8.31.2015

Look Presentable Always: An Anecdote 2015

Before we begin today, thank you so much for your overwhelming outpouring of support after last week's post. Through the blog, social media, YouTube and private message, hundreds of you wrote in to offer condolences and share your memories of Gatsby and of your own dear pets and I can't tell you how that has helped me in the grieving process. Thank you. Thank you. Every day it gets easier but as you know, losing a dear pet is a very hard thing to go through. It will take time to heal.



This week's post shares an anecdote from this summer on looking presentable always. Why do I write about this topic and why do I continue to explore it? I believe that looking presentable is more than just a superficial thing. It's not just about style. It's not just about beauty. It's not about impressing other people. It is about so much more than that. It is about dignity. It is about respect: both respect for self and respect for others. I am sure you have noticed how casual and sloppy our society is becoming. It is rapidly changing every single day. This is something that bothers me deeply. Does it bother you? All we can do is work on ourselves and strive to present ourselves beautifully each day, to the best of our ability. This small action, believe it or not, can help to turn the problem around.

Check out this week's video to hear my anecdote as well as further thoughts on the subject. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance comes out October 27th from Simon & Schuster. Pre-order available now.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Rather than a thought, this week I have a task for you. This week be an observer. Observe other people, whether strange or familiar. Take note of how they present themselves through dress. Observe the way you present yourself. Analyze how these observations make you feel. Just store this information for now. We will do more with it later.

Comment of the Week
Kelsey W writes:

This video really inspired me. I was sitting on the computer in my yoga clothes (after Mom and Baby yoga this morning) while the baby napped. While watching I realized this and quickly paused it, hopped in the shower, and then threw on whatever I found that was clean. Then, I caught myself wearing athletic wear again so put a bit more thought into my outfit. Now I'm wearing dark green khaki shorts, a grey and white striped tee, and even found a necklace and bracelet. Who said you can't look nice for a day at home with the baby! :)

Kelsey, I loved your comment and I am so happy that you and your baby are both benefitting from this. Well done!

This week I would love to hear from you. What do you observe from how people present themselves today? Do you strive to look presentable always? Why is this important? Let me know and you could be picked as the comment of the week!

Until next time...

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8.24.2015

Remembering Gatsby






Hello Everyone,

Gatsby passed away this past week. He was so dear to me and I know that he was dear to many of you who got to know him on the blog and in the videos. I know all dog lovers think this way about their pet, but Gatsby was special! He was funny, mean, grumpy, distinguished, protective, loyal and so lovable.

Last November he suffered a bad bout of pancreatitis, but through hospitalization and medication we were able to get him back on track. He seemed OK for the months that followed but recently we saw another decline in his health and this time it was terminal. Anyone who has ever lost a pet knows how agonizing it can be. I was with him until his last moments and the last thing I told him before he died was that I loved him.

Now I am just getting used to life without him. You never realize how your pet plays such a big part in your life! I am reminded of him what feels like hundreds of times throughout the day. I put together a little video this week with pictures of him as a way to remember him. Thank you for all of your loving comments to Gatsby over the years. I'm sure he could feel the love.

If any of you are grieving the loss of a pet I am sending you love too. Please let me know about your special pet and why they meant so much to you. I would love to hear that.

See you next week.

Love,

Jennifer x

8.19.2015

One Week of Outfits Summer Ten-Item Wardrobe



I hope that you are having a wonderful summer (winter for our southern hemisphere friends). I am now officially back from my break and am jumping right back in with a highly requested one week of outfits video. Next week I'll let you know all that happened on my break and preview what we have to look forward to this fall. This week's video shows you a slice of life from a very lazy summer's week! I hope you enjoy seeing how the ten-item wardrobe actively works in my life.



