Friday, October 3, 2014 love affair with black.

I am not an expert on fashion nor am I the guru of the perfect wardrobe...
but have learned scads since I started reading blogs.

Jennifer L. Scott's Madame Chic book introduced me to the concept of a small chic wardrobe.
Her 10 item basic wardrobe guide has helped me to see the benefits of living with less.

Having a small wardrobe means that pieces need to work with each other so select a neutral colour for most of your clothes. I love black and I never tire of it.
It feels like a blank canvas waiting for a pop of colour, a backdrop for a pretty brooch or a colourful scarf.
You are the artist when putting your outfits together so have some fun and be creative with your accessories.

Janice is a creative and fashion savvy genius, she writes The Vivienne Files.
If you have not discovered her blog rush on over and prepare to be amazed.

I've read numerous books and umpteen blogs on how to cultivate a small but efficient wardrobe that functions optimally allowing for panic free dressing...
I have pared down my wardrobe so I can see it all at one glance and things are not crushing each other in the attempt to find their place in the closet.
Remember most of my clothes are BLACK!
You may be thinking how boring or dull, but once you've organized your wardrobe in black or your chosen neutral, I don't think you'll ever regret the loyalty you'll feel to those great clothes horses and their flexibility.

This is a great read if you are looking for some tips on dressing in the French Chic Style.

Dressing well needn't break the bank...
there are lots of thrift and consignment stores that offer quality clothing.
The secret is that you have so shop often and seriously hunt for those gems.
When you find one examine the garment carefully for rips, holes and stains.
A seamstress or tailor can usually alter the piece to fit if it is in good condition.
I love to shop this way but I know it is not for everyone.

I do enjoy purchasing quality basics on occasion but I seriously consider the CPW factor
(cost per wearing) 
before I plunk down the cash.

Most of you have heard me rave about the 10 item basic wardrobe that Jennifer L. Scott has written and blogged and V-logged about in her You Tube tutorials...
her book is a great introduction into living well with less.

This vintage book is a classic guide to French Chic dressing.

Coco Chanel loved black.
 Her contribution to fashion, with her launch of the LBD, is as popular and alive as it was when she took the fashion world by storm.

I have a lovely LBD in my wardobe by Elie Tahari.
It is THE MOST VERSATILE dress that I have ever had the pleasure of wearing!

Do you like how I have photographed it by the fridge?

What could be a simpler shape and line?
It fits as if it were tailored personally for me.
The fabric has body and a bit of weight to it and the dress is fully lined and top stitched by hand.
The zip is in the side which I like as I am not too good at doing up back zips.
(my husband helps out with back zips when he is at home!)

I wanted to show you a few ways that I style my favourite LBD.
If you have any doubts about buying one I hope that I have shown you the value of owning a great classic.
If you think you look dreadful in black try another neutral, tan, white, or grey.

I made this necklace years ago when I took a course and wear it often.

Silver belt with an ethnic vibe at the waist can dress it down when it is worn with a jean jacket and boots.

A armload of bangles...

Gumball sized pearls are a bit more refined.

An interesting bangle worn solo is all you need to add a bit of interest and the silver is a nice shade with black.

Dressier shoes for afternoon and evening.

Flats work too as well as kitten heels.

A vintage small eel skin bag is just the right size for evening and I love that it has a chain strap so that my hands can be free to hold a drink or nibble on canapes.

"Mother approved" outfit for dinner out or an afternoon matinee at the local live theatre.
(maybe a bit Mumsy, I consider it a bit more modern version of a Castlebury Knit!)

If I haven't convinced you of the value of having a LBD perhaps I have not done my job!
Perhaps you prefer a skirt and sweater?

I have those items in my wardrobe too....

A longer skirt to wear with boots and a soft wool blend sweater.

Lisa Campione skirt is made of a firm fabric which gives it staying power and lots of body.
It is a very fun and feminine skirt to wear.

You could wear a white tee and a denim jacket to make this a super casual outfit...perfect for shopping or lunching out with your friends.

