Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What does your clothing REALLY cost?




Read this article:
http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/0082784


Deeply sad, and should be an embarrassment, and a wake-up call, to us all.


Thanks to the Duchess for directing my attention to this.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Praise of Whimsical Socks

Zebras – Old Navy, stripes – Wetseal, dots – Kate Spade, stripes – Armor Lux, crochetedPacsun, 2 Fair Isle – Peopletree.co.uk, argyle – Kate Spade


Ah, for us workers bees, the holiday season wardrobe is boring, boring, BORING.  Black tee shirt, jeans, work shoes.  Gray tee shirt, jeans, work shoes.  Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.  And oh yes, don't forget my apron, which all employees wear...


A sock with a bit of color, pattern, or texture doesn't make a lot of difference in how I appear; very few people get much of a look at my socks.  But at least my laundry basket has a bit of zing to it!


And although I know I won't win a Nobel Prize for this, I have not lost a sock in decades.  When I take off my socks, I safety pin the toes of the two socks together.  The duo goes through the laundry together, hangs to dry together, and goes back into the drawer together.  


Amount of time spent "mating" socks after laundry = 0.  
Number of lost socks = 0.  
Cost of salvaged safety pins from various dry-cleaned items = 0.  


Either I'm very clever, or very lazy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Michigan Avenue Style Lab: Navy pea coats

I don't see very many pea coats, which is a shame, because they can be quite attractive.  Just in the last week I've seen two, both of which were accessorized with colors relatively near to navy on the color wheel.  Clearly, my eye is drawn to the strongly monochromatic vertical line, with striking accessory accents!

Pea coat - Burberry, beret & gloves – Portolano, scarf – Bindya, navy turtleneck – Splendid, navy pants – Theyskens, black boots – Rochas, plaid shirt – J. Crew, jeans – Levi’s,  green beanie – Topshop, green shawl – Black.co.uk, navy glovesBottega Veneta, green boots - Hunter

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Michigan Avenue Style Lab: Trench coats

In this sort of "middling" weather we're having right now (40's to 50's Fahrenheit), a trench coat is a great outerwear choice.  I've seen some lovely ensembles based on them in the last few days...

Trench coat – A.P.C., beret – Liberty.co.uk, leopard scarf – Fendi, gloves – Banana Republic, black turtleneck – Jil Sander, black pants – Etro, black boots – Rochas, striped tee – Dorothy Perkins, jeans – Levi’s, red boots – Frye, red cashmere scarf & gloves – N. Peal

Monday, November 21, 2011

Customizing the Classics: the black turtleneck

Black turtleneck - Dear

Brown turtleneck – Chloe, Gray turtleneck – Barney’s, navy turtleneck - Woolrich

crew – Diane von Furstenberg, cowl – Oasis, v-neck – Vanessa Bruno

Silk – Barney’s, Linen– Kain Frances, Cotton – Kelly Hoppen
Tweed skirt – Lanvin, Camel jeans – Moto, Brown silk pants – 3.1 Phillip Lim


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vivienne Veto: Cold-weather Chaos

The beginnings of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere bring with it the inevitable fashion disasters of beautiful coats, worn with beautiful accessories, all of which were chosen blindly, without plan or purpose.


Which is a better winter wardrobe?


Coat – Max Mara, green stole – Basile, orange sunglasses – Karen Walker, yellow gloves – Bottega Veneta, blue, plum & white scarf – Yarnz, hot pink gloves – Laundry by Shelli Segal, blue beret – Quiksilver, mittens – Asos, pink scarf – Calypso St. Barth, red hat – Hollywood Trading Co., camel cloche – Kate Spade, split pea green scarf – Modcloth, leopard gloves – Agent Provocateur

Open weave scarf – Missoni, knit cap – American Vintage, knit gloves – Ralph Lauren, plaid scarf – DAKS, brown leather gloves – Etro, fedora – Rag & Bone, pink hat – Topshop, pink scarf – Liberty of London, pink gloves – Cashca, green scarf – Calypso St. Barth, green gloves – Debenhams, green trilby – Kangol, sunglasses – Marc Jacobs


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A retail rebellion

I work in retail, and I'm quite grateful to have any job at all, right now.  But many of my fellow workers are being mistreated, and you can change that.


