You know how you’ll see something and it leads you to thinking about something else in connection with what you saw—and then you’ll see something else and you’ll think of that first something you saw?
I know, I know—but this is leading somewhere. Stay with me.
Last night Bonaparte and I were watching “House Hunters International”. The episode focused on a couple—I would say they were in their fifties, and their move from Massachusetts to Sarlat, France. First of all, I was bitterly jealous AF that this couple was able to move to France and I wasn’t.
Sarlat, France. I can’t watch House Hunters International without either being A. Insanely jealous or B. Going crazy that Americans expect to get a Chateau for $800USD a month–with an American Kitchen no less!
And while it was great that this couple was able to make the move—I hand it to anyone leaving the States to live overseas; it either takes a stellar job transfer, career move, or just plain balls! I could not get past the way the woman was dressed. Hey. I make no apologies for being deeply shallow, but it went further than that.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this woman, who was an artist, and who loved French charm and history and who had a good “eye”, was dressed so dowdily and matronly. She had no style.
It was hard to come to terms for me. I studied her. She wore pants that were ill-fitting and about three sizes too large for her. She wore oversized polo shirts—but also ill-fitting. On her feet were unattractive sneakers. And her hair—it looked like she cut it herself and just didn’t even bother to put a comb through it.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Khaki pants for women–but it would help if the pants were a more flattering fit…
…..and a slightly fitted polo shirt would be better than an ill-fitting one!
Now—I realize that I sound harsh. And I don’t mean to be—that’s not my motive. But all I could think of was this: She obviously loved khaki pants—if she had a pair of skinny khaki pants, it would show off the shape of her legs. If she wore a fitted polo shirt, she would enhance her curves and look younger. If she wore lowtop Chuck Taylor’s, she would take on a hip vibe. And if she pulled her hair back and applied just a bit of makeup, she would have looked beautiful.
And I fell asleep counting the ways this woman could have looked ravishing had she just purchased more fitted clothing. And she didn’t have to spend a fortune either.
I created this look for the House Hunters International Sarlat Lady this morning. I went to my Polyvore account–after over a year from being away. THAT’S how disturbed I was by the episode last night! She would rock this look and it’s based on the clothing she was wearing!
Now—this morning I woke up, and Bonaparte brought me my coffee in bed so that I could enjoy it like the lazy princess that I am. While I enjoy my morning pick-me-up, I go through my emails, delusionally thinking that someone very important would email me to write for them and pay me. Instead I get bombarded with mostly advertisements and online publications such as InStyle and WhoWhatWhere.
InStyle lauds this as one of the “must have” velvet coats. No. I must not have this!
Being too lazy to unsubscribe from these obnoxious online rags, I still manage to open them up and shake my head as I read their garbage. Garbage telling me what I need, should, and must wear!
And then it hit me! My thoughts immediately went back to the lady on House Hunters International. Being of the “mature woman” demographic, perhaps she was too overwhelmed with publications and articles written by much younger women telling her what she needs, should, and must wear.
And if I see another damned article on how to dress like a French woman, I’ll go insane! And for the record–I’ve never seen any woman in Paris wear a hat on their head like this one is wearing! I’ve never seen anyone stand like that on a balcony either.
And I’ll bet that House Hunters lady wasn’t the only one who becomes overwhelmed! Those publications are about one thing and one thing only. Sales! They want you to buy the mostly overpriced designer goods that they write about. The celebrities have it and so should you.
They showcase street style. Ummm as far as I’m concerned, “street style” is just another word for “This-is-how-people-dress-when-they-are-out-and-about.” Only these publications scout out women wearing Hermes and Dior. That ain’t the street style I am familiar with.
“Street Style” from Stockholm fashion week. That plaid style on the left is overkill and you don’t see many women walking the streets with Hermes bags. At least not on the streets by where I live!
It’s difficult to find a style that you like when you’re over a certain age. But there’s a solution.
Think about what you like. Think about a time when you were thrilled with how you looked and the way you dressed. And work around it.
What is the foundation for my style? My school uniform! Not kidding!
