What I love this week: French edition - une femme d'un certain âge

What I love this week: French edition

December is one of my favorite times of year to visit Paris. It’s less crowded, and the holiday window and street decorations are delightful.

Christmas decorations in Paris, rue des canettes
Christmas display(2018) at Chatelles shoe store rue de bac, Paris. Mannequins with dresses, skirts made of fir boughs.

A visit isn’t in the cards for us this year, so I’m always looking for little ways to get a “French fix” at home.

Those little extra details…

Sézane is one of my favorite stops for French style inspiration: simple and classic but with those little details that take it up a notch from generic. I ordered this camel pullover with little metallic dots and just received it yesterday. It’s one of those pieces that works perfectly for a “festive, not fussy” holiday look. (You’ll be seeing it in an outfit soon.) The fit is relaxed; the XS was roomy but not too oversized.

I also like this navy striped version of their classic “Gaspard” cardigan, which can be worn with the buttons in front or back. (A versatile cardigan is great for travel…)

5 French style lessons for a smaller-but-better wardrobe

Christmas decorations at Le Bon Marché, Paris.

Le Bon Marché is my favorite department store in Paris, but did you know you can shop LBM from home at 24S (for 24 Sèvres, the Paris street address)? They carry a lot of designers and brands that you can’t usually find here. Shipping to the US is fast, and returns are pretty hassle-free. (You just have to use the paperwork provided and schedule a pick up, c’est tout!)

Unique gifts from My French Country Home

But one of my favorite sources for truly unique and special French items is the My French Country Home Box, by Sharon Santoni. Four times per year, Sharon hand selects gifts for the home and to wear from French artisans and brocantes to include in these subscription boxes.

The contents are kept a secret, so opening the box and discovering what’s inside is always a lovely surprise. The theme of the November box (gifted) is “Midnight in Paris,” and it’s a fabulous mix!

There’s always a beautiful catalog that describes all of the items and the uniquely French brands/artisans. The first item I opened from the November box were these antique napkin rings, and I was so delighted with them!

Sharon included three items to wear in this box, a lovely woven scarf from La Fabrique d’Écharpe, a beautiful gold modern pendant necklace from Lovely Day, and sheer socks from Atelier St. Eustache.

In addition to the antique silver napkin rings, the “for the home” items included a lovely porcelain night light (uses a small tea light) from La Commanerie. To keep everything smelling sweet, perfumed sachets from Mathilde M and a room fragrance diffuser by Mademoiselle Lulubelle.

The theme of the next box (coming in February) is “An American in Provence.” You can reserve your box here. These boxes make beautiful gifts, and you can also shop individual items from past boxes at Sharon’s My French Country Home Boutique!

And even though we’re not heading to Paris this year, we have planned a small “staycation” nearby with pretty lights and other holiday decorations, so stay tuned…

Stay in touch.

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  1. Clarissa
    December 2, 2022 / 7:06 am

    Captivating post! I loved the St. Eustache socks and this leads to an idea for a post/project you might consider. I am 5’4 so the ankle length of many pants/jeans is a perfect fit for me. Socks were not an issue in Arizona; I wore loafers and flats sockless and/or sandals. On chilly nights, I would wear calf length fashion hosiery (sheer black fishnets, sheer dotted, Bombas, that sort of thing). I have moved back to the Midwest and the sockless option disappears by October and does not return until May. So…the hunt for CALF LENGTH socks that work with nice trousers and jeans is on. I wear lots of suede loafers and ankle boots. The key is not to break the line by having skin show between top of sock and bottom of pant. Sometime a sheer design is best, sometimes a thicker, warm sock is needed. In some cases, I have been forced into tights. Brands that offer choices are Wolford, Falke, Oroblu for starters. But wow! Those St. Eustache socks take it to another level. But…I think they are too short for the look I favor. That ankle sock French look does not work for me (and is not warm enough in fall/ winter). Please think about a post on guidelines for coordinating socks and hosiery with slacks and jeans various types of footwear. And while doing so, hunt out more gorgeous brands of socks!? Thank you for your blog. It has been a pleasure to follow you from early days, and to see how you continue to evolve with so much relevant (and fun) content.

