Easy, Elegant Braided Updo Tutorial & The Lost Art of Dress (Giveaway)

4:44 PM 84 Comments

This week we are examining how we present ourselves. You know one of my mottos from Lessons from Madame Chic is "look presentable always". While this seems like a superficial goal, it is actually quite powerful. Making it our goal to look presentable every single day (whatever our best is for that day) puts out the message that we respect ourselves and the people we come in contact with. That we have the energy to put our best foot forward and that by adorning ourselves we are in our own way celebrating life.

Looking presentable should not be high-maintenance or unattainable. It should be easy and fun! Which is why I did this week's video showing you an easy, yet elegant braided updo. This tutorial is for women with medium to long hair. If you have short hair you can modify it by creating two side braids and pinning them back... play with it and find what works for you. If you are unable to see this week's video, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

To continue the theme I am so happy to introduce to you The Lost Art of Dress by Linda Przybyszewski. This fascinating book explores the history (and downfall) of American dress in a witty and entertaining way. It is a book that I know many of you will love.

I was very honored to have my book blurb included on its cover:

"An invaluable resource of inspiration. The Lost Art of Dress calls us to resurrect our stylish roots and bring tasteful beauty back to our everyday routine." -Jennifer L. Scott, author of Lessons from Madame Chic

Here is the description from Amazon:

As a glance down any street in America quickly reveals, American women have forgotten how to dress. We chase fads, choose inappropriate materials and unattractive cuts, and waste energy tottering in heels when we could be moving gracefully. Quite simply, we lack the fashion know-how we need to dress professionally and flatteringly.

As historian and expert dressmaker Linda Przybyszewski reveals in The Lost Art of Dress, it wasn’t always like this. In the first half of the twentieth century, a remarkable group of women—the so-called Dress Doctors—taught American women how to stretch each yard of fabric and dress well on a budget. Knowledge not money, they insisted, is the key to timeless fashion. Based in Home Economics departments across the country, the Dress Doctors offered advice on radio shows, at women’s clubs, and in magazines. Millions of young girls read their books in school and at 4-H clothing clubs. As Przybyszewski shows, the Dress Doctors’ concerns weren’t purely superficial: they prized practicality, and empowered women to design and make clothing for both the workplace and the home. They championed skirts that would allow women to move about freely and campaigned against impractical and painful shoes. Armed with the Dress Doctors’ simple design principles—harmony, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis—modern American women from all classes could learn to dress for all occasions in a way that made them confident, engaged members of society.

A captivating and beautifully-illustrated look at the world of the Dress Doctors, The Lost Art of Dress introduces a new audience to their timeless rules of fashion and beauty—rules which, with a little help, we can certainly learn again.

Basic Books have been kind enough to offer to give away 5 copies of The Lost Art of Dress to readers of the Daily Connoisseur! Please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to US residents only (my apologies to our international readers but I do not set these guidelines).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The five winners will be announced on the widget and contacted directly once the giveaway is over next week.

Best of luck!

For more information on Linda Przybyszewski you can visit her at http://www.professorpski.com/

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Wink & Winn Custom Handbag Review, Cultural Dish & More

4:44 PM 4 Comments

I was recently approached by Wink & Winn to design my own custom handbag and review the process on the Daily Connoisseur. I accepted Wink & Winn's offer because so many of you email me asking about handbags and I wanted to see what the custom design process would be like. Check out the video above to hear my full review and see a tutorial on how you can design your own bag. Spoiler alert: I love my bag! I think it's very high quality and Wink & Winn made the design process exciting and special. Overall it's a very unique company with a quality product.

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

Keep checking back with the blog because I will be doing a Wink & Winn giveaway in the near future. In the meantime, Wink and Winn have offered readers of the Daily Connoisseur a $50 gift code. If you'd like to use this, email Wink & Winn at: frontdesk@winkandwinn.com . The subject line should read "$50 Gift Code". Wink & Winn will then get back to you with the code. This offer is only available until May 20, 2014 (one month from today).

