Saturday, February 11, 2012

French Fashion Fancies and a French Apple Cake

Prepare yourself as there's a distinctive French theme running through this post.
My passion for all things French seeps into my everyday living.
It's a curious perseveration...
being so enamored with France.
I do not truly understand it's origin all I know is it's one that I savour and embrace...
and dream about....

This gem of a book is never far from my bedside
I love to re-read the French Fashion Style Guide as it inspires me.

I love this book!
I read it again this afternoon and then spent some time online looking at scenes of Paris.

This comment speaks volumes to me.

"Less Is more"
and one should not overlook the simplest accessory.
They are the humble workhorses in our wardrobes.
 Be they 
expensive and luxe
 unusual and thrifted
better yet 
a gift or inherited!

It's up to you how you add flair
go shopping with an eye for detail
open up to your passionate side and find something that thrills you.
Dare to be different and carry yourself with good posture and confidence.

Keep your skin in tip top condition
and wear a minimum of make up for that French girl "no make up look."

Take time to incorporate some relaxation
channel a sense of calm
 soak in the tub with some scented salts
it's so much more chic than a quick shower.
Don't you feel more feminine just thinking about this?

I bought this French Market Basket several years ago.
I love the idea of walking to the Market and taking this along.
It sounds so romantic and chic...
I've yet to put this into practice!

I'd also love to be able to wear a beret with French cache
but no matter which way I put it on it looks silly.
It's a pity I know but hats generally do not suit me...

Scarves on the other hand 
are multiplying like rabbits here in The Humble Bungalow!

There's something so sensuous about draping a silk scarf around ones neck....
they are so easy to wear
and they always fit!

Hermes booklets illustrate how to wear their scarves
with images of pretty French Femmes on each page.
I keep them with my scarf collection so I can try a new tie when I am in the mood.
J'adore Hermes!

There is no shortage of great books on French Style.
Reading about Paris and Fashion is definitely a guilty pleasure.

Ines de la Fressange is a fashion icon
she has the look that embodies French Chic Style.

Pearls are the perfect accessory...
Coco Chanel loved to wear hers en masse
I have watched several films about her life
 and have read every Chanel book that I could get my hands on.

Wearing a French scent is part of the equation.
Voyage d' Hermes
(my sister wears it too)

Ballet flats 
are the penultimate shoe for The Hostess.
It's been boot weather this winter and I am looking forward to the Spring 
I will be able to wear flats again.
I have Converse sneakers on my list for Spring
and I am looking for some red ballet flats
so far they have eluded me.

French cuisine is all about using the freshest food available 
that one buys locally and in season.
The French love their food and wine.
 They take time to set the table and eat slowly savouring the tastes.

My French friend Cheryl who lives in the South of France part of the year
is a perfect example of a woman who supports the small farmer and the local market.
It is a pleasure to share a meal in her company as she speaks so fondly about the food...
where it came from
who she purchased it from
how it was grown.
Food preparation, the serving and the dining seen through the eyes of a talented artist like Cheryl 
is an enriching and illuminating experience.

Channeling my Inner French Girl is such fun.
My wardrobe has been pared down to a few basics in grey and black bottoms
with white tank tops and shirts.
I am very prudent with my spending and shop carefully.
No impulse buying any more!

There are numerous LBD's some casual and some dressy.
Finding that French wardrobe continues to be a work in progress.

I have learned many lessons and am still attending to that Parisian voice
in hopes that one day I will find myself in France..
or caught between the pages of a new and fabulous French Style book.

           Last but not least...
                                                       Donna kindly sent me the link to her
                                                                    French Apple Cake.
                                                                          Bon appetit!

Do you have a passion for fashion?
Who are your fashion icons and muses?

      I got a comment from the Fashion Police that went into my spam box 
 I tried to get it to publish and sadly Blogger deleted it
I am shattered....
please try sending it again.


  1. Hmm, no fashion isn't my passion at all, I like clothes but it's not all encompassing for me. Icons and muses, hmm, I don't think I have any, probably because it's not my passion!

  2. I love your French chic library - I have almost all of those books and I, too, love to dip into them on a regular basis. One of my favourites - I think it may have been my first - is Frederic Fekkai's A Year of Style, do you know it?

