Wear It In Paris

Wear It In Paris from J.Crew

A few years ago, I decided that one of my criteria for wardrobe items was “would I wear it in Paris?” While at times I have deviated from that style mantra, I find that when I follow it, it never steers me wrong.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with many of the new season selections at J.Crew, several of which are solidly in “wear in Paris” territory.

1. This little striped linen tee has an easy fit and looks great with jeans, skirts, under a jacket, whatever. It’s very lightweight so perfect for these last weeks of summer. Layers well over a long-sleeved tee too once fall arrives. I’ve done the wash test…will work well for travel as it dries overnight on a rack or hanger.

2. I’m so happy to find a v-neck cardigan that is fitted and hits at the hip. This one in Merino wool is available in some fabulous fall colors. (I went with Cabernet shown above.)

3. I’ve mentioned this Regent Blazer before, but it’s such a cool and flattering piece, I can hardly wait for cooler days to wear it. It’s available in Regular and Petite sizes in the pinstripe, and the solid version is available in Tall as well. (You can wear the collar up or folded down.)

4. Beyond the ballet, this leopard flat begs to be worn with dresses, jeans, trousers.

5. I’ll admit it, I’m impressed. I’ve become very picky about fragrances in the last couple of years, and have only found two or three that appeal to me over time. (For me, the true test of a fragrance is how I feel about it 3-4 hours in.) I’d read about the inspiration behind these two Arquiste® for J.Crew fragrances (the first modern art show featuring all female artists, curated by Peggy Guggenheim) and it piqued my curiosity enough to try both scents, though I really wasn’t expecting much. And…I really, really like both. No. 31 is a perfect daytime fragrance, while No. 57 is a bit more sultry, nice for evening (in fact 57 reminds me very much of Serge Lutens “Chergui”, one of the few I’ve been wearing in the last year.) After sampling I purchased both in the travel size with a roller ball applicator,  but will probably pick up the spray of No 31 as well.

>> Special promotion: as of Aug 27, some of these pieces are 25% off with code ALMOSTFALL .

Do you have a style mantra? Have you found anything recently that fits in with your mantra?
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28 Comments

  1. August 27, 2014 / 4:31 am

    I don’t have a style mantra…. “Would I wear it in Paris?” ….love that! Hmmmm now you’ve got me thinking….I must come up with one of my own.

  2. August 27, 2014 / 5:42 am

    I adore a linen tee like this one. I would wear all of this in . . . NYC next month : >

  3. August 27, 2014 / 6:14 am

    Great pieces! I’ve been gravitating more and more to J. Crew, and I especially like their linen knits — I bought four this past spring. As for a mantra, no,but it might have to incorporate Dirt Road to Boat Dock to City Streets . . . .and annually, some of those streets are in Paris. Bit of a challenge! 😉

  4. Emily Lees
    August 27, 2014 / 6:40 am

    Actually, “would I wear it in Paris” has been my mantra, too, for several years. We rent a friend’s apartment annually, so Paris has become my home away from home. I favor dark colors (primarily black and gray) and simple versatile clothes. These allow me to showcase my art jewelry and large scarf collection. Being a ceramic artist, I find the same outfits take me to art gallery openings at home.

    • August 27, 2014 / 6:44 pm

      I heartily agree, but I very much like some definite dark,rich colours like burgundy and forest green.

      • Emily
        August 27, 2014 / 7:23 pm

        I have those, too. Also yellow for summer, but almost always solids or stripes which I can wear with patterned scarves.

  5. E E Faris
    August 27, 2014 / 6:59 am

    Thank you for the inspiration. I know I will be a better shopper if I ask “would I wear it in Paris”. I ordered the merino sweater too. I will be spending part of the winter in the bitter cold of Wisconsin and Illinois, and it is so hard to find wool sweaters that fit. There is a sad trend of poor quality cashmere instead.