    • Susan Blakey
      December 2, 2022 / 7:41 am

      Thanks so much, Clarissa! And funny you mention, I’m actually working on a post about socks for next week! 😉

  2. Bette
    December 2, 2022 / 7:14 am

    That Christmas tree dress and those gorgeous colors — swoon! I’m psyched that Pantone’s color for 2023 is magenta — colors are back!

    • Bette
      December 2, 2022 / 7:15 am

      PS. I can’t help but feel those napkin rings were chosen especially for you — so perfect!

  3. Robbie B
    December 2, 2022 / 7:29 am

    A lovely post. I too love MFCH, but have not joined the gift box club, this changes my mind! Happy Holidays!

  4. Lily
    December 2, 2022 / 8:31 am

    I love that Gaspard cardigan so much! So many gorgeous colors! My son spent the summer in Paris and returned for the holidays there. I just got an email from him as I read this. Would you consider helping me choose a color based on my season -Light Summer?

    • Susan Blakey
      December 3, 2022 / 9:21 am

      For Summers, I’d recommend the Powder Blue, Pastel Pink, Mid-Grey, Vintage Blue, Mottled Grey/Silver.

  5. Jan Whichard
    December 2, 2022 / 9:07 am

    I’m happy to say that I leave for Paris next week! I’m a Christmas market junkie and while I have been to Paris in every season, I have not been at Christmas time! Although I am excited, packing for this type of “cold” is challenging as I am determined to take only a carry on for my 3 week stay. And now Susan posts these wonderful items and know I will be stopping at Bon Marche so perhaps my carry on has just become a check in! Merry Christmas to Susan and all of you!

  6. Linda
    December 2, 2022 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for the shopping recommendations. The camel sweater looks lovely but wool too itchy for me. enjoy.

  7. Linda
    December 2, 2022 / 11:02 am

    sweater is gorgeous. But wool too itchy.

  8. Kendall
    December 2, 2022 / 11:26 am

    I LOVE that Sezane sweater! I didn’t end up buying it, because I have something similar, but I bought two other gorgeous sweaters! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  9. Kay
    December 2, 2022 / 12:16 pm

    We are finally going back to France (including Paris) in June. It has been four years (thanks covid.) We have a new niece since our last trip, and I was beginning to despair I would ever see her in person. Le Bon Marche is on my list, as well as seeing the repairs in Notre Dame.

  10. Amy Gambill Designs (formerly Amy Holton Designs)
    December 2, 2022 / 2:25 pm

    Beautiful post, Susan. I love Sézane! Their pieces up A LOT of my closet real estate. I have that same sweater in my cart I have started with them. I’ll take it out and go add it with your link. Glad to know about the fit, thank you for that! I was debating on size. I lost a lot of weight (30 lbs almost, without trying) after my divorce last year so sizing has been tricky for me. I still think of myself as an 8, when I’m actually a 4-6 at 5’9″.

    I have the blush Gaspard too and love it. It’s so soft. Their jumpers are beautiful.

  11. No Fear of Fashion
    December 3, 2022 / 1:11 am

    Lovely sweater and cardigan. As always, you chose well. You have a good eye for good clothes.

  12. Judy
    December 3, 2022 / 1:42 pm

    I always love your posts, Susan
    such great ideas.
    We are in Barcelona now two weeks…it has been wonderful!!
    we have another two weeks in a new apartment rental before
    leaving to Paris Dec 20 until Jan 7.
    I am hoping to keep with the chilly vacation to wear sweaters and coats as we live in Florida.
    The lights have been spectacular, though not as amazing as in past years. Hoping Paris will be stunning. We have many day trips outside of Paris planned as well Christmas in Europe is always beautiful!
    all the best

  13. Susan
    December 4, 2022 / 4:39 am

    Am off to Paris (in March) hopefully, and have been looking at the Sezane website and am pleased you have mentioned the label. I am hoping the quality is good.

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