Say “buh bye” to the husband and whoever else is living in your house. Take a morning or afternoon to be by yourself. Get into the car and go to the mall or to boutiques in your town. Study the clothing. Try stuff on. Look at yourself. You’ll be able to see what looks great on you and what doesn’t.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN FASHION ICON. I’ve said this a million times!
I Want You To Be Your Own Beauty Icon--my interview with Vivant Skin Care. It applies to style too!
Trust me. My style isn’t far out. It isn’t “street” nor is it artsy. It is a bit tailored, a bit casual, a bit uniform, a bit preppy, a bit masculine, a bit feminine, a bit fun and a bit classic. It’s my style and nobody else’s.
Another Polyvore outfit I created a while back. This pretty-much personifies my style. Uniform and clean. If I could only get my paws on that military jacket……
And you can turn any article of clothing into your style. Case in point. I stole a coat from my husband. That’s right, I stole it right from him. It belonged to his uncle Yves Robert, his aunt Danièle Delorme gave it to him after Yves passed away. I’ve written about this coat in the past—it’s beautiful in a very crumpled up, effortless way. It’s oversized on me; the color is not one I would have picked for me. But the second I saw it, I wanted it and I made no bones about it. Now—it’s mine and I have been wearing it regularly for over ten years.
This coat–it’s perfectly imperfect in it’s vintage way. It’s roomy and comfortable and I love it…
And yes–I’m blonde today. Very blonde. I’m having a Bardot moment. But this coat!!
I love the color…
…the way it drapes…
The rolled up sleeves, the huge pockets, the little stains..
I love the little metal clasps at the collar..
..to protect my turkey neck!
And I love the way the buttons disappear when the coat is closed!
….it gives a nice clean line!
The coat was made by Arnys, Paris–and the shop on rue de Sevre, I’m not even sure if it is still there..
And it’s things like this that I love…I had no idea that microfiber was around decades ago!
Another article of clothing that I’ve turned around to work with my style is a bolero or cropped jacket. Danièle gave it to me as part of a dress/jacket ensemble. It’s from the designer André Courrèges. She knew he was my favorite designer and she no longer wore the outfit.
Me in the red Courrèges cropped jacket. I love it paired with torn jeans and a white tee. I’m also liking the red against my dark fake hair. I took these pictures before the FedEx man rang my bell with my blonde tresses!
The dress still needs to be tailored but the jacket is adorable and I love wearing it with a white shirt and jeans. I can wear heels to dress it up or flats to wear it in a more casual way. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve made it mine. Just like Danièle made it hers with her little gold bow earrings, her kitten heels and her hair pulled back with a headband.
I’m also wearing my red Vince Camuto heels showcasing fabulous toe cleavage!
My new “thing” is wearing a scarf as bracelet. This one, from J. Crew is a nice match for this jacket!
Overall, I really love this look! And I believe the reason for the long life of these two hand-me-downs are the fact the clothing was made in France. By professionals.
We all have our own style and we need to find that style and own it.
If you are having style issues or are in a style rut, look to your inner self. Take a look at different store’s online shops, take a screenshot of what you like., print the clothes out and put them in a scrap book or your purse and take them with you when you go shopping!
Go on to Polyvore—it’s a great website where you can “create” outfits—and it’s a great way to hone in on your personal style! Have fun with it.
This is another outfit I created from Polyvore’s site. I wish I had this outfit!
And here’s another.
I mean it. Polyvore is such a fun way to really discover your inner style–and it’s fun as all get out!!!! Try it–you’ll love it!!!
But please—whatever you do, don’t ever let anyone dictate to you what you should wear. Not now. Not ever. Never!
I’m going now–I’m going to go back and play on Polyvore! Go. Go find your style. Maybe I’ll see you there!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
oooooh – you look amazing – your new blonde hair!!!!!! I kind of guessed if you can rock the black tresses you can rock the lightest blonde, and now I’ve said that, I totally agree with what you’ve said and I adore the coat and the bolero. I think all these resources are great for ideas of what is out there (even if it just reinforces your instinct that something is not “you”), but you have accept yourself before you can acheive your style. I am absolutely smitten with the hair – you look quite Emmylou Harris (now there is one fabulous inspiration).