  6. Eva Andersen
    August 27, 2014 / 8:06 am

    Thank you for mentioning “Would I wear it in Paris?” That makes so much sense to me as an easy, intuitive guideline that I’m going to borrow it 🙂

    There is a certain something about Paris, or perhaps more specifically the idea about Paris, that makes one want to measure up. “Would I wear it in Copenhagen/Berlin/London?” is somehow not quite the same.

  7. August 27, 2014 / 8:22 am

    As an expat native Cali girl whho lives in New Hampshire, my thoughts when purchasing something new are “Would I want to wear this in LA?”

    • August 27, 2014 / 9:24 am

      Writing from Montréal, I do wonder how you apply that in your winter weather!

  8. Kris
    August 27, 2014 / 9:11 am

    I always ask “Would I wear it in NYC?” Which is sometimes difficult when you live in ATL. Oh well.

  9. anonymous
    August 27, 2014 / 9:11 am

    Once at a conference, someone came up to me and said, “We haven’t met but I’ve seen you before and you always have the best clothes”–and so now, when I am tempted to buy ANOTHER green cardigan (say, and I did just about order the JCrew merino one without pausing) I stop and think “If I am wearing this, will it add to my reputation for having ‘the best clothes’?” And that actually stops me from buying too many “basics”–which are otherwise hard to resist, since they are “basic”!

  10. August 27, 2014 / 9:49 am

    Yes, would I wear it in Paris is a criterion in most cases, though I do need a warmer winter coat here than I do in Western Europe – and am always unhappy in such heavy coats. There are many “Parisian” styles, as it is a large, varied and cosmopolitan city. For me, urban boho, I guess. And “vélib”…

    I like your Paris choices and the colour of your cardigan (I also like the “deep forest green”). And Merino is surprisingly warm for its weight and lack of bulk.

    I wouldn’t find those flats supportive enough to walk long distances in, for most women 50 and over. It would be fine to take them for going out to dinner or something else these that doesn’t involve a lot of walking, but there are many “urban” (work-worthy) shoes that have a bit more of a sole and better arch support.

    • Duchesse
      August 28, 2014 / 4:51 am

      I agree, lagatta; the flats are cute but more for car travelers. However I just spent a week with a Parisienne friend visiting Montréal and she wore exactly those pointy flats with no arch support. She thought walking 6 blocks was onerous! But the main thing was looking good….

  11. nell
    August 27, 2014 / 10:29 am

    Hmmm– I guess I have a number of guidelines, but they might be boiled down to: does it have uncomplicated lines (anything too fussy engulfs and overwhelms me), and is the color sympatico?

    The older I get, the more I realize the effect that color has. I am dragged horribly down by heavy, dark colors (at least around the face) and somehow uplifted by mid-range to light blues, purples, pinks, greens and aquas. So I almost invariably wear these shades in tops and scarves. Mid-range to darkish neutrals for the bottoms.

    Oh, my final aspirational dressing guideline would be: would the female equivalent of the ineffably stylish Fred Astaire wear it? He is my eternal style mentor!

    • August 27, 2014 / 6:17 pm

      Yes, but he dressed in black and white. Like my aged tomcat, who at 18 and 1/2 remains impeccably groomed and well turned-out!

  12. August 27, 2014 / 11:51 am

    I have a two-step style mantra: Step One: If a heterosexual man would be comfortable wearing it, I won’t wear it. Step Two: If Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Onassis, and/or Grace Kelly never wore it, I won’t wear it. This helps me steer clear of lumberjack shirts, clunky boots, anything with with “Juicy” across the bum, and cheap, poorly made clothing in screaming neon colors.

    • August 27, 2014 / 6:23 pm

      Well, yes, but I do wear skirts, and I don’t mean only kilts or the Greek and Samoan men’s equivalents. (Though straight men should wear “manly” men’s skirts in hot weather. Ridiculous to wear trousers at 40°, and shorts aren’t always suitable).

      And of course, some people in the North Woods actually are lumberjacks or jills.

      I do understand your aesthetic viewpoint. Though please, don’t diss poor people who may have no choice but crap clothing.

