Fall Wardrobe: Secrets from the French

Had to share this great entrée to Fall wardrobe planning from one of my favorite fashion blogs La Mignonette. She quotes from an article by Ellen Wallace in Cosmopolitan. The article was written in August 1982.


“More and more I believe that style has to do with quality and most importantly with the choice of perfect colour palette (I should probably write an elegy evoking the powerful secrets of colours: an ode for navy and bleu marine, a sonnet for the camel shades, an epic poem about the virtues of oxblood red, and a poem about every other shade of grey. I won’t follow trends if they don’t suit my personal style: I think it’s a tragic sight to watch women walking miserably in huge heels or wearing something that make her terribly uncomfortable  just because it’s”on trend”. To better illustrate what I mean, I quote Ellen Wallace’s article Secrets of French Girls”

“Here (in Paris) a woman tries to be subtle,” she continued. “In New York, women seem to need to prove they are aware of fashion. The really fundamental rule is always be neat. You should be clean, your clothes ironed, your shoes polished. Then you must know and accept yourself; don’t try to hide your faults — that will only make you uncomfortable because you will be fighting what you are. American women often seem to be striving for some norm. If you’re short, there is no point in wearing high heels just to make yourself look taller. (…) Maite added that French women do not dress for men. “French women don’t dress to be sexy. Of course we do dress to seduce — that’s different from trying to ‘catch’ a man by wearing flamboyant clothes. The basic attitude is different. A French woman never feels she’s offering herself. There’s never a sense of surrender, but an attitude of ‘I belong to me’.”

More specifically, what does a French mother tell her daughter? “She discusses colors. The basics — black, white, navy, burgundy, and beige — are the foundation of an outfit. Black is especially good because you can wear whatever you want with it. American women tend to mix too many colors, which is distracting, not chic. I’ve also noticed that they often wear trendy shoes, rather than investing in classic, well-made styles.

La Mignonette, Images via Vanessa Jackman and Caitlin Mcgauley illustrating from Ines de la Fressanges book for Lonny Magazine


About Stephanie

Stephanie is an internationally recognized calligrapher. She employs a wide variety of calligraphic tools, papers, textiles, inks and found objects to articulate both words and portraits.
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3 Responses to Fall Wardrobe: Secrets from the French

  1. Margaret Kelley says:

    This has women’s empowerment written all over it. Be your own woman, ladies!!!

    Not only does the Zara online shop make me giddy, but this doubles my excitement for FALL fashion. Time to play around! xxo

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