Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Start With Nature: Pigeons

I have to confess, I think pigeons are beautiful.  Annoying little sky rats, yes, but beautiful; their shades of grey, with iridescent green and purple...

So when I was asked to build a wardrobe based on a photograph of a pigeon, I was happy to do so.  But there's no way I'm addressing those red eyes!

This was the original photo I received.
These are the colors I've chosen.
Tee shirt – Uniqlo, shorts – Dorothy Perkins, flip flops – OluKai, dress – Armani Collezioni, cardigan – Nick and Zoe, bracelet – Oliver Bonas, sandals – Nina
Sleeveless top – L.K. Bennett, wide leg linen pants – White Stuff, iolite earrings – Mabel Hasell,  sandals – Caparros,  earrings – Claudia Baldazzi, clutch bag – Knights and Roses, dress – Vince, sandals – Nina
Sweater – New Look, shorts – Dorothy Perkins, canvas shoes – Toms, bag – Meckela, earrings – YooLa, tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, shorts – Dorothy Perkins, flip flops – OluKai
I think this makes a lovely wardrobe...
grey tee shirt – Uniqlo, shorts – Dorothy Perkins, flip flops – OluKaidress – Armani Collezioni, cardigan – Nick and Zoe, bracelet – Oliver Bonas, silver sandals – Nina, Sleeveless top – L.K. Bennett, wide leg linen pants – White Stuff, iolite earrings – Mabel Hasell,  blue sandals – Caparros,  earrings – Claudia Baldazziclutch bag – Knights and Roses, blue dress – Vince,  sweater – New Look, shorts – Dorothy Perkins, canvas shoes – Toms, bag – Meckela, hoop earrings – YooLa, floral tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, shorts – Dorothy Perkins
                        Dorothy Perkins(US)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chic Sightings: Navy Tunic and White Cropped Trousers, times 6

It seems to be almost the uniform of the weekend - roll up the sleeves of a navy linen tunic, pull on some white cropped trousers, and accent with brightly colors jewelry and sandals...  The jewelry isn't all precious stones, and the sandals are casual, but the effect of the bright accents was very eye-catching.

I think you can learn a lot about your personal color preferences based on which of these looks appeal to you, or which you swear you could never wear!
Navy linen tunic – Jaeger, white cropped trousers – Boutique by Jaeger
Navy linen tunic – Jaeger, white cropped trousers – Boutique by Jaeger, pink earrings – Baccarat, hot pink bracelet – Aurelie Bidermann, hot pink sandals – Coconuts, green crystal earrings – YooLa, bracelet set – Max and Chloe, green sandals – Seychelles
Navy linen tunic – Jaeger, white cropped trousers – Boutique by Jaeger, lapis earrings – Khun Boom, lapis bracelet – Sasina, royal sandals – DV by Dolce Vita, yellow crystal earrings – Bottega Veneta, yellow sapphire ring – Allurez, yellow sandals – Sofft
Navy linen tunic – Jaeger, white cropped trousers – Boutique by Jaeger, turquoise earrings – shanny alon, turquoise bracelet – LeiVan Kash, turquoise sandals – Circus by Sam Edelman,  coral earrings – Rebecca Minkoff, coral bracelet – Apartment 48, coral sandals – BP


Monday, July 21, 2014

Wardrobe Slot Machines and Packing

Business travel is a conundrum for many of us, so I'm going to try to suggest a few ways, now and then, to approach the packing...

Suppose, for example, that at the end of October, you are going to have/get to come to Chicago for a two day sales conference.  Literally only a day and a half of meetings, and then back on the plane.  You're going to have to bring a briefcase with both your laptop and tablet, so you don't really want a lot more to carry.  And being able to NOT check a suit case would be delightful...

Enter this:

Blazer – Ralph Lauren Black Label, cardigan –  Acne Studios, sweater – Maxmara, blouse – Momoni, key print blouse – Dolce and Gabbana, black tee shirt – Isabel Marant Etoile, black suede skirt – Damsel in a Dress, black trousers – The Row,  jeans – Mother

So you can choose to wear anything from this little machine for travel - probably a cardigan, tee shirt and jeans, right? And pack the other six garments, as well as these accessories (you're probably wearing a pair of earrings, and the nifty cheetah-print loafers:

stud earrings – Chen Fuchs, hoop earrings – Maya Magal, cheetah loafers – Naturalizer, cap-toe wedges – French Sole, smoking loafer – Easy Spirit, necklace – Alexis Bittar, scarf – Hermes Fleurs et Papillons de Tissus

Okay, it's easy to see that you have lots of outfit choices, but what you REALLY gain from this is flexibility for unexpected circumstances:

  1. If the meeting turns out to be more formal than expected, and you can't wear your jeans, nor your crewneck sweater, you still have enough clothes.
  2. Conversely, if the CEO is wearing jeans, you can wear YOUR jeans every day, with any of the shirts or blouses you've packed.
  3. If someone breaks a pen all over your sweater while you're on the plane, you still have enough clothes.
  4. If it's freezing cold in Chicago, you can still wear your pants, and even layer the sweater UNDER the cardigan.
  5. If you have to do something unexpectedly dressy, you have a black skirt and top, as well as some pretty jewelry and a scarf.  The scalloped wedges would be ideal with this, and you'd still be able to walk back to the hotel from the restaurant without being in pain.
  6. If you have to present, and you weren't expecting to do so, you have a glorious blazer and beautiful skirt that will look both businesslike and elegantly lovely.
The best part of having a travel wardrobe that's well-conceived is that you're prepared for most eventualities, and that frees you up to concentrate on what you're actually travelling for, be it work or fun!

