Parisian Style 101

I’ve read so many excellent posts on what makes Parisian style. I’ve come to the conclusion that while I have no idea what real Parisians actually wear, I’m quite in love with the North-American interpretation of Paris fashion. Here’s the quick and easy version:

  • Be comfortable.
    • This means wearing flats not heels, and clothing that is fitted but not so tight it looks painted on.
  • Look effortless.
    • Your hair is not teased within an inch of its life – it is in loose waves or a casual up-do. If you have highlights or colour your hair it all, it looks natural. You never look overdone or obsessed with yourself. It is the perfect white shirt with the perfect pair of skinny jeans.
  • Neutrals are your friend.
    • Black, beige, white, navy, cream, nude, grey, and sometimes red. You wear solids, not prints, with the exception of navy-and-white stripes.
  • High-quality materials are a must.
    • Your fabrics should be made of natural fibers (silk, cashmere, 100% cotton) instead of synthetics (polyester, rayon, etc.) Your boots should be leather, not pleather.
  • Wear items that will be in style for decades, not months.
    • No fast fashion for the Parisian look! You wear classics. The things that will be in style for decades. Take a look at Audrey Hepburn – her style is still going strong.
  • Less is more.
    • Chanel famously decreed: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Do this. Less accessories, less make-up. Less fuss. Your look should be natural and easy. Stick with the basics and let your presence speak more loudly than your clothes.

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This is what I’ve picked up from my research. What do you think? Am I missing anything?

Photo of beautiful Olivia Palermo from here.

How to Grow Out Your Bangs

Just do it.

Seriously – you just have to commit. Aren’t you tired of your bangs being messed up by every little thing? I mean, the wind will make them look all crazy, sleeping on them can make them look bad, if they grow too long or get cut too short: bad! And if you’re not careful, they make you look like a small child. Not to mention the fact that bangs often get greasy before the rest of your hair does. There are so many instances where bangs look awful… but they certainly do a good job at covering the forehead. It’s the reason I’ve had bangs for YEARS. And then I decided I’ve had enough. After over ten years of getting my bangs trimmed once a month, and having horrific experiments at home when I attempted to trim them myself… I’ve said ENOUGH. I’m growing them out. And I’ve got a plan.

Loads of women with long oval faces go without bangs, and they look great. Their secret? THE SIDE PART.

The side part creates an optical illusion, confusing the viewer and making them think your face is not actually as big as it truly is. Hooray! Annoyance of bangs, be gone! Side part, welcome to my life.

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As you can see with my beautiful model Sandra Bullock, a side part is gorgeous on those with a longer oval face and large forehead. A part down the middle is not as flattering. Other tips to be mindful of: super long hair will make your face look long. I know you want long flowing locks but consider a sassy and more Parisian length of haircut. Short is hot. Rock it. But make sure to have body or volume on the sides, to give your face the illusion of width. Straightening your hair will – you guess it – lengthen the face. Avoid, please!

And a big shout out to my gal Kandee Johnson, for inspiring me to say farewell to my bangs. She rocks the side part so good.

Hopefully these tips make it easier for you to get rid of the bane of your existence your bangs. If that’s what you want.

Say Goodbye to Must-Have Capsule Wardrobe Items

I’m constantly honing my capsule wardrobe. It’s a labour of love and an ongoing project. My goal is to have a super-minimalist and re-mixable selection of clothing. I read a lot about fashion in order to get inspiration, and to discover if my small collection of clothing has any gaps. In general, the key components of capsule wardrobes tend to be basically consistent, with a few changes (example from The Capsule Project):

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As much as I love getting ideas, I’ll admit – it drives me crazy whenever I see a “must-have” item that I really actually hate to wear. Examples:

  • Trench coat (like the J.Crew one posted above)
  • Leather jacket
  • Black heels
  • White t-shirt
  • Skinny jeans

know these are fashion staples. Objectively, I agree that they will suit most people and work in most capsule wardrobes. But that does not mean that I have to like them. I hate trench coats because they make me feel like Inspector Gadget, I hate leather jackets because I’m so fair-skinned and a leather jacket makes me feel like a wannabe bad-ass, I can’t walk in heels for very long and they turn me into a 6-foot-tall giant, white t-shirts never stay white for long, and skinny jeans hurt my calves.

So guess what? I find other options. I find staples that work with my body and my own personal style. I’ve shut out the voices that say I need this/that/or the other. It’s empowering.

I love the post on Into-Mind about not dressing for your body type. I want to take the independent thinking a step further: stop feeling like you have to buy so-called wardrobe staples. Buy what you like. Leave the rest. Done.

The Secret to Buying Anything is Cost-Per-Wear

Sometimes I get things for free. But most of the time, I’m shelling out my hard-earned cash for clothing items I desire.

As a minimalist, I try to buy quality because it is usually long-lasting – but sometimes quality = expensive. Worry not! There is a way you can buy anything you want, as long as you follow this one rule:

Aim for the cost-per-wear to be $2.

If you feel strongly you can achieve that, then go ahead and buy anything from a diamond ring that costs $2000 (cost-per-wear is $2 in less than three years) or a designer bag that costs $300, like this Rebecca Minkoff satchel:

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As long as I use that bag once a week for six years, I’m good to go!

Sherry, from Save. Spend. Splurge. has been using the Stylebook Closet App to track the cost-per-wear of her purchases:

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Photo from Save. Spend. Splurge.

I love having a way to justify my expensive desires, however infrequent. I find it very useful to shop with this strategy and it’s perfect for my minimalist needs.

Do you ever calculate cost-per-wear? What’s your number? Is $2-per-wear a good goal?

The Perfect Red Lipstick

mac-russian-red_300Russian Red by MAC.

I am a minimalist. I want to keep my make-up collection very small, and this requires me to make some tough decisions. If I own a product, it better be perfect and I better only have one.

After a long wait, the perfect red lipstick has finally entered my life. I had tried a few reds in the past, but was never very impressed. I’d go to Sephora on my lunch break, test a new shade, and get opinions from my coworkers. Nothing stuck.

Then, like in a romance film, love found me when I least expected it! I had given up on my hunt for the perfect red. Until one day, I turned around, and was greeted by a customer who was glamorous in an understated way. She looked gorgeous, yet relaxed. Very chic. But what really stood out to me was her lipstick. Such a delightful shade of red! And to me, maybe because of the matte finish, it looked so positively French, which (whether or not it’s true) is always appealing for me.

Here’s the nice part… when I complimented her on her superb choice of lipstick, she actually told me the name of it! I thought that was very generous of her, especially since some women protect their beauty secrets like crazy.

I rushed out and bought Red Russian right away. And I’ve been happy with it ever since. I can put it on rather thick and have a nice bright red, or if I blot it a bit, it’s more understated and demure. I LOVE IT.

I can also tell you that it will make your teeth look very white – which is so important with a red lipstick. I mean, that’s the whole point, right? There is nothing worse than wearing red lipstick and having your teeth look yellow just because the lipstick has orange hues, instead of blue.

Here are some reviews if you need some final convincing that this is the perfect red shade that you’ve been spending your whole life looking for: