November 19, 2021
Remember our old friend, the expert in Gothic Architecture iconography?
with a wardrobe to which we added lots of accessories!
She also visited a college campus to lecture;
and she took students to The Cloisters in New York;
and she’s been working with Paris officials on Notre Dame.
You can tell that she’s a favorite heroine of mine!
This is her inspiration:
She Could Work from the Photographs
that the church in Dublin sent to her, but she decided to go actually see the carvings in their location within the building. The church members had taken advantage of the pandemic to build scaffolding and climb up to clean decades of candle smoke and incense from the tops of the columns, and anyplace else they could reach, and now they’ve found images in the ornamentation that they can’t identify!
She lives for this stuff…
She will only be there for a couple of days, and she fully expects that she will climb the scaffolding herself, just so she doesn’t miss anything…
She would actually like to be in the church for hours, to see how the light varies throughout the day. Her dream for assessing carving in a church is to have a complete year of video, to see daylight and artificial lights throughout the year…
She once discovered a carving that was ONLY illuminated on the longest day of the year, through a tiny window high in the clerestory…
Even though she’s quite elegant – almost to the point of exotic – she’s deliberately dressing down a tiny little bit for this trip. It’s never kind, nor in good taste, to be inappropriate, or to make those around you uncomfortable!
She is, frankly, thrilled with her flannel shirt. It’s soft as velvet, but not nearly as intimidating!
p.s. No more flashbacks today – I think we have enough up at the beginning of this post! So a question instead:
Do you wear socks in the winter? Do you see people who don’t? Isn’t it cold to be out with bare ankles?????
Beth T says
I love this heroine, her quietly luxurious wardrobe with hints of quirkiness like the frog prince brooch. The delicate filigree necklace appeals too. Mine motif would be a butterfly or tree of life.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the masonry restoration being done at the top of Canterbury Cathedral. Over 200 feet up the towers walking around the pinnacles and flying buttresses. Incredible to think that when the cathedral was built the scaffolding was made of wood, not iron and steel or hard hats! A spectacular view from the top as well.
I can appreciate her desire to see the church through the movement of the sun through stained glass windows. Truly mesmerising.
Of course I wear socks in winter! The temperature has to be 80F (23C +) before I consider going sockless. Feet aren’t very attractive at the best of times This fad for baring ankles under trousers makes me squirm, particularly hairy ankles on men!
Judie Ashford says
Disappointed with no flashback. I always look forward to that feature.
There are several flashback links at the beginning of today’s post!
Socks in winter? Yes, yes, yes. I usually start wearing them sometime in late September and don’t take them off until late spring. I don’t particularly like the look of them but I would simply freeze without them. I think our blood gets thinner as we age, because I don’t remember having cold feet in the coldest of winters in the UK when I wore the most inappropriate clothing and footwear! As much as I like fancy socks, because I am very short I don’t wear them as they ‘cut my legs off’ (sorry an unfortunate phrase) at the ankle and make me look even shorter, so match them to trouser colour.
I do love your ‘heroines’ and ‘stories’. I don’t wear black, white or berry so this wardrobe isn’t for me, but that little frog is whispering ‘buy me, buy me….’! I don’t have many clothes but accessories are my downfall.
I generally wear hiking sandals year round and find they keep my feet reasonably warm. I do tend to wear full length trousers though, so no cold ankles here!
If we are catching up with some old heroines, can we see how the pandemic has affected Edith and her Kingpin (head of security). I think the last time we met them was the Christmas or new years party either at the start or end of 2019 and he was about to initiate a relationship. I may not have been interested with the wardrobe, but that storyline is one that’s stuck with me.
Just to add, after reading the other comments, there is post somewhere with a heroine with “pond-scum” eyes and a lot of frog accessories of I recall correctly. I’ve had a quick look, but can’t find the post date.
The heroine with pond-scum eyes appeared on August 25, 2015 (I just discovered The Vivienne Files and have been enjoying reading older posts).
