Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Starting From Scratch Step 9: A Skirt, and Essential Accompaniments

I know only one woman who never wears a dress or a skirt.  One.  The rest of us find ourselves in situations - you have a job interview, a friend's mother's wake, an IRS appointment, you're the only person available to read or serve at a religious ceremony - you know the kind of things that come up.  So the best way to be prepared is to have a skirt, a comfortable pair of dress shoes, and something to complete your outfit.  Have these things ahead of time; have them ready to pack or wear, concentrate on other, more important issues.

Skirts should be simple, with a length hovering somewhere around your knees.  Too short will be inappropriate for so many events, and too long might feel too dressy.  You'll have to accept that everything in your wardrobe to date will NOT go with your skirt - if you've collected multiple styles of cardigan, they won't all necessarily be perfect.  Determine what cardigan you would most likely want to wear for a dressy event, and work around that; take it with you when you're skirt shopping.

Pumps - comfortable, classic, low to moderate heels.  Walking awkwardly is never elegant.

And on top - a blouse or sweater, as you find most comfortable.  Colors don't have to match identically, but should certainly blend well.  This is a top that you'll be able to wear with the trousers you already have, so don't skimp on quality.

You already have scarves and jewelry, so you're good to go!  (these outfits would never be wrong for a nice dinner date, either...)

Yes, you might need to have both warm weather and cool weather versions of this ensemble; the shoes should work through the year, but a lighter weight skirt and blouse might be necessary.


skirt – Vicky Tiel, wedge pumps – French Sole, blouse – French Connection

wooden earrings – Hring eftir hring, zigzag infinity scarf - BrazenTurquoise angora sweater– Roberto Collina,khaki tee – Targetjasper and pyrite necklace– Nangara by Julia Fusinato, turquoise blouse – Ralph Lauren Black Label, tan cashmere cardigan – La Garconne, watch – Armani Exchange, bracelet – Chan Luu, ivory silk blouse – Jaeger, striped scarf – Missoniolive tee – Shu Moriyamaolive cardigan – Merona, tan trousers – Hallhuber, beige jeans – Morgan, olive trousers – Isabel Marant Etoileskirt – Vicky Tielbag –  Longchamp, maroon tee shirt – Linea Weekend, blouse – French Connectionpenny loafers – Cole Haanwedge pumps – French Soleolive ballet flats – Chloe
skirt – Joseph, pumps – Trotters, sweater – Hobbs London

earrings – Toosis, nautical scarf – Brooks Brothersstriped top– Malene Birger,black white red scarf – Vince Camuto, black tee – Hallhuber, blue shirt - Uniqlo, black cotton and cashmere cardigan – 10 Crosby Derek Lam, watch – DKNY, bracelet – Simon Sebbag, white cotton shirt – Diane von Furstenberg,grey tee– T by Alexander Wang , black sweater – Hobbs Londonnecklace– Lamprinired blouse – Cutie, grey cardigan - Mango, black linen trousers – Viyella, black jeans – Current/Elliott,  grey pleated trousers – Alberto Bianiskirt – Josephbag – Gregory Sylvia,  pumps – Trottersgrey ballet flats – Café Noir, pointed toe loafers – Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn
skirt – Precis, pumps – Vaneli, blouse – Alberto Biani

earrings – Kasturjewelsbrown blouse – Alberto Bianisquare scarf – Radical Chic, brown cotton tee – Uniqlo, yellow top – Uniqlo, chocolate brown fleece cardigan – L.L.Beannecklace– Givenchy, floral blouse - Topshop, light blue tee– Velvetwatch – Timex, beaded bracelet – Chan Luu,  blue and brown scarf – Paola Pecora, blue blouse – Uniqlo,beige pants – The Row,skirt – Precis ivory silk blouse – Jaeger, tote – Coetpumps – Vanelitan marled cardigan – Junarose, brown twill trousers – Lands’ End, brown jeans – Viyella, tan ballet flats – Michael Michael Kors, tassel loafers – The Flexx
skirt – French Connection, pumps – Sole Society, blouseCloset

earrings – Max and Chloeblouse – Closetdark scarf – Erfurtcaramel tee – Hallhuber, blue tee – Majestic Filaturescoral tee shirt – Warehousecaramel wool and cashmere cardigan – Customer Loversbracelet – Tiraphan Hasub, watch – Fossil, light scarf - Play Manteroivory silk top – Jaegerblack trousers – Mint Velvetskirt – French Connectionbag – Dorothy Perkinsblack cardigan – Michael Michael Kors, carnelian, quartz, amethystlapis necklace– Ritublue linen shirt – Jaeger, coral silk blouse– Equipment, copper twill trousers – Lands’ Endcaramel jeans – Toast, pumps – Sole Societyblack ballet flats – Armanibrown ballet flats – Frye
skirt – Marc Jacobs, wedge pumps – Trotters, sweater – Dear Cashmere