OMG. Thanks Juliet! Emmylou Harris! I will take that compliment!!!! But it’s true people need to accept themseles before achieving their style but they need to make style their own!!! XOXOXOXXO!!!!
I so much see your point about the house hunting lady, she did seem to dress in exact opposition to her personality, but here’s the thing ; my style is pretty much jeans and T-shirt with long swoopy coats and white tennies or short boots. I am finding this increasingly difficult to pull of for one reason only
.Every generation of my family has had one woman whose legs just got thicker and heavier with every year after 50’ish. Guess who is the lucky girl ? You got it !
I think that almost any style will work if you have slim legs. The slimmer fit pants that you suggest for the house hunting lady may well show her shape, but not in the way she would appreciate.
I own no skirts except ankle length and those have to not show any expanse of thick leg when I move or sit. Pedal pushers and shorts are OUT . Knee length boots are always too tight to get on , hand made is beyond me and would only show fat legs in hand made boots.
The only thing that works for evening is the long skirts or those body suit things with wide legs or sometimes a sort of tuxedo , which my partner hates !
Oh woe is me. I can’t be the only one , help would be appreciated .
Love your blog and love your honesty.
Hi Jilly! Many of us get thicker as we get older. For me, its the upper arms and gut!! But you can try the wider leg jeans and even leggings!!! XOXOXOXO
Leggings ??? You jest ! Overstuffed pork sausages come to mind and wider leg jeans spoil the line of the whole look and make me look short and straight down from the hips, but thanks, still love you,J x
I LOVE the way you put everything together in such an effortless way. It never looks overdone, just well, stylish! And that coat is wonderful! Thanks, as always, for a great slant on what to wear.xxx
Thanks Judy!!! Isn’t that coat the greatest? And the history. It’s so big but not sloppy!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
It’s been awhile since I’ve commented but I’ve read faithfully–always love your holiday posts and of course the make-up/style posts. Also love the food posts!
Two things: I was using the computer when my hubs and I were watching the IDENTICAL HHI episode you spoke of, and yes, I THOUGHT THE SAME THING! She wants character and the whole french experience, but man, she was a dowdy soul (I say this wearing my after-work uniform of sweats, a t and a cashmere cardigan, so I’m the pot calling the kettle…) Anyway, you’re right–get something simple and more chic, sister! That’s what we were saying just when I read your post and I about died.
Second, THE BLOND WIG IS THE BOMB! Love it love it! C’est tres chic! You rock that color! I hope you wear it often!
Anyway, keep up the great observations and posts!
Nancy in the Desert
Hi Nancy! Oh. My. God!!! I’m so glad you were thinking the same thing as I was. And I was in raggy pajama bottoms and an old snotty t-shirt!!! I was floored with the way that woman was dressed. I swear I went to bed thinking about her. Can you believe it? Anld did you catch what she said to her husband if they purchased the little house that was ten minutes away from the center of town–that they would need to get a car?? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!!!! Even in that little city you would need a car? What are these people thinking??????
LOL..I’m so glad that you like the wig. Bonaparte thought it a little to blonde for his taste!!! XOXOXOXO
Yeah, I’m glad they got they city center place (which the silly man said he didn’t love but then AFTERWARD did end up loving–duh) but to think they would not get a car even living in the midst of the city. What about exploring the area, you fools? My husband and I talk to/scream at the people on these shows. Cheap entertainment and we think we know everything, of course. I hope that when the couple go out and socialize she will make more of an effort with her appearance. Even in a little town people see you–make them smile at yo’ style, right?
Love Love the red jacket !!!! AWESOME LOOK!!!!
Thanks Debe!!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
I had to go and watch the HHI episode. Yes, I agree with your comments. Love your red jacket!
Elly. I felt so nasty being so very deeply shallow but I couldn’t help it–at some point it just gets to–“come on and make an effort”……XOXOXOXO!!!!
