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The French Girl Style Myth

eiffel tower

The world is fascinated by French girl style. After all, who could possibly be more chic? I, myself, have read many books and articles proclaiming to decode French girl style. Why is it so mysterious and perfect at the same time?

It wasn’t until I was actually in Paris a couple of years ago that I experienced French girl style for myself. Eager to learn their style secrets, I spent much time observing French girls in their native habitat: strolling in Le Marais district, in cafes on the left bank, in quiet streets off the Champs Elysee, relaxing at the beach-like ponds in Les Tuilleries (although many of the folks in this pic are likely tourists like we were…)Tuileries_Garden_pond_chairs

What did I learn?

Some French girl style facts are true: most don’t wear makeup, most don’t have perfectly coiffed hair, most wear a lot of black. They smoke too much and I never saw anyone jogging.

But there truly isn’t a style formula that one can emulate. Why? Because the biggest differentiator is French girl attitude.

There’s a playful mix of bold confidence and seductive sexiness that are the main factors that define French girl style. They aren’t obsessing about that last 5 pounds to lose, or whether red shoes with a green trench coat is the right thing. They’re confident enough about themselves, their bodies and their looks not to care what others think. It’s just that simple.

Their just-tumbled-out-of-bed hair and no makeup look suggests they’re more concerned with living life on their own terms. It says the French girl has more important things to do than spend an hour a day in front of the mirror.

If you don’t like her red shoes and green trench, then clearly, it’s because you’re out of touch. That’s her confidence shining through, where we mere mortals might be stressing about what others think.

So instead of trying to perfect French girl style, why not be your most perfect you? That starts from the inside, with confidence and a peu d’importance (of little significance) attitude.

Wear clothes that give you confidence, make you comfortable and express your inner fierceness. Own it. There’s a saying that goes, “people wouldn’t care so much what others think about them if they realized how rarely they do.”

So, be bold, be strong, be resilient.

Wear what makes you happy.

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5 things to do today

Sonia Rykiel SS 18 2

Loyal readers will have noticed it’s been a while since my last post. I took some personal time to deal with a hectic schedule and some health issues.

But I’m back and ready to talk about style for mature women.

I was recently asked about things that women can do to refresh their style. It’s a great question, because no matter how much attention we pay to our style, many women wonder if they’re keeping pace.

Relax.

The best thing you can do is understand your style personality. What looks best reflect who you are and what you like? Boho chic? Elegant simplicity? Sporty natural?

So long as your look is consistent with who you are, you’re all right.

But for those looking to add a little oomph to their style, here are five things you can do right away

  1. Start with your hair. Hairstylist Ted Gibson (formerly of “What Not to Wear”) says changing your hair regularly is the best way to maintain a youthful look. I met him in New York a few years ago, and he says that any woman still sporting the same hairstyle for the past 10 years will inevitably look older and out of style.
  2. Add trendy items as accents. Let’s face it. Trends are for 20-somethings. I don’t know many 50+ women who are prepared to rock thigh-high stiletto boots and mini skirt. But how do you incorporate trends in an appropriate way? Look at colours, prints and fabrics as ways to bring in the hottest trends. For example, if animal prints are hot for fall (and they are), think about a scarf or a great pair of shoes.
  3. Quality over quantity. Choose quality pieces over cheapy of-the-moment fashion. Fabric, construction and tailoring ALWAYS matters and quality will always be in style. The difference between looking polished and looking schlubby is often the quality of the item.
  4. Go easy on make-up. As we get older, a natural look is fresher than heavy foundation and lots of eye shadow. Try tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. Use neutral tones on lids. Keep a light hand – a little goes a long way. Pay attention to trends: for example, eyeliner on bottom lids is out and continuing its use can be aging.
  5. Dress appropriately to the occasion. Be mindful of dress requirements when you attend events. If you’re going casual, keep one piece a little more formal, such as pairing jeans with an unstructured blazer. If you’re going formal, go easy on the bling. Better to wear one really great statement piece to complement your look.