dimanche 20 septembre 2015

The spiral

Before going back to work, after realizing that my pool of decent fitting pants had drastically reduced (partly due to old age for some and for other because of my summer - ahem - intake of calories), I decided to do a bit of shopping.

I ended up buying a blouse, a cardigan, both from H&M and, finally the initial goal of the hunt, pants from Isabel Marant Etoile (all shown worrn in that previous post).

These 3 -relatively speaking- harmless purchases were enough to send me back down into the spiral of more shopping.

I don't know why shopping automatically calls for more shopping but it does for me. I try very hard to fight what triggers that spending habit and ensure as much control as I can on it.

So to fight this "dangerous" shopping impulse, I spent a few hours of a saturday, a couple of weeks ago bringing back some of the mid season clothes from the cellar storage. Getting a clear visual of my stock through this inventory created more distance to the constant "need" creeping in my mind, insinuating that I don't have (enough of) this or that.

But one of the most effective prevention tool is to stop seeing this or that item as "cute", "beautiful" in short to undermine its aesthetic value. What catches my eyes does because it "speaks" to me, if it got my attention it's because it's interesting, I like it.

I can get easily tempted by something that pleases my senses in the moment. When that happens, I try to focus instead on its value as a whole. Meaning: paying attention to the material (cut, stitching, comfort), versatility/style and price.

Take for example this Sandro sweater: I saw it on Julia Roberts in Elle France magazine back in the middle of summer and instantly craved for it.

(Elle France)

When I spotted it at my local department store a few weeks later, eyes bright and touching the soft mix of wool and cashmere I tried it on and my did I like what I saw in the mirror.

I just wanted to buy the sweater right away but cooled down enough in the changing room to go through my own mental little Q&A :

1) it's a tied sweater...so yes it's cool in a very Lemaire-ish /celine-ish stylish intellectual way however would I wear it to work? Not sure. Actually no, I wouldn't. Don't want to add up to my fashionista label. So that makes it wearable only a couple of days a week...

2) Would I still like it in a few months or a year? Maybe but I'm not sure about the quality of that brand. I would hate it to start pilling after a handful of wear...

3) it's 195 euros. Not going to lie if money was no objection I could wrap my mind around points 1 and 2 but that's a lot cash for a lot of uncertainty.

In the end I left without it and even if I've been thinking about that sweater from time to time, I managed to reason myself and stop the obsession spiral.

The silver lining of constant shopping cravings is that I get physically drained and bored very fast by stores visits so that these  episodes never last too long.

So what about you, are you like me pulled to the dark-ish side of consumerism once you get a taste of it or are you a born and bred resistant to the sirens of fashion stores? Any tools, advices to share aside from living in a cave with no internet I mean?

dimanche 13 septembre 2015


My favorite season happens when summer's sunshine lingers yet the decline of temperatures unmistakably signals the arrival of fall.

To me it's the perfect weather, cool enough to allow more creativity and mixmatching and yet bare legs, sandals are still doable. 

If I could, I'd wear sandals all year long with everything and just add some knitwear or light outerwear when chilly.

Sadly, the period allowing this kind of mix is typically short and erractic. To my dismay it seems to have come and gone in the span of a week. Hoping that it pops up once more before the end of the month, I just don't feel like putting away my sandals and converting to tights just yet even if most of my summer clothes are already in storage!

To picture what I have in mind here are a few shots of half summer - half fall styles that recently caught my eyes on celebrities. 

Emma Watson: loose black and white classic ensemble uplifted by simple tan sandals.

Alexa Chung - wearing a cute ode to the 90's outfit: sweater over floral printed dress and sneakers. Again a touch of golden - suede- this time brightens up the look.

Emma Stone: love the kaki and grey mix with yet again that pop of warming tan leather.

samedi 5 septembre 2015

3 days

Sorry for the lack of posts. With summer coming quickly to end I'm taking a step back trying to get a clearer picture and channel what is really "me" in that flow of fashion stimulus we get at each change of season. In the meantime, here's what I wore the first 3 days of september. 

Day 1:

 jacket: Monoprix - blouse: H&M (new) - pants: Forever 21 - sandals: APC

Day 2:

cardigan: H&M (new) - blouse: COS - pants: Isabel Marant Etoile (new) - sandals : APC - bag: Céline

Day 3:

trench & linen tshirt : Zara - cords : Gap - sandals: APC - bag: Céline

vendredi 21 août 2015

For your eyes only

Here are some of the first looks for late summer - early fall that caught my eyes in a few Paris stores (but most are available worldwide!).

