French women love les soldes, but also have a reputation for shopping wisely, being discriminating and not buying just because something is on sale. They look for pieces that can fill a wardrobe gap, replace basic well-worn and loved items, and perhaps update and freshen their wardrobe. While les soldes are only held twice yearly in France toward the end of the season, we’re fortunate here to have more frequent sales and markdowns. Below are some classic wardrobe items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that une Parisienne might be delighted to add to her fall wardrobe.
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Back when I was in Junior High School, the boys took Shop and the girls took Home Economics. It was assumed at the time that most of us would eventually be homemakers. There was no opting out or choice offered. I was fine with it, as I wanted to learn to cook and sew. One friend of mine lobbied the school administration to be allowed to take wood shop, which was dismissed outright and caused her to be called some ugly names by some of the boys. She went on to become a successful architect as an adult, but at the time decided to make the best of Home Ec by performing merciless impressions of the teacher, a mild-mannered woman who occasionally lost it when a roomful of 12-13 year-olds wouldn’t stop talking and listen to directions.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but aside from learning to make hamburger casseroles and English muffin pizzas, I was introduced to concepts that would serve me well in an administrative career.
Time Management. One of the lessons drilled into us was how plan out meal preparation so that all of the dishes were ready at once. It was a new concept for me, and made a big impression. Think about it…you don’t wait until the roast is cooked to start peeling the potatoes. I learned to prioritize tasks so that I could set one thing in motion while I worked on another. While that quarterly report is processing, answer some emails. I’ve always been very good at time management, which has served me well in all areas of my life, and is a skill I’ve come to realize not everyone has.
Organization. This goes hand-in-hand with time management, but I remember our teacher showing us how to write up our grocery list by market section, to avoid the wasted time and effort of dashing back and forth. Gather your resources and know what steps are required before starting a project.
Flexibility. No tarragon in the spice rack? What else might work? Don’t be afraid to try workarounds and be adaptable.
I can’t think of any other course I took, up to and including college classes that helped develop these skills as effectively. Having now been in the workplace for a few decades and having encountered a lot of people who haven’t learned how to manage their time effectively or prioritize or organize, I have to wonder if Home Ec shouldn’t be required curriculum for everyone. I also reflect on how our culture still tends to devalue what are regarded as “feminine” spheres, when actually probably a lot of the skills that make one a good homemaker are the same skills that are highly prized in successful managers and executives.
Was there a class or area of study that developed skills that have helped you be successful in unrelated areas of your life?
So…funny story about this top: a few weeks ago a family friend remarked how much she liked it, so I gave her mine. And almost immediately experienced a pang of remorse, thinking about the ways I could have styled it. So I ordered another one. (Pauline, upon hearing the story, generously offered to send it gratis.) The jeans are from Madewell. These are the “slim boyjean” style, which are a nice alternative to skinny jeans, especially in warmer weather. Madewell stores will hem full-priced denim at no charge, so I had these taken up a couple of inches. Still like to roll them, though.
So the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is now open to all! The Theory top above is one of the items I’ve purchased, and will show you more soon. Below are my picks so far from the sale. While I did spot a lot of “fun” pieces, I’ve tried to edit my selections to those items that I think could be real wardrobe builders and work horses. These tend to be the things that sell out most quickly, too. I’ve also updated my “Things I Love” page with sale selections, and will continue to update if I see new items added to the sale that might be of interest. Without further ado….
SHOES, BAGS, ACCESSORIES
BEAUTY AND PAMPERING
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Karen is a woman with her ear to the ground when it comes to style and beauty, and always has some fabulous products on her radar. She also has a thrifty nature, and looks for the most bang for her beauty buck. The first product she shared (and gifted me with a full-sized bottle!) was this Yon-Ka Paris Dry Skin Toner. I can’t believe I wasn’t familiar with this brand, as judging by this toner, it’s wonderful. The formula is alcohol-free, contains essential oils, and has a wonderful invigorating fragrance. Spray it on after cleansing and before the rest of your skin care routine. You can also use to freshen makeup and add a bit of glow. I like to spritz on a bit when I get home from work just to recharge my batteries and soothe skin that’s been in air-conditioning all day.
She gave me some samples of this Revision Intellishade SPF 45 Matte
tinted moisturizer recommended by her dermatologist, which I liked very much. It has a decent percentage of barrier sunscreens, and goes on very nicely. If you need more coverage, it also works well under foundation. The finish isn’t shiny, but it isn’t what I think of as “matte” either… just very natural looking. The color blends right in to skin and avoids that ashy look that barrier sunscreens sometimes cause.
LOVE this stuff!!
Another product she pulled out of her bag of tricks was this wonderful facial oil from L’Oreal. After trying this I went right out and bought some! It’s very lightly fragranced, wonderfully moisturizing, and really does make your skin glow (not an oily gleam). Use instead of or in addition to your regular moisturizer. I’m tempted to try the eye cream from the same line when my current bit runs out.