  3. Hostess, this glorious post encapsulates French Chic perfectly! I adore my French books (like yours pictured in the post) too and re-read them often for some inspiration and to keep a little Parisienne style in my life.

  4. Hm I dont know if I have a passion for fashion...I would have to say no if I dont know lol. I do like nice clothes and accessories but I dont spend a lot of time thinking about them. Sometimes I get my brain on an item and must have it but I prefer my clothes to be like Garanimals for kids...everything goes together!

  5. I hope you will get to France - soon. You are so well prepared.. Do you speak French?
    To answer your questions: Not passionate about fashion, I keep my eyes open though. And sadly, no icons or muses (;.

    1. I studied French for years. I have lost most of the speaking ability but can read and understand a lot of it with the help of a dictionary!

  6. I see we have many of the same books in our libraries and we obviously have the same passion for all things French! I would have to own up to having a definite passion for fashion, always have. Even as a young girl, I always loved looking at beautiful clothes and daydreamed of running around in gorgeous frocks!

  7. I'm with you Hostess - basics all the way and let those accessories shine. Confidently. France is calling!!

  8. Loved this post, I wholeheartedly agree with everything! Entre Nous is a great book and so is Inez's book. I have pared down my wardrobe to basic colours and go for glam with accessories (mainly scarves in winter and necklaces in summer). Quality over quantity. The basic philosophy works well for vacations too. On my last trip I packed mostly black clothes (my go-to neutral) and packed all my scarves and some necklaces in different colours and wore a different one each day in a different it looked like I was wearing a different outfit in every photo. :)

    Red ballet flats are on my shopping list this spring too (perhaps from London Sole?) And red pants!

    As for style icons, I love Francoise Hardy's style - she rocked simple effective style in the 60s and 70s....her simple makeup is awesome too, the eyeliner is fab!

    1. I am interested in doing some research on Francoise Hardy thank you for the tip.
      Sounds like we share a lot of the same fashion basics.

  9. I don't know where to start because I love love love this post. First, what pattern was the scarf you showed? I just picked up my second Hermes scarf this week, a 70cm, Le Boubou H in bleu indigo/blanc/ciel colorway. I think I am now horribly/wonderfully addicted to Hermes! We are perfume twins, because I bought Voyage d'Hermes in December (I got it at a discount because of working at Bloomingdale's, whee!), and I've read that book you showed, All You Need To Be Impossibly French. Some of the others you shared I didn't even know about so I am going to check them out. I wish we lived closer so we could go the Hermes Wall St. store together! Whenever I need a little hit of Paris I watch "Le Divorce" (I did an article about the costumes for Clothes on, just to interview the costume designer Carol Ramsey and learn about the Hermes Kelly in the movie) or look through Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris." XO, Jill

    1. Congratulations on acquiring that new Hermes scarf!
      The Hermes scarf is called les jardins d'andalousie. I have several other silk square scarves by other designers which I like to wear for variety.
      Wow I watched Le Divorce just last week!
      where could I read your article?

      I have Ina's cookbook in Paris and I love to looks at the pictures of the two of them as they are such a cute couple. I wonder where in Paris she has that apartment...

      It's fun to meet up with someone like you who share many of the same passions for French style.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  10. I too adore the french lifestyle and when I clicked on your blog this morning what a darling "french treat". I love this post and will be bookmarked for future reference. The one thing for me that stands out about most french women is their ability to embrace aging with confidence and grace. Just finished reading "What French Women Know"
    by Debra Ollivier a must read and great addition to one's parisienne library. Merci :)

    ps. love the ballet flats, I have a pair in blush pink!

    1. Birds of a feather....

      I've read one of Debra's books but I am not sure if this was the same one...I'm off to find out because if I haven't read it I need to now!
      merci beaucoup Leanne!

  11. just a little note on the French Apple Cake , it is sooo good I have made it at least a half a dozen times now . My brothers birthday is on Christmas day and I spent Christmas at his new place in Cobble Hill so I took half my kitchen with me too along with my two dogs and all of their things. So On Christmas eve I made this cake for his birthday cake , since we were hosting a brunch for the adult children . I never peel the apples anymore , so not necessary , this is a simple country French style cake . I put flaked almonds on the top when it goes in the oven and when it is on its footed cake plate ready to serve a dusting of confectioners sugar. It is simple but makes a statement all on its own , it doesnt need cinnamon , the flavours of the appples and rum mingle together beautifully . I serve with fresh whipped cream or a simple homemade custard. Donna

    1. Your added information is most appreciated. Leaving the skins on the apples adds more fiber and almonds are so healthy. Can't wait to bake this!