For more on Wink & Winn check them out at www.winkandwinn.com

Cultural Dish Podcast
Back in February I was a guest on the Cultural Dish Podcast discussing HBO's True Detective (don't worry we only discuss the first two episodes so there are no spoilers), Tiger Mom and Madame Chic with three spectacular and creative ladies. We have a very lively discussion on what it means to cultivate an air of mystery that you won't want to miss. Episode #7 titled, "Go Climb a Stop Sign", is available now for free. Just to forewarn you there is explicit language in this episode (although not from me ladies :)).

Co-host Juliana Patel and I during the podcast.

Actress Golda Inquito, Co-host Juliana Patel, Co-host Elizabeth Pan and moi.

**Ten-Item Wardrobe side note: This podcast was shot back in February when I was still wearing my fall/ winter ten-item wardrobe.

Make sure you check out Cultural Dish's Facebook page and "like" it if you're interested in hearing more from them. Thank you ladies for having me on the show! I hope to come back one day.

Get More Done Now Summit
I recently participated as a speaker in the Get More Done Now Summit with Natalie Gregory. She offers this free resource for busy women who want to learn time management tips and tricks. You can check out how to register for this online event by clicking here, or visiting http://www.getmoredonenowsummit.com/

Around the Web
Check out Avaalon's wonderful and contemplative blog post on the Ten-Item Wardrobe as is discussed in Lessons from Madame Chic.

Karryn S writes:

I too spent a while living in France as a student. I went there as a hippie with Birkenstocks and hair wraps, and came back...a lady. When your book was released, I devoured it, and I enjoy following your "pensees quotidiennes". Since implementing more of your concrete ideas, I've enjoyed many compliments (thank you for that!). Clutter is gone, orchids are out. Wardrobe is pared-down, as is jewelry. They seem like superficial, irrelevant things, but I have found them to be profound. Encore, merci beaucoup ma belle. N'arretez jamais!

Thank you Karryn!

Lastly, Happy Easter to all who celebrate. I hope you had a marvelous day with your family and friends. See you soon! xx

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Ten-Item Wardrobe Talk-Through Spring 2014 (and Stella & Dot Giveaway!)

4:44 PM 106 Comments

Thank you for your overwhelmingly positive response to last week's ten-item wardrobe video. My inbox has been filled with your wonderful comments and, of course, all of your questions. Because I've received so many comments and emails I am not able to individually respond to each one, but hopefully this week's video will answer many of your questions. This week's video is a talk through of the garments and shares with you my inspiration for this year's wardrobe and examines old and new pieces.

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 (make sure you subscribe!).

For links to every item pictured in this video, visit my original ten-item wardrobe post here.

Here are some FAQs from viewers:

Gina asks: Do you have a summer 10 item wardrobe too? Spring has begun here, but it 60 degrees. When summer begins for you, will this lovely spring collection still work for you in summer?

This wardrobe will take me to the end of summer. As summer approaches, I will probably use the sweaters less and less. I might purchase one or two items in the summer to supplement my wardrobe, or I might not. Last summer the only garment I purchased was the Anthropologie water color dress you see in this year's video, for example.

Lilly asks: I was wondering if you could tell us what is this beautiful music you have in the video? Thanks again for all the wonderful posts over the years :)

If you are ever curious about the music featured in my videos, or about any item featured in a video, always check my blog post or the info box below the YouTube video. I always credit an item when I can. If the specific item is no longer available online, I provide a link for the brand or retailer. The music in the ten-item wardrobe video is royalty-free and copyright-free music purchased from pond5.com and is called "Paris Love". Thank you Lilly!

Evaline asks: Your lip colour here is lovely for spring...would you mind sharing the name with us?

Many people asked about my lip color. The video was shot over a few days and I am wearing different lip colors in different shots. I used the Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo No. 6 in some shots and By Terry Bitten lip gloss in others.

Sara asks: Can I ask what you layer under sheer tops, like your Equipment blouses? A cami? In white, or do you try to find one that matches your skin tone? I have the worst time solving the "sheer issue."

I have several camisoles in beige, white and black. I find the beige ones that are closest to my own skintone look best under a slightly sheer blouse.

Alonememe asks: I don't really get this idea of extras. I understand when it comes to tank tops, underwear etc. - you need them to build the outfit, but having few tops that you wear as normal outfit is really having 20 or 30 core outfits. Could you please explain this? Why do you separate core items from extras? Is this more handy? :)

Core items vs. extras are a great way to organize your wardrobe. Think of your core items as telling a story and the extras accent this. The core items are the major items, the foundation that builds the wardrobe. The extras compliment the core.

