February 8, 2021
Yes, it could be “Start with Nature,” but I feel that this images owes a LOT to the photographer, and thus to me it is art… A robust discussion is welcome!
It’s supposed to start snowing by sunset…
And so she’s packing and going to be on the road by lunchtime!
Her favorite Bed and Breakfast has her favorite room available…
So she pauses for a second, and closes her eyes:
She’s not really planning to do much of anything except walk outdoors, eat when summoned to do so, and read…
Okay, maybe a nap…
So it’s pretty simple to get things together!
She can wear what she already has on, swapping out her slippers for good boots:
So long as she has her charging cord for her books (what a thought…) she will be happy! Warm, cuddly things are a priority…
She’s not worried that she will forget something; she can always visit one of the little shops in town, if she finds that she needs something essential!
She will only be away 2 nights, unless the snow is overwhelming (her fingers are secretly crossed…) so she’s well set:
Her first desire – hand her backpack to her hosts, and walk through town, to the trees…
She wants to stand there until she can hear the snow falling.
This is why she travels.
p.s. Nine years ago, I shared a minimalist wardrobe heroine from a magazine from the ’80s. It’s still a tiny wardrobe, and would be a challenge for most of us!
Sara K says
Today’s wardrobe (and photograph) are beautiful!
Checked the link to the 80’s minimalist closet. At first, it looks quite timeless, but on a second glance it started to look somewhat weird. This tiny closet has two skirts but zero layering tops (unless they are “sweaters” mentioned?). And seriously, two suits? Ok, so a suit actually consists of more than one garment which is handy when one’s goal is to make a list look short, but neverthless I think that most minimalists would prefer a cardigan to a second blazer. In fact, in 2021 many if not most people could seriously question a need for even one suit in a minimal closet that already has a dark, basic dress. Let’s not even get in weirdness that is listing bras but no other underwear or hosiery…
Dame Eleanor Hull says
The associated text does say “minus the contents of my underwear drawer,” so “closet” must refer to things that hang. Not sure why you’d hang bras, though.
Sally in St Paul says
The closest I can tell about the layering tops is that she wears the black sleeveless top (one of the “2 shirts”) that she is modeling with her suits? It’s not clear from the photo what the second shirt looks like.
If the trio of tops in the bottom right corner are the sweaters, it looks like 1 (cold weather appropriate) heavy turtleneck, 1 crew neck of uncertain weight, and 1 classic button up cardigan. So I think she is covered on the cardigan. I think most of us would distinguish a pullover sweater from a cardigan sweater, so putting them together in her list is confusing. Even though (as Janice has shown) a button up cardigan can be worn as a stand-alone top (and we know a pullover sweater can be layered over a shirt), I always categorize cardigans with toppers, separate from tops, so I would have listed 2 shirts, 2 pullover sweaters, 1 cardigan.
But it’s more than a bit strange for me to imagine having 5 bottoms (2 skirts, 1 pants, and whatever bottoms come with the 2 suits), 3 jackets (2 with suits and 1 stand alone), and only 5 shirts/sweaters (1 of which is a cardigan). That ratio feels quite off! Particularly in the warm season…how does she get by with 2 shirts? Is she hand-washing her shirt every night after changing into pajamas?
Also, was this really from the 1980s? Owning such a small wardrobe with 2 suits does feel more typical of that era, but she also mentions having a cell phone in her purse…which seems a much more recent phenomenon than even 1989.
Beth T says
Yes the ratio of suits and bottoms to tops seems a bit odd. Perhaps she’s counting tees as underwear. Perhaps she wore her clothes in the shower….
I can never tell the dark neutral color on my monitor unless the value is lighter . Is the neutral here black, dark gray, or navy ? Combining with peach is so cheerful ! I just purchased a gauzy scarf that combines navy and peach . Combining a dark neutral with a medium value pastel is a good way to move forward toward Springtime colors !
I was thinking the same thing. I think the lighter peach top would look good w/the Mt. View scarf…..
I had to scroll back to find the Mountain View scarf, but yes, I totally agree !
You really captured the “luminous” quality of the photo. Lovely!