The day after Thanksgiving is, in the US, a big shopping day - one of the biggest of the year.  In a bizarre effort to increase the amount of shopping done on that day, retailers are opening their stores earlier and earlier each year.  Now, the final straw, Target stores are opening AT MIDNIGHT on Thanksgiving evening!


If you're an employee, do the math.  "I have to be in the store at 11 p.m., so I have to leave for work at 10:30 p.m.. I'm going to work at least 9 hours, so I'll have to sleep before I go to work, so I realistically need to be in bed by... 2:00 p.m. ON THANKSGIVING DAY!!!!!"


Really.  If you don't shop at these ridiculous hours, the retails just might figure out that this is a silly, and cruel, idea.


And you can sign this petition, directed to the president of Target, to express your concern for the retail works affected.


Late update: apparently ToysRUs is going to be opening at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.  Congratulations, your staff has no holiday AT ALL now...  I predict that within 5 years, stores will routinely be open on Thanksgiving Day, we will have officially declared ourselves to be a nation of nothing but consumers, and the division between the haves and the have-nots will be permanent.


/rant

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maximize your ROI: leather skirt

Brown leather skirt – Ralph Lauren

Silk blouse – Hante Hippie, cardigan – Golden Goose, sweater – Ralph Lauren, suede pumps – Sergio Rossi, bow pumps – Clarks, gold disc earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane, necklace – Kate Spade, brown clutch – Maison Martin Margiela, gold bracelet – Citrine by the Stones, scarf - Missoni

Beige sweater – Oasis, gray sweater  - J. Crew, ivory sweater – Isabel Marant, twist scarf – Hortensia, ombre scarf – Bajra, brown/gray scarf – Faiero Sarti, short boots – Madewell, backpack – Bothos, tall boots – SE Boutique

TurtleneckMissoni, pearl jewelry– Kate Spade, watch – Debenhams, yellow sweater – Lela Rose, green sweater – Jack Wills, square scarves – Hermès, tassel loafers – Bandolino, penny loafers – Church’s

Blue blouse – Diane von Furstenberg, red cardigan – Paul Smith, green sweatshirt – Adidas by Stella McCartney, blue bracelet – Chan Luu, square scarves – Hermès, brown mesh & diamond bracelet – Ylang23, wood bangles – Topshop, striped scarf – Missoni, slingbacks – Liz Claiborne, woven oxfords – Opening Ceremony

Monday, November 14, 2011

Packing the Last-Minute Suitcase



Someday, the call will come:

  • Your Aunt Trudi is in the hospital, and nobody else can get there to be with her! or
  • The data servers are all down in Edinburgh - get there NOW and fix them, or
  • The Excel trainer broke her leg - you've got to go to New York tonight to teach the seminar, or
  • Honey!  We're going to Paris TONIGHT for a long weekend!  (this is a dream we share, eh?)

So somewhere in the back of my mind, every three or four months, I consider what I would do if I got this call.  The best defense, of course, is to have a carefully curated and deliberately distilled wardrobe, so that you just just stick your hand in the closet and grab a handful of things and you'll probably be okay.  And if you keep your toiletries ALWAYS ready (more on this another day), pulling this kind of thing together isn't as terrifying as it might seem.  (oh yes, having laundry up to date is vital!)

This time of year, I would fly in nice corduroy pants, a cashmere crew neck sweater, and a tweed blazer.  I'd sort of pile on accessories - both pearls and a scarf, because scarves are so handy to have when you fly.  Shoes that I can wear with jeans or with a skirt and tights, OR with my other pants, a carry-on bag, and my briefcase.  Lined trench coat will endure anything - I'm so happy I found it!

Toiletries, a book, my MP3 player, cell phone, chargers, my cross-body bag, and my ID stuff all fits in my briefcase easily.  Once I'm on the ground, if I don't want to carry my briefcase every day, I can fit necessities into the cross-body bag, sling it on, and forget about it.




