Thursday, October 16th, 2014

fall re-boot

Naturalizer 4

J.Crew Jacket, Naturalizer Janelle boots (also available in Wide shaft)

The lovely people at Naturalizer asked if I’d like to give these Janelle knee boots a try, and if I’d be interested in taking part in their styling contest, representing the 50+ demographic. It sounded like a fun challenge, so here’s my entry. I wanted to create an outfit that was simple yet modern, and could go from casual office to weekend. Head over to the Naturalizer Facebook page and, if you’re so inclined, vote for me. The winner of the contest will receive two additional pairs of Naturalizer shoes (the boots were provided by Naturalizer) which I’d be delighted to offer as a giveaway. If I win, you win. :-)

Stella and Dot, Aurelie Biderman bracelets, Chanel vintage flap bag

Nothing says “fall” like boots and jackets. I’m also wearing the NYDJ ‘Ami’ skinny jeans in ‘Dakota’ wash. I find myself reaching for these frequently as they are so darn versatile. The bag is my old faithful vintage Chanel, and the bracelets are from Stella and Dot (here and similar) and aurelie bidermann.

Naturalizer Janelle knee boots

The elastic goring on the back of the boots is subtle, but provides a nice snug fit with a little give. I like the shaping at the top of the shaft, and the buckles add a nice touch.

What’s your favorite way to style a pair of knee boots?

OPTIONS:

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Hong Kong at random

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I’m starting this post as we are waiting for our flight to Phuket, so will keep it brief and let pictures tell the story. Above, lovely Hong Kong Park.

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More HK Park. In the picture with the waterfall, there is a couple who appeared to have just gotten married sitting on the balustrade. Lots of turtles out sunning themselves.

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Riding the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak.

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Views from the Peak.

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Casting off on the ferry ride to Kowloon.

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Views from the ferry.

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Back in Central we had a yummy lunch at a local favorite, Yat Lok. Superb!

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There’s a wonderful walk-through aviary in Hong Kong Park. The birds seem to be relatively unafraid of people walking nearby.

Off to Phuket, more soon!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

put on some lipstick and pull yourself together

Estée Lauder Lips

Post sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.

I’ve always been a lipstick girl. I grew up watching glamorous women deftly apply a splash of color, and have worn some form of lipstick almost non-stop since the age of 12, when I would dash to the girls lavatory at Middle School before my first class, lean into the cloudy mirror and hastily apply a contraband pale frosty pink to my lips. (Fourteen was considered the minimum age for obvious cosmetic use in my family.) Some of my favorite lipsticks over the years have been from Estée Lauder (All Day Lipstick in Cinnamon, I still miss you!) and the line continues to offer a variety of formulas and colors that will boost your mettle during trying times.

Unlike so many designer spinoff cosmetics lines, Estée Lauder has always been first and foremost about beauty. Estée Lauder herself got her start working for her uncle, a chemist who created and sold lotions and beauty products, and in an era when women were not prominent in business, turned a high-school job into an empire. And now her granddaughter, Aerin Lauder has added a modern spin to this classic beauty line with a range of cosmetics and fragrances. I really like the colors in this Aerin “weekend” palette which would work well for those of us who like a more natural “no-makeup” look.

Right now Nordstrom is offering a gift-with-purchase with any Estée Lauder purchase of $45.00 or more.

Estée Lauder Gift With Purchase

This is one of the better GWP’s I’ve seen lately, as it includes four travel-size skincare products, as well as two lip colors. Nordstrom carries the full line of Estée Lauder skincare, beauty and fragrance products, including the Aerin line. I love shopping the Nordstrom cosmetics department; the Sales Associates are always so helpful. Shipping is free, as are returns.

Are you a Lipstick Girl?  Do you stick to one color or do you play the field?
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Sunday, October 12th, 2014

room with a view – Hong Kong

early morning view

early morning view

Wow. Hong Kong is so amazing, a unique blend of old and new, Eastern and Western cultures. We spent most of our first full day here on a walking tour with Daisann of Little Adventures In Hong Kong (website here) and it was such a fabulous introduction to some of the food and culture.

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Our first nosh of the tour was a stop at Hoi An Cafe for some fresh egg tarts and milk tea. Milk tea isn’t just tea with milk added; the tea is brewed and strained, then boiled with the milk and strained again through cloth, which gives it a velvety texture. It was wonderful with the tarts and other pastries. Daisann explained that texture is very important in Hong Kong cuisine.

 

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We then walked through some of the herb markets, which also include dried foods and medicinal plant and animal products. Here, food is regarded as medicine and certain ingredients are added to promote health and well-being. Birds’ nest soup, for example contains lots of collagen and for women here it’s often been used as a beauty tonic.

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These fungi are said to have cancer-preventing properties and some Western medical studies have indicated this as well.

