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...


Today is MEMORIAL DAY here in the United States. 
A time to remember the sacrifices, the courage, the sadness and the waste of very precious and often very young lives.
Others will commemorate this special day very fittingly with great pomp and circumstance, and they will do it much better than I ever could; 
With all due respect for this day and all it represents, what I want to talk about is a little more flippant; if some of you find this too casual please forgive me; it is not my intention to be insensitive; I would like to bring up the women in the armed forces and more particularly an aspect of their military lives: their clothing- could I say fashion?; well, their uniforms. 
All over the world, countries have allowed women into the ranks of their armies and these countries have had to come up with uniforms suited to the feminine shape. I am sure safety, practicality, comfort, conformity and cost have figured very high in the briefs put to those responsible for figuring out what would best be suited for military women. I would like to bring to you a panoply of what is gracing the camps posts and deployments here, there and everywhere in areas where women are serving in the world. If I may, I will also add a twist to this potentially impertinent subject by visiting countries other than the US and France. I will "digress" a little, and a little more and a little yet again.

A little style even here.
In Tchad the European forces issued these shorts and sleeveless tops to the French peace keepers. I wonder how many other nations have gone along with this cut. This could be the summer line at Bensimon.
This is practical and well suited but not a bad look at all on this Canine Unit officer. 
and this pilot is managing to look quite cool in this slim-cut one-piece overall.
A rolled-up sleeve, a nice belt, a hat worn with flair. Not bad for a regulation outfit.

Professionally pragmatic always.
The US soldier here is ready for very dangerous situations so she cannot afford to worry about the cut of her shirt, needless to say. She somehow manages to be very pretty- Yes, I know, that's not exactly the point. Nonetheless... 
I guess it's the cap I am not too wild about. The shirt is large and shapeless but comfort rules in "the theater". And well it should.

No reason not to show legs when you are NOT in combat these girls seem to say.. That's what the word "parade" is all about I guess.
The PR dept. went slightly overboard?
Wow! Radio City Hall could be interested.

Some uniforms give away the nationality of the wearers without the need for reading their insignias.
(armed police)
who else would wear a scarf this stylishly?
 no mystery there
 very Gorky park

There are some lucky girls who are issued a uniform where the brief was not taken verbatim: uni: one- form: shape...quite the contrary, they wear something avec des formes-shapely.

These women could wear this in civilian life, not that they might wish to...but those hats?

And then there are the make-believe "armies" from the movies, the morale boosting USO performances and ubiquitous posters of WWII. 

More hotel than army.

Men's uniforms with skirts.

Even in French movies is the uniform an asset, sometimes.
French national icon BB looked very sexy in her uniform in the movie "Babette s'en va en guerre". I am willing to bet HER uniform was not standard issue...

If we are to discuss fashion in the military, we must mention the current military in fashion.
No one is remotely suggesting this would work in combat in the REAL military. I don't believe these cute fashions qualify:
not practical 
not cut to fit all
not cost effective 
yes, comfortable
but obviously NOT made for any kind of deployment! 
Unless your are on a secret mission to infiltrate the enemy like a modern-day Mata Hari perhaps...


Please leave your comments, either below in the petits commentaires or at Letitia Jett's magnificent "parallel" post at a Femme d'un Certain Age . It's always so much fun to discover your reactions and ideas.
Au revoir.



bonne fin de weekend 



I am regularly approached for "a word" of design advice. What would YOU do in this and that case?
This is not a rare occurrence and as flattering as it is to be asked, giving advice for a space you usually have not seen is not exactly like driving blindfolded but it does feel a little like driving without a rear view mirror; not really impossible, but pas très comfortable. 
Hence, this column: 
I will post  general advice in answer to non site-specific questions I have been asked. 
You may participate, of course. 
That would be so much fun. 
Just keep it relatively general, if you could. 

Donna:  I have a long  narrow entrance hall. How can I furnish it without blocking the way while making it welcoming?

There are a number of possibilities when dealing with a small narrow front hall.
There are also a few rules:
- use a narrow furniture- a console or a tall hutch or bookcase- that can be as long as the space will allow, but remember two feet at either end.
- Place a very large mirror above it to give the illusion of width.
- Choose lamps and accessories that complement the style of your piece so as to keep cohesion in the look.
- Keep the foyer uncluttered from furniture that might get in the way.
- Keep things simple.

A wonderful Asian piece will lend instant atmosphere to the hall without cluttering.

Coordinate a theme over and under a console but keep it light and focused

If you choose to go classic, keep things compact and uncomplicated

If you want to use a tall piece that's fine, as long as it is narrow.

A very large mirror will do wonders for a narrow space, visually doubling it through reflection.

A clear table will disappear  and give the illusion of size.
images decorpad, cote du texas, lululoveslive, belgian pearls, michael kors home

I hope this helped. 
If you have any topic you may want me to analyze or any design question you would like answered, let me know at un petit commentaire below. It would be so much fun for me to put my 2 cents in. 
au revoir.



A very poetic designer
"Born in 1913, the sculptor, jeweler and designer started out as a greeter for fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. With her fiery personality, Line Vautrin lasted only a few days. Still, Schiaparelli influenced her later creations, and Line Vautrin opened her first boutique in Paris when she was 25. During World War II, Line Vautrin’s “little somethings” in the form of jewelry, gilded boxes and accessories were popular with Parisian women, whose determined elegance became a form of resistance to the Nazis. 
By the ’60s, she had developed a devoted clientele that included Brigitte Bardot and Ingrid Bergman.
Line Vautrin died in 1997, and soon “prices for her work began to explode—increasing tenfold by 2007,” says James Zemaitis, head of 20th-century design at Sotheby’s. A piece now costs $10,000 to $100,000. Her dreams of the elements and mythology shine through in some of her work, which often focused on stars and constellations." -1stdibs.com

Some of her most sought after pieces were the ones which were decorated with rebus, charades, which of course are only understood if you speak French.
O- B- I- cent pas- si- O- N'- aimant
Obeissant passionemment
Passionately obedient.

la fee- mi- nid- T- bouclier- 2- la femmme
La feminite, bouclier de la femmme
Feminity, the shield of woman.

jeu- t'm- O joue- R- d'u- I plus- KI- R- haie- moins- queue- 2 mains
Je t'aime aujourd'hui plus qu'hier et moins que demain
I love you today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.

A prayer from St Francis of Assissi

Her gilded bronze and enamel jewellery is exquisite and amazingly modern.

Some of her jewelery also contained messages and charades
or Zodiac signs

"In 1950, the “queen of buttons” invented a new type of resin, Tolosel, which she heated, carved and twisted to create sensual shapes. Her famous convex mirrors were then formed by encrusting small pieces of colored glass or resin into these frames.  Vautrin called them her miroirs sorcières or “witches’ mirrors.”- linevautrin.com

some of her jewelry was also created from her resin, Tolosel

You may want to read the book dedicated to her work.
images linevautrin.com, amazon.com

au revoir.