For my readers in the Southern Hemisphere who are going into Fall/ Winter, check out Chic Mummy's blog. She has compiled a lovely Autumn ten-item wardrobe. Thank you Sarah!

For more on the ten-item wardrobe, check out my book, Lessons from Madame Chic.

Huffington Post
My ten-item wardrobe is now up on Huffington Post Style.

Stella & Dot Giveaway

I purchased two of my necklaces this season from my friend Lucy, who is a stylist with Stella & Dot. Stella & Dot do fun, affordable jewelry that is very au courant. Lucy was kind enough to offer to give away one necklace to a reader of the Daily Connoisseur. We chose to give away the Linden necklace- a beautiful statement piece that is perfect for spring.

This giveaway is open worldwide! Please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. The only valid entries will be through rafflecopter. The winner will be displayed on the rafflecopter widget one week from today and will be contacted by me.

And be sure to check out all of the fabulous, affordable jewelry on Lucy's Stella & Dot website by clicking here.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you next week for a review and tutorial for the Wink & Winn handbag. Have a great week!

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Ten-Item Wardrobe Spring 2014

4:44 PM 26 Comments

It's finally here! My spring ten-item wardrobe video. I had a lot of fun making this video, as you will see. This wardrobe will take me from now until the end of summer. It is a combination of new and old pieces (some are very old!) and I am in love with it.

This week, you can watch the video, which is set to music and is shot fashion show-style. Take notes, enjoy the show and get inspired to curate your own ten-item wardrobe. Next week's video will be a talk through of all of the pieces so you can see where I got my inspiration, identify the old and new items and understand my thought process when putting this wardrobe together.

So this week, sit back and enjoy the show! 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

And now for a list of items featured in the video.

Please note: because many of the items are older and not purchased this season, I am providing links for the brands, rather than for the specific item. As always, this video is meant to provide inspiration for you. If you like some of the older looks, have fun searching for similar garments in the shops. Everything featured in this video was purchased by me, with the exception of the Wink & Winn handbag, which was sent to me to review in a forthcoming post (it's custom designed by me... very cool and we will be doing a giveaway on the blog!)

Let's check out the core items first...


Anthropologie watercolor dress
A.P.C. chambray dress
A.P.C. suzie nautical dress
A.P.C. linen dress
Rebecca Taylor dress


Zara blouse
Equipment aqua silk blouse
Equipment sleeveless silk blouse
Equipment nude silk blouse


Paige skyline ankle peg jeans in white
Paige skyline ankle peg jeans in light denim (Whitley)


Tee shirts:

B.P. Nordstrom White tee
Zara (nautical)
lace tee Anthropologie
B.P. Nordstrom Flowy tees (black and white)

Sweaters and Cardigans

For Spring/ Summer if you live in a hot climate like me, put a few sweaters in your extras. If you live in an unpredictable climate where the weather often turns, include some in your core items and keep as many as you need in your extras to stay warm. (This will be discussed further next week.)

Ann Taylor Loft lightweight mint sweater
J Crew cashmere mint sweater

Lightweight Coat



Zara pink blazer
Zara red blazer


Sam Edelman nude patent t-strap sandal
Dolce Vita white snake sandal
London Sole spring green driving loafer
London Sole red patent croc pirouette ballet flat
London Sole nude patent Henrietta ballet flat
Ferragamo low-heeled tan suede pump


Straw and Black Panama hats (Purchased from a stand at the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica)


Wink & Winn bucket bag (a custom design by me)
Jewell navy “style icon” handbag **I purchased this from my friend Lisa, who is Jewell stylist. Awesome handbag line.
Louis Vuitton Totally MM


Oliver Peoples


Tassel necklace and Stone necklace Stella & Dot ** I purchased this jewelry from my friend, Lucy, who is a Stella & Dot stylist. Great affordable pieces!
A.P.C. Amazon necklace

Let me know what you think! Use the hashtag #TenItemWardrobe and help spread the word. See you next week for a ten-item wardrobe talk through.

For more on the Ten-Item Wardrobe, check out my book, Lessons from Madame Chic x

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