Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
But I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who reads my random scribblings, and especially those who comment or e-mail me. I like to think of blogging less as a monologue and more as a conversation with fascinating and intelligent people all over the world, sort of like a big cyber cocktail party. And I'd especially like to thank all of the bloggers out there who entertain and inspire me daily.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
*Walk around Newport Beach and you see a multitude of women who have subscribed to this viewpoint, a bland cookie-cutter army of extremely slender, mostly blonde, designer-jean-clad trophy-wife-bots. It's a look almost devoid of any individuality.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
The first is an Hermés scarf. Since I've really started wearing scarves on a regular basis in the last year, I've decided that the right one would definitely add a bit of panache. I may actually pick one up early next year.
The second (don't laugh) is a classic Chanel jacket. Every few months I think about actually searching for one, then the urge seems to subside for a while. But I'd really prefer a vintage version to any of the current iterations I've seen recently, and that's going to take some work to find. I may just have to admire them from afar for a few more years.
What's your take on designer clothing? Worth the price or a big waste? Any designers that you've found to be more wearable than others?
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
(of course the hat won't help if you walk around staring at the sun!!)
Shady Lady Hats, "Diva" $55
Travelsmith Cool Cotton Hat, $29
The rest I've come across so far seem to be of the "adventure" hat, cowboy hat or golf hat variety, but the Shady Lady website seems to have a lot of stylish choices. There's no reason one can't still look trés chic while protecting the skin.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In the meantime, here are some of une femme's favorite French films, in no particular order:
Diva. Quirky characters and converging plotlines, a gorgeous aria, and some heartbreakingly beautiful cinematography. Even murderous thugs an explosion or two for the guys! (Actually, this is one of my favorite films of all time.)
Cléo de 5 à 7. Cléo waits to get news from her doctor, frets, flirts and roams through Paris. One of those fabulous little "slice of life" films, so quintessentially French.
Subway. Luc Besson wrote and directed, Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani star. A blackmailer, a punk princess, incompetent métro police, and scruffy yet charming subway dwellers intersect.
Amélie. How can anyone not love this movie?
Les Triplettes de Belleville. Don't mess with Grandmere. Or her chien.
Indochine. Another visually stunning movie, set in colonial French Indochina (modern day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). Catherine Deneuve stars with Vincent Perez, who is even more gorgeous than some of the scenery.
Le Ballon rouge. Bien sur.
Jean de Florette and Manon des sources. New classics.
I know there are some I'm forgetting. What are your faves?
Monday, November 19, 2007
Une femme is an admitted lipstick/lipgloss junkie. It's the one bit of maquillage I rarely leave the house without.
Clear or light pink lip gloss (remember "Slicker"?) was the first bit of makeup I was allowed to wear at 14. Throughout my teen years, the trend was toward lighter, sheer colors and red lipstick was seen as something only worn by old movie stars and our grandmothers. Somewhere in my mid-20's, I decided that red lipstick was very sophisticated, and started my search for a shade of red I could wear without feeling either clownish or like my grandmother. I'm still searching.
There was a brief glimmer of hope around 1985 in a shade by Clinique, a gorgeous Chinese red that looked wonderful with my skin tone. But alas, the next time I went to buy it, they'd either discontinued it or changed the formula. I have yet to find another I can wear and feel that my lips belong to the rest of my face.
So in the meantime, I move around from one shade of brownish pink to another (with variations on pale or darker, browner to pinker to peachy/apricot, from very sheer gloss to more saturated sticks). It's hard to find lippies that don't have blue undertones, which make me look sallow, or that aren't the color of liver paté once applied. I have a shoebox-sized container under the bathroom sink of those that looked good in the store, or for a week or so, but ultimately didn't make the cut.
Some recent winners:
T. LeClerc Satin lipstick in Sauvage. This is a nice peachy/cinnamon color that goes on smoothly and isn't drying. Also looks good with a little bit of the T. LeClerc Lip Gloss in Caramel over the top.
Chanel "Le Crayon Levres" pencil in Nude over the entire lip with Glossimer in Glow on top is great for a very natural look.
Saturday I picked up some of the Chanel "Ultra Wear Lip Colour" to test drive. I've had terrible results with every "long-lasting" lip color product I've tried; either they're very drying or they look blotchy after an hour or two or both. This one has two chambers, one for color and the other for a clear gloss that can be re-applied over the color periodically to moisturize and freshen. I'm still getting the hang of it, but seem to get pretty good results if I use the Nude lip pencil, apply the color sparingly (I'm currently using Amber), and let the color set for an entire minute without touching or rubbing my lips together before applying the gloss. Even after eating and drinking, the color seems to mostly stay on (in fact, you need an oil-based cleanser to remove it). I'm going to keep playing with it for a few days before I render a final verdict.
