Today,  Letitia Jett a femme d'un certain age , and I play a weekly game on our blogs. We share our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me, all the while comparing one and the other. We "come up" with a topic to "discuss" and we each publish our thoughts on the subject from our respective sides of the Ocean, never looking "at each other's sheet", so to speak.
There are some things we really love, others we miss. Some drive us nuts and sometimes we are very amused by something typical about our new homes. Whatever our point of view, we bring it to you on Mondays. This is what we interested us today...

"Some of us" obviously are way beyond advice or at the very least OUR kind of advice. Probably, "some of us" would not (not even for a milli-second) even consider taking advice from us (us, the GOOD-ADVICE givers) however gentle and polite we might be. This is not the target audience of ANY do's-and-don'ts column, nor of any "how-do-I's?" This audience seems to get enough fashion info...some of it, by the looks of it, in a fashion-Morse code of some sort.

And then there are those who REALLY don't need guidance or don't wish it, assuming that they can do very well with very little, merci bien.
That would be most French women; this is not a self serving comment from moi, a French woman. Non, non, non. It's the truth. I am not sure why it is so. I can only speculate it has to do with the "nurture" part of life, not the "nature" side. We French women don't have some sort of special fashion gene. Not in the least. 
I believe it all has to do with the environment we grow up in. It has to do with who we emulate, from whom we learn, what our mothers, friends and role models have experienced and have liberally dispensed mostly without a word, sometimes with sets of rules that are digested over the years and even over the centuries, almost without our conscious knowledge of them. 
In the end, in France, I would have to say the rules have become non-rules, rules not to be followed à la lettre- to a T- but rather to bend with flair.

We learn by example from an early age through what is displayed in front of us every hour of every day. Our 1st ladies and our fashion museum (Le Musee de la Mode et du Textile) being some of our influences.

From an early age and into our school years, we take care of our look. 
"There is an undone, offhanded attitude that is of course, very planned and perfectly executed never appearing to have taken more than a moment to “naturally” put together."

On the other side of the Ocean Atlantique however, there is a lot of very generous written and well illustrated advice going around. Not that American women are not chic and elegant and well dressed. Some of the best dressed women in the world live in the USA. But for some reason every media at US women's disposal are intent on giving very precise and very generous advice. "There needs to be more of an understanding and respect for appropriateness; Athletic clothes that are “comfortable” are simply not an option for city day wear unless going to or from the gym. Why not wear comfortable time-honored clothing being careful not to give off a sloppy or lazy appearance."  Really? Is there any doubt? At times, the role models chosen are not always the most appropriate, although I admit, not too, too bad in this case.

What To Wear With Boyfriend Jeans?

Reese Witherspoon
 has the comfy-chic look down to a tee. So how does she keep it cool when the weather warms up? Pack up your skinny jeans and opt for baggy, distressed styles. Roll up the hems andwear them with gladiators for star-inspired instant style.

what to and not to wear

Precise instructions leave little room for creativity and self expression on the other hand.

Got a question for Tim Gunn? E-mail him here!

True Colors

"Can I wear brown and black together, like a brown skirt with a black top? Are there still rules against that?"

I find that few looks are quite as chic as brown and black together. However, it's very important that it be the correct brown, because not any brown will do. I find that a deep-chocolate brown is the most successful choice to wear with black. This is especially true with accessories: deep-chocolate only! Otherwise your look will become entirely too casual to support the chic. A word to the wise: The only time that I have seen brown footwear work with black was in the case of a knee-high, chocolate suede boot and black tights. Stunning!

There are Television shows (I should say a whole industry) based on  "what not to wear", and the do's and the don'ts, of how to present yourself daily to the world.

I credit this pletora of information to American practicality, open mindedness and efficiency. I also believe some of it has to do not necessarily with money but how it is spent. Not as much value is put on individuality and personal style, let's say, as on the style and image of a role model and what copying that image will imply for the individual wearing it. And there is also the question of correctness, and good old American puritanism. But if we go full circle, back to the  first ladies in this post, we find that the pendulum does indeed swing VERY far to both sides...

If you wish to add your voice to this topic, or even suggest a subject you would like Letitia and I to discourse about, please leave your reactions and comments at petits commentaires below or, vite, go see A Femme d'un Certain Age 's take on all of this.

merci Letitia

au revoir.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you've done it. Fab-u-lous. You have completely, beautifully and perfectly dissected and explained this most fascinating phenomenon.

    Your post is brilliant. This little partnership of ours is getting to be more and more fun every week.

    Your examples and explanations are perfect.

    xo, Letitia