Don't think I ever saw that much color and prints for the colder season. It's a welcome change, allowing to transition without drastically joining the dark side just yet! I have vague ideas of how I want to update my style and some of the looks displayed on mannequins sparked/confirmed known interests: 
  • for instance I'd really like to add a few red /rust based easy to wear items like a blouse or a knit, 
  • flat versatile footwear - like loafers and oxfords to wear not only with pants but with longer skirts/dresses, 
  • I'd also like to incorporate more graphic patterrns in my closet - dots, checks, houndstooth along with classic stripes. 

In Monoprix:

I'm not sure if I can pull off large, red and polka dots pants but they're funky! I'd wear them with a cosy grey knit and slip-ons as accessorized on the mannequin. 

The silhouette just behind in cropped jeans and white tee is far more basic but shots of red are always effective to inject some energy in a look.

The draped diamond printed knee length dress with golden oxfords is a brilliant idea! 

Stopped in my tracks for these silhouettes. 

The checked cardigan below could work well as a substitute for the classic beige trench. It's rather distinctive but the navy base would make it simple to coordinate: for the office with grey pants and boots or on a day-off with cropped jeans and loafers. 

Black and white, long black skirt and oxfords: what a lovely 90's throwback. I'd wear that total look as pictured, maybe add a black leather jacket and voilà. 

Grey, white and camel: still a winning combination!

 in Zara:

First hesitations coming up: camel or bordeaux? Both? None? Haha! This cocoon coat made my eyes go wide with envy early August but since then I saw so many other good coats, it's going to be -like every fall winter - a battle of will to limit my outerwear purchases!! 

in H&M:

I applaud the H&M creative team for trying to sell us their yellow clothes... It's a bit too flashy for my taste but the idea of associating vibrant with darker colors/houndstooth is noteworthy.

I've always loved jumpsuits despite their unpractical aspects. This one below is neutral (unlike the yellow above) enough to be dressed up or down, worn with loafers and a big cardi it would look so chic! 

I've noticed that the cropped flare jeans (here with the striped top and fake suede coat) is now mainstream with H&M offering a couple. I've tried one after seeing that post on Garance Doré and I'm still not sure if it's a good look on me, anyway in case of doubt I drop the idea. What do you think about that "new" cut? Have you tried it on? Bought one? The way it's styled here is not too bad either... 

Aside from these jeans, the wrapped kimono inspired black and blue Isabel Marant-ish jacket in the front caught my attention. It'd be a cool coverup piece for those late summer chilly mornings and evenings.

What have you seen in stores that you liked? Or do you plan to extend summer as long as you can and wait till the inevitable weather changes to put your head in the fashion game?  

vendredi 14 août 2015

Last days of summer

Countdown to fall is already starting even if it's still summer for another month!

Here are a couple of pictures that struck me lately, showing women dressed fashionably but you also get the sense that the goal is not to show off at all costs the stylist's ability at mix and match. It's not about pushing forward the model or the items she's wearing but a combination of both. That balance is quite rare to find in most fashion images for obvious marketing/advertising or (supposedly) artistic purposes and I find it disheartening.  

Anyway back to subject. What compelled me to save and share these images is that the looks are dressed down/ casual but also womanly, elegant and definitely not sloppy.
Yes, it's summer, it's hot, sunny (if you're lucky that is!) however don't want to forfeit style and "decorum" especially when in the city. I'd happily live in flip flops and shorts and not give a damn about it if not living in an urban environment. That's not the case so I liked how these two images show a few ideas that can easily be duplicated:

  • Yes to a total look with loose airy clothes (no volume on top but slim below or vice-versa rule applied here) but the falsely nonchalant tucked/untuked styling trick avoids the shapeless, tent like issue.
  • the gradation of chambray - darker and lighter - and hints of white is a subtle interpretation of the usual white and blue summer colors duo. 
  • The oversized blouse unbutonned revealing a bit of shoulder and underneath tank top is both mannish and sexy. 