    • August 27, 2014 / 6:37 pm

      I do confess I find that very odd, though of course it is your own care. There are many unisex garments (obviously cut for the individual wearer). The Duffel Coat? The Trenchcoat? Jeans? The Kilt? Woollen jackets? Pullovers? and so it goes.

      The only person in your triad I’d copy is Audrey, and even as a lass, my body type was utterly different from hers. Tiny waist and shoulders back then, but a considerable bust and hips from adolescence. Think Marilyn, or the two Lizzes (the Queen and Taylor). Short as the Queen and Taylor.

      Jacqueline’s style was always to conspicuously consumerist, and Grace Kelly was far too pseudo-aristocratic. May they rest in peace; my last intent would be to speak ill of the dead who have never harmed anyone. But style is not over the top consumption. If it were, most people with dull jobs could not be stylish.

  13. Jill
    August 27, 2014 / 8:18 pm

    Hmm, maybe I should adopt this mantra. The ‘Would I Wear This in Brooklyn?’ thing is definitely not working. Ha. I sometimes think ‘Would I Wear This in Manhattan’, but the problem with Manhattan is there is definitely a look that few people deviate from (I am one of them, however)–skinny jeans tucked into boots or ballet flats, the same damn J. Crew jacket, gigantic scarf/shawl at the neck, the hair piled into a bun, etc. and I think it gets boring pretty fast. Maybe if I think of Paris I will let myself get a little crazier with the accessories. And no J. Crew jackets or it’s cookie-cutter city (I’m thinking very specifically of their Downtown Field Jacket, it’s everywhere). Great post. XO, Jill

    • Duchesse
      August 28, 2014 / 4:57 am

      I use that standard too, but probably expand it to “a world-class city” as there are plenty of Parisienne women who are no better dressed than Romans, New Yorkers, or Montréalers, if we can even lump large populations of women together. The most notable feature of that sophisticated wardrobe is the absence (in daywear) of big bright prints and the shreikier colours, Grown women in Paris expect to wear their clothes a long time, and are very choosy about quality.

  14. nell
    August 28, 2014 / 4:41 pm

    Oh, lagatta, remember Fred in his later efforts though– Funny Face and Daddy Long Legs? He made the jump from art deco black, white and silver (of which he was admittedly the master), beautifully. I’m thinking of him more out of films though, when he made his own style choices– like wearing crazy socks and using a silk necktie to hold up his pants! Loved his pastel shirts, and the fact that he threw his suits against the wall before wearing, to show them who was boss…

    Regards to your tuxedo Tom, sounds a handsome devil indeed!

  15. August 28, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    Having recently moved the edge of nowhere (which I LOVE), my mantra is “will it repel mosquitos” at this point. I do love the V-neck sweater and will be looking for a similar one in my range this fall.

    I have found a lovely light scent in the Chanel Exclusives line: 1932 is gorgeous, light, and totally wearable anywhere, even in Packwood! I have also gotten hooked on Sycamore, which is a little like a cedar closet mixed with spicy floral, very invigorating.

  16. Ellen
    August 28, 2014 / 5:27 pm

    Well I would substitute London for Paris, because thats where my heart resides. When I was last there, now 5 years ago (but I’ll be back in the Fall), I found that my wardrobe was in perfect sync with what I saw on the street. It might be because one of my secret treats is buying British Vogue or Elle instead of the American version. I’m never really in sync in the USA, so it was a great ego boost to know I had been buying for London all along. Now I do it consciously…and I have to get there more often, obviously! (so as not to waste it)

  17. Karen
    August 28, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    I ask myself “Will I look stupid in this in ten years when I look back at photos?” I find that keeps me in check when I start going to the wild side.

  18. August 30, 2014 / 5:52 am

    A caution. While I love those linen tees, and have owned two, they disintegrate really, really, really quickly:(

    • une femme
      August 30, 2014 / 6:05 am

      I’ve learned not to put them in the dryer. That seems to help the lifespan quite a bit.

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