There is something about France and Paris that speaks to me...
it's a mystery as to why I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
Perhaps it is all the books that I have read over the years that paint a lovely picture of French country life.
It could be the movies... the romantic images of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina
the chauffeur's daughter who runs off to Paris and is transformed by cooking school and a new hairstyle.
Or perhaps it's French Vogue, or the iconic and enduring styles created by Coco Chanel.
In any case I am as far from a French femme as possible and have no illusions of being one.
But having said that it does not stop me from exploring all things French and reading books on French life and style.
One of my favourite books is a classic by Veronique Vienne.
she has a quality about her
very comfortable in her own skin
"bien dans sa peau"
her skin glows and her hairstyle is casual
she looks like she has not fussed too much
she is not wearing too much make up
my impression is that she looks natural and healthy
and quintessentially chic.
What about Canadian Chic?
Is there such a thing and if there is what would it look like?
Our country is such a melting pot of ethnic groups that it would be difficult to define!
Style is personal and the clothes you wear are a reflection of who you are.
They should be honest, comfortable, a little bit creative, and above all be fun.
So if like myself you dress for comfort...
it might be flats instead of high heels
not wearing designer duds head to toe
(a no no in my books even for the rich)
and especially if you are on a beer budget
can be found in accessories and they do not need to cost the earth
they can be inherited, thrift shop finds or vintage
might be wearing a bright pair of ballet flats with your jeans and a white shirt
"Dressing your age" is a phrase that bothers me
dressing appropriately for your figure and lifestyle might be more to my liking.
I cannot imagine "giving up" on fashionable clothes just because one reaches a certain age.
We see many older women here in baggy polyester 2 piece outfits and they are not very exciting.
I am referring to the pastel shades of pants and wildly flowered patterned tops that can be found in many shops.
I'll give you an example of a well dressed woman
(who must have been 80 if she were a day)
at the Market and she looked lovely.
Navy dress pants, a short tan car coat, a bright silk square scarf with red accents on a navy background
navy kitten heels, an understated leather bag and small gold hoops in her ears and a smile!
I think her clothes were many years old but the cuts were good as were the fabrics and she looked fabulous.
whatever you choose to wear it should say something about who you are...
you clothes should be clean
and appropriate for whatever it is that you are doing
whether you are at work or at play
meeting the gals for coffee or lunch
or out on a date night with your sweetheart
Plan ahead so that you are relaxed and comfortable.
Buy sizes that fit your body
not the body that you want when you lose that extra 20 pounds.
Have a few key pieces for a variety of occasions
my go to bare basics are :
well fitting black pants
silky tank style top for layering
a dress that fits and flatters that is simple and can be dressed up or down
tweedy style (Chanel) jacket
a few fabulous brooches and several strands of pearls
a pair of kitten heel shoes
an evening bag
and a pashmina wrap
a great coat
Make sure that buttons are not dangling and threads are not hanging loosely.
Iron out creases and pay attention to details
are your shoes polished or worn down at the heels?
Look in the mirror before you leave the house so you are confident.
Don't do what I did that day I ran out to the bakery just before it closed only to see my reflection in the glass that showed a messy wind swept hair do and a pale face with no lipstick on!
( invariably you meet someone you'll know and the moment to make an impression is upon you!)
If you can get your hands on this book it is well worth a read.
Classics are never out of style
nor are manners.
Have fun getting dressed and exploring some new shops in your city.
Buying accessories can give a new lease on life to a wardrobe and you can dress creatively while you are saving for some new clothes or dieting and working out to shed those extra unwanted pounds.
Above all Have Fun!