Beth T says
I love the shading of tones in this very simple wardrobe. Silver grey to dark blue and blush to coral pink with a nod to pine green in the pyjamas.
As for the look back, I too am perplexed by nature and of the garments. I was reminded yesterday that the 1981 was 40 years ago! I’ve always been dubious about people claiming that they wear so few clothes or only one neutral colour. What did she wear under the suit jackets? If she owned so few garments why did she tell us where she shops unless she frequently had to replace her clothes every few months because they had worn out and faded from washing or dry cleaning every single day! It would be interesting to know what her wardrobe looks like now, so many decades later.
For some reason these outfits just spoke to me. I don’t know if it is the coral color which I think is beautiful or if the color gives me hope that spring is coming. I also love the sweatshirt dress. I’ll wear it with tights now and with bare legs and sneakers when it gets worm.
Check. Check. Check. Perfect.?
Wish I could go stay overnight at a BnB in the mountains.
What a gorgeous cozy group. I love the photo and the way that horizon brings the soft blush accent. Perfect weekend! Perfect packing.
Check. Check. Check. Perfect.?
I only wish we could go to a Bnb in the mountains. It’s just day trips for now.
The color on my monitor is navy, although it looked like it was going to be black shading to gray on the smaller post picture shown on the home page. I confess that using the navy instead of black made this wardrobe much more appealing to me. It is an absolutely stunning photograph and I love the accent of peach/coral, which is always a favorite of mine. Sigh, I would love to be snowed in at a cabin in the mountains with nothing to do but read right now, with soup simmering on the stove and the tea kettle whistling.
Linda P says
Hi Janice and Everyone: love the peach / apricot accents, and the entire cozy concept in general.
When I am heading out in the cold, I also want a warm, hooded parka. The colors are lovely together, and I love the inspiration art.
Sally in St Paul says
The navy/winter white/peach palette is lovely! The boots in the travel outfit are very cute.
I do very much hope that our heroine is planning to stay indoors in this wardrobe. It’s terrific for staying snuggled up at the B&B but I cannot recommend walking in the cold and snow in cotton garments. (I know, I always say this…but I don’t want anyone, even a fictional heroine, to learn first-hand why the phrase “cotton kills” exists.) However, I am willing to chalk up the use of normal indoor wardrobe choices instead of technical fabrics etc. as just one more element of the fantasy!
FYI, the link for the fleece lined jeans takes us to a pair of fleece-backed pants instead of the straight leg fleece-lined jeans.
I love it when people “nerd out” over the details – especially practical details! You are so correct – don’t go out walking in the dream wardrobe. Some people may think it’s raining on a fictional parade, but, as you so wonderfully clarified in your comment, you’re good with the wardrobe, just pointing out a little bit of practical detail. i have family that have recently moved from warmer to colder regions, and this type of comment is so helpful to people like them who wouldnt have the first clue about what is ‘functionally appropriate’ garb for outdoor winter activities like walking! Thanks for your comment :)
Sally in St Paul says
Ezzy, thanks for chiming in! You are so right that I don’t want to be a buzzkill; just adding a little warning so people are aware.
I think that the lady in the article owns too many bras. I wish Janice would make her own version of this article for fun using the same amount of clothing less bras. I enjoy the Danish view of a minimal wardrobe with a olive military jacket as a staple. Those colors are black, white, grey with the only other color in the military jacket.
One article I have kept for years for inspiration is the article on Austrian born, Ingeborg Day from the 70s in “Cheap Chic”.
She was an absolute genius when it came to developing a minimal wardrobe and the original person who conceived the idea of the Cost Per Wear system. No one ever gives her credit as a Fashion genius. She is hardly ever mentioned in the Fashion World for her ideas. Even today, I spend time trying to figure out from the article on her just about how many items of clothing did she actually own. She had one black shirt, two black sweaters, a black turtleneck, and two pair’s of black pants for Fall and Winter. Plus white for Summer. And she is the first person that discussed wearing tights in specials colors to go with her minimal wardrobe. A minimalist in the 1970s an idea unheard of at that time in history.