I should visit her again, shouldn’t I? Remind me if you’re fond of a heroine that hasn’t been around for a while.
Except Edith. I don’t know what else I can do with her and her gangster/detective sweetheart…
Oh Edith! My favorite!❤️ I suppose we can still enjoy her story in the flashbacks. ?
I second the idea to revisit Edith and her Kingpin. I loved both the story and the wardrobe! Maybe they’re going back to the lodge where they first met for Christmas and New Years?
A proposal, maybe?
Yes! Edith and her Kingpin are my favorite! I also love Edith’s wardrobe colors.
Ann Hicks says
Yep Edith is my favorite too!
I love this heroine and applaud her decision to dress “down” (for her it’s dressing down) out of respect for the group she’s meeting. The frog prince brooch is truly droll!
Socks are a given in winter. I don’t see the point of being uncomfortable. I see many young people (teens and 20-somethings) wearing ripped jeans on frigid, windy days and wonder how they cope. ??♀️
Beth T says
I saw some Mom style jeans with ripped knees when I was out shopping the other day. I don’t know any Mom’s who would wear them.
Oh dear heavens! I agree with you 100%. We moms are waaaay too smart and sensible to wear ripped jeans.
Oh yes to socks! I wear Birkenstocks frequently because of foot problems, but love quirky socks. I have Animals, Halloween, Stripes, Christmas. Sometimes I even mismatch them. It’s amazing what you can get away with in a Middle School! They make me happy.
I look forward to finding new cashmere socks every year. Feet always seem to not be our favorite body part so this a way to pretty them up.
Yes, indeed, I’ve been snuggling in my cashmere socks….they feel so cozy. And I ADORE this heroine and her color scheme. It is perfectly in synch with my aesthetics! Happy Happy Thanksgiving. xoxo
Socks ARE a funny thing. I wait until the last possible moment to wear them and then cannot bear to go without until about Easter! This year I have been wearing tennis socks w/my birks & Crocs and it’s funky and fun – especially as another dear reader said – when the socks don’t match. This post makes me want to travel sooooooooooooooooo much. Sooooooooooooooon.
Your border images today look a bit like the Echo Mumbai Paisley scarf.
Susan from Dublin says
I am a Dubliner and can imagine our heroine in either St Patrick’s or Chrstchurch cathedralI enjoying the architecture. My school was near Patrick’s cathedral and I
would go there to enjoy the coolness of the marble at lunchtime ( the heat and sun worshipping don’t suit this red haired milk white woman ). my classmates sun bathed in the park beside the cathedral but it was not for me.
I agree with rex that edith and the kingpin a favourite. Loved the story and the clothes. Would love to see more of that.
Also loved the story and outfits for church tower in zeeland by piet mondrian.
Have you onsidered doing the recent Echo scarf Mumbai Paisley Silk Square in the other colour, it is a really beautiful scarf.
Beth T says
I love the storyline of the Piet Mondrian painting too.
This wardrobe is delightful – translating all that velvet and glam into more “everyday”. (I’m working from home today and wearing a velvet v-neck shell as a ‘vest’… almost paired it with the velvet leggings…)
SOCKS!!!!!! absolutely!!!! I HATE cold feet. (My sister HATES socks. But even she wears them when its cold out!!! Her favorite time of year is when she can ‘shed the socks’)
Like many, I have… picky… feet. I put shoe inserts into my work shoes, figuring that if my feet are well supported 80% of the time, I can get away with some cuter shoes the other 20%. I don’t wear shoes in the house (house slippers yes, shoes no). So when the pandemic started I ended up with some very uncomfortable and painful feet for a month or 2. I bought BOMBAS socks and that extra ‘supportive’ weave on the arch area made a HUGE difference for me – now they are all I wear. I’m not affiliated with them or anything, but thought I would share in case it helps others.
Bombas socks are wonderful- so soft and comfy. The absolute best thing about the company is for every pair you buy they donate a pair to a homeless shelter. The same goes for their underwear and t-shirts.
