out your home…
If you don’t feel guilty and aren’t in debt, you own what you want. At least in my ideal world!
I was able to think of a (very) few things that she might find useful, however. More than anything, I think that a dark winter coat makes a lot of sense in this wardrobe. Light-colored outerwear is just an invitation to every dark, greasy, nasty, permanently-staining drip, smudge and spot in the world!
And she doesn’t have a pair of simple loafers. Her boots can go a long way in the world, but loafers are versatile and appropriate for so many things. Similarly, I wanted to get her a really utilitarian handbag in black…
But to make it all look like it reflects HER, I also want her to put at LEAST 1 pretty brooch on that black coat! Heck, with these lapels, she could wear all 3 at once… Knowing this woman in our hearts, we can envision that…
I think it’s obvious that I would like to meet all of the heroines from The Vivienne Files, but this particular woman has lessons to teach me. How did she develop such clearly pronounced tastes, and the unflagging self-confidence to wear them with such joy?
How do YOU develop such a clearly pronounced taste to put all these together? Wonderful!!!!
A vivid fantasy life…
Mama Squirrel says
Anne Tyler’s classic response re her novels: “because I want more than one life!”
There is a lot of grey in that painting but I don’t see that reflected in the wardrobes. The 4 x 4 seemed to me unbalanced with too much black. I would change the 2nd core of four to Dove Grey/Taupe shades and add in some new pieces: Jacket, Jumper, long sleeved t-shirt, jeans/chinos. I would also add some grey accessories: suede booties, warm scarf, handbag and some mixed metal jewellery – maybe a pretty pendant necklace or two.
I have five wrist watches in my collection, three I bought myself for landmark occasions and two from my husband as Christmas presents. They are all completely different in colour and style and I have had great fun pairing them up with one or two co-ordinating bracelets and bangles. I know this may sound strange but I don’t use them as timepieces anymore but as fashion jewellery. Once the battery runs out I don’t bother getting a new one – I just use my smartphone to check the time.
Yes, I would also add more gray. The black feels a bit too heavy for the softer colors.
Hallie Coletta says
Lovely lovely, as always. Here is a scarf that I found on Etsy that I’m sure you will love, Janice. It’s full of stars and constellations. Happy Thanksgiving. -Hallie https://www.etsy.com/listing/255318512/silk-scarf-with-moon-and-stars?ref=search_recently_viewed-4&ep_click=1
Hallie Coletta says
Love this wardrobe. I thought you’d appreciate this scarf that I saw on Etsy. It’s got stars and constellations all over it….https://www.etsy.com/listing/255318512/silk-scarf-with-moon-and-stars?ref=search_recently_viewed-4&ep_click=1 Happy Thanksgiving, Janice. – Hallie
I’ve got a scarf on order from a company in Dublin that’s the Dublin skyline with stars – I will share when it arrives!
Gorgeous scarf, Hallie. Also liked others from the same collection.
Vicki Cook says
I agree with Sharon. All these pastels seem to call for gray – both core pieces and accessories.
I’m so happy that you both see something that you would change, and that you feel comfortable expressing that here. I tried in this wardrobe to see how black and pastels would work; I’m always hopeful that if you see something that you DON’T like, you can still take something from my work. I can accept criticism and praise in equal measure, as long as we’re all honest, and all friends!
Margie from Toronto says
I must be having a good morning – as soon as I saw the 4 x 4 set up and accessories I thought to myself, she needs some more casual black shoes and a black purse! :-)
This wardrobe really makes me smile and much as I love my basic black, I too would swap out a few pieces for a few silver grey basics – those soft blues & pinks would just be so perfect with a lovely grey.
It is just so feminine and pretty and yet not fussy – I could quite happily wear this wardrobe for years to come.
Happy Thanksgiving to you Janice and to all the US commenters.
That is so funny that you included a brooch for the coat. I always have to have a brooch on my coat, though I never wear them any other way! Sometimes it takes longer to choose the brooch than the coat.
Joan Cecile says
Ah, so many thoughtful, useful answers to a very thought provoking post this morning. Thank you, Janice, for getting my gears moving. I was actually physically relieved when you added the black coat with shoes and bag. Your lady seems grounded and the last additions were right on. Love the pins– I am trying to use mine more instead of other kinds of jewelry. As I meditate on the complete wardrobe I can see my dark midnight blue with plum purple or watery blues. A pin or two, and I feel just as smart and ready for adventure! By the bye, I can’t help announcing we finally have rain in the area of northern California suffering from a horrific fire and days of hazardous air quality. I have so much to feel thankful for, and hope all readers of this post do as well. Happy Thanksgiving.
I really like this colour scheme and the new additions give the wardrobe an extra level of sophistication. The black may look a bit heavy on screen, but in real life I often wear black with soft pink or blush. A patterned scarf or something in taupe can be a good blender, but without it the contrast looks fresh and modern, less obvious than black with white or red.
So I’m sold on this one. I’d probably skip the blue, and focus on the warmer shades of green and yellow – actually that first brooch is perfect!
I was a bit surprised by the deep black coat … and then you brightened it up with those brooches! So fun, particularly with a lovely scarf.
… and now you have me obsessing about loafers, too …
This is a great site, Janice – thank you :)
Barb in Canada says
I just love the lives of these heroines! I think you’ve got this one bang on. Silvery grey is lovely but not for this lady. She’s got that little edge that the black expresses so well. The contrast between the soft pastels and the black is just right for her. I think. This wardrobe is so NOT in my wheelhouse, but I love it anyway. Keep up the great work! The creativity in your site keeps me coming back for more. I love the wardrobes and I have learned so much about building a capsule wardrobe from your site and I recommend it to everyone!
PS. I love the soil analyst storyline. How do you come up with these?
nina t says
where’s the gray? i would use the med.gray as the base top/bottom and the black as accessories (shoes, belt, bag.) now, to find a spot that has all the same or close-to grays…
I think she woke up one morning after turning 40 & realized she’s not going to please everyone so why bother.
She likes solid black and she enjoys pastels and she wants both….. together! No matter who likes it or not. In fact she kind of likes upsetting others expectations just enough to make them think twice about her, maybe irritate them just a tiny bit.
She enjoys the contrast and feels nothing makes her pastels look livelier and nothing else makes her blacks feel uniquely hers. There’s an energy about both together that gives her joy.
That’s how this heroine has felt to me all year long & it’s been one of the wardrobes I’ve enjoyed & looked forward to seeing.