Another terrific post. I just love your genuineness and enthusiasm. It is so much better than reading the blogs of just pictures with links to where to purchase what the blogger is wearing – especially Louboutin shoes! I am not destitute, but I’m surely not going to ever be purchasing these ridiculously overpriced shoes that look about as comfortable as the “cruel shoes” Steve Martin wrote about.
I love this post as well. I am so sick of the Louboutin bloggers or the Chanel handbag bloggers. I like something real! Catherine, I think it’s great you did a makeover for this woman! I think I’m gravitating towards looser clothing. I have so many tailored pieces which I do love, but I want some nice ‘slouchy’ stuff I can pair with other items. I love your coat! And the little red jacket is unusual and absolutely adorable on you. Big fan of the red shoes!
Thank you Vava! You HAVE to go onto polyvore and make some collages–you’ll definitely find some cool slouchy and loose stuff that looks great at the same time!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
LOL–Marsha, I love your reference to the “Cruel Shoes” that Steve Martin wrote about!!! And I thank you for being supportive of my blog and my endeavors to keep it real. Trust me, I’ve gone as far as to try Loubs on in store and almost purchased when I was working–but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that kind of money. Last week I was at the mall and their was a line outside of Louis Vuitton–A LINE!!! No.. Homey don’t play that game–I don’t stand on lines to purchased overpriced stuff. And I stopped reading those kinds of blogs with nothing of substance except to get my to exercise my fingers by clicking!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
We are of like minds then! I agree with another of your fan girls that a wig or more than one wig company should use you as a spokesperson or, as is the fashion in blogdom, a company ambassador. And it would be wonderful if that company sponsored a series of meet and greet seminars with you and instructions from you and them about how to select and wear wigs. You would be such a great model for them and, since it’s always about the bottom line, I know your endorsement and instructions would increase sales for them.
OMG, Marsha THANK YOU so much. You know, it would be a dream job for me to work for a wig company. It really would–I would love going to work every single day!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
I laughed recently, shopping the boxing day sales, and I was describing to a sales lady that I was looking to step out of my comfort zone a bit at work, mix up the colours, that kind of thing. Now as far as my (corporate dress code) workplace is concerned, I am the most “out there” dresser in the place, I get away with a lot by being fabulous and not asking (and being very good at what I do, that certainly helps!). And when I described what I wear to the sales lady, she replied with “Ok, so VERY conservative”, and I thought “whaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttt”. All i could do was laugh, and ignore the completely inappropriate suggestions she then made.
QD…WHAT???????????????? Proving, once again, that some sales assistants just do not listen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You be you and how are you going to step out of that comfort zone???? XOXOXOXO!!!!
Love your blog! You are hilarious and often say what I’m thinking so thank you! I always am amazed that people on these house hunting shows have not apparently been give notice that they will be on tv…only reason I can think of why they would wear something I wouldn’t wear to the grocery store…😉
Love both of your jackets and you style them so beautifully!
Sharon from Dallas
Hi Sharon! Right????? OMG–If I was on House Hunters, I would make sure I looked fabulous!!! I swear I could not get past what that woman was wearing. I’m constantly yelling at the TV when I watch HH International–It’s like–did you not do research??? And they all want “insert name of country CHARM” for about a hundred bucks!!! Amazing!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
You rock those two wigs, Catherine, especially that blonde one – looks really good on you! And as for be your own style icon, oh yes, I totally agree. I haven’t watched and probably can’t watch that episode, but I know that very casual, underdressed, no makeup look, we have it here! Yes, try on stuff and experiment. I feel so strongly about this I shall probably write about it soonish – and I’ll direct people to you. Really great post xxxxxx
Thanks Penny. Oh…we have our numbers of too underdressed women here in the States. There is even a subtle arrogance about the tone of it too-like’ I”m not vain” as if being vain means self respect. Gimme a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Wonderful inpiration. Thanks, Catherine! You look awesome in Hubby’s coat and I love all of your suggestions. I also wear my hubs shirts and his jean jacket. Your wigs are gorgeous on you!
Thanks Lisa!!! Oh…the guy’s clothing is sometimes the best!! And thank you so much–I always appreciate a positive wig comment!!! XOXOXOXO
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