earrings – Majoricasweater – Dear Cashmerenavy and grey scarf – Hingelavender blouse– Marni Editionpastel scarf – Twisted Muse, silver grey tee – Hallhuberpink top– Velvet lilac tee shirt – Nougat London, grey cashmere cardigan – Jaeger, watch – Fossil, bracelet – Majorica, navy cardigan – Dorothy Perkins, white cotton shirt – Diane von Furstenbergnecklace– Saako Designpink shirt – Fenn Wright Manson, silver grey trousers – Viyella, grey jeans – Rebecca Taylor, navy trousers – Jacques Vertskirt – Marc Jacobs, bag – CK Calvin Kleinwedge pumps – Trottersnavy ballet flats – Geox, tasseled flats – Trotters
skirt – Hobbs London, pumpsJimmy Choo, navy blouse – Vince
earrings – Dorothy Perkinsyellow sweater– Woolrichpastel scarf – Collection Weekend, navy silk tee – Theory, aqua tee - Reiss, navy wool cardigan – Miu Miu, bracelet – Brooks Brothers, watch – Anne Klein, beige and navy checked scarf – Aquascutumgreen shirt– Silvian Heachnavy blouse – Vincetan pants – Uniqloskirt – Hobbs London white silk blouse – Nic + Zoesilk necklace– Saako Designyellow tee – Warehouse, beige cardigan – Marella, navy trousers – Viyella, navy jeans – Uniqlo, bag – Halogen, pumps – Jimmy Choo ballet flats – Me Too, black penny loafers – Cole Haan

                        Naturalizer

22 comments:

  1. I was wondering when we would get to skirts!

    I agree that I always need that formal-but-not-party outfit -- but I usually choose a simple dress rather than a skirt. I'll give your version a bit of thought, though.

    BTW, I represent clients before the IRS -- and I happen to have an appointment with an examiner this morning! I'm wearing a dress and heels.

    LOVE this series.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! I would wear any of those skirt and top combinations. I myself much prefer skirts to pants - they are so much more comfortable to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's ok to choose them in any of the neutral colours?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either of your neutrals, or one of your accent colors - the only requirement would be that the pieces work with the rest of your wardrobe, and that you have the right shoes...

      Delete
  4. Well, you don't know me, but I never wear skirts or dresses either. I wore a silk pant suit to my son's wedding and my DIL thought I looked great. So an alternate to the skirt would be ... another pant in a neutral? Now you can say you "know" 2 people that never wear skirts. :)
    --LindaC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely - really nice trousers can always take the place of a skirt in this day and age, unless you're going to be someplace with a truly specific and strict dress code. I don't know of any, but I'm sure they still exist!

      Delete
  5. Assignment complete Miss! I'm such a class creep! This is like having homework but it's the kind you'd rush home to do - not sure I ever had much of that! I've behaved with the skirt and the top, the shoes, mine were already low/mid heel so I've swapped your suggestion to a pair of flats for me which I do occasionally wear nipping to the shops etc. (I wouldn't wear them with the skirt outfit though). And finally my little cheat - another belt! I know I know, I am rubbish at keeping things to a minimum but I do have a genuine reason. One of the main things I dislike about skirts is that unlike trousers I feel tops absolutely have to be tucked in (unless it's a tight fitting one and mine aren't really) the problem with that for me is the 'puffy' gathered line where skirt waist meets top - it feels untidy - so I threw in an obi / thick waist belt and problem solved!
    http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=127002054

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wear skirts with sweaters - no tucking on this torso!

      Delete
  6. I've been wavering between two of your colour schemes and have just reached a decision. I will have one of them (black, white and grey neutrals) for autumn and winter plus the other one (navy, white and grey neutrals) for spring and summer - though my pink and purple accent colours will be a bit brighter. Sorted!

    In consultation with my two daughters, I wore a white trouser suit with a peach silk blouse to my oldest daughter's wedding, though I do wear skirts and dresses occasionally. Do I count as half a person, as I rarely wear skirts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you say that Sue, as I was putting mine together, I kept looking at my yellow thinking, I like this now in July but I don't know how I feel about walking around in sunny yellow come December - so I think I am going to build two as well and try and reuse as much as possible the core items from the first in the second and change the accent colours!

