Ten-Item Wardrobe Update and Summer Break

Hello Dear Readers,

Congratulations to Lena, who won the LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE giveaway. Today I have a final video before I take my annual summer break from the blog. In it I answer a frequently asked question: How has my ten-item wardrobe fared this season and are there any changes?

This ten-item wardrobe has been my most favorite. As I have previously mentioned, every season you do the ten-item wardrobe you get closer and closer to honing in on your true style and the clothes you love to wear. I was recently speaking with my sister, who is trying the ten-item wardrobe for herself, and she told me that one of the most valuable things is she is definitely figuring out what she doesn't like to wear. This is valuable! Oftentimes when our closets are stuffed to the brim with clothes, we add so much confusion to our fashion identity and we just don't know what we like to wear. We're all over the place. With the ten-item wardrobe, because you are "stuck with" (for lack of a better term) the same small amount of clothing for a season, you learn pretty quickly what you like and you don't like. That's why each season, you eliminate mistakes and get closer to your true style.

There was one item of clothing, my Spanx jeans, that I found I rarely wore this spring/summer.

In fact, since March, I've only worn them 3 to 5 times! Essentially for the past few months I have been wearing a 9-Item wardrobe! Don't worry, I'm not changing the number on you. I decided to set the jeans aside (I'll most likely use them in fall/winter or I can bring them out if there is a cold-spell in the summer) and purchase a dress to fill the gap so that I am back to ten items.

Because I loved my black Garnet Hill dress so much...

I decided to purchase the same dress in navy polka-dot. The dress was on sale for significantly less than I paid for the black dress and I thought this would be a wise move. And it was! This dress is so comfortable and forgiving. I might keep both dresses on into the fall/ winter wardrobe as I believe I can layer them for colder weather. We will see. Here I am wearing the polka-dot dress last weekend visiting historic Victorian houses in San Diego.

Please check out this week's video for a more in-depth examination of my summer ten-item wardrobe experience. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Be honest with yourself and figure out what you don't like to wear. Get rid of the clothes that just aren't you, even if they were expensive. Even if they were a gift. Even if you swear you might wear them one day. If they don't feel right, you won't wear them and you'll never feel comfortable in them. Have fun this summer purging your wardrobe.

Comment of the Week
Debbie S. writes:

Jennifer, I just wanted you to know that I'm learning so much from you. I'm 55 years old and my kids are grown and on their own, my youngest just graduated from college. The teen years were tough and I had become a little crabby with everything going on in our family. My kids were good kids but there was just so much commotion with all of their activities and their teen angst. I enjoy your Blog and your videos. They have reminded me to be kinder and gentler with everyone in my life. I kind of lost myself a little being a mom so thank you for helping me to refocus.

Love, love, love your clothing tips!

Debbie, thank you so much. As a mother of two kids I know how hard it can be to not lose your sense of self, especially during the difficult times. It is very important to have an outlet where you can express yourself and cultivate your interests so you don't lose yourself in the drama that can sometimes come from family life. Wishing you the very best!

Check out For the Love of Organizing's book club discussion of Lessons from Madame Chic, starting with part one.

My newest book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic comes out on October 27th and is available for pre-order now.

I will be taking my annual one month break from the blog as I enjoy the summertime with my family and get settled in our new house. I look forward to returning to the blog reinvigorated and have many special videos and posts planned for you. If you have a request for the upcoming season on The Daily Connoisseur, please leave it in the comment section below. Thank you again for your support of my blog. You are so greatly appreciated. See you soon!

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Summer Read Giveaway: Luckiest Girl Alive

Today I have an exciting book give away for you from Simon & Schuster. Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll has been one of the biggest books of the summer! Many people have compared it to Gone Girl, which I enjoyed. I do love a good page-turner and am looking forward to reading this book...

Here are what the critics are saying:

"Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will thrill at “the perfect page-turner to start your summer” (People, Book of the Week)

Luckiest Girl Alive—described by Reese Witherspoon as “one of those reads you just can’t put down!”

“Loved Gone Girl? We promise [Luckiest Girl Alive is] just as addictive.”
—Good Housekeeping

“Jessica Knoll introduces you to your new best frenemy, and you’re going to love it. . . .Destined to become one of the summer’s most gripping reads.”