My carry-on is small - 18 inches long, and VERY lightweight nylon when empty.  On short trips, waiting for checked luggage just eats up precious time, and for a few days, only a small bag is necessary. Nine pieces of carefully chosen clothing, ONE pair of shoes, and an assortment of accessories gives me more than enough clothing for 3 or four days.  

So I have whatever I need to wear for:
  • crawling on the floor in a server room (jeans & tee shirt), 
  • a board meeting (tweed jacket, gray turtleneck, black skirt), 
  • sightseeing (black pants, white tee shirt and black & white cardigan)
  • hanging out in the hospital (black/white tee shirt & black pants)
  • doing Aunt Trudi's yard work (jeans & tee shirt)
  • or a nice romantic dinner (black turtleneck & skirt).
My friend's think I take planning a bit too far, but I find it comforting to have these sorts of issues settled in my mind, so that when the REAL emergency comes, these sorts of things are already handled and my brain power is available to take care of the people and situations that need me the most!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maximize your ROI: brightly colored pants

Pants - Sandro

Ivory sweater – Carven, teardrop earrings – Kendra Scott, plaid shirt – J. Crew, ankle boots – Common Projects, Beige sweater – Alexander Wang, blue & gold earrings – Amy DiGregorio, black & blue scarf – Diane von Furstenberg,  beige flats – Thierry Rabotin, black turtleneck – Vince, bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane, black suede loafers – Rebecca Minkoff

Beige cardigan – Zadig & Voltaire, scarf – Versace, blue silk tank – Kain Classic, lais pendant – Anton Heunis, tasseled necklace – Kenneth Jay Lane, black cardigan – Michael Michael Kors,, white tee – Paul Smith, white cardigan – Ralph Lauren, beige tee shirt – J. Crew, sandals – CO-OP Barneys, cap-toe ballerinas – AK Anne Klein, camel flat w/black bows Leifsdottir, tan suede ballet flats – Tod’s

striped tee – Garbe,  sneakers – Vans, pink sweater – Ralph Lauren, earrings – Paloma Picasso for Tiffany, lapis ID bracelet – Ylang23. gold sneakers – Lanvin, tank top – The Row, sandals – Friis & Company

Turtleneck – Jil Sander, plaid scarf – Amicale, tee – Topshop, print scarf – ALICE by Temperley, black tank – Kain

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chic Sighting: at the corner of Clark and Diversey

For years, high-quality menswear has shown brown leather accessories with gray and navy clothing (check out Paul Stuart if you're not familiar with the idea).  The woman I saw Saturday was working that look to perfection...


Pants – United Bamboo, turtleneck – Ralph Lauren, blazer – Helmut Lang, bag – Longchamps, belt – Miu Miu, loafers - Lanvin

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cool weather Capsule Wardrobe in soft grey, navy and pastels


Gray wool suit separates – Chloe, striped silk blouse – Viktor & Rolf, floral silk blouse – Luisa Beccaria, palest pink silk blouse – Diane von Furstenberg, tweed cardigan – Massimo Alba, plaid pants – Brooks Brothers

Gray dress – Paul Smith, cashmere turtleneck – L.L.Bean, cashmere cardigan – L.L.Bean, blouse – D&G, tweed skirt – Debenhams, navy pants – Bottega Veneta,  cream turtleneck – Burberry, gray coat – Alberta Ferretti

Tweed coat – Carven, striped sweater – Jaeger, white shirt – Thom Browne, navy dress – A.P.C., navy gray houndstooth pants – Zac Posen, beaded cardigan – Day Birger et Mikkelsen, skirt – John Lewis, pearl cotton turtleneck – L.L.Bean


Pink opal earrings – Ylang23, gray ring – Vince Camuto, square scarves – Hermès, blue ring – Swarovski, pearl jewelry– Majorica, gray gloves – Forzieri, opalescent bag – Fendi, gray suede clutch – The Only Son, watch – Movado, gray beret – Black.co.uk, knit scarf – Missoni, oxfords – Fratelli Rossetti, navy tassel loafers – Bass, gray boots – Michael Kors, gray suede flats – Palazzo Bruciato, blue grey suede pumps – Common Projects

