Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Back to Basics

Back in the late nineties, as a young twenty-something professional pounding the pavement in Manhattan, I subscribed to the false notion that in order to" make it" in the fashion industry, I was compelled to follow the trends religiously.  Some trends worked while others ended up in the wardrobe malfunction category.  I can recall a particular incident where I spent the better half of my day fidgeting with a pair of kitten heel slingbacks while trying to navigate my way through the Coterie.  Those shoes ended up on the chopping block. On another occasion, I remember fussing with a pair of ill fitting trousers that kept falling down.  Needless to say, that did not make for a relaxing commute.  After graduating from Parsons, I landed a job as an assistant buyer for Calypso, St. Barth.  It was there, I believe, that I finally began to understand that personal style has less to do with embracing the latest trends and more about being in sync with oneself.  At the time, Calypso was under the ownership of Christiane Celle, a French native and a former stylist for Elle.  I was one of the few American women working in the office and I immediately noticed the distinction between American and French style.  American women are polished and groomed from head to toe...manicured nails, every hair in its' place, the latest "it" bag.  Everything is well choreographed and coordinated...and it shows.  French women, on the other hand, take a practical approach to style.  The golden rule is moderation.  They invest in timeless pieces and incorporate trends in the form of a well chosen accessory.  It is all about looking "naturelle."  The result is a nonchalant elegance; an understated chic.  So, don't retire the basics just yet.  Take an inventory of your closet.  What items make you feel elegant and confident?  What are the things you can take from day to night and season to season?  Those are your blank canvas.  The accessories are your palette of paint.  Now, make your own unique creation and don't forget to give your hair a good tousle for that effortless effect.  Et voila!

On Mother's Day, we spent a glorious day at the Central Park Zoo.  I needed an ensemble that would take me from church to the zoo to dinner....with four children!  Here is my take on uncomplicated style.

Shirt: French Connection (similar one here),  Aqua for Bloomingdales Boyfriend Blazer (similar one here), Skinny Black PantsMichael Kors Sunglasses (similar ones here) , Kate Spade Crossbody Bag (similar one here)

1 comment:

  1. Kate, I love your nautical stripe/blazer look! A perfect outfit for a beautiful spring day in NYC. What do you think you would have worn on a day like this in the late 90s??