10.18.2010

The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris- #14 Define Your True Style


If you are anything like me your closet has at one time or another showcased a rather schizophrenic wardrobe. Bohemian, preppy, urban and god knows what other looks have all been in there in the ultimate attempt to find my true style. The question is- when does the searching stop?

French women really seem to know their style and stick with it. Madame Chic had her signature look down- she was very conservative and liked cashmere sweaters, A-line skirts and flats. She was completely comfortable and at ease in her look.

Madame Bohemienne’s style was entirely hers as well. She loved (can you guess?) bohemian-style, flowy skirts and three quarter sleeve tops. She rarely strayed from her look. Both of these women knew who they were and were completely comfortable with it. I can’t imagine either one of them standing in front of their wardrobe- frazzled because they couldn’t decide what to wear.

It has taken me a while to find and define my style- what I’m comfortable in. I would define my style as ‘French Minimalism’. I like classic looks for daytime like skinny jeans, polo shirts, striped bateau tops, wayfarers, a-line skirts, cashmere sweaters, cropped blazers, ballet flats. I like my clothes to be simple and very well made- and I don’t wear very many accessories (hence the minimalism). Think A.P.C., Lacoste and J. Crew.

Eveningwear is a different story- I like to glam it up a bit. Black skinny pants, blazers, silk tops, dresses and heels. Think Diane von Furstenberg, Nanette Lepore, BCBG. I feel comfortable in these clothes and confident navigating the world in them.

Now that I have (finally) investigated and found my true style I save so much money and time. I basically ignore the trends and stick with what I know and like. Clothes shopping is a joy. I just see what my favorite brands put out each season and purchase a few key elements to enhance and supplement my wardrobe.

Finding my true style didn’t happen quickly. But I must admit living in Paris and observing French women in their chic, minimalistic clothing certainly planted the seed.

I would love to know… how do you define your true style?


Won’t you stay tuned for #13?


The Seine is pictured above... isn't it beautiful?


My book, Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012.

19 comments:

Michael Rivers said...

I think I define my style. I don't jump on every trend or every label. I know what looks good on me so I stick with that.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I have a favourite boutique and a sales gal who knows me and my figure...she steers me in the right direction...all neutral tones revolving around basic black...add diamonds, pearls and Hermes scarves and voila I am Hostess!

Minimal and easy...add a facial and simple make up, a spritz of scent...I am ready.

M.Lane said...

I find your idea for this series just marvelous. Am I the only one that KNOWS that you have a great book in this series of posts? With your text, some good Paris photos, maybe a little recipe or two perhaps? I'd buy it. And I'll bet a LOT of others would too.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Julianne said...

I am loving this series. I have a schizophrenic closet also. I am working on it. I know I look best in classic neutrals with maybe some color here or there. Although I don't really like to wear color. Love your blog so much! Please post some pictues of baby girl :-)

Simony said...

I am loving all these lessons! They reinforce what I believe: You only have one chance to make a good first impression! It's so important to present your best at all times.
Keep the tips coming! Thanks for sharing.

Fiona said...

I love the description of your own personal style. Merci!

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Boho. Nanny. Fifties flower Red lipstick and library geek is my story style.
Hope all is well. I am enjoying this series. xx

Rose said...

I think I do have a core style but I do still deviate from it sometimes- and I can fall in love with certain fashions and feel very sad that they don't suit me.

So the core style- also skinny jeans or sometimes leggings/ footless tights and pretty tops or dresses- I tend not to wear skirts and tops so much nowadays. I wear flats mostly for day and for those I like variations on ballet flats or lately brogues. I like coats and jackets and structure and keep jewellery minimal- despite my love it I'm like Madamemoiselle Chanel herself and think you should get dressed up and then always take one piece of jewellery off- as you are always bound to have put too much on- well not you but lots of people. I wear one piece of jewellery only most of the time- and always a watch.

Pug1 said...

I know my style....but flirt with others! CHEERS! Michele

Easy and Elegant Life said...

This is the most wonderful series! Less is more is what I'm taking away from it, and I agree. Better quality, fewer possessions.

I've always played with clothing, but in my middle age, I have developed my style. I don't think I've bought anything off the rack save for a pair of jeans for the past year. I just don't feel that I need much of anything. That said, I will replace a grey suit that I've had for 15 years or so. Even though I don't need a suit for the most part, I dress several times a week.