Friday- Talbots jean dress with the tailored sleeves
Saturday- Boden striped top with Talbots denim skirt
Sunday- Garnet Hill polkadot dress for day and Rebecca Taylor dress for evening
Monday- Garnet Hill black dress plus heavy gardening clothes (exercise clothes)
Tuesday- A.P.C. linen dress
Wednesday- Boden white tee and Talbots skirt
Thursday- Boden green dress with Talbots cardigan
Friday- Boden midnight blue and green print dress with the tailored sleeves

All of these pieces will be familiar to you. For links and more information on the clothes you see in this video, please refer to my original ten-item wardrobe post for spring/summer 2015.

The Talbot's wedges featured in the video are sadly no longer available on their website. I'm hoping they will bring them back next spring as they are comfortable and very stylish.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Don't worry about looking perfect every day. It's OK if your hair isn't pinterest worthy or your clothes aren't meticulously pressed. The aim is to do your best, to not let yourself go and to inject some passion into your style!

News
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic comes out on October 27th from Simon & Schuster. You can pre-order your copy today!

I am featured on Little Yellow Couch's Style Matters podcast. Check out my fun discussion on all things style with Zandra and Karen.

In Pursuit of the Finer Things is counting down the days until Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic debuts!

Comment of the Week

Gigi writes:

I don't think I've ever commented here before...but I had to pop in to tell you how much you have inspired me.

As a Texas girl, born and bred, and a transplant to North Carolina I have always lived in hot and humid climates. As such, I lived in shorts and tee shirts on the weekends during the extended summers that we have. But, the older I've gotten, the more frumpier I would feel. So this summer, thanks to you, I've begun wearing dresses/skirts on the weekends - instead of just for the work week. And it has totally changed the way I feel about myself on the weekends. Even the husband and son have noticed and are constantly complimenting me on my outfits.

Thank you! Keep it up. Eventually the word will spread to the masses and we will all start dressing better.

Thank you Gigi! I am so happy you are enjoying this process!

Question of the Week

Helen from New York writes:

I need advice on the ten item wardrobe for fall. I work in NYC in the corporate office for a well known luxury company and prefer to wear separates at the office. Mostly trousers and skirts and just an occasional dress. Should I aim for ten bottoms and ten tops or should I streamline even further? I like the uniform idea for me of trousers, shell and jacket however since my office is usually overheated in winter I need to wear tailored shirts or lightweight sweaters. Professional yet comfortable. Like most New Yorkers I wear a lot of black. Your thoughts?

Thank you for your question Helen. I would adhere to the ten-item wardrobe and choose fewer trousers. Ten trousers can be excessive and you might find that you can get away with having between three to five pairs plus as many blouses or tops that you need to get through the week. Remember you do not have to strictly adhere to the number ten, but it's a great idea to streamline and not go overboard either. You might find that as time goes on you can get by with much less (and actually prefer it!). Don't worry about wearing the same thing twice in one week as you can style it to look differently. Best of luck and have fun curating your wardrobe!

Artistic Recommendation

Rose writes:

You may or may not remember I enjoyed your music recommendations in At Home With Madame Chic.

I have found a composer/pianist who works much like Ludovico Einaudi, his name is Giovanni Allevi, I think you would like him.


Thank you Rose! I will check out his music.

See you next week as I share a look presentable always anecdote with you among other musings.



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7.19.2015

Ten-Item Wardrobe Update and Summer Break



Hello Dear Readers,

Congratulations to Lena, who won the LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE giveaway. Today I have a final video before I take my annual summer break from the blog. In it I answer a frequently asked question: How has my ten-item wardrobe fared this season and are there any changes?

This ten-item wardrobe has been my most favorite. As I have previously mentioned, every season you do the ten-item wardrobe you get closer and closer to honing in on your true style and the clothes you love to wear. I was recently speaking with my sister, who is trying the ten-item wardrobe for herself, and she told me that one of the most valuable things is she is definitely figuring out what she doesn't like to wear. This is valuable! Oftentimes when our closets are stuffed to the brim with clothes, we add so much confusion to our fashion identity and we just don't know what we like to wear. We're all over the place. With the ten-item wardrobe, because you are "stuck with" (for lack of a better term) the same small amount of clothing for a season, you learn pretty quickly what you like and you don't like. That's why each season, you eliminate mistakes and get closer to your true style.