“With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but an intensity all its own, Luckiest Girl Alive is a debut you won’t want to miss.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The Fever

And here is the description from Simon & Schuster


As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

Simon & Schuster have kindly agreed to giveaway one signed copy of Luckiest Girl Alive to a lucky reader of The Daily Connoisseur. Please note that the giveaway is for US residents only (terms set by the publisher). Please enter the giveaway below via the rafflecopter widget. The winner will be announced one week from today on the widget as well as contacted by email. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well done to Sonia S. who emailed me via my author website. She was the only person to correctly guess the violinist's song in last week's video as String Quartet in F, Opus 3 No. 5 by Franz Joseph Haydn. For those who were wondering, the other music featured in last week's video was Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 2nd Movement.

Nearly 200,000 people have watched my TEDx talk on the ten-item wardrobe! Check it out here.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
I know the days are busy and long but take time out for yourself to read a book today. Get comfortable in a quiet little corner of your house, forget your to-do list temporarily and get lost in a great book.

Comments of the Week
Eulalie writes:

Hi Jennifer, having food for people when they come during eating times is a must in Africa, it is an unspoken rule, whenever people arrive at your place at these times or nay time really; whether you have enough food on the table or not, you must share it... I always struggled with this so are my kids when we are there on holidays as in Africa, there are no "can I come over?"... people just turn up at your door steps and you always have to be ready.
It is funny to me that you talk about this as this concept or principle is not common in the western world... you actually often have to ask for a glass of water whether in Africa you are always offered and it is offensive to refuse to drink or eat... very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Eulalie! I love hearing about the customs in other cultures.

Emily writes:

I was inspired by your ted talk a few months ago and I'm so happy to have found your channel! I have two pretty dirty jobs (working at a zoo and an animal shelter) so I don't dress nicely to work but I am trying to transition into a more "grown up" wardrobe. I have also started my declutter process and i'm just waiting for it to cool down enough so I can have a yard sale. I love your thoughtful videos!

Thank you Emily. You can do it!

Reader Recommendation
On YouTube, Elegance Preferred writes:

Re: Dress Shields
Also made from washable fabric--in white and black.

Brand: "Kleinerts Dress Shields". They are fabric triangles with small safety pins to unobtrusively pin into underarms of dresses, jackets, coats etc. --they have other designs as well. On Amazon, and at sewing stores.

The fabric ones eliminate any issues with very delicate clothes and the stick on shields--it is sometimes possible to get residue from the sticky ones on clothes--brands you recommend probably much better than one I tried that left residue on the fabric.

Thank you for this great recommendation!

Best of luck with the giveaway. This week I would love to know... what great books have you read so far this season?

See you soon!

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Two Days in Richmond Upon Thames

I hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! I am back in America after a short trip to England. What a wonderful time we had! Today I have a short video showing one of my favorite places in England, Richmond Upon Thames.

Check out this week's video for a mini tour. We go to the Terrace Gardens, Petersham nurseries and take a walk along the Thames. In the middle of the video you will hear a very talented violinist perform by the river. Classical music connoisseurs: can you tell us what song he is playing? (A bit of music trivia is always fun!) You can leave your answer in the comment section below or tweet or facebook me.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Spend some time this week in a garden, whether it be in your back yard, the local park or on a special trip. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you and be very present while there.

Speaking of beautifully scented roses, here are the David Austin Gertrude Jekyll roses from the garden of my mother and father in-law's house. This rose has the most incredible scent! A strong, traditional rose fragrance emminates from every bloom.

Style Sprinter recommends Lessons from Madame Chic among great company in her What to Read in the Hamptons list.

For the Love of Organizing has selected Lessons from Madame Chic for her July book club! Check out Laura's introductory video here.

Enchanted blog writes about rejecting the new materialism as discussed in Lessons from Madame Chic.

Fab le Frique talks Paris and Lessons from Madame Chic.

At Home With Madame Chic is making waves in Italy and the Czech Republic!

L'eleganza del riordino from publisher Piemme.

S Madame Chic doma from Mlada Fronta

Comment of the Week

Patrish writes:

Just a quick note on aprons: they have something that most clothing for women does not--pockets! I love to listen to audio books while cleaning/cooking and the apron pockets hold my phone or ipod and earbuds so they are always within reach when I have a few minutes. I also have a small coin purse that holds a house key (ever locked yourself out while taking out the trash?), lip balm and a few dollars in case I need to tip a delivery person. I transfer the coin purse to whatever apron I'm wearing. I won't buy an apron without pockets.