MAC lipstick in "Charismatic". This is as close to a red that I've found recently that feels wearable.
Bobbi Brown lip glosses. These are pretty and stay on, but incredibly sticky any small particles of food, dust, dog hair, etc. will adhere to your lips so stubbornly that you need to remove the gloss completely to get rid of them.
MAC Lipglass. Really nice color and great saturation for a gloss, but I'm getting away from a glassy-glossy look.
MAC Viva Glam lipstick: just a little too purple for me.
Here's a question for you (and une femme's first poll): reapplying lipstick in public, oui ou non? My very prim-and-proper little grandmother used to pull our her compact and tube and reapply her lipstick while still at the table after a lunch or dinner out. I've never had a problem with (PDLA) Public Displays of Lipstick Application, but I've read recently that this is considered trés gauche. I've posted the poll over to the right, so here's your chance to weigh in on this critical issue for our time. ;-) And if you have recommendations for a warm based red lipstick that is moisturizing, let me know in the comments.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Kai, if you'll send me an e-mail with your address and I'll get the book in the mail to you. Congratulations!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The Hepburns (Katherine and Audrey)
Juliette Binoche's character in Chocolat
(Googling, this was the only picture I could find from the movie that shows anything below her neck, but I couldn't bear to crop out Johnny Depp. ;-) Her shoes were great too.)
And even more recently, this pic of Carolina Herrera from The Sartorialist really resonated...(Anyone know where I can find a skirt like that? Some might say this is boring, but to me it's fabulous: the simplicity, the sophistication, the POCKETS!)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
Monday, November 12, 2007
Fabulously Broke in the City gives some excellent advice about what footwear to bring and what to leave home in Travelling: Shoes, and helps bring out your inner McGyver in Things To Use in a Pinch When Travelling. And if you have trouble zipping your suitcase every time you pack, check out Travelling: Clothes to help pare down to essentials.
Icy at Individual Chic eschews boring touristy khaki and recommends some stylish Travel Wear.
D. Dottrey at STYLEnosh helps out with the number one travel mistake, overpacking. I'm going to bookmark LESSONS FROM OVERPACKING and review before our next trip!
Ashe Mischief at dramatis personae shares a recent Travel Trauma, and gives some great packing advice to avoid just such misfortunes.
Host Bee at Busy Bee Lifestyle offers some great no-nonsense tips about What To Wear on a Vacation to Paris. Oh la la, we love Paris!
Speaking of Paris, materfamilias has a nose for shoes like nobody's business. In "My Shoes Wednesdays" she features two pairs that she picked up in Paris, here and here, and waxes eloquent about travel, Paris, and the allure of Louboutins.
Shoes, teacups or whatever unique trinket strikes your fancy, souvenirs are a great way to bring back memories of your journeys. Shopping for them can be half the fun, and needn't break the bank. At Intelligent Travel, National Geographic Travel staffers reveal their favorite thrift stores around the world in Thrifty Souvenirs.
Not everyone is a Happy Wanderer. Some are afraid of flying, others have trouble sleeping in a strange bed. Tina Su at Think Simple. Be Decisive offers 3 Tips to Calm Anxiety which can help calm the mind and allow one to better enjoy the journey.
Catching a live performance is often on the agenda when travelling especially when visiting cities like New York and Las Vegas. Ruth at Buy Outside the Box says Cirque De Soleil is formidable, Art In Motion in fact.
On other topics:
Dealing with breast cancer or any other serious illness is a challenging and life-altering journey. Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog shares Makeup and Beauty Tips For Breast Cancer Patients: Staying Beautiful Inside and Out!
Miss Janey at HATtastic is hosting the next Fabulous! Festival and the topic is--Surprise!--Hats.
Miss Janey sez:
"It's all about the hats this edition! Do you wear them for fun or
only for practical reasons? Do you hate hats and refuse to wear them?
Do you like hats, but think you can't wear them? Do you have advice
for people who think they can't wear them? You're invited to submit
all your fabulous posts on hats, including about church hats, hat
tricks, mad hatters, etc., etc."
Deadline for submissions is November 23rd, and posts for consideration may be submitted here.
To those of you who are travelling for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays or for any other reason, I wish you Safe Travels!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
One of my readers has asked me to pass this along:
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Women our age are constantly warned against falling into a style rut. We're told that we need to keep updating our closets and our look. Makeover shows hawk transformation: the "after" woman not only looks more stylish, but also has more confidence and assertiveness. But I often wonder, when the look they're given is so drastically different than where they started (especially if it requires more maintenance) how many actually sustain these changes over time? Sure, we need to push the style envelope at times, but do we need to totally discard those tried-and-true elements that feel like second skin? And how much of a style "rut" is actually a rut, and how much is a clearly defined, consistent style?