I’d like to see a revisit to The Visit – Marie Laurencin ?
Nancy M says
Try Haflingers for house slippers. I first bought them when a sales associate recommended them for a painful case of plantar fasciitis. Very supportive and comfortable – I won’t go without them inside. My experience has convinced a dozen family members to try them as well.
Susan from Dublin says
As to socks….
I wear mine to match my trousers as soon as my feet feel cold. Removing them only when my feet get too hot. The weather in Dublin is unpredictable (we can get all four seasons in one day as you know only too well). Therefore once I take off my socks I carry around a spare pair for a short while because the weather can turn nasty. Cold feet make you feel cold all over and that’s not nice.
Kathleen Doherty says
Currently I cannot wear socks because of a medical condition, though sometimes when it’s very cold I can wear a light cotton sock – with the Birks I live in. We had our first really cold day this week and I went to teach the class in Birk sandals and a winter coat, a rather strange look. However, I love to knit socks and make a pair for everyone in my family each year. I enjoy making all the patterns and putting all the colors together, but not for me.
I love this wardrobe, but I’m a small petite and the beautiful velvet pieces are too big for me.
Thanks for the beautiful wardrobe.
I find that the cropped or ankle pant/sock combo is difficult in the fall, but once winter hits and we are wearing boots, it’s socks, all the way! I have debated getting some ‘skin toned’ socks but just haven’t done it yet. Not sure how that would look but at least it would be less drafty!
vi herron says
absolutely socks, and wool inserts in thermal boots, we live in the poconos, and it can get seriously cold here in winter.
gillian goodwin says
I love the starting image, the heroine, and the variety of colors and textures in this suitcase. Many, many gold stars for this post. (As for socks, it can reach the -30s here in winter, so we wear socks unless we are showering.)
Love it! So elegant yet workable. Yes to socks in Canadian winters!
I just love the stories you weave about your heroines. The clothing, the art, the fantasy- it’s just so much fun! Thank you for sharing your gifts.
Socks? Yes, they keep your ankles warm in the north. If I lived in warmer climes, no. It makes me happy that there are so many fun socks nowadays.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers!
Not only socks (who needs blisters and smelly shoes?) but I also struggle with the stockings issue. If I’m wearing a black skirt or black shoes, black tights are fine. But what about light colored skirts? Colored shoes? And my legs have enough veins and bumps that I’m not eager to display them bare. But allegedly pantihose are old lady. What to do?
I do not wear socks in the winter. No real reason I can give you for this. I just never liked socks. My ankles do not get cold but I am generally moving around if I am outside. Also I was raised in Minnesota so perhaps I am used to it.
Christina McCallum says
Yes to socks! I live in the midwest, very close to Lake Erie, so socks are a thing with work ensembles from about November to April. Otherwise, I wear little ped things to keep my shoes nice. I work in a legal environment so tend to more conservative attire, fun socks are for off time only!
NATALIE K says
I wear socks when it’s cold here during the winter!! This is Arizona so what would be cold months in other places are very warm here. It is November and we’re having high 80’s weather. My girlfriend and I went shopping yesterday and both wore sandals. I want cold weather so badly to wear my cold weather clothing!! My husband reminds me that this warm weather is why people move here and just come for the winter(snowbirds). I wish we lived where it is cold but no snowed in days because I’m on dialysis.
Janice, every time you use this heroine, I swoon! Carla.
For sure love cozy socks but it’s almost year-round flip-flops (Fit Flops) around here :/
Hugs to all
I adore this heroine, her unabashed glamor and panache- even dressed down- is so inspiring. One always vows to dress up a little more when she’s around. Maybe I could wear lace, or remember to wear that floral ring at the bottom of my jewelry box…
Absolutely socks fall, winter and spring; merino wool is tops for comfort. I also say NO to ankle-length pants for cool and cold weather. When not in full-on blast mode, the winds of Chicago are still sneaky, insidious and colder than you’d think from the outdoor temperature alone. Plus I bike everywhere, even in cold dry weather. I just ordered some ankle length pants in a tall and they are a proper, ankle-covering length, so my socks just peak out with low shoes or when I cross my legs wearing mid-height urban hikers. (If only EF would carry a choice of inseam lengths. Those velvet pants are so tempting.)
