Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Capsule wardrobe #23 - Reader's style challenge

Today's reader's style challenge comes from Lilian, who told me that she is fatigued by the formal jackets that have been her business attire for years. Instead, she would rather incorporate cardigans into her work outfits, as she prefers their softer, natural and more feminine feel. The question was, how to accessorise a cardie to make it a work appropriate look, avoiding a too casual appearance.

Wonderfully enough, the question could be combined with a capsule wardrobe post, I am always happy if the two series conincide! A crisp white shirt is a good starting point to give structure to the soft shape of a cardigan, and a neutral, almost stark, colour palette (black/grey/white) emphasising the point further. Instead of a soft scarf and flamboyant knot, a small Gavroche worn in the basic slide knot gives an organised look, while a few accents of jewellery and a belt buckle add interest without being too playful.

Capsule pieces: black trousers, white shirt, charcoal cardigan
Shoes: low heels
Accessories: 'Vif Argent' Gavroche, Muse belt buckle with black box belt strap, black clic-clac bracelet, Farandole necklace
Scarf tying method: Basic slide
Scarf ring: Moyenne black, MT Collection


  1. Dearest Mai Tai, you really solved all my doubts I have had for a long while, trying to reach the formal look using the cardigan. My outfit has always missed something, although I experimented with Kelly bag, various accessories and have been very persistent, with different degrees of Now, when I have seen your outfit, I have learnt my full lesson and from this moment on, the things will go smoother way. I would say that the belt and gavroche really played a very important role in your outfit. Somehow, I either almost never used the belt or the belt was less remarkable than yours. Will correct it in the future. I actually had all ingredients on the table, but the cake often has not been tasteful enough... lol. Maaany thanks for a new style lesson. Hugs, Lilian

  2. We have simply to ask, and magically, all is revealed! MaiTai you are truly very talented and have a wonderful aesthetic! Merci encore une fois!



  3. Dearest Mai Tai,

    Thank you for such an inspirational blog. You have such fabulous sense of style with an elegant classy touch! You had me looking at my old scarf collection at a whole new light. You had inspired me to start on H scarf collection and must say that indeed it is so addictive and fun.

    However, where I hail from, it is hot all year round but I love scarf and most of which are silk! How do I care for these? I am usually a casual smart dresser...yes, even when I go green grocery shopping as I enjoy making the time to dress up. Got any scarf style suggestion that will suit my lifestyle and weather here?

    Also, can you suggest a scarf ring size to get, (from your collection) good enough for the scarf I have and soon to own? I have a Carre 90 and hope to get a Gavroche, Twilly and Carre 70 for this Christmas.

    ps: I hope to find the time to PM you the pictures of my first H bag,scarf and other HG collection; which I must say, very much inspired by you. Thank you again for such an awesome inspirational blog.

    Have a wonderful day!

  4. You look like the most powerful CEO ever - this look says: I'm so in charge, I don't have to wear a business jacket! :-) Looking drop dead gorgeous as always! xox, Macs - ls dashing out the door to go get another gavroche.

  5. Wonderful! I am also one of those who are really bored with formal clothes and this helps tremendously much - needless to say I will run to buy the elements of this outfit today, as I adore it!!! Never thought of businesslike look with a cardigan. You are fabulous, a queen of style. Anna

  6. Thanks Lillian and MaiTai for this.My work does not require strict business attire,but I do want to look profesional and polished.This look meets that standard.Now I have a fashion challenge/ to use a scarf/pashmina to effect a cowl neckline on a simple Tee or outside a coat or jacket.What would be the correct size to use and how to tie it securely are the questions that spring to mind.Thanks.Jean

  7. This is a look I love to wear in the winter - I'm naturally a 'cold' person and this to me is a cozier outfit than one with a jacket. The H scarf finishes it off nicely and upgrades it to be 'office appropriate' if necessary. Keep warm! xx

  8. So elegant and beautiful, dearest MaiTai! I love cardigans and am so grateful for this great post. What about if the cardigan´s sleeves are 3/4 long? Do you have any suggestion? Warm hugs, M.

  9. Great post and outfit! I too am tired of formal jackets and prefer wearing cardigans. The way you combined it with the white shirt and proper accessories make it look professional and classy.
    Between this post and the previous ones, I feel like heading to H and get another gavroche....

  10. I am watching the details of this look all the time.
    Same as Lilian, I am focusing on gavroche and the beautiful belt.
    Could you tell me which leather combination is belt? Is box leather on both sides of this beautiful reversible belt?
    Once again, the look is a winner, hands down! Anna

  11. Another stunning look to satisfy the style challenge and more! This is such a soft,elegant look, sans jacket that it could easily be used for many different occasions !
    Very lovely indeed to our CEO of style....Hugs,T xx

  12. I totally agree with hair mess and Trudye, you are our CEO of style, dear MaiTai! Hugs, M.

  13. Dearest Lilian, many thanks for your lovely comment, it so very nice to hear that you like the outcome of your challenge. I hope you will have much fun working out variations, while enjoying a ‘jacket free’ working wardrobe. Many thanks again for the fantastic challenge, I truly enjoyed it.