I just watched Jennifer L. Scott's Tedx Talk and thought you might like to see it too.

Now it's your turn to chime in with your thoughts about how you approach dressing.
Are you a minimalist or do you go for the maximum amount of garments?

Are your closets organized by colour, by type of clothing, or are they cluttered?
With a jumble of colours, styles and garments do you feel that you have "nothing to wear?"

I hope that you have a fabulous weekend!


  1. I love how you exemplify such chic on a budget. Beautiful choices.

  2. Love black too! But please be careful with cost per wear bc it can rationalise splurges like if I but this diamond watch but wear it every day for fourth years it's only five bucks a day!!;)

    1. I don't think there is any danger of me buying a diamond encrusted watch! I do know what you mean though...

  3. The more I rely on denim and black, the easier it is to get dressed. I love your picks which are simple but not dull, and your accessories which make your look so your own.

  4. Oh how I enjoy your blog, I don't comment enough though. Afraid I got caught up with the more is better philosophy, now at almost 68 I'm trying to pare down my wardrobe. My closet has become a burden, I still have issues getting dressed. Very sad & very idiotic, plus I've also put on weight which only adds to it.

    Sorry, I sound so ungrateful, at my age I should have it all figured out. More is not better, it's just more!

    Again, thank you SO very much for writing your lovely blog.......

    1. Thank YOU for reading my blog!
      I have fun taking pictures and writing the posts...if it is any consolation I was where you are with my wardrobe about 3 years ago. It gets easier when you pare down and if you have the time of inclination read some of the books that I have suggested so that you can hone in on your own personal style. Have fun with fashion!

  5. I'm also adopting the pared down simple wardrobe strategy and have chosen black as my basic color. For winter, I will be mixing black with gray. Eileen Fisher has a lovely black and gray v neck long sleeved sweater that is one of my fall purchases. I chose it carefully to fit into the black/gray scheme. I think I need to work on my accessories a bit. I have lots of scarves now and necklaces that go with my black items, but I need to wear them more and with confidence.

    For some months now, I have been going through my closet and getting rid of items I do not and will not wear. I still have a way to go on that. I also need to put together a very simple and casual wardrobe to leave out at our farm so that I am not always carting things back and forth. These are things to just wear at the farm which is very rural and very isolated. I think I may try J. Jill for that as their things are not terribly expensive and seem to hold up well most of the time.

    Most of all, I wish I could muster your weight loss determination.!

  6. I wear pretty much all black as it's so versatile. (Not alway great with a cream colored dog but oh well!) Love the capsule idea. You've mastered it quite well!

  7. I loved seeing how you styled your LBD. I do have one, but I don't wear it that often, which may be because I wear pants more than skirts/dresses to work (in schools). I was wondering how many of your accessories you have bought at thrift stores or do you usually just save up and buy what you like. I haven't had much luck with accessories at thrift stores and just wondered if I need to keep looking or if it isn't the best option.

    I also have been meaning to ask you where you wear pearls. I know you have a love affair with pearls and I have several different strands in different colours and shapes as well. I usually think of them as being too formal to wear to work with children in schools. I know you used to work in schools - did you wear them then or were they more for weekends and dressing up?

    Thanks so much.

    1. I wear my pearls a lot, even when I do the laundry or clean the house. I wore them to school when I worked as they made me feel happy. I think pearls are a classic and why leave them lying in your jewel box if you have them?
      I have purchased most of my scarves at Hermes and Burberry...and my husband has been very generous with his choice of gifts.
      As far as jewelry I wear the diamond studs that were an anniversary gift and a stack of silver bangles that I have collected over the years...some were second hand and some are new.
      It is fun to mix it up and if I find a great piece in a thrift shop I snatch it up.

  8. I've never owned a LBD and I'm guessing at this stage of my life, I probably never will. But I love reading how you style your wardrobe. I live in denim and khakis but I'm never without my silver bangle bracelets!

  9. I love, love, love this topic. It is wonderful to gain such practical tips on doing more with less on blogs such as yours.

