3.22.2010

Portrait of Madame Chic



Recently I received an email from Lana, a reader of The Daily Connoisseur. She wanted to know more about Madame Chic’s fashion sense and lifestyle. She had such great questions I decided to devote an entire post to the subject and have attempted to answer her questions below.

For those of you who are new to the blog, Madame Chic is the mother of the family I lived with when I was an exchange student in Paris. I could have also called her Madame Traditionelle because she had a very classic sensibility... but then, I’m getting ahead of myself...

Madame Chic’s Style

Madame Chic was a Parisian in the most traditional of senses. She was conservative and her style reflected her values gracefully. Madame Chic always wore a skirt. Always. On the coldest of winter days she would wear a skirt. The skirts would always be a-line, in tweed or wool, very sensible and slimming and hit just above the knee. She would pair a beautiful high quality sweater set with her skirts and wore minimal jewelry. In the winter months she donned a thick, wool coat, as the warmer months approached, she wore a classic trench coat.

It was not so much Madame Chic’s style that was extraordinary but the way she wore the clothes she wore. They fit her, flattered her figure and she felt comfortable and beautiful in them. Her portfolio of outfits was not overwhelming. In fact, her closet probably only held ten items. She would wear and repeat the same outfits all the time, but always looked put together... toujours. She did not change her outfit or style when hosting or attending dinner parties, but then again, her everyday clothes were a lot more formal than the average womans'.

How did she schedule her days?

Madame Chic worked part time and also did a lot of volunteer work. Her work schedule was relatively light which gave her a lot of time to take care of her family- doing the daily shopping, planning and cooking meals, cleaning the apartment (they did not have a cleaner) and preparing a lovely breakfast and delicious supper every night. Sometimes if I had time between classes to venture back home she and I would lunch together. Other days she would have girlfriends over to lunch. Madame Chic also loved chatting on the phone. She always got up before Monsieur Chic at the early hour of 5:30am. After the two of them breakfasted together and after my breakfast was served (a considerable time later), Madame Chic would chat on the phone to friends for twenty minutes to an hour each day.

What did she read and listen to?


I am not sure what Madame Chic read for pleasure. There was not a bookcase in the main part of the house. I did not see her reading during the day so if she read, it was in the evening, probably before bed.

The family did listen to music every evening. They had a vintage record player and after dinner every night (like clockwork) they would put on a record of classical music and sit and listen to it while the men smoked cigarettes. Other than the playing of classical music every evening, Madame Chic did not listen to any music during the day, save for a morning radio show that she promptly turned off as soon as I walked into the kitchen for breakfast.

Thank you Lana for your questions. I love getting questions from readers… If you have questions about any of the subjects I write about, please leave them in the comment section or email me and I will do my best to answer them!

Pictured above is my trench coat by A.P.C.– a classic Parisian wardrobe staple (inspired by Madame Chic) and one that I readily invested in after living in Paris...

12 comments:

Rebecca said...

I like that Madame Chic probably only had 10 items in her closet. That alone makes her truly chic!

I wonder why she did not wear trousers? Do most French women prefer skirts?

Laguna Beach Trad said...

I find women wearing trousers exceedingly odd, even after all these years. I wish more women would wear skirts. I do not mean this in a creepy way; I just find it more feminine. But then again, it's what makes you and your readers Americans, and the French French, and the Argentines Argentines. The US is seriously lacking in this regard IMO. No wonder.

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling I vote for skirts vs. trousers, to me skirts are elegant and classy and seen more in Europe then other parts of the world. Madame chic is right on. Darling, it has been awhile since my last visit to your lovely blog, I must go now and see what I have missed of late. Take care and happy spring to you my friend.

Love & Hugs
Duchess

Rose said...

she sounds like she dresses a bit like the Queen off duty- lots of tweed skirts and twinsets/ blouses for her too- but then she is a style icon in her own way of course.

I love your new header by the way- we share lots of scent faves

The Closet Therapist said...

I love stories like this! I just said on my blog that all those must have lists say to buy a trench coat but I never see anyone wearing them. I love that you have one inspired by Paris. I think we all want one because of Paris too, and Audrey Hepburn. This is my first visit to your blog. I popped over from Bonjour Madame HI :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rebecca- I think most traditional French women prefer skirts... you know, the old school ladies, which Madame Chic definitely was. Madame Bohemienne, on the other hand, wore trousers frequently.

Laguna Beach Trad- Hello! I don't think your sentiments are creepy. Every man is entitled to his view of what he likes. I always like to think I'll wear a skirt or dress everyday and in the Spring/ Summer I oftentimes do. But on those cold days in the winter, it is absolutely out of the question :)

Duchess- Happy Spring to you too! I see you in pretty flowy dresses every day of the year. Some people just thrive in them...

Rose- She did dress like the Queen! That's actually a good observation. Thank you re: my header. That is actually a picture of my perfume collection. We have always had similar taste in scent xo

Closet Therapist- Hello! I must say I do not wear my trench in California. This one by APC is too heavy for the weather here. I am looking for a lightweight one right now- possibly in an unexpected color like baby pink for Spring... I like the name of your blog- I will have to stop by soon!

Oshiya said...

LOL at 10 items in her closet. I've read somewhere that most girls (non-french) have more than 10 jeans that look the same. I bet Madame Chic has 10 very different quality items that can make many good outfits.

Patty said...

Madame Chic sounds so ... well Chic :) Love that trench coat!

JennyMac said...

only 10 items? That is mod and very very chic. And that trench is fab.

the gardeners cottage said...

I loved this story. I would die to have just 10 or so wonderful pieces. Why do we always think more is better?

mn said...

I simply love your blog. I just discovered it and became absorbed reading your observations about French life and culture. Your descriptions of attitudes are so accurate!
Having just returned from a week in Paris, your vivid anecdotes are helping me imagine I'm still there (and how I wish I were).

The Daily Connoisseur said...

MN- Thank you very much. What a delight to read your comment! And how lucky that you recently got to spend time in Paris xo

 
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