Eileen Fisher carries those in Petite sizes, if you need them shorter… I have them and they’re workhorses, for dress and just for everyday, when you need a bit of a soft, pretty touch to an outfit!
Sally in St Paul says
Sock wearing is too situational for me to generalize in any way. Winter…how cold are we talking? Out and about…where and doing what? Did they commute by car or by public transport or by foot?
My vision of being out and about in winter involves under 0F and significant snow on the ground, which means boots. But I will say that I don’t like my feet to be overly warm (if anything I prefer my feet to feel a little bit too cool, not to the point of severe discomfort but definitely I like them to feel somehow cooler than ideal…which I recognize is weird) so I like to avoid socks as much as possible…except when I’m sleeping and then warm feet and socks are a must in the cool seasons.
On a day when it’s 30F and no snow, I would wear ankle pants and flats without socks to work or errands because I’m driving and only out for 5-10 minutes at a time (though I keep socks + boots in the car year-round). People are often out and about at stores and such without coats because indoor places are so overheated in the winter here and coats can be left in the car.
Now the thing I don’t understand is people who don’t wear gloves outdoors! Don’t their hands get cold??? Haha.
Yes, definitely, gloves before socks! – nancyo
Yes to socks, usually wool socks that match my pants. I also add sock liners, silk or polypro, they are especially helpful when I wear a thinner trouser sock.
I wonder, does anyone wear socks with a driving moccasin – patterned for fun or a solid? Which works for you?
I wear handknit socks almost all year. Even in the summer because of air conditioned offices. In the summer I keep my sandals in the car and switch out after work.
I wear a lot of hand knit socks, too. They feel sublime on the feet and I can g et the colors I love.
Barbara G says
I also wear handknit socks. I have converted my daughter and her husband, my son and finally my husband. My mother and 3 sisters also wear my handknit socks. Stripes, solids, patterns . . . knit and wear them all.
Cheryl Klassa says
I have new shoes that haven’t stretched yet, so I have to wear thin socks and the only thin socks I have leave my ankles bare – basically no show socks. My ankles were so cold, even though I had pants that covered my ankles on as well! So yes, I wear socks!
beth byrd says
Oh, this heroine’s life is divine … as is her wardrobe. The flannel shirt is the best!
Love that she is sensitive to the group she will be with — smart cookie, isn’t she?
As to socks … in the summer I wear peds with my dressier shoes. I live and work in northern Ohio so socks are a must in the cooler months. I do have quite a collection. Some dressy, some fun, some thin, some thicker. Just another accessory I enjoy.
Here in Iowa-socks from mid-October till sometime in April.
I match my socks to the color of my pants,for an unbroken line.I prefer the focus on my face,not my feet!
At home,or when walking in the cold, I wear Nordic Socks.I discovered them last year and highly recommend them.
Socks in cold weather ? Heck yeah !
Favourites? I always like the ones with unusual jobs or hobbies: the psychiatrist, the soil engineer, the ornithologist. Also the woman who was everybody’s caregiver but then found herself a p.r. job.
Oooo, I think the soil engineer is one of the ones I’ve saved links too as I found her colour palette and style choices to be similar to my tastes. I wonder where we left her?
They are all so inspiring and just getting on with life and going for wins.
I am a socks person and am in full rebellion against ankle length (or higher!) pants in the winter. Perhaps fine for California or the South. Not fine for the Upper Midwest. I don’t care if my jeans are unfashionably long. To heck with all things cropped.
TVF fans: Janice has delivered to us a very important guideline.
“It’s never kind, nor in good taste, to be inappropriate, or to make those around you uncomfortable!”
I call these important nuggets “Janiceisms,” the best advice for looking good and living our best lives. And this one reminds me a lot of Miss Manners aka Judith Martin who always insisted on being a decent human being. ❤️❤️❤️to you all.
Lorrie Orr says
This is one of my favourite characters created by you. She is such an interesting person, and kind, too. I love her berry sweater.
It’s always a sad day in late September or October when I have to put socks on for the first time. I do so only because it’s the only way to keep warm. I see some people sockless during the cold months and wonder how they survive. And I don’t like my socks to show, so longer pants or higher boots are de rigueur.
This heroine! I still swoon over the rose print skirt in a previous essay! Even when she was working from home her wardrobe was stunning. I think this wardrobe is perfect for crawling up scaffolding though I think jeans or cords would be more useful.
This heroine is simply dressing for the work she is embarking upon. Nothing more or less. She is not silly enough to think a lace skirt or heels would work in this situation. Making others (or herself)uncomfortable wouldn’t even cross her mind. That being said she remains true to her style.
Pantyhose can’t be ‘old lady’ because I don’t know any older ladies who wear them! In cool weather they wear trousers or leggings and shorts,linen pants or skirts with bare legs in summer. I am referring to women in their 70’s and 80’s! The 85 wears a brief and confided that panty hose made her too hot. Her younger friend (79) told me that the only ‘old lady’ she knows who wears panty hose is the Queen and “that’s because the force her too” Scalliwags!
I avoid the ‘baring the ankles yes or no?’question with ankle boots that have a slightly higher shaft. No baring of elderly flesh to offend or freeze in our -20C winters, though when the mercury is that low we are into proper winter boots aren’t we?
I want to hear about that long ago older heroine who was heading to a European destination to meet up with someone but was ( if I remember correctly) keeping her family in the dark about her amour. Also the heroine who walked to get into shape and bought a lovely wardrobe to wear in France. Was willing to pay for a ticket for a family member to join her but was rather judgementally turned down….I so wished she was my sister, or cousin….and the art was stunning, a female artistI believe!
I just reread the Edith saga…I think they eventually married and bought the resort (turns out Kingpin had a small inheritance tucked away) which they now operate…Oh yes, first they went to Europe for their honeymoon and her VERY wealthy parents gave her carte blanche to buy whatever she wanted to wear on the trip!
Teri M says
Since I am not the only Teri in the world, I think I will follow Beth T’s example and be Teri M.
Janice, can I ask what your reviews are on the cashmere sweater from Quince that you decided to try out?
I love socks. Socks are the best! I wear them all the time except
So far I’m very pleased with it; if I don’t mention it again, remind me and I will let you know again in a few weeks when I’ve worn it more. But right now, I would happily buy from them again!
If you’re still looking for another character, how about the woman from On The Train by Jacqueline Osborn. She had the most beautiful blue tonal look for her two month autumn trip through Europe. It would be fun to see a wardrobe in the colors of her outfit on the train for a winter trip. I bet she had a wonderful trip alone in the autumn and has a fantastic trip planned for winter :-)
Oh she was amazing…
You know this fellow art history type is my favorite heroine, and it doesn’t hurt that her colors are similar to mine. I actually own versions of most of today’s capsule, so maybe I will try impersonating her and see if it gets me any offers of fancy travel + art work! – nancyo
Another Canadian- winter demands socks in shoes and boots here, but I leave my shoes or boots at the door when I get home, strip off the socks and run around barefoot in the apartment all winter. I feel claustrophobic, till the socks come off. Outdoors I see a lot of boots and I can’t tell if the people wear socks inside them.
I don’t understand the trend of wearing shoes without either socks or hose to keep the shoes clean and smelling fresh. I always figured socks prevent blisters too. It seemed to start in the late 80s or early 90s about the time pantyhose became slightly passé.
I love so many of these items! I cannot wear bare ankles in winter, way too cold.
Things to do says
The color palette is so pretty! I love the inspiration!