October 29, 2021
You’re a WHAT?
First graders. Teaching them to pronounce lepidopterist is quite fun…
Explaining that you don’t study leopards is also amusing…
She’s actually on her way to a solar energy conference, but she was invited to visit an elementary school to explain her work, in the same city (just an hour away from home), so she’s doubling up!
As hard as it might be for her to be bright and stand out, she’s wearing bright blue for her young audience:
They all talk about how important butterflies are, and how they grow, and what we can learn from them. She actually gets very good ideas from small children…
But NOW, she gets to (has to?) explain to a bunch of solar types how the structure and movement of the scales on butterfly wings can be applied to solar installations. If wings can fold, why can’t panels?
She wants to be VERY low-key… She’s not sure how her insights will be received…
What she packs is closer to her comfort zone than her travel outfit, but she actually feels pretty comfortable that everything’s going to work out well together…
She’s only going to be there for 2 days, and this is NOT a dressy crowd; she feels well prepared…
She learned long ago that looking to nature for a color combination gives you permission to combine ANY colors! Butterflies come in every possible combination imaginable; if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for her…
p.s. Eight years ago, I shared with you an idea that could be one of my very best EVER – the “Triple Top” secret…
Beth T says
A lovely restful wardrobe that has given me the idea of experimenting with blue and taupe. Love the scarf.
I hope the kids spent the week learning how to spell lepidopterist and other such words. Solar panels that open and close with the sun is a neat idea. How about solar panels that follow the sun? Sunflowers and other flowers follow the sun because bees settle on flowers facing the sun. Birds mainly feed on the sunny side of the garden or pond. I would like to see all new buildings with solar roofs.
Solar roof tiles are extremely expensive with low efficiency rates and not readily available in the UK. I would think it would push the cost of a new build house beyond the reach of most people. However, solar panels seems to be the better option, but if so, why do so few houses have them installed?
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced is due to fossil fuels energy lobbies. On the consumer side, sometimes we compare a monthly payment with an initial investment, which will make the change a no-go.
The subject’s right up my alley! There are already solar panels that follow the sun. If you go for biomimicry.org they have videos that are SO interesting! They even have a new report on “The nature of fashion” that talks about how would this industry can work as an ecosystem. That’s why I love what I do, sustainability is so diverse and adaptable as our dear heroines!!
Blessings and happy weekend to y’all!
For a “solar daisy” see the Smartflower at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btdX8QdbyRQ
So cool Anon! Thanks for sharing!
Dear Janice – I wanted to make my first ever comment to say how much I appreciate that your heroines are often scientists and engineers. As a (now senior) scientist turned manager, working in STEM, I was introduced to your blog in 2013 by a (more senior and very stylish) colleague. At the time, I was discussing with her the challenges of dressing appropriately as your career progresses, when every else in the room is a (normally scruffy) man and looking like you made too much effort can make your colleagues think that you are not serious about the important business of science! During the lockdowns and periods of working from home I have had endless fun “playing Vivienne Files” in my own wardrobe. I think the Number 1 lesson I have learnt from you is to buy more unremarkable items – those plain tops and bottoms that let you actually get dressed every day. Thanks so much!
Beth T says
Hi Suzanne. I’m so glad that you have found this group through your colleague.
It is a strange thing that “if you look smart and stylish, you can’t be serious about science”! Rubbish. Perhaps the male scientists could do with sprucing up. Why should a scruffy man wearing threadbare clothes be taken seriously?
I’m a librarian who worked in medical, science and tech libraries. I always wore a jacket until the day a male colleague told me that I was over dressed! I ignored him.
Then I looked at the men I worked with and saw that they were wearing badly fitting, over worn and sometimes threadbare clothes, even their suits looked terrible. I also paid close attention to the clothes my male friends and now husband wore. They had a few sets of clothes that they wore in rotation. They might only go shopping for suits or special occasions. Men choose to wear the same clothes for 20/30 years as badge of honour. It’s not just scientists either.
It is a shame that men think so little about the power of their appearance. A stylish, well dressed man stands out from the crowd. People take notice of them.
Hi Beth! I am really laughing with recognition at your descriptions of your working life. It’s all very familiar. Thanks for your nice reply.
As an Engineering Manager I too love the diversity of the heroines on this blog.
