Sometimes you don’t need much to achieve true effortless style. What does it take? Self-confidence . . . and a smile! (Everything’s easier when you smile.) Here are a few tips that can help you achieve (seemingly) effortless style.
• Wear a little wool sweater over your ball gown. There’s nothing more kitsch than a stole or a bolero. Please, no stoles especially; even Hollywood stars have stopped wearing them on the red carpet. A sequined dress and a cashmere sweater—now that says Paris.
• Go to a discount store, but shop in the men’s section.
• Mix haute couture and street style: impeccably cut black trousers and a loose T-shirt in very thin cotton. When you aren’t sure if you want to go luxe or casual, you’ve hit the spot: you’re stylin’!
• Anything from a surplus store worn with old jewelry is good.
• Layer two scarves. This also works with two T-shirts, two blouses, two blazers, and even two belts. Layering gives the most basic pieces more importance.A maxi-accessory with a simple outfit. The Parisian has always admired Jackie Kennedy in her Onassis period: slim white pants, a black T-shirt, flip-flops—and oversized sunglasses. It’s chic, it’s efficient—copy it now!
• A parka over a little chiffon dress.
• Pair your worn-out old jeans with a silk shirt. This combination, just like the trousers and T-shirt, gives substance to the look. The rest has to be extremely simple. You have to make the luxury element—the silk blouse—look like an accident. If it’s too obvious you wanted to make an impression, the effect is ruined, and you’ll be accused of “trying to hard” to be stylish. Not cool at all. It’s no secret: even though the Parisian buys stacks of fashion magazines to stay informed, she doesn’t want anyone to know about it! She’s capable of buying this guide and claiming it’s to give as a gift.
• Cinch everything with a man’s belt—something used and too long—and tie a knot in the dangling end.
• When you’re tired of your clothes, dye them navy blue. It will give them a second life—unless of course they’re already navy blue!
• Try out sizes that you’re not used to buying.
The universal golden rule of good style
If the bottom (pants, skirt) is loose, the top must be close-fitting. And if the bottom is slim-fit, the top must be loose.
What's the trick with mixing colours?
You can do it all! When things clash, it’s called colour blocking. Although I’m a big fan of neutral, earthy colours (they’re mellow), I really like navy blue (but not necessarily black). One thing is sure: when I wear a bright colour (I love fuchsia), the rest is either plain or it’s part of a head-to-toe pink look. But mixing neon pink and neon yellow is only for the very brave. See the difference?
Parisian Chic Encore is available on the Saga Bookshop at a discount.