                        Alexis Bittar

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Are You Still Struggling with Color Schemes? Looking for Ideas?

First page of content, so far....

If you can wait a week or two, I'm going to have a GIGANTIC color scheme file available to buy - it will be 191 pages, and contain 1,456 different suggested color schemes. Each suggestion will include two of the neutral colors from the "Combinations of 3 Neutrals" file, plus two additional colors to act as accents.  Some of the schemes will be quite bright, some very subtle, and some almost monochromatic.  And I think you can assume that there will be some things here that you never expected!

Right now, I'm going back through all 985 posts on The Vivienne Files to make sure that I capture every color combination that I've used here on the blog.  I will additionally refer to my collection of color reference books, and of course dream up a stack of combinations that interest or appeal to me.

There's an index at the beginning of the book which will link you to each page of combinations, if you click on the relevant page number, so that you don't have to scroll up and down and up and down looking for your favorites.

This is how the index will appear.

I'm hopeful that I'll have this available for my 1,000th post, which should be in 2 weeks...

                        Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Starting From Scratch Summer Wardrobe in Navy and White

Someone specifically requested a Starting From Scratch wardrobe in these colors, and many of you have expressed concerns about how to implement this plan if you're dealing with scorching hot weather.  I really felt like I wanted to go through an entire wardrobe in one post, just to clarify and illustrate one more time how I see this project working.  So here you have it!

Please note - the white garments here really ARE white - they just show up looking sort of beigy/grungy against the background. I generally don't promote the wearing of mungy clothes...

 The first three steps are pretty straightforward: pants and shoes, then a cardigan and tee, then a neutral top and jeans.  The biggest differences here are that I focused on linen (which I love for warm weather - if my clothes are more wrinkled than my face, it makes my face look smoother, doesn't it?)  Also, I grabbed a sleeveless white top, and supposedly "lightweight" jeans.  I don't have any personal experience with these, so I think you'll have to shop judiciously for them.
Navy linen trousers – Dorothy Perkins, navy ballet flats – Vaneli, navy cardigan – Jaeger, navy linen tee – Jaeger, white shirt – Dorothy Perkins, linen jeans - Uniqlo
 The next steps are where things start to change - this is the ONLY scarf in the entire wardrobe, and it's in the darker neutral since I figure you'll only wear a scarf if the weather is coolish, and that would suggest the darker clothes.  In Step 6, instead of a scarf, I found a bracelet in the perfect accent colors.  More linen in Step 7...
Watch – Daniel Wellington, star scarf – Becksondergaard, sapphire earrings – Allurez, ribbon chain bracelet – Brooks Brothers, bag – Michael Michael Kors, turquoise tee – Lauren Ralph Lauren, hot pink top – French Connection, bracelet – Links of London, white cardigan – Nougat, white linen cropped pants – Dorothy Perkins, white sandals – Vince Camuto
 Step 8 originally included a necklace with the two accent colored tops, but I'm putting in another pair of earrings instead - cooler, I am told. Step 9 is still a skirt and a top, but a short-sleeved top, and a skirt full enough to give some air circulation around your legs.  And for Step 10, I stuck with a hooded sweatshirt, thinking that you still probably need something to keep from freezing solid when you walk into an air conditioned environment.
Lace trimmed tank – Uniqlo, earrings – Chen Fuchs, purple tank – Uniqlo, navy linen top – Jaeger, navy linen skirt – Jaeger, navy sandals – Rampage, sleeveless silk top – Equipment, hooded sweatshirt – L.L.Bean, canvas shoes – Kenneth Cole Reaction
 Step 11's complete outfit is pretty similar to what I've done in the past - a dress rather than separates; sometimes one piece is just easier.  But in Step 12, I've gone completely off the rails of the original plan - the winter coat, boots and scarf have become a swimsuit cover-up (or lounging kaftan), sunglasses, and sandals for the beach or pool.  If it's not snowy, you can go a radically different direction with your choices!
Cardigan – Dolce and Gabbana, dress – L.K.Bennett, slingbacks – Taryn Rose, sunglasses – Roberto Cavalli, kaftan – Wallis, sandals – Uggs Australia
The accessories in Step 13 are quite a bit different from the usual - I stuck with two pair of accent earrings, because they're the easiest jewelry to wear in hot weather.  An amethyst bracelet will be pretty with your dress or with separates, and instead of a brooch (to WHAT would you pin it?) I thought we could use a hair band to keep the sweaty tresses out of one's face.  Too hot for necklaces, but a 2nd pair of sunglasses is only practical, and since the first pair were a vivid accent color, these in a neutral would be handy.  And as much fun as it is to carry a summery tote, sometimes you need a more classic bag.
amethyst earrings – Khun Boom, amethyst bracelet – Bhavest, turquoise earrings – Guillermo Arregui, bow headband – Bow Arts, navy sunglasses – Italia Independentbag – Park House
Step 14 is all about leisure clothes, and I realized that we didn't yet have shorts!  Another sleeveless top that includes you neutrals and one accent color will be versatile, and another hooded sweatshirt might be necessary if your white one gets dirty.  And another shorty kaftan for lounging...