Or can we use those dressing-from-the-inside-out days to help discover our own style foundations and build upon them? What are the elements of what I wore today that feel so right for me? Minimalism, a neutral color scheme (black and grey), comfort, boots, nothing fussy or frilly. While everyone needs some variety, sometimes at our age, we need to edit more than we need to append, and getting down to our style core is essential to editing wisely. (I think I feel a major closet purge coming on...)
One of the things that comes up frequently about French women's style, even more than their talent for clever tying of scarves, is that it's so integrated with who they are. They don't radically change their style from year to year or even decade to decade, they don't have closetsful of this year's trend, and they aren't afraid to wear a favorite item repeatedly. They seem to be comfortable with this kind of instinctive dressing; it's not that they don't put in some effort, it's that they don't put in too much.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
"Thank goodness for my PDA!"
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Seriously, though, a carefully chosen shoe can be a great style investment that when amortized will yield a very low cost-per-wear. Take for example, a pair of Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, quite similar to these that I purchased two years ago. I've worn them almost daily during the cooler months for two winters now, heading into a third. They show very little wear with periodic polishing, and still look current and fabulous. They were not inexpensive, yet I feel now that they were a great value, and I've never had a moment of buyer's regret.
While I do feel in general that when it comes to shoes, you get what you pay for more often than not, (or don't get what you don't pay for), I have had a few pairs of very inexpensive shoes that served me quite well. Back in my 20's, there was that pair of leopard print Aerolsoles loafers (barely worn!) that I found at a thrift store and wore almost nonstop for about three years until they finally disintegrated. More recently, a pair of beige Ann Taylor suede loafers, on January sale for around $25 have been my go-to shoes to walking dogs and puttering around the house for a few years now. These days they look like something the cat dragged in, but still are comfortable and structurally sound.
One factor that prevents me from becoming a serious shoe-holic is that I have a very high comfort threshhold. I have a high arch/instep, and thanks to going through a pregnancy at 40, a much wider foot than previously. Plus, arthritis in my hip means that I need to keep the heels low (2" or under most days). Many gorgeous shoes that I admire from afar I either cannot squeeze my duck feet into, or feel like Hell's own torment once I stand up and try to walk. I refuse to wear shoes that hurt. Period. There is only so far this femme will go in service of style.
So how do you spot a Blue Chip shoe investment opportunity, and avoid the Junk Bonds? At time it feels more like an art than a science, but what it boils down to is this: hit four out of five and you're in AAA territory. Three out of five and you're at least not pouring money down the drain.
- Comfort - they fit, you can walk in them, you don't get blisters, they don't pinch, or rub or cause loss of circulation if you have to stand for more than 15 minutes, soles are flexible. Bonus points if they're comfortable without hosiery of any kind.
- Workmanship - high quality materials, even stitching, rubber heel tips, evenly dyed leather or fabric, buckles/hardware/ornamentation are all firmly attached and without glue overflow, an overall appearance that is not shoddy.
- Trancendance - classic timeless design. This usually means a simple, more unadorned style. You don't have to ignore the trends altogether, but be careful of "It" shoes. Skip the Tory Burch ballet flats and go for Ferragamo Audrey's. (If you must bow to trend, get these in Chili Patent...TDF and when those Reva's are so last year, these will still look cool.)
- Versatility - Do they dress up or down? Can you wear them with at least five ensembles in your closet? Une femme is a fan of neutrals, but a red, green or a leopard print is also quite adaptable.
- Love - did these shoes haunt your dreams until you went back to the store and plunked down the plastic? Do you still love them now that they are sitting in your closet waiting for their debut? Do they bring forth your most confident self?
I didn't mention price. What I may consider a pricey pair of shoes may be "mid-range" for someone else, and visa-versa. I do agree in principle with The Manolo's assertion that one should save up for a few pairs of Superfantastic shoes, but I know that sometimes you need to leave the house, and don't yet have enough in the piggy bank for the Zanotti's or Louboutins.
Brands that I've found have a good selection of Investment-worthy Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (also feature lots of styles in Wide widths), Salvatore Ferragamo (though they don't offer Wide widths on their website, their boutiques carry most of the popular styles in wide; you can call and order), Franco Sarto (more moderately priced but well made, comfortable and I've found they wear like iron).
Not every shoe purchase has to be based on Investment. Sometimes that open-toed purple suede number with the bows is just what the doctor ordered. And you may be surprised; a pair of shoes that you LOVE although they don't seem practical may end up getting more wear than you'd think.
Friday, November 2, 2007
In the meantime, in homage to The Manolo, here's what une femme is:
Listening to. This is just phenomenal work, great collaborations.
Listening to. Une femme has been a fan of Creedence Clearwater and Fogerty since back in the day, and am happy to see him back out there with some new material.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Moral of the story: hang onto those old Renaissance Faire costumes.