      Delete
    2. Sue - you are DEFINITELY a whole person! I'm fascinated to hear how frequently women can comfortably wear pants suits for formal occasions - thanks for sharing.

      And Charlie, don't discount the standout statement that a beautiful yellow cashmere or wool sweater can make in the dead of winter. If it's flattering to you, you could really look amazing!

      Delete
  7. Do not own a skirt, and only three dresses - one winter and two summer. Would love to have more, but my post-menopausal body just does not seem to fit into anything that I like. But I keep looking, and I do believe that life would be easier with a skirt or two. I depend on dressier accessories to raise the level to "almost dress".

    ReplyDelete
  8. Interesting feedback on skirts. . . I pretty much only wear skirts, except for exercise, some forms of house work, and camping. I wear all of my tops untucked. :)

    Yesterday my teenage daughter had a clothing meltdown, so I had her put all of her clothing on my bed. We sorted out things that don't fit, and don't work for her. Using the "start from scratch" methodology, I was able to determine that she has black, white and khaki as neutrals and magenta, fuchsia, and turquoise as accents, primarily. Her wardrobe is seriously lacking in pants, and she wanted one of those trendy long knit skirts. Armed with this information, we went shopping. It was really easy to pick out a skirt - even though it's a print, it has black, white, fuchsia and turquoise in it. Having done the color analysis cut down the decision making considerably. -- Carol in WA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was probably fun, and a good lesson for both of you!
      Karen

      Delete
    2. Karen - after we got through the meltdown it wasn't bad. :) My daughter loves color - frequently arranges things by color, for example - and reads over my shoulder when I read this blog. She enjoyed the paintings that turn into a wardrobe series. Pants are still a problem, and I think we're just going to have to go the mall, hit the anchor stores, and then go to everything in between. She has a certain casual style she's looking for, but her shape is completely different than mine is/was, and so I have no idea about brands for her. Plus, I've been on a pants boycott for a number of years. :) --Carol

      Delete
  9. I almost never wear skirts but bought two black ones recently, a flared skirt like the Hobbs example you've shown and a mid calf tube skirt. Both "skirt" my thick calf issue because one flares out and draws the eye out and the other covers to the slimmer part of my calf. Maybe with your encouragement I might actually WEAR them...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I find the feedback about skirts interesting as I am the opposite. With the exception of jeans I rarely wear pants and since I work in a professional office environment that does not allow jeans I wear a skirt or dress almost every work day. - I may wear a pair of pants to work once a month. I find skirts and dresses much more flattering and comfortable and since I have a short waist I don't usually tuck in my tops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So what dress styles work for you as a short waisted individual? I love the look of skirts and dresses on other people but have such a difficult time finding a good fit due to my short waisted figure.

      Delete
    2. I'm super-short waisted, with high hips, so I wear dresses that are straight from my shoulders. I do NOT bother with trying to create the "illusion" of a waist, because it's not there, and I'm not trying to be something that I'm not. By the time I put on a scarf or necklace (and a big smile!), nobody's looking at by waist anyway...

      Delete
  11. Skirts? Not for me unless they are ankle length and totally cover up these old, spider-veined, fat-calved, ankle-swelling, skin-cancer-removal-scarred legs. I know many women who do not wear skirts at all for similar reasons and for others of their own. I now own 4 skirts because I am trying to add them to my wardrobe. They are all long. Heels? No way and not for the past 20 years with these feet. My shoes are all about support and must be able to remain comfortable for hours of walking or standing. Most of the time, they need to be appropriate for the compression socks the doc says I need to wear daily (which I'm not very good about doing). Thanks to the 60's for taking us out of the time where girls and women were not allowed to wear pants at school or work. I remember those days of going to school as a little kid in a skirt and not being able to play at recess because of the stupid skirt. And wearing pants under the skirt when it was cold. And not being allowed to walk through the reception area of the dorm at college in pants of any kind. Fortunately, I chose a profession that did not require skirts to fit in. I always had the option of wearing skirts or pants or jeans. Choice is good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Choice is EVERYTHING. I remember pants under my dress for school, and it's not a happy memory... The whole key to The Vivienne Files approach to dressing is to figure out what's best for you, and run with it! We are unique beings, and should certain dress as such...

      Delete
  12. Janice, I love the shoes with low to mid-heel heights that you've chosen for wearing with the skirts. They'll look delicious with the skirts but also be comfortable for standing and walking on those special occasions. Excellent tips here! And like the others, I'm very much enjoying this series. I'm hoping to do new capsule-building for summer (I'm in the southern hemisphere where summer seems a long way away) so will be referring to these posts a lot for inspiration, and to avoid overshopping.

    ReplyDelete