    Happy you liked the look, my dear Maisie, thank you <3

    Dear KellyBeeGirl, it is truly lovely to hear that my posts have inspired you to rediscover your scarf drawer, not to mention the exciting prospect of a 90 Carré to come!

    In hot weather, mousses are a very good option, or cotton Carrés. In terms of scarf ring sizes, you could check the following link,

    and browse the examples on the scarf ring site that show the rings in action with different silks formats.

    Have a great time building your scarf collection, and looking forward to seeing pictures of your other treasures!

    I hope you took the little fairy with you, before dashing out of the door, my dear Macs! Merci for the lovely compliments <3 Might have to wear this outfit tonight again, perhaps it will help me to get DS to tidy up his room, lol!

    Many thanks for the kind compliments, dear Anna, it is so nice to hear that you found the post useful :-) Wishing you a happy and successful shopping trip!

    You are right, Jean, this look works very well outside the office too. Re your question, is it a soft and drapey look you are after? If yes, you could try the recent double Gavroche Twist knot, it works very well with a 90 Carré too, or even a Pashmina. Or a cowboy knot, with the ends brought back to the front, and secured with a double knot or scarf ring under the silk fold. A Pashmina perhaps in a hacking or weave knot, ends tucked into your coat. Or just in the basic bias fold, wound several times around your neck. You can find instructions for all knots are in the how-to section. Good luck!

    Cosy indeed, dear sushi queen, and softer. And so true re the scarf too, our precious silks never let us down. Stay warm and cosy too <3

    Many thanks, dear Manuela. For the 3/4 sleeve cardies, you could wear something with short sleeves underneath, or 3/4 sleeve which are just a little bit longer and show underneath. You could also add a wide or heavy bracelet, to give the bare arm some extra ‘gravitas’. Hugs right back x

    Merci, dear booksnchocolate! Seems that Lilian has really hit a cord with her question, so happy about it. Have fun Gavroche shopping, I am tempted myself too, lol!

    Dear Anna, one side of the belt is black box, the other is rouge garrance in togo. So nice to hear you liked the outcome of the challenge, many thanks for your kind comment :-)

    Aww, dear Trudye, you made me laugh! You are so sweet, mwah. Thank you, my dear CEO of wittiness, humour and fun. Have a great weekend, my dear <3

    And you too, my dear sweet Manuela! I'm off to do some deflating exercises.. xox

  14. Thank you for the suggestion, dear Maitai. Until now I´ve only tried t-shirts with those cardies. The effect isn´t quite the same as with a shirt though. The wide bracelet is a great idea! Thank you, my dear. Hugs back, M.

  15. You are most welcome, my dear Manuela. Warm hugs x

  16. Simone from SingaporeNovember 28, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    Simply fabulous! I've only recently discovered your blog, Mai Tai, and am now HOOKED. Thanks for sharing your ideas so freely and for being such a style inspiration.

    Thanks to you, I've rediscovered my love for scarves and last Friday, bought my first Hermes :-)

    Actually, I walked into the boutique with the sole intention of just dipping my toes into H by getting a Twilly to start.

    Well, let's just say I've been seduced to the orange side. In Now, not only do I have a Twilly, but also a Gavroche Twill, Carre 70 AND a Pointe (with a stunning tiger). LOL! Now I just need to figure out what the designs are called and play, play, play (and then play some more when your lovely scarf rings arrive).

  17. Dear Simone, a very warm welcome to my blog, and to the orange side! Congratulations on your first H silks, you must be in orange heaven :-) I love the variety of formats you got (the Pointu design is called Tigre Royal), and I hope the rings will arrive soon. Have a wonderful and fun time playing!

  18. Dearest MaiTai,

    What a beautiful, refined outfit. Once again you have so masterfully created the desired look. It is a perfect balance of delicacy and dignity. Your exquisite choices of the Farandole, VA gavroche and the Muse buckle blend so harmoniously with the classic colors and lines in a clean and simple presentation. And course, I adore your gorgeous shoes. Your talents, imagination and creativity are truly awe inspiring, my dear MaiTai. Warm hugs always, xx

  19. Beautiful, polished look. I too have been replacing jackets with cardigans, which are incredibly versatile and chic, without being too fussy or static. Since I often need to go from day to evening, I find that they allow a quick change, mainly through accessorizing.
    The new thing for me is wearing my twillies with some amazing little scarf rings I import from the South of France ;)
    The Farandole really suits you, and completes the look.