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Meet Janice Riggs of The Vivienne Files in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janice Riggs.

Janice, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
For years, I’ve been in love with France, so during the early days of the Internet, I found my way to a chat group of other like-minded women. At that time, I was lucky enough to travel to Paris for work every two or three months. I got to be friends with a woman who worked at my regular hotel…

So, on the chat group, whenever anyone had a question about “What Would a REAL Parisienne DO?”, I would ask Vivienne.

Years later, I learned that members of the group had collected everything that I wrote about Vivienne, and saved all of my writings in a document called “The Vivienne Files.”

And that document was sent around to all SORTS of people. One day, I found myself quoted on a blog that I’d never before read! At which point I realized that my understanding of wardrobe planning, and the insights that I’d gained from going to Paris, were something that was interesting to many people. I started “The Vivienne Files” blog the same day.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve been terribly fortunate. The day I started my blog, I put a note on the discussion group website that started the whole idea, and I acquired a lot of readers on my first day. And they told two friends, and THEY told two friends, etc.

My biggest struggle might be to answer all of the email questions that I receive, and trying to use all of the suggestions for blog posts that my readers send to me. Not a real problem at all!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Vivienne Files story. Tell us more about the blog.
The Vivienne Files is one of the only “style” blogs that never shows a photograph of the author! Instead, I start with either an idea, or with a lovely object, and from that, I build a capsule wardrobe that echoes the colors and themes of the inspirational source. I think I’m best known for a series called “Start With Art”, in which I use a painting as the central source of color and mood for a wardrobe. Toss in a little bit of a short-story vignette about where our mythical heroine is going (and why) and that’s what I do!

I’m particularly proud of encouraging my readers to buy less, buy better, have a plan, and be smart and efficient with the use of their hard-earned money. I’m firmly opposed to following trends, and to buy “cheap and cheerful” garments that get tossed after being worn once or twice. The Vivienne Files is about personal style, certainly, but it’s also about being financially responsible and environmentally aware.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
My whole life is about good luck! When my health dictated that I probably am no longer equal to a 60 hour a week office job, I was able to start The Vivienne Files and almost immediately begin a 2nd career.

And I’m particularly fortunate to have such great readers. They give me feedback and ideas, let me know when something has gone haywire on the technical side of things, and they often come to Chicago to meet me! Pretty nice life, eh?

Contact Info:

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  1. Anne Robinson

    December 19, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    The Vivienne Files is a fantastic site and I have been following it for ages. I also try to follow Janice’s invaluable advice. My current wardrobe is totally different from what it was like a few years ago! So much better organised, my clothes work well together and my accessories add just the right touch. Many thanks to Janice.

  2. becky johns

    January 10, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Janice Riggs has inspired me for several years, and by now I have been able to weed out orphans in my closet and build groups of like colored clothing that intermix with each other I have had to buy a few things to fill in gaps and accessories that work well with the color groups I have chosen, but all in all I have spent less and am very happy with my workable wardrobe.
    Sometimes she inspires me with a new color combination, and other times I take note of the garments: Sweater, white top, black slacks, shoes to match sweater, scarf to match sweater…and try to find that combination in my closet. It has made getting dressed a pleasant part of the day.

  3. melmi

    January 29, 2019 at 1:25 am


    I love your blog! What I like especially is that you don’t choose clothes/accessories that are so highly priced that they are not affordable. Love that about the blog. Your combinations are fantastic and the way you put your outfits together is making me think differently about what I buy/wear and how to do so. Thank you for such wonderful ideas and all the work you do to put your blog together.

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