Monday, November 07, 2011

Not so Crazy Eights: black for parties/holidays

Black velvet jacket – Alberta Ferretti, Sequined tee shirt – Oasis, Black silk chiffon top – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Black embellished dress – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Black washed silk pants – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Embroidered skirt – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Silk tank top – 3.1 Phillip Lim, Black velvet skirt – John Lewis

1. Pumps – Christian Louboutin, earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane, clutch bag – Marc Jacobs
2. Brogues – Miss Selfridge, bracelet and earrings – Monica Vinaeder
3. Pumps – Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, necklace and earrings – Alexis Bittar
4. Flats – Giuseppe Zanotti, ring – Alexis Bittar, bracelet – Alexis Bittar  
5. Mules – Sonia Rykiel, earrings – Alexis Bittar, bag – Not just a label
6. Flats – Taryn Rose, Brooch – LK Designs, Scarf – Valentino Garavani
7. Pumps – Oscar de la Renta, earrings & ring – Alexis Bittar
8. Loafers – Christian Louboutin, broochDebenhams,  ring – Lord & Taylor

9. Pumps – Salvatore Ferragamo, bracelet - 1928, bag – Lulu Guinness
10. Boots – Prada,  necklace – Day Birger et Mikkelsen, earrings – Lord & Taylor
11. Slingbacks – Debenhams, wrap - Valentino, earrings – Miriam Haskell
12. Slingbacks – Stella McCartney, Brooch & earrings  – 1928

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Prepare to Party: Beaded cardigans

One of the most irksome aspects of this time of year, fashion-wise, is being inundated with glitter, beads, sequins and other shiny baubles that we are supposed to desperately need for our fabulously busy holiday party season.  I'm always either intimidated, or feel inferior, because (a) I don't get invited  to that many parties, and (b) the ones I go to aren't all that splashy!


But it's easy to get sucked into the idea that one should invest in a half-dozen party outfits...


My antidote: I bought a (used) beaded cardigan.  These are readily available, at all price points, and are quite versatile.  See some ideas below.


Black cardigan – John Lewis, turquoise – Debenhams, black – John Lewis, curry – Vanessa Bruno, navy – CC, gray – Day Birger et Mikkelsen  
Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Miriam Salat, tee shirt – Donna Karan, jeans – Levi’s, gray short boots – Acne, earrings – Alexis Bittar, tee shirt – James Perse, loafers – Vaneli, cords – NYDJ

Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane, turtleneck – Gucci, gray skirt – Michael Kors, pumps – Miu Miu, earrings – Kimberly McDonald, pink blouse – Acne, taupe pants – Stella McCartney, oxfords - BP  
Cardigan – Steffen Schraut, earrings – Forzieri, gray dress – Diane von Furstenberg, gray pumps – Calvin Klein, earrings – Alexis Bittar, taupe dress – Calvin Klein, bow pumps – Valentino


Some thoughts on buying vintage cardigans:
  1. Check every seam, especially around the arms, and down the sides, to ensure that there are no irreparable holes.
  2. Check the elbows for signs of wear.
  3.  Make sure that you can easily and comfortably fasten the sweater - this is NOT the garment to wear in the currently fashionable shrunken look - it puts too much strain on the fabric.
  4. Is the thread holding the beads still in good shape, or is it beginning to rot?  When it goes to pieces, it goes ALL AT ONCE...
  5. Are the beads intact, or are they starting to flake and tarnish?  A little bit of patina can make a formerly too-garish sweater much more subdued and attractive, but you don't want to get one that's positively green and shedding little bits of bead everywhere.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The shopping fast: Month 2

Truly, I think I'm happier without shopping!  The mental space that I have available, now that I'm not always keeping, in the back of my mind, that "well, I'm going to need new gray cords, maybe they're on sale at Levi's" dialog, is wonderfully freeing.


And I still have STACKS of unworn winter clothes...





Tuesday, November 01, 2011

An affectionate reminder...



Did you take that photograph of all of your jewelry yet?  And email it to yourself?


Someone I know was recently the victim of a very thorough burglary, and of course, her jewelry is gone.  Insurance insists on seeing photographs or receipts before replacing.


It won't take you 10 minutes.  You won't regret it.


love,
Vivienne