Rebecca said...

I love your style definition. Great posts and I agree with M.Lane about a book idea!

MAMA P said...

I think the key to style, which you comment on so often, is being comfortable with what you chose. Comfort translates into confidence....which is sort of the ultimate style in and of itself. Great post.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Michael- It also saves a lot of money to not jump on every trend. From the pictures I've seen of you on your blog- you have great style!

Hostess- such a good idea to get in with a sales girl who knows your figure and knows fashion. That way you can feel comfortable that she is not just selling you something for the sake of a commission but that she has your best interest at heart. Love that! Would love to know your favorite scent btw

M. Lane- your support is so appreciated. Thank you so much! There is a little something in the works which I will announce down the line :)

Julianne- Thank you! Love your picture- you are gorgeous! I love neutrals too and feel most comfortable in them. Bright colors make me uncomfortable but there are a few I do wear. Turquoise looks good on me in the summertime when I am on holiday as does orchid purple... I also like jewel tones in the winter.

Simony- you are another beauty! Yes- what you said is so true and actually foreshadows a future post :) I'm glad you're enjoying the series...

Fiona- de rien! xx

Josephine- Love it. So you and so gorgeous xx

Rose- love your description- I really do enjoy reading about other people's style definitions. Yes I am not a big jewelry wearer either. I just wear diamond studs my husband gave me and my wedding ring and that is it!

Michele- It sounds like you have fun with fashion- which is the whole point- cheers! xx

Elegantologist- From everything I've seen on your blog you have exceptional style- so refreshing as so fun men nowadays care or put thought into what they wear...

Rebecca- thank you for your support! xx

Mama P- yes comfortable! Feeling confident and comfortable in your clothing is huge. There is nothing worse style-wise than walking around all day unhappy with what you are wearing...

Julianne said...

Thank you for your kind comment. i needed to hear that today. How did you know?? :-). I think you have tremendous style and your blog is one of my favorites.

Shelley said...

I don't think I'm that well defined anymore. I had it in my 30s, but lost i5 in my 40s and haven't yet found it in my 50s. I know more about what I don't like: things like fuss and ruffles. I expect I'll figure it out (or not).

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying your post series on the subject. (BTW, none of your links seem to work on this post...any idea why?).

Keep up the great work!

Beth Hazelton said...

I believe my style is derived from the classics and what will endure. I love using scarves and accessories but would never be described as fussy. I am 5'2" so I tend to be more streamlined than boho and flouncy.

I really like your thoughts and can't wait to hear more!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Shelley- Thank you! And I'm sorry the links aren't working... I am listing them for you now:

www.apc.fr
www.lacoste.com
www.jcrew.com
www.dvf.com
www.nanettelepore.com
www.bcbg.com

Also, I know you'll figure it out soon. Knowing what you don't like is the very first step...

Beth- so wise that you assess your stature when deciding on your look- I agree that petite women should stay away from boho or flouncy looks otherwise they might get lost in the outfit- Classic looks are my favorite too- and I feel you can't go wrong with them...

Trish said...

Love this series. This post just gave me a major AHA moment. I have tried the minimalist wardrobe-black skirt.etc, ala French Chic-and it just didn't work. Then I asked myself-when do I get the most compliments on my attire? Hands down, when I wear my 3 tired denim skirt, with a 3/4 sleeve linen/rayon top, and my nice Birkenstocks. I just never thought the 'Bohemienne look' would be considered chic. I think I see some more flowing skirts and 3/4 sleeve slim tees in my future. Biggest challenge is to find a nice pair of black flats that meet my orthopdeic needs (I can't wear sandals all year in my northern climate).

Thank you for this series! I lived in Europe my last year of college, but had sadly strayed afar from the lifestyle. I'm gradually working my way back. The only constant has been Chanel No 19-my fragrance since 1971.

Amelea Gonzalez said...

I love this blog. im so inspired to try this. my style has always been a dark, artsy gypsy/ punky look. its "punky bohemian" i can even pull it off for work too. my biggest problem is that i cant get rid of all of the hand me downs that pour in from people who used to be my size. im 5'7and 3/4 and a size 2. people automatically think that i want their kids hand me downs, or that i can wear a size 10 dress that they wore at my age. im tossing it all out as we speak!

 
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