Janice, I give all of the credit for this incredible work to the photographer. It is a masterful composition. Composition is one of the most difficult concepts to teach and master. The debate concerning photography as an artform has been ongoing for over 150 years. Now, we have the debate over digitally altered/produced artwork. Art has many functions in society. This particular work definitely finds it’s place as it illicits emotion.
Barbara Holth says
I like this navy based wardrobe. I do hope she has some kind of warm outerwear for walking in snowy weather. But then, I’m a Floridian. I really don’t know how to dress for snow.
I would guess the minimalist is a New Yorker, with all of that black clothing! She must have felt very chic in those clothes. That wardrobe might have made sense for a career focused city dweller. Personally, I need more color and variety.
That artwork stopped in my tracks and I ended up going to the artist’s website and looking around the shop he/she has and saw many other beautiful pieces of artwork. Thank you very much for showcasing it. It’s truly beautiful.
Of course: photography is art!
I’m a big fan of theviviennefiles, I really like the concept behind it all. I also remember that you just give ideas and make suggestions, irrespective of real persons, sizes and looks (in terms of being thin, small, big, red, blonde, light or dark skin). And you also say it is important for you to only recommend clothing which is available in many sizes. Thank you for that. That said, just one thought:
Who on earth looks good in a ruana?
(Besides Claudia Schiffer or Linda Evangelista, and even that I doubt.) All your efforts amount to making your readers think and manage how to look fancy or even fancier…. I just can’t envision this with a ruana…
Greetings from Germany,
Sally in St Paul says
To me, the ruana definitely has a hygge vibe about it…it isn’t fancy and it doesn’t prioritize conventional notions of figure flattery…so pretty much perfect for this trip, in my opinion. More generally, this whole Covid winter is so much about staying indoors and feeling snuggly, relaxed, and comfortable…and there are so many people working from home…that a ruana seems to fit right in.
That said, even in a typical winter, my work building is old, drafty, and barely temperature controlled. We do have heat, but the temperature fluctuates a great deal from one part of the building to the next, and overall, most people think it’s too cold. It is not at all unusual to see people wearing hats, puffer coats, and/or blankets at their desks. (I like it to be cooler than most people prefer, so I find it very pleasing, but even so, I am often found in a puffy or quilted vest.) Compared to a person being wrapped up in a blanket, the ruana looks pretty chic, and it has the advantage of not being so long that a person’s chair wheels get caught up in it and it doesn’t cause people to trip when trying to stand up (which I have seen happen more than once).
This said, I would personally trade out a pashmina for the ruana because it’s more versatile.
Beth T says
I’m so glad that I no longer work in temperamental buildings – draughty in winter with erratic heating and freezing hallways ? Then boiling hot in the summer ?. I’m cosy at home as we contend with the Beast from the East in the UK.
Oh, I understand. For being cozy, I could imagine myself in an ruana (I really did like the colors of that pink-silvery one, presented more than once, a few weeks ago). I just was afraid that ruanas would become the number one it-pieces ?. But, of course, Janice, you have much more up your sleves! ?
Meaghan Bever says
Oh, this is lovely. Do you think you could do this but with the gorgeous green of the trees?
I looked for dark green things to include and didn’t have a lot of luck; maybe I should try more and revisit this trip with a larger wardrobe…
mmm, hot cocoa, a crackling fire and a view like that out the window. Feet in my dear one’s lap and my e-reader loaded…perfect night! Thanks for conjuring such a lovely image and a beautiful wardrobe to do it in. Solo would be also divine.
meg bever says
Maybe our heroine gets snowed in for a week but the small shop attached to the B&B has lovely green garments?
I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here with the throw back to the almost all black minimalist wardrobe . I am happy if that works for some, but nearly all black would bore me to tears , as I crave color, and it feels so funereal ! I look like death warmed over in black ! Sooo, not for me .
Shrebee – couldn’t use the reply button – usually I can, but… Someone mentioned living in NY and wearing all black – when I was in New Jersey the preponderance of my wardrobe was black and I found myself getting so depressed over the winter…. Now I absolutely love color. Also agreeing with Sally in St. Paul about the ruana – nope, not the most fashionable thing – or flattering perhaps, but nothing better for throwing over my shoulders as I leave my office (with heater) and go out into the building- which is considerably colder….