May 8 2020
I couldn’t resist coming back to this painting, and to the wardrobe based on these colors!
First, let’s look back at the spring wardrobe with a core of grey and white garments, and then a few accents in blue and pink (including that blue cardigan that keeps catching my eye!):
I’m looking for accessories that are somewhat “soft” in feel, to compliment the softness of the colors here, and also for things that will look good with more than one outfit…
For our blue dress, I wanted a scarf that our heroine could wear around her shoulders (although of course she has her white cardigan that will be perfect for that!), and some earrings that also were organic in theme. Silver sandals will be useful with pretty much every outfit in this wardrobe:
Although this is a spring wardrobe, we all know that our heroine will be wearing her sweater and jeans at least once! So she will want some loafers, as well as a wee something to dress-up the neckline of her sweater. More flower and leaf-themed earrings…
Our heroine’s silver sandals would of course be great with this outfit, but I love the idea of finding sandals that echo the blue in her shirt. A touch of a blue topaz in her bracelet, and white sunglasses with a bit of blue too!
Pink and white with some pink accents, and a silver handbag – why not?
Every heroine with brains is going to want a sunhat, a watch, and some comfy tennies…
I went a little bit off the rails here – I just love this scarf so much that I wanted to include it. Koi earrings are a subtle touch of wit, and the pink ruffled sneakers are completely superfluous, but fun!
Given that I cut my own hair yesterday (dear oh dear…), I thought that our heroine might be happy to have a lovely headband in her wardrobe right now:
In warm weather, many of us like to have a larger handbag available, and nothing goes better with espadrilles than a straw bag that echoes the rope soles of the shoes…
With a “mostly grey” outfit, grey pearl earrings look perfect! And a touch of blue in a scarf harmonizes well with the blue cardigan… Blue suede shoes? Well, sandals… (everybody sing!)
Our very simple, timeless grey dress could benefit from a light linen wrap – maybe never actually used AS a wrap, but still pretty draped over an arm, or over a shoulder at dinner. Our heroine’s silver clutch and silver sandals are just right here:
Imagine having the clothes up at the top of this post in your closet, and then having THIS there with them:
Accessories don’t have to be outlandish, daring, or otherwise conspicuous to make a lot of difference in the overall look and feel of an outfit!
Is there an accessory that you wear all of the time? Right now, I’m wearing a black bracelet that has an airplane on one end of the cuff, and a wee globe on the other end. It painfully reminds me that I’m not traveling. Sigh…
p.s. Just 2 years ago, we looked at the possibilities for accessories to go with a wardrobe based on a photograph of an owl! Shades of lilac with black and white…
p.p.s. Please note, when you’re shopping online for earrings, make absolutely CERTAIN that you’re getting TWO earrings, if that’s what you want; a lot of earrings are now being sold as singles. It’s quite the moment when you open the package and just find the ONE earring…
Hallo, Thank you for the Pictures from Marie Laurencin. I Love the Colors. Greetings from Germany.
This is so pretty! I absolutely love the soft pieces with a bit of whimsy thrown in
The first ensemble and the koi set are so clever! Attention to detail really pays off.
Right now I’m only accessorizing my hair, mostly to keep it out of my face: I have some hair ties and a headband that have pearls on them.
I tried adding necklaces to my home outfits for a while, but I kept forgetting to wear them after taking them off at night, so I eventually gave up. Bracelets and rings interfere with the constant hand washing, and I can’t wear earrings!
Beth T says
I’m loving the silver and quirkiness of this post. I too have a fish scarf in similar colours.but mine is very large. I hadn’t thought to wear it with a casual outfit. Thanks.
Gorgeous wardrobe and accessories, I like how you show the little outfits along with the accessories paired with it. I laughed at your comment about cutting your own hair – every time I wash my hair now I want to do the same, but haven’t got the courage. How did you manage the back? I guess, if you make a mistake (cut too much off, make the ends lopsided or God forbid cut a whole at the side, so your ears poke through), my husband helpfully comments that it will grow back!
I grab chunks and cut off an inch. I choose chunks based on what’s sticking out the worst! Happily, most of the areas that I’m cutting have grown to the point that the ends are very uneven and wispy, so I’m not cutting off entire big wads of hair as much as I’m cutting off a lot of stray tips that keep my hair from curling as well as it might.
After I cut Belovedest’s hair, the sky’s the limit! But you’re right – I’ve got all kinds of time for it to grow back out, and since we’re using Buffs as masks right now, the entire bottom half of the back of my head is never seen in public – the Buff covers it!
I found this post particularly helpful in determining how to select accessories that work with specific outfits. My question now is do you have a method for selecting or putting together the specific outfits that will determine the accessories? I know you aren’t just grabbing items that work together – so I’m curious as to whether you have a specific “plan” going into this exercise that you could share with us.
I really don’t start with a “clear” plan – but I know that every outfit requires shoes, and then I look at the overall “mood” of an outfit to determine if athletic shoes would be better than sandals, or is the outfit “covered” enough that espadrilles feel more appropriate. After I’ve accessorized the first 2 or 3 outfits, I look at the overall collection of accessories to see what’s missing: sunglasses? hat? a bracelet? a pretty necklace? and then I look at the remaining outfits to see which outfit would be best for these.
Ultimately, I try to picture someone wearing the outfit, and try to imagine what accessory I might like to see her wearing, or dream about what would make her feel beautiful and “finished.”
It’s an inexact process, for sure!
I think one way to do this with your own wardrobe might be taking notice of what you feel is “missing” when you put on un-accessorized outfits in your daily life.
The other day I got dressed (no accessories besides shoes), looked in the mirror and thought “I wish I had a black and dainty necklace, something like a small flower”, so I decided to start doing this intentionally every time I put together an outfit and use the notes to eventually form a shopping guide.