Thank you Patrish! While I don't keep a coin purse in my apron, I do love to listen to podcasts or music while I work around the house and love my apron pockets for the very same reason.

Artistic Recommendation

Elizabeth writes:

After I read your first book - I watched the film Amelie - it was lovely. I came across another film starring Audrey Tautou - Delicacy. It is a beautiful film and Ms. Tautou is outstanding - I just wanted to recommend it to you if you haven't seen it. I love your books and am looking forward to the release of Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic.

Best wishes,


Thank you Elisabeth. I am looking forward to watching Delicacy!

This week I would love to know... how are you spending your summer holidays?

Music featured in video is: Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 2nd Movement

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How to Wear Bold Prints

I hope you are having a lovely week! I am still on holiday in England but have another video for you that I shot back in California.

This week we are talking about wearing bold prints. If you are somewhat of a fashion wallflower, you might feel intimidated by wearing bold prints. I'm pretty shy with prints, believe it or not, but I do inject them into my ten-item wardrobe each season because I think they look good and I like to challenge myself.

Here are some examples of bold prints in my ten-item wardrobe for Spring/Summer:

My best tip for wearing bold prints is to pair them with neutral accessories such as a neutral cardigan or blazer and neutral shoes. This allows the bold print to be the star of the show. Make your jewelry subtle as well. As you get more confident with your style statements, you can begin to experiment with mixing prints and accessorizing them creatively, but for beginners, I recommend going neutral.

Check out this week's video to hear more on this topic. If you are unable to see the video above**, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
If you feel shy with your fashion choices and constantly find yourself wearing black or neutrals consider adding a bold print to your ten-item wardrobe. Have fun challenging your fashion sense and enjoy wearing bold prints.

Comments of the Week
On last week's post, How to Preserve Your Clothes Between Washes, Margaret P. says:

Being a good bit older than yourself, Jennifer, and I guess older than most of your readers, I would like to say that dress shields were commonplace to my mother's generation if not to mine. Most dresses she had in the 1940s and 1950s came with dress shields sewn into them and they could be snipped out, washed and then replaced with a few stitches (no stick-on ones in those days, of course.)

Patricia W. writes:

I loved this post, in particular, nostalgic to me, because it reminded me of my sister and I being with my paternal grandparents on most Saturday nights while my parents went out to dinner and dancing...my grandma in her apron, her dress shields in her good dresses,and spying through the crack in their not quite closed bedroom door as my grandfather laced her into her corset on Sunday mornings before she donned her dress for church. Our Mother and Father, uncles, aunts, and cousins would always be in attendance for Sunday afternoon dinner.

On the subject of dress shields, TL writes:

Just like a previous reader commented I was also concerned about the amount of waste created by disposable garment guards so after some more online research I found there are washable ones (in cotton). These were actually what people used in the old days, before deodorants :) They are still being manufactured in small amounts, so just do a search on washable dress shields/ garment guards and you will find several different models. Some are strapped on to your underarms, others to your clothing (pinned with safety pins or adhered with adhesive strips).

Thank you, ladies for your reminisces and tips. I read every comment and appreciate them all!

This week I would love to know... what are your thoughts on wearing bold prints? Are you comfortable wearing them? Do you have a special way you style them? Let us know in the comment section below and you could be picked as the comment of the week!

**I realize that some email subscribers are not able to see the embedded video via their email. I am not sure what the cause is of this technical difficulty. Until the problem is resolved, please click on the "click here" video link mentioned above to be taken directly to my YouTube channel. Thank you for your understanding!

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How to Preserve Your Clothes Between Washes

This week I share my favorite tips on how to prolong the wear of your clothes between washes. This is crucial when you have a ten-item wardrobe and are wearing the same clothes over and over. Washing your clothes less will prolong their wear over time. It also inspires gratitude for the clothes that we do have as we take care of them and treat them well.

1. Wear an apron. I know I mention this all the time, but I cannot stress this enough. In this week's video I share a recent experience when I forgot to wear my apron (woe is me!)