    Today I found my Little Black Dress. I haven't worn a dress for years. Skirts and separates, yes, but no dresses. I was thrilled. Long flowing sheer sleeves. Square neckline. Horizontal folds down to the hem.

    I've also enjoyed the scarf styling tips on the blog entitled "Mai Tai's Picture Book". Since scarves are a big part of my signature look, I'm delighted to discover some updated ways to wear them.

    Black is my neutral, too. But with many "pops" of bright colour. Such fun.

    I wear pearls almost every day. Another signature piece. I have various lengths. And did while I was teaching, too.

    Thanks so much for this fascinating conversation and your great example of how to streamline a wardrobe.

    Honey Bee

  10. Hi Honey Bee,
    Congratulations on finding your LBD!
    It is a wonderful thing to find the perfect fit and style that will take you everywhere.
    I read Mai Tai too and am in awe of her luxe wardrobe and plethora of Hermes scarves...
    less really makes sense doesn't it? We don't need a huge wardrobe as it makes dressing very stressful...too many choices makes the head spin.

  11. I love this topic and thank you so much for standing up in defense of black. It is my go-to neutral, too. I am definitely a born-again minimalist. I had a personal color analysis done in February and was told bright colors should be my focus. After 7 months of trying to incorporate shocking pink and orange into my wardrobe, I have returned to black and couldn't be happier. I recently pared down my wardrobe to one small closet and I love it. I still enjoy fashion and shopping, but now I shop mindfully and avoid trends. Thank you for the great blog and ideas.

  12. I too wear a lot of black. Also navy, olive green, gray and ivory - it all mixes well with each other.
    You've done a great job culling your wardrobe, and black is always excellent. However, I do like you in that acid yellow too, a hard color to wear, but when it works, it's smashing.

  13. I love black! It goes with everything! And the LBD is a must! An easy choice for any occasion!

  14. I love black. It all started when I was in my early teens, and my mother bought me a beautiful black velvet Victorian style dress. I was thrilled, and felt so sophisticated. I am a redhead, and have always been told I shouldn't wear black, but I think it looks great, and at this point in my life don't care what the rules are. I agree that it is so much easier. I have two lbd's (both sheaths) in my wardrobe, one is ponte and the other a crepe. I usually incorporate some sort of earth tone accessories.
    I really enjoy your posts, and think you have done wonderfully with your wardrobe. I especially like your scarves and your pearls. I have never felt completely comfortable wearing my pearls for everyday, but perhaps I should wear them at home, and get the feel of it.
    I probably have more in my closet than I use, but try to weed through periodically. Finally settling on basically black, ivory, taupe, and a bit of burgundy has made the weeding easier.
    Mary Lou

  15. Another black fan here but I will tolerate very dark navy ;) And life is so much easier once I stopped collecting shoes of many different colours, mostly unworn! I smiled to see your "Mum approved outfit"- just what my mother would have thought was well-dressed.

  16. I am slowly curating my wardrobe, keeping a "giveaway" bag in the closet as I identify a piece that can leave. The idea of clearing out wholesale is a bit daunting so this method is my alternative. My wardrobe was a jumble of color and outfits. I am now trying to stick with grey, black and beige/camel. When I add color it is peach, pale pink or teal. Seems to be working. New additions are a slate grey silk blouse purchased in Switzerland, black leggings won through a giveaway at Wardrobe Oxygen and a grey/cream scarf. Now I must work on shoes! I left my ballerina flats in Austria- (there must be some song lyrics in that. I recall something about leaving something in San Francisco.)

  17. I wear as much black, as a Victorian widow. lol. I never wear white clothes; I look dreadful in white.
    I do however wear my white south sea pearls frequently. Pearls like light, and need to be worn. I keep a cup of water in with mine, to help humidify them. My husbands friend is a third generation pearl buyer, and I've learned a bit, about pearls from him.

  18. Hostess, the above comment (No Sacrifice®) was from me. I didn't realise that I was logged into my other gmail account.