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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #196
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube
“Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” —Jean Cocteau
With the collections for Fall 2018 being revealed this month, I am always on a treasure hunt to find unique and worthwhile takes on the classics. At the same time, I am reminded as the trends shift each and every season, of the benefits to adhering to a signature style that complements the individual wearing the clothes rather than the individual bringing applause or attention to the trend du jour.
Much of how I have narrowed in on my own style and what has been the muse for simply luxurious style has been shaped by what I have read, observed and learned from French, especially Parisian women. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are brilliantly stylish people around the globe, and the classic, effortless approach is not something only seen in Paris. However, the French have claimed it, owned it and demonstrate it regularly. Why? Well, put simply, it works and transcends years and decades of infinite trends that have been paraded down the runways.
Today I’d like to share with you 10 style and beauty lessons I have learned from the French along my own journey of discovering my signature style and how to approach shopping as well as dressing each day regardless of the season. Some have been standing principles of the simply luxurious approach and others are new to me as well in the past couple of years. However, all of them work and enable you to look your best.
1. Less make-up, but still some make-up
The best face to present to the world is your face. Less hiding what your visage is and more showcasing its beauty. Beginning with your skincare regimen, well-hydrated skin will always offer a palette to be enhance ever so slightly, and at the same time, hardly at all. Choose a primer, the proper hued concealor, tinted moisturizer and subtle eye makeup. Choose one feature to bring to the forefront — your lips, your eyes or your cheeks and simply brighten the rest.
~8 Ways to Create Glowing Skin, episode #13
Heels are nice, but heels have their time and place. Flats, whether ballet or boots are smart, versatile and comfortable. And we must not forget, stylish. Purchase well made designs, make sure they fit your foot and wear them for years.
3. Trends? No thank you.
If we are busy chasing down trends, we do not have the ability to hone our signature style. And while discovering our signature style takes time, once we do discover it, the shopping is simpler and less frequent. Whereas when we chase trends, we are endlessly shopping and constantly shelling out money. Remember, let your uniqueness shine. No else will have precisely your style, so you will have do the work of getting to know yourself, your body, skin tone and the most enjoyable, what you love to wear which makes you feel your most confident.
4. Neutral color palette
Neutrals are not just beige, so don’t worry. Remember, start with an understanding of your skin tone and work from there. Certain colors can be neutral for you as well. Navy and even prints can be neutral and easy to mix and match with other colors in your wardrobe – polka dots or leopard, for example. Shopping for neutrals and keeping them in your closet enables your items to endure as what you purchase down the road will still have the opportunity to pair with what you already own.
5. Fewer clothes, better quality
Cost per wear. Invest in high priced items if they are well-made with quality fabrics and are classic pieces rather than trends. And most important, you like the item and it fits well (remember to tailor as needed). Less frequent shopping and in the long run, less money spent.
6. Lace over cotton (when it comes to undergarments)
The French and lingerie. Wear beautiful lingerie each day for you and for you. Yes, I repeated myself on purpose. In the United States, some brands would have us believe that it is what we look like to others in our lingerie, but rather it should be how our lingerie makes us feel. After all, we are the one’s wearing it and when we feel comfortable we will be comfortable and more confident. Whether it is going about errands, hopping on a plane or going on a date.
7. A luxury investment handbag
Quality accessories make a statement, and a well-made handbag (no exterior label is needed to show the world what you own) completes a look, enables the woman to keep her life and business organized and tucked away all the while going about her business.
8. Find a Versatile Trench
“Wear it on the weekends with jeans, over gowns to formal events, layered with a fur stole when the weather gets colder, over your shoulders during the spring—the possibilities are endless.” —Leah Bourne
I am new to this idea, but after reading Leah Bourne’s piece for Stylecaster, I could not agree more. Choose a quality trench, one that is the right length for your body that can be worn for day, evening or play. Choose a color and fabric that aligns with your signature style and make it your go-to coat nearly, if not the entire, year round.
9. Trust stripes
A broken record I am when it comes to stripes. Wear them when it comes to tee shirts, wear striped sweaters, striped dresses and even blouses. Stripes are a stunning neutral inspired by the French marinére or Breton top, and as was shared a couple of weeks ago, their versatility makes them a wise and savvy choice.
10. Find your signature style and stick to it
“Parisian fashionistas develop a signature look, and stick with it. They might update their wardrobe with a few trends, but they always stick to a similar aesthetic. This also makes shopping a heck of a lot easier.” —Leah Bourne, Stylecaster
The more simplicity we can bring into our lives the less complexity we have to navigate, but initially the process of knowing what to strip away takes time and careful attention. Curating our signature style occurs in precisely the same manner. Check out this post in which I break down precisely how to determine your signature, and then I believe you will find the shopping experience becomes easier and more enjoyable and your style quotient will steadily rise.
~Tune in to French-Living inspired posts/episodes from the Archives:
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~NPR interview with creator David Collins
~Correction from the podcast episode: This series makes over both straight and gay men whereas the original series focused only on straight men. Episode #4 is especially moving.