2. Wear slips and camisoles. When you put a layer between your skin and your clothes, your clothes will last longer between washes. You will need to wash your slip every time, but your clothes will be preserved.

3. Use garment guards or dress shields. I called them "armpit pads" in Japan but my lovely readers educated me on their true title :) These fashion first-aids are brilliant! Place them in the underarm area of your garment to prevent your clothes from being saturated with perspiration.

4. Hang up your clothes and let them air. When you are ready to change your clothes, don't throw them on the back of your chair or in a heap somewhere, hang them up and let them air out if possible to preserve their shape.

5. Use a steamer or iron. Don't forget to erase the wrinkles with a steamer or iron. This will refresh your clothes and make them look presentable between washes.

Check out this week's video for more elaboration on each tip as well as demonstrations. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Treat every garment you have like a valuable piece from a high-end boutique. Treat your clothes with respect and take pride in how you dress. This attention to detail will be cultivated beautifully as you cultivate your ten-item wardrobe.

I am on holiday in England right now visiting family so I am going light on the blogging! Hope you are enjoying your week and see you soon.

This week I would love to know... how do you preserve your clothes between washes?

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Get Ready With Me A Night at the Theatre

I went to see Murder for Two at The Geffen Playhouse this past weekend. What a wonderful production. It was a murder mystery musical with two actors and it was a rollicking good time (especially if you love mysteries like me!)

The pictures of the actors, Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback, are from the Geffen's website

I hear the show has been extended into August, so if you are in the Los Angeles area, do check it out!

Get ready with me in this week's video as we do makeup, hair, nails and I show you my outfit. I do hope you enjoy!
If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Makeup used in the video:

**Please note: You do not need to own the makeup I use in this video. You can most likely create this look with the makeup you already have.

CHANEL Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation

Benefit Fake Up undereye concealer

Benefit Boi-ing concealer

Mac eyebrow powder

Urban Decay Primer Potion

Bobbi Brown Nude on Nude palette ivory over the entire lid, naked (light brown with pink tones) in the crease and gold on the lid to the crease

Bobbi Brown long-wear gel eyeliner in caviar ink

YSL Volume Effet Faux Clis mascara in burgundy
MAC mineralize blush in soul

Hourglass lipstick in peace


Lessons from Madame Chic is listed on Style Sprinter among some other great titles as the perfect summer reading.

Sarah of Joy Filled Days is enjoying At Home With Madame Chic.

Kimily Kendrick gives At Home With Madame Chic a rave review on her blog.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Schedule a trip to the city or go see a local play in your town. Support the arts. Make it an event and enjoy every moment of it. Tell your friends. You might inspire them to revive their love of the arts again too.

Comment of the Week
In last week's review on Teeccino herbal coffee, Hey PJ wrote:

Enjoyed the post, love your blog. I am mostly a tea drinker (all kinds), but I have tried Teeccino in years past and enjoyed it. I love the occasional cup of coffee black, as long as it is a fine quality roast and blend. But wanting to avoid the caffeine jitters/habit, I have long used caffeine-free beverages. Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma is very nice. I enjoy Cafix for that dark, robust warmth and it is also good with coconut sugar and cream or almond milk. It is made from roasted barley, chicory, malt, figs and red beet concentrate. Completely caffeine free!

Thank you for the recommendations PJ!

For more on The Geffen Playhouse, visit www.geffenplayhouse.com

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Teeccino Herbal Coffee Review

Today I have a drink review for you: Teeccino Herbal Coffee.

Writing my third book, I got into the bad habit of drinking multiple cups of coffee each day. After feeling jittery one too many times, I found myself craving the coffee taste but not wanting all of the caffeine. I did some research online and found Teeccino herbal coffee alternative. I decided to try it for myself and purchased their Vanilla Nut brew from a local health food store. What a pleasant surprise!

This drink is delicious and provides that same warm, robust drink experience I enjoy when drinking coffee.

What does an herbal coffee contain? The ingredients in the Vanilla Nut flavor are: carob, barley, chicory root, date & figs, almonds and other natural flavors. I love drinking mine with a coconut or almond milk creamer. Or I might drink it with milk and coconut sugar.