Sally in St Paul says
Co-signed. I would also like to hear a bit more about your thinking process for the outfits themselves. I learn a lot from having this unpacked in as much detail as you can!
If you’re not bored with living in my very cluttered head, I’m happy to share!
Hi Janice, I really enjoyed this post, and it is so helpful to “see” you thinking about how, for example, that linen shawl just dresses up that grey dress that extra bit…also helpful for the post-dinner chills. Is there a specific length/style you find works better for that casual throw over? The Koi earrings might have to come home with me (I’m a Pisces) and enjoying the Elvis reference (and the shoes!). I hope you stay warm this weekend, apparently we might be getting snow here (and my cherry tree was just starting to bloom).
For a wrap, I’m looking for a scarf 60 inches minimum, those that clock in at the 6 foot mark (72 inches, or 2 meters) are better. And a width well over 12 inches is essential if you don’t want to look like you’re a mummy trying to “self-wrap” yourself! Even bumping up to 15 inches is better, 17 or 18 better yet.
It’s quite cold here this morning – I’m still in my sweatshirt robe, with my fleecy L.L.Bean slippers… sigh…
This is delightful! I too am thinking about the blue cardigan..
I own this cardigan (and the matching turtleneck sweater) in this color and love the color but not the cardigan. I don’t wear this particular cardigan anywhere near as often as other similar cardigans I own. I finally figured out why. The seams are not actually on the shoulders. They are several inches further down on the front of the sweater. I put on the cardigan and then change my mind after looking in the mirror – I feel slightly frumpy looking with the cut of the neckline and the placement of the seams. This may not even be an issue for others. But I am disappointed with this purchase. I can recommend the turtleneck though. I bought a replacement in the same color this year since I wore the one purchased last year every week for about 6 months and it wasn’t looking as fresh as it used to!
I purchased a silver colored leather handbag last year and was surprised at how versatile it is! I had some reservations about the color in the store but after putting it to use I find that the silver color is quite neutral. Looks great in any season.
Beth T says
Seven years ago a delightfully old-fashioned department store closed in a town near me. It was the kind of place where customer service was key. They sold good quality brands that last.
During their closing down sale ? I bought a soft structured shoulder handbag in a metallic grey. I have used that bag almost EVERY DAY since! Its beginning to look a bit scuffed round the edges but the stitching, zips and fastenings are sound.
I used to change my bags with her outfits but this goes with everything. It holds everything.- purse, keys, makeup bag, hand sanitizer, notebook, even a water bottle. Its soft structure is very comfortable. Just proves that quality lasts.
Sally in St Paul says
Thanks for the details of your thought process as you added these accessories. This lovely wardrobe (which I could happily move en masse into my mom’s closet as a surprise Mother’s Day gift) is even better now that it’s accessorized. And my goodness, that fish outfit is heart-stopping!
I cannot get enough of it. I am a sucker for animal touches anyway, but in this case, I love how all the accessories have a “rippling” feel to them, down to the ruffles on the pink sneakers. And while the pink sneakers seem custom-made for that particular outfit, their soft feminine vibe works well with the wardrobe overall. It occurs to me that if I wore the fish outfit, my mid-back long wavy blonde hair would be another “rippling” addition to the look. I have learned that I like the way garments with texture harmonize with my own features, but I have not before considered how that might play out with accessories. So yep, another Vivienne Files post, another insight (or 6), haha.
One thing I struggle with a little bit in warm weather is that I really, really do not like wearing any kind of open toed shoe, so sandals will never happen for me. I also find mules uncomfortable for walking because my feet just want to walk straight out of them. So I find myself mentally substituting ballet flats for all the sandals, but I’m not sure that’s the best choice (since ballet flats tend not to be the most supportive shoes for being on your feet for any length of time and they can be a little too warm). There’s hopefully a whole world of comfortable, breathable non-sandal summer shoes out there I haven’t discovered yet.
Look for canvas shoes by companies like Keds, that are styled kind of like ballet flats but built with a lot more support. There ARE ballet flats with a lot of support, that are insanely comfortable for long walking (Terry Rabotin makes wonderful shoes…) but they cost the moon. Well worth it, if you can do it!
Also, companies that make “comfortable” shoes (like WHO buys shoes that are uncomfortable? I know…) to have shoes that look like espadrilles with a fabric top and some sort of rope bottom, but with MUCH better structure and support.
I sympathize; I have friends with very odd looking toes…
Sally in St Paul says
Great suggestions! This gives me a good place to start. Thanks! :)
The one down-side of your work is that you make *every* color scheme look so beautiful — I get tempted by color and styles that are not remotely suitable for me or my life :)
On the other hand, I am having to completely re-orient my wardrobe — no more ‘need to impress’ meetings, fewer but much longer days in lab which means pants, lighter tops because the mask/safety glasses/lab-coat/gloves combination is *hot*, and a need for home clothes beyond two sets of leggings and tee shirts. I’m finding every bit of inspiration and information I need in your posts! Thank you for all your hard work.
Note to Sally in St. Paul, and others who avoid sandals: I hear you. I don’t like to display my toes in public either! I’m also in St. Paul, and highly recommend a local chain, Schuler Shoes, which has several locations in the Twin Cities (now open online), which sells good quality, comfortable shoes with style. Not cheap, but worth it, and they have good sales. I have a pair of navy suede skimmers with rope trim by a brand called Gabor, from Germany, that I wore almost every day last summer. I also have a perforated peep-toe sandal (that doesn’t actually show much toe, at least on me) from Earth in black/pewter and a fisherman-style sandal from Clark’s that gives me some ventilation while keeping my toes covered. All have cushioned footbeds, which are key for comfort. Hope that helps!