The male body is so different and the daily uniform that Male engineers wear doesn’t really translate at all well to the Female body. For some reason a collared t-shirt (Polo shirt in Australia and Europe) and slacks can look quite smart on a man but it doesn’t look half as smart on a woman. It also doesn’t flatter the female body AT all unless they are tall and under 25. I spent all my 20’s trying to mimic the boys and it never worked for me. Took most of my 30’s to figure out my own uniform. Depending on the job I was part of the first or second generation of women making it into Management so there wasn’t any kind of variety or women to look at to use as inspiration.
Hello! Yikes – I would also not cut a dash in polo shirt and slacks. Sometimes I enjoyed the freedom of essentially being able to decide how a woman should dress in the particular workplace, by virtue of being the only one! But it was a bit lonely.
Gail Finke says
I have two turtlneck sweaters similar to the green one from J Crew — both from LL Bean (“cotton cashmere”) — one classic black, one in my favorite denim blue. I love the way they fit my body and arms BUT, even though they are petite, they have gigantic turtlenecks and I am have a short neck. These things are super long, and not loose. I’ve tried folding them, rolling them, all sorts of things. I’m seriously considering cutting the black one and seaming the edge, maybe it won’t show on black. Anyone have any tips for dealing with turtleneck tubes that are just too long??
I have 2 ideas: get some elastic thread and do several vertical lines of a running stitch from bottom to top of the turtle neck. This will soften the look and give the neck band a scrunched look.
Idea 2: cut the turtle neck to desired width. Purchase embroidery floss in the same color or accent color and do a blanket stitch around the raw edge to finish off the raw edge. The blanket stitch could also be done along the sleeves to tie the look together and add some interest.
Beth T says
I like cowl necks particularly for second layers. They are looser than turtlenecks (polonecks in UK) and suit my short neck. I can wear a thin turtleneck top underneath. The only other option for turtle neck tees would be to trim and rehem.
joyce johnson says
Hi Gail — I get it. Turtlenecks show off my “waddle”. Yuk.
I used a couple of safely pins, pinching about 1″ of the turtle at the base of the neck seam. The pins are inside and don’t show. You’d be left with only 1″ at your neck, with the rest of the turtle falling lower. (works for me with my llbean turtles). good luck.
–joyce — a faithful reader of Vivienne!
Kathryn Hemstead says
If I wore the colors of in the bag, I would purchase every piece. I do love the outfits for going to school and teaching the children about butterflies. Your stories are as wonderful as the clothes you select.
Your triple top secret is the bomb ! I have gotten so much mileage out of using this approach, thanks for the review of the concept !
Sally in St Paul says
I like the overall low value contrast of this wardrobe + the white T (because most of us really do like having a white T). This capsule would have been perfect for the wildlife conferences I attended in a previous life (although my motif would probably have been birds instead of butterflies), and I imagine that she’ll feel very confident in her choices at a solar energy conference also. Love that she included some blue garments for meeting with the little kids. I agree with others who have said, Yes, keep the scientist and engineer heroines going!
How do you wear scarves so you aren’t mocked like Deborah Birx? I just don’t feel comfortable in one even though I like them.
I rather liked her scarf image .
Oh I don’t think Dr. Birx was mocked just for her scarves…;)
Beth T says
Living in the UK, I had to look up Deborah Birx. I suppose when one has a signature look, people look out for it and everyone thinks they have a right to comment favourably or otherwise.
There are lots of different styles of scarves including narrow ties, small squares, long scarves, pashminas. If you know someone who has a lot of scarves ask to try some on to see which suit. I tend to wear scarves in colder months primarily to keep my neck warm. My favourites are ones that blend with an outfit rather than make a statement.
By the way, Theresa May, former British Prime Minister, has a huge online following for her shoes.
lisa laree says
Oh, my goodness, what a beautiful scarf! That is truly a great base for a wardrobe!
Morag Wishart says
Gail have you tried “mock neck” tops. Lands End do cotton ones in lots of colours. They are not quite as high as polo necks, I think they are what we call turtle necks here in Scotland. Great for layering under woollen cardigans and jumpers and even shirts.
Andrea Andresen says
I’m doing a little happy dance -my favourite neutrals- together- in one palette. Love it and the wee story you’ve created behind it.
Jackie Katz says
I really appreciate this post. This fall, I re-introduced olive to my wardrobe and have purchased several forest moss Lands End pieces. This post has given me ideas how I can integrate them with several bright blue and grey orphans in my closet.
Nice article…His post has inspired me to combine them with a few bright blue and grey orphans in my closet.
Really beautiful collection, Thanks for sharing it
Kimmy Kervel says
This is mind blowing, thanks for sharing this valuable content.