You brew teeccino just as you would coffee, just using slightly less than you normally would as the flavors are very strong. Use a traditional coffee brewer, french press or espresso machine. They also have tea bags that I like to take with me when I travel or for when I don't want to brew an entire pot. I love the Dandelion Caramel Nut flavor, which contains: dates & figs, almond, dandelion root and natural caramel and nut flavors.

Here are the listed health benefits, from Teeccino's website:

Every cup of Teeccino is brimming with nutritious health benefits that are naturally released during brewing from Teeccino’s herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. These nutrients are quickly absorbable from brewed Teeccino because the nutrients are suspended in liquid so digestion isn’t needed to remove them from fiber.

In many ways, Teeccino rebalances the negative effects of coffee. For instance, Teeccino is excellent for people with digestive health conditions because it is non-acidic and contains the prebiotic, inulin. Inulin is a soluble fiber from chicory root that supports a healthy population of beneficial digestive flora, so necessary for good digestive health.

Coffee, on the other hand, is highly acidic and along with its caffeine content, coffee can over-stimulate the digestive tract aggravating health problems for people with gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux and IBS.

Another example is heart health. Teeccino provides two heart-healthy nutrients, potassium, an electrolyte mineral, and soluble fiber. Potassium helps prevent strokes and high blood pressure. Soluble fiber lowers total cholesterol. Drinking several cups of Teeccino daily provides nutrients that support good cardiovascular health.

Caffeine, however, is a central nervous stimulant that makes the heart beat faster and can increase blood pressure. Coffee drinking has been shown to increase blood pressure in sensitive individuals. Caffeine’s effect on heart beats can stress the heart in people who have heart conditions. Decaf coffee has been shown to raise cholesterol and produce the “jitters” even though it has less caffeine than regular coffee.

Like any drug, caffeine withdrawal can cause many undesirable symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and nausea. Slowly weaning oneself off coffee by mixing Teeccino into your morning brew, and increasing the ratio of Teeccino to coffee for 3 weeks, has proven a successful plan to quit coffee, while still enjoying the taste of coffee, with little or no withdrawal symptoms!

Energy is the reason why many people drink coffee. With Teeccino, people experience an energy boost that comes from nutrients, not stimulants like caffeine. A cup of Teeccino keeps energy steady and balanced, but won’t provide that spike and subsequent crash that you can experience from too much coffee. Although many people drink coffee to get “energy”, they are really putting themselves in a state called “flight or fight syndrome”, which is a stress response that triggers alertness along with a host of stress reactions throughout the body. Getting off of the caffeine rollercoaster ride of sudden highs followed by lows in energy is one of the benefits of drinking Teeccino!

For more information on each of the ingredients, click here.

These herbal coffee alternatives would be wonderful for pregnant or nursing women or anyone who is trying to kick their caffeine addiction. They are also great for people who love a good coffee after dinner but don't want the drink to interfere with their sleep.

I have purchased Teeccino from both Sprout's Market and Whole Foods, but they are also available from Amazon and other online retailers, including teeccino.com

Teccino Vanilla Nut on Amazon.

Dandelion caramel nut on Amazon.

To hear more, check out my video review above. If you are unable to see the video, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

I wrote an article on the ten-item wardrobe for The Glamorous Housewife blog. Check it out here. Thank you, Bethany, for featuring my article!

Comment of the Week
Linda Johnson on YouTube writes:

I'm enjoying watching these You Tube videos. Although this was posted a year ago, I would like to comment on this topic of Dressing Well. I find that when I have carefully selected my clothing and gotten ready for the day, I don't need to think about myself from that point on. I can engage with the people that I am with that day and be "fully there" with them. I love the freedom that this brings.

Great point Linda! When we look presentable, we feel presentable as well and we are able to focus fully on the important things of the day without feeling self-conscious.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Take time out of your busy day to enjoy a favorite beverage. It could be a hot cup of coffee (or herbal coffee!), a sweet iced tea or whatever drink you love. While you enjoy your drink, look out the window, sit on your shady porch or simply sit in your living room and take in your surroundings. No phones. No TVs. Not even any books. Just enjoy your drink until it's finished. This time for quiet reflection is so needed throughout our wired, fast-paced day.

This week I would love to know... have you ever tried Teeccino? What are your favorite coffee alternatives? How do you like to drink your coffee?

FTC: All items featured in this review and video were purchased by me. I have no affiliation with Teeccino. All opinions are my own.

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