There was one item of clothing, my Spanx jeans, that I found I rarely wore this spring/summer.

In fact, since March, I've only worn them 3 to 5 times! Essentially for the past few months I have been wearing a 9-Item wardrobe! Don't worry, I'm not changing the number on you. I decided to set the jeans aside (I'll most likely use them in fall/winter or I can bring them out if there is a cold-spell in the summer) and purchase a dress to fill the gap so that I am back to ten items.

Because I loved my black Garnet Hill dress so much...


I decided to purchase the same dress in navy polka-dot. The dress was on sale for significantly less than I paid for the black dress and I thought this would be a wise move. And it was! This dress is so comfortable and forgiving. I might keep both dresses on into the fall/ winter wardrobe as I believe I can layer them for colder weather. We will see. Here I am wearing the polka-dot dress last weekend visiting historic Victorian houses in San Diego.


Please check out this week's video for a more in-depth examination of my summer ten-item wardrobe experience. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Be honest with yourself and figure out what you don't like to wear. Get rid of the clothes that just aren't you, even if they were expensive. Even if they were a gift. Even if you swear you might wear them one day. If they don't feel right, you won't wear them and you'll never feel comfortable in them. Have fun this summer purging your wardrobe.

Comment of the Week
Debbie S. writes:

Jennifer, I just wanted you to know that I'm learning so much from you. I'm 55 years old and my kids are grown and on their own, my youngest just graduated from college. The teen years were tough and I had become a little crabby with everything going on in our family. My kids were good kids but there was just so much commotion with all of their activities and their teen angst. I enjoy your Blog and your videos. They have reminded me to be kinder and gentler with everyone in my life. I kind of lost myself a little being a mom so thank you for helping me to refocus.

Love, love, love your clothing tips!


Debbie, thank you so much. As a mother of two kids I know how hard it can be to not lose your sense of self, especially during the difficult times. It is very important to have an outlet where you can express yourself and cultivate your interests so you don't lose yourself in the drama that can sometimes come from family life. Wishing you the very best!


News
Check out For the Love of Organizing's book club discussion of Lessons from Madame Chic, starting with part one.

My newest book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic comes out on October 27th and is available for pre-order now.

I will be taking my annual one month break from the blog as I enjoy the summertime with my family and get settled in our new house. I look forward to returning to the blog reinvigorated and have many special videos and posts planned for you. If you have a request for the upcoming season on The Daily Connoisseur, please leave it in the comment section below. Thank you again for your support of my blog. You are so greatly appreciated. See you soon!

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7.13.2015

Summer Read Giveaway: Luckiest Girl Alive



Today I have an exciting book give away for you from Simon & Schuster. Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll has been one of the biggest books of the summer! Many people have compared it to Gone Girl, which I enjoyed. I do love a good page-turner and am looking forward to reading this book...

Here are what the critics are saying:

"Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will thrill at “the perfect page-turner to start your summer” (People, Book of the Week)

Luckiest Girl Alive—described by Reese Witherspoon as “one of those reads you just can’t put down!”

“Loved Gone Girl? We promise [Luckiest Girl Alive is] just as addictive.”
—Good Housekeeping

“Jessica Knoll introduces you to your new best frenemy, and you’re going to love it. . . .Destined to become one of the summer’s most gripping reads.”
—Bustle.com

“With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but an intensity all its own, Luckiest Girl Alive is a debut you won’t want to miss.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The Fever


And here is the description from Simon & Schuster

HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?


