I have always thought that the Parisian woman is the most mysterious woman on earth. She appears to wear minimal makeup and does next to nothing with her hair, she rarely is seen in heels taller than 3" and practically never exercises - and yet she oozes sophistication, elegance, and beauty from every pore. Studying her as one might an unfamiliar species at the zoo, I have deduced that the fashionable Parisian woman achieves her air of alluring charm by living and breathing according to the tutelage of Coco Chanel, who once admonished: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” So then, how to "dress impeccably?" It seems today that trends come and go faster than we can keep up - and just when you think you can congratulate yourself for having spent all of your disposable income on this season's must-have pieces, you find they have become yesterday's news because someone somewhere in the fashion world thought it would be a good idea to cut off the bottom half of a scuba diving suit and sell it to the masses for a thousand bucks.
Today I am here to tell you, the Parisian woman does not buy into such fleuries of the fashion business. Yes, she may subscribe to every major fashion magazine out there and keep them stock-piled in her oven, but this is a strategic move in self-preservation: from these fashion bibles she is able to discern exactly which contemporary looks to incorporate into her own wardrobe, and which to fastidiously ignore. The activity of getting dressed then shifts from the art of understanding and interpreting trends to the science of combining them with pieces that are classic and timeless. This is a science the Parisian woman has mastered, and today I am prepared to share that science with you.
A year ago in preparation for my fall trip to Paris I picked up a book by la fameuse modèle Ines de la Fressange called "Parisian Chic: A Style Guide." In it Fressange describes the 7 absolutely essential items every woman should have in her closet - Parisian or not. And just as I have decided to publish several posts on Summer Trends (see: Under the Sea), this post kicks off a new series on just how to wear the items she deems most critical. In this post I begin with: The Leather Jacket.
The leather jacket is indeed an investment, but a worthwhile one I assure you. Further, a leather jacket only gets better with age, so it will be a piece to keep in your closet forever. A leather jacket is beautiful and classic in black or cream, though I trend towards a more cognac tone myself because of its versatility.
How to Wear It:
- Jeans, a t-shirt, and a funky necklace: the look is casual and adaptable and you can wear it anywhere - to a concert, a baseball game, out to dinner, shopping, the movies, etc.
- Over a girly dress: It immediately tones down the romanticism of the dress and adds an unconventional quality while still exuding a feminine touch.
How Not to Wear It:
- With a leather skirt: Less is more, people.
- With biker boots: We want edgy, not biker chick.
And of course, if you feel the need to add a bit of flair to your ensemble, make sure you incorporate whatever trend you choose tastefully. Here I've gone for a more subtle look by pairing the outfit with my on-trend Tory Burch wedges:
You can easily spice it up by sporting flashier shoes and a bold statement necklace. The trend I chose to combine here is reminiscent of all the neon colors we've seen for spring and summer:
And so begins the journey of becoming une femme mystérieuse. Stay tuned for more posts as I experiment with Ines' remaining 6 wardrobe staples and may even throw in a few of my own!