Step 15 is still a dress and cardigan, but the cardigan is short-sleeved, and the dress is a sleeveless mix of accent colors with white.  Silver sandals can be worn for day too...
Sleeveless floral top – Miss Selfridge, purple hooded sweatshirt – Sun 68, white shorts – J Brand, tunic – Emilio Pucci, cotton cardigan – Windsmoor, dress – Precis, silver sandals – Prada 
Step 16 - balancing our neutrals: we don't have simple, sleeveless top in EITHER of our neutral colors.  While these aren't scintillatingly thrilling to buy, they are suddenly something that you wear every week.  Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and stock up on basics...

Step 17 is just another "taking stock" step, using the original concepts of the 24-piece wardrobe.  This is the time to think of obvious garments that your wardrobe "should " have - like shorts, for warm weather, and then making sure that you have these things in your core colors. Which, in fact, we DON'T have, in navy...  And since we're not really working with both long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops, I decided to opt for the most classic, easily found possible tee shirt for a navy and white wardrobe - the stripe!

And in Step 18, we evaluate one LAST time, considering if we could pull together A Common Wardrobe - 12 pieces of absolutely neutral garments.  We're missing a tee shirt in our light neutral - these wear out fast, so it makes sense to stay on top of having one in stock.  While a denim shirt might not be all that much fun in hot weather, a roomy chambray can make a nice change from your neutrals and brights.  And just to round things out, a turquoise tank; this top almost certainly wouldn't be in A Common Wardrobe, but we have space, and in hot weather having a lot of tops can be the difference between laundry twice and week and laundry once a week.
Tank tops – Oasis, striped top – Dorothy Perkins, shorts – Vulpine, white tee – Dorothy Perkins, chambray shirt – Steven Alan, turquoise tank – Morgan
Hot weather accessories - nothing much around your neck... You could always go crazy with hair wraps and head bands if your hair lends itself to wearing them...
Turquoise stud earrings – Chen Fuchssapphire earrings – Allureznavy sunglasses – Italia Independentturquoise earrings – Guillermo Arreguibow headband – Bow Artsturquoise sunglasses – Roberto Cavalli, amethyst bracelet – Bhavest, navy clutch bag – Park Houseribbon chain bracelet – Brooks Brothers, turquoise and pink bracelet – Links of Londonwatch – Daniel Wellington, star scarf – Becksondergaardamethyst earrings – Khun Boom, navy sandals – Rampagewhite sandals – Vince Camutosilver sandals – Pradanavy ballet flats – Vaneli, slingbacks – Taryn Rose, canvas shoes – Kenneth Cole Reaction, dotted bag – Michael Michael Korsblue thong sandals – Uggs Australia
And a wardrobe with enough dark neutral to look mature or serious if called upon to do so, but with plenty of brights and white to keep the summer thing foremost in your mind!
navy linen tee – Jaeger, navy tank top - Oasis, navy linen top – Jaegernavy cardigan – Jaegernavy ground dress – L.K.Bennettwhite tank top – Oasiswhite tee – Dorothy Perkinswhite shirt – Dorothy Perkins, white cardigan – Nougatnavy shorts – Vulpine, navy linen trousers – Dorothy Perkins, linen jeans - Uniqlo navy linen skirt – Jaegersleeveless floral top – Miss Selfridgewhite linen cropped pants – Dorothy Perkins, white hooded sweatshirt – L.L.Beanwhite shorts – J Brand, chambray shirt – Steven Alan, blue kaftan – Wallis, turquoise sleeveless silk blouse – Equipment, large print dress – Precispurple cotton cardigan – Windsmoorpurple hooded sweatshirt – Sun 68purple tank – Uniqlotunic – Emilio Pucciturquoise tee – Lauren Ralph Lauren, turquoise tank – Morgan, striped top – Dorothy Perkins, hot pink cardigan – Dolce and Gabbana, hot pink top – French Connection, lace-trimmed tank – Uniqlo  
                        Dorothy Perkins(US)