  12. I absolutely hope you go to France. No reason not to. I think you will love it.

    1. Time will tell and I am sure you are right.
      What's not to love about visiting France? Everyone I know who has been there raves about it and they keep going back.
      There's a lot that we want to do before retiring and traveling.

  13. you really do epitomize the french flair leslie.

    i don't have the zeal that a lot of people have these days for the french. i think it is awesome that you do though. maybe i'm just a stubborn american.

    that cake sounds to die for!

    1. Janet "stubborn american" is not how I see you at all!
      Canada is a bilingual country and I work in a French immersion school with some delightful French teachers who have that chic style and fashion flair.
      I observe how they dress and eat and when I listen to them speaking I am swept away into a romantic place. It's maybe a bit crazy but a girl can dream!

  14. Here I am reading this wonderful post about one of my favorite cities (second to NY) while watching Midnight in Paris for the 3 or 4th time.

  15. I consider myself a francophile and enjoy fashion, but I wouldn't consider myself passionate about it. I love visiting France - the architecture, the way of life, the food - it all appeals to me. And I read a lot of those French Chic books, too. I'm in the process of building up my wardrobe (or at least thinking about it and planning) after finishing my French degree. Black, grey and white are the basics in my wardrobe.

    Lovely scarf you show in that photo - and I hope you find your red ballet flats before the rains stop (I'd say you have some time.)

  16. Oh you should put a trip to Paris at the top of your must visit destinations list Hostess.
    I've always enjoyed fashion and with my daughter in the fashion biz I can never escape it.
    Lovely post!

  17. French Sole have some red flats similar to the style you are wearing. Ida

  18. No style icons or muses here. I'm with Tabitha, I like clothes, but not with a true passion.
    I do hope you go to France soon, I think you'll love it.

  19. These all look like good books...many of them I have read and enjoyed. Learning about french culture is always fun and french history, art, and fashion is fascinating. Great scarf and ballet flats.

  20. I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through your French side, Hostess! This weekend I'm in Seattle, and red ballet flats are everywhere. I'm sure you'll find your own with no trouble.

  21. From one francophile to another try these coffee table books 'French Impressions' by Betty Lou Phillips and 'French Home' by Josephine Ryan. Living in the UK I have been lucky to visit France many times so I wish you luck in your wish to go there. Bonne chance.

  22. I have had a dizzy weekend of socializing and entertaining and am unable to respond to all of your comments so I thank you all and apologize that there is not time to address and respond to each one.
    I'll be posting on a fabulous dinner party that we were invited to very soon!

  23. I don't know if I have a particular fashion icon, but I certainly admire the French technique of choosing high quality over quantity, dressing for your body shape, only buying clothes you love, and never apologizing for your own style - especially if it runs counter to the current fashion. I know that when I wear something frilly it doesn't suit me, even though I'm pretty feminine. I like clean lines, "less is more", and classic pieces so that I can show off my scarves.

    Oh, we have the same cookbooks!

    1. Knowing what suits you is so important. I think that's a huge part of developing one's own style.

  24. Dear Hostess. We have our appreciation of French fashion and style books in common - I have all the ones you have photographed, and then some! Please take a look at the Frederic Fekkai book 'A Year of Style', as this one started me off on the whole bent. It's WONDERFUL and still my very favourite. You won't regret it. Also, the Kendall Farr books are (while not French) very useful. Love from your Brisbane pal, Justine

  25. Although I love many of the exquisite gifts to the world from France;Hermes, perfume, cuisine,champagne,the city lights of Paris, and the incomparable Houses of Haute Couture; the Anglophile in me is much too strong to completely submit to that je ne sais quoi. lol.
    I am wholly content, and proud to be Canadian, and I am equally proud of my British, and Irish, heritage.
    Be it ever so humble.....

    1. I have Irish ancestors as well...
      I am not insinuating that I am not a proud Canadian, nor proud of my heritage.
      There's just a fascination with French style and fashions....
      it's a rather harmless preoccupation :)