Simon & Schuster have kindly agreed to giveaway one signed copy of Luckiest Girl Alive to a lucky reader of The Daily Connoisseur. Please note that the giveaway is for US residents only (terms set by the publisher). Please enter the giveaway below via the rafflecopter widget. The winner will be announced one week from today on the widget as well as contacted by email. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



News
Well done to Sonia S. who emailed me via my author website. She was the only person to correctly guess the violinist's song in last week's video as String Quartet in F, Opus 3 No. 5 by Franz Joseph Haydn. For those who were wondering, the other music featured in last week's video was Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 2nd Movement.

Nearly 200,000 people have watched my TEDx talk on the ten-item wardrobe! Check it out here.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
I know the days are busy and long but take time out for yourself to read a book today. Get comfortable in a quiet little corner of your house, forget your to-do list temporarily and get lost in a great book.

Comments of the Week
Eulalie writes:

Hi Jennifer, having food for people when they come during eating times is a must in Africa, it is an unspoken rule, whenever people arrive at your place at these times or nay time really; whether you have enough food on the table or not, you must share it... I always struggled with this so are my kids when we are there on holidays as in Africa, there are no "can I come over?"... people just turn up at your door steps and you always have to be ready.
It is funny to me that you talk about this as this concept or principle is not common in the western world... you actually often have to ask for a glass of water whether in Africa you are always offered and it is offensive to refuse to drink or eat... very interesting. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks Eulalie! I love hearing about the customs in other cultures.

Emily writes:

I was inspired by your ted talk a few months ago and I'm so happy to have found your channel! I have two pretty dirty jobs (working at a zoo and an animal shelter) so I don't dress nicely to work but I am trying to transition into a more "grown up" wardrobe. I have also started my declutter process and i'm just waiting for it to cool down enough so I can have a yard sale. I love your thoughtful videos!

Thank you Emily. You can do it!


Reader Recommendation
On YouTube, Elegance Preferred writes:

Re: Dress Shields
Also made from washable fabric--in white and black.

Brand: "Kleinerts Dress Shields". They are fabric triangles with small safety pins to unobtrusively pin into underarms of dresses, jackets, coats etc. --they have other designs as well. On Amazon, and at sewing stores.

The fabric ones eliminate any issues with very delicate clothes and the stick on shields--it is sometimes possible to get residue from the sticky ones on clothes--brands you recommend probably much better than one I tried that left residue on the fabric.


Thank you for this great recommendation!


Best of luck with the giveaway. This week I would love to know... what great books have you read so far this season?

See you soon!

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7.06.2015

Two Days in Richmond Upon Thames



I hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! I am back in America after a short trip to England. What a wonderful time we had! Today I have a short video showing one of my favorite places in England, Richmond Upon Thames.




Check out this week's video for a mini tour. We go to the Terrace Gardens, Petersham nurseries and take a walk along the Thames. In the middle of the video you will hear a very talented violinist perform by the river. Classical music connoisseurs: can you tell us what song he is playing? (A bit of music trivia is always fun!) You can leave your answer in the comment section below or tweet or facebook me.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Spend some time this week in a garden, whether it be in your back yard, the local park or on a special trip. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you and be very present while there.


Speaking of beautifully scented roses, here are the David Austin Gertrude Jekyll roses from the garden of my mother and father in-law's house. This rose has the most incredible scent! A strong, traditional rose fragrance emminates from every bloom.

News
Style Sprinter recommends Lessons from Madame Chic among great company in her What to Read in the Hamptons list.

For the Love of Organizing has selected Lessons from Madame Chic for her July book club! Check out Laura's introductory video here.

Enchanted blog writes about rejecting the new materialism as discussed in Lessons from Madame Chic.

Fab le Frique talks Paris and Lessons from Madame Chic.

At Home With Madame Chic is making waves in Italy and the Czech Republic!


L'eleganza del riordino from publisher Piemme.