We also picked up our Octopus cards and began learning how to navigate the subway system, which is actually very efficient and fast as well as air-conditioned, and there’s public wi-fi on the trains themselves. Hong Kong is really ahead of us in that respect.

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I’m going to do a separate post later about the student protests, but we walked through the main site and I was very moved by what I saw. It was clean, orderly and the determination of these young people was palpable.

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We enjoyed a light dim-sum lunch, and Daisann wanted to help me find a good UV-protection umbrella, so she took me to her favorite Japanese department store in Causeway Bay, and from there we walked back to the hotel, taking a quick tour of the “wet markets” where produce and live seafood are sold (and other live things I imagine, though I wasn’t looking too closely…not a place for the squeamish).

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Today, off to do some exploring on our own. Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend!

Friday, October 10th, 2014

if a chic falls in the forest…

Source

Lovely reader Cecilia sent the following note to “les femmes” (yours truly and Tish of A Femme d’un Certain Age). I think this speaks to a challenge that many of us have faced: dressing to fit in vs. dressing in accordance with our personal style. Today we both respond.

Dear Unefemme and afemme,

My question: Are you chic if no one around you thinks you are?

I am writing to you both because I would like to get both a French and American point of view on my question.

I am a 56-year old woman who is often told I look at least a decade younger. I credit this to good genes from my mom and staying out of the sun for the past three decades. I have always tried to dress in what I would describe as a classically elegant way; however, over the past ten years, I had resorted to a very basic wardrobe of either jeans or black pants and a t-shirt, turtleneck or blouse in synthetic fabrics (or cotton) and bright colors. I did not buy the cheapest clothes, but certainly not high quality ones either. During that period, I put on and took off the same 15 pounds. Although it has been almost three years and I had stabilized at about + 10 lbs. over my weight at age 18, I still did not want to invest a lot of money in my wardrobe until I finally lost those 10 pounds. About 6 months ago, I decided to accept my size 8 weight (low by American standards and high by Parisian standards). I started reading a lot of fashion blogs and have found that your two blogs are most aligned to my tastes.

I have read your book Tish, as well as the one you recommended by Inès de La Fressange and really love all your, Ines’ and unefemme’s suggestions on how to dress. I have been buying fewer, much higher quality pieces and having started wearing them to work. I feel so much better!! I really was quite surprised at first. I am an administrative assistant at a large hospital in an outlying suburb of a mid-Atlantic state in the US. I never felt it was worth spending money on nice clothes because very few people in this area wear nice clothes. This brings me to my question.

While I wholeheartedly embrace the French way of dressing, few people here do. This may sound like a vain, silly thing to say, but, while I feel so much better about how I dress, I have received very few compliments. In fact, the only time I receive compliments is when I wear a bright color or a statement necklace. (These were a few pieces I bought when I first start viewing fashion blogs written by younger women in the U.S.). So, I guess my question is, are you really chic, if no one around you thinks you are? (If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?)

I am a native New Yorker, who lived in Brooklyn, Queens and then Manhattan for until I was 26, and I have always felt that my clothing choices did not fit it here. I even stopped wearing certain things because I felt I would stand out too much. Not because I was dressing in a tacky, garish way, but because I was dressing in a chic, elegant way. As I said, I prefer chic. Most women here dress in very inexpensive, poorly made clothes and walk around with low-designer handbags with large logos purchased from outlet stores. This makes me sound like a snob, I fear, but I don’t like wearing logos, big or small. Yet, I am the one who doesn’t fit in (and I don’t want to)!

So, again, are you chic if no one around you thinks you are?

I would love your thoughts on this question.

Thank you both for your great blogs. I will continue to follow both of them as I build my Parisian Chic wardrobe.

The short answer: yes, of course you are!

The long answer: “chic” is one of those very subjective (and often overused and mis-used) terms that often has different meanings depending on who is wielding it. Here’s what “chic” means to me: smart, simple, put-together, dressing in accordance with one’s taste and lifestyle, with attention to quality, fit and incorporating a soupçon (or even a large ladle) of individuality. I think it’s hard to feel chic when you are dressing to please others rather than yourself.

Sometimes that means you are out of step with those around you. But if you are confident in your choices, if your clothing feels like a part of you, that’s bound to come through. If you feel good about what you’re wearing and projecting, people will react to that even if they do not notice or respond to you style choices.

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

― Coco Chanel

Isn’t choosing what to wear about presenting our best self to the world? Chic is as much about attitude as style. And I’d bet good money that there are people who admire your style, even if they do not say anything.

Still, the pull to feel like one belongs in one’s community can be strong. And cultural norms change over time. I think you have the right instinct: to add an accessory or two that nods to what those around you find stylish, while at the same time staying true to what feels right for you.

I looks forward to reading what Tish has to say…go here to find out.

And Cecilia, thank you.

Bon weekend!