S Madame Chic doma from Mlada Fronta

Comment of the Week

Patrish writes:

Just a quick note on aprons: they have something that most clothing for women does not--pockets! I love to listen to audio books while cleaning/cooking and the apron pockets hold my phone or ipod and earbuds so they are always within reach when I have a few minutes. I also have a small coin purse that holds a house key (ever locked yourself out while taking out the trash?), lip balm and a few dollars in case I need to tip a delivery person. I transfer the coin purse to whatever apron I'm wearing. I won't buy an apron without pockets.

Thank you Patrish! While I don't keep a coin purse in my apron, I do love to listen to podcasts or music while I work around the house and love my apron pockets for the very same reason.

Artistic Recommendation

Elizabeth writes:

After I read your first book - I watched the film Amelie - it was lovely. I came across another film starring Audrey Tautou - Delicacy. It is a beautiful film and Ms. Tautou is outstanding - I just wanted to recommend it to you if you haven't seen it. I love your books and am looking forward to the release of Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic.

Best wishes,

Elisabeth


Thank you Elisabeth. I am looking forward to watching Delicacy!

This week I would love to know... how are you spending your summer holidays?


Music featured in video is: Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 2nd Movement


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6.29.2015

How to Wear Bold Prints



I hope you are having a lovely week! I am still on holiday in England but have another video for you that I shot back in California.

This week we are talking about wearing bold prints. If you are somewhat of a fashion wallflower, you might feel intimidated by wearing bold prints. I'm pretty shy with prints, believe it or not, but I do inject them into my ten-item wardrobe each season because I think they look good and I like to challenge myself.

Here are some examples of bold prints in my ten-item wardrobe for Spring/Summer:







My best tip for wearing bold prints is to pair them with neutral accessories such as a neutral cardigan or blazer and neutral shoes. This allows the bold print to be the star of the show. Make your jewelry subtle as well. As you get more confident with your style statements, you can begin to experiment with mixing prints and accessorizing them creatively, but for beginners, I recommend going neutral.

Check out this week's video to hear more on this topic. If you are unable to see the video above**, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
If you feel shy with your fashion choices and constantly find yourself wearing black or neutrals consider adding a bold print to your ten-item wardrobe. Have fun challenging your fashion sense and enjoy wearing bold prints.

Comments of the Week
On last week's post, How to Preserve Your Clothes Between Washes, Margaret P. says:

Being a good bit older than yourself, Jennifer, and I guess older than most of your readers, I would like to say that dress shields were commonplace to my mother's generation if not to mine. Most dresses she had in the 1940s and 1950s came with dress shields sewn into them and they could be snipped out, washed and then replaced with a few stitches (no stick-on ones in those days, of course.)

Patricia W. writes:

I loved this post, in particular, nostalgic to me, because it reminded me of my sister and I being with my paternal grandparents on most Saturday nights while my parents went out to dinner and dancing...my grandma in her apron, her dress shields in her good dresses,and spying through the crack in their not quite closed bedroom door as my grandfather laced her into her corset on Sunday mornings before she donned her dress for church. Our Mother and Father, uncles, aunts, and cousins would always be in attendance for Sunday afternoon dinner.

On the subject of dress shields, TL writes:

Just like a previous reader commented I was also concerned about the amount of waste created by disposable garment guards so after some more online research I found there are washable ones (in cotton). These were actually what people used in the old days, before deodorants :) They are still being manufactured in small amounts, so just do a search on washable dress shields/ garment guards and you will find several different models. Some are strapped on to your underarms, others to your clothing (pinned with safety pins or adhered with adhesive strips).

Thank you, ladies for your reminisces and tips. I read every comment and appreciate them all!

This week I would love to know... what are your thoughts on wearing bold prints? Are you comfortable wearing them? Do you have a special way you style them? Let us know in the comment section below and you could be picked as the comment of the week!

**I realize that some email subscribers are not able to see the embedded video via their email. I am not sure what the cause is of this technical difficulty. Until the problem is resolved, please click on the "click here" video link mentioned above to be taken directly to my YouTube channel. Thank you for your understanding!

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