(Eileen Fischer)

  • café au lait tank top is equally a statement especially on darker skin, 
  • wearing a pencil midi skirt that is not too thight and reaches below the knee adds a bit of retro glamour especially teamed with a hairstyle reminiscent of the 1920's, 
  • but the trendy bucket bag clearly dates the look to summer 2015.
  • Here again the colours are muted, earthy, sandy tones dominating and a white skirt with graphic accents simply brings the whole look to a new level of chic.
  • I like how in both pictures, jewelry and accessories are almost absent. It's been one of my habits this summer keeping baubles to a strict minimum - even more than usual that is, so just earrings and that's about it! 

T NY magazine

Just the kind of quiet elegance that I long for.

dimanche 2 août 2015

Monday to Friday

When putting together how I'll dress for work, I usually take in consideration:

- the weather forecast,

- the schedule for the day: clients coming over, going to Court, office lunch, after work meetings... 

- my mood and what's influencing me: I'm often drawn to ensembles without any superfluous details but I don't want to feel bored either so I'll try to inject an interesting detail (color, print, cut, an accessory, etc. something with personal meaning that pleases my senses.   

The goal is to feel at ease while looking a bit more"polished" than usual...

The environment is business casual at the law office I work in, there are no strict rules to follow and in the summertime when rendez-vous are scarce, a little "laisser-aller" is allowed.

Overall my professional attire consists of items I usually wear when not working but paired in a different manner. Say a loose tshirt but with tailored pants, an african printed skirt with a button down shirt, etc.

I'll try to make every clothes I own appropriate for work in order to avoid having clothes labelled only for certain days. It also decreases the frustration of having "nothing proper" to wear 5 days a week when in fact my drawers and closets are full!

Only items crossed out for workwear - much to my chagrin - are sneakers / Birkenstock, my beat-up Isabel Marant boots and very casual jeans (from time to time, especially in fall-winter I'll cave and wear a dark blue/black one).

Even if the dynamic and process are steady year-round, when it's hot I tend to let myself go more to the casual side. What's your take on workwear fashion in the summer? What are you struggling with?

Here's a recap of  what I wore from last monday to friday to the office.

Monday: I wanted to wear something smart to start the week because we had clients meetings at the office. As always it had to be practical as well because the weather was cool and wet. I really like how that jacket is conservative but fun just because of stripes.

striped blazer : Uniqlo/ top : Marks and Spencer / pants: Zara / pointy ballet flats: Jonak / bag: Céline

Tuesday: Despite temperatures remaining cool, no more drizzle so open toes sandals are back. There was no real "plan" for the day's outfit, I just wanted something that'd keep me warm enough with a summery vibe so I relied on one of my favorite palette mix of white, light blue and grey.  

coat and scarf: Zara / top: H&M / pants : Gap / wedge sandals: APC / bag : Céline

I was supposed to meet a friend after work so I wanted a look that would be office appropriate but also funkier for a few drinks in any hip Paris spot. 
Mixing prints doesn't come to me naturally however putting a plain black jacket with the black and white printed blouse felt too austere so I "dared" putting stripes and dots together.

Striped blazer: Uniqlo / blouse + pants: H&M / sandals: Dries van Noten / Bag: Céline

Thursday: It was one of those morning when it's so so hard getting out of bed and you just wish it was already the week-end. Good thing I had already picked up my outfit the night before! I hesitated a bit going to work in that ensemble because I felt it was a bit too casual with the linen tshirt and chino pants but it would have been a case of "change and be late" so I decided to stick with it.        

linen blazer: Uniqlo / tshirt + pants: H&M / sandals: APC / bag bought in Cotonou

Friday: Can you tell it's Friday? Haha! I just didn't know what to wear. Seriously tried 2 outfits before giving up and picking this one. At that point it was a case of "just put something on - anything and go!!". I actually took the pic in the evening back from work...

bomber: H&M - tshirt: Isabel Marant Etoile - pants: Forever 21 - sandals: APC - bag: Céline 

Hope everyone had a good week and is ready for the one to come - especially for those of us not on vacations!

samedi 25 juillet 2015

Africa's inside me

"Africa's inside me 
Taking back her child
She's giving me my pride and setting me free"*

Even if I'm half west-indian (my mother is from Martinique), living in Benin, West Africa has been a rooting experience that will stay with me forever and it is one of my homes.

I'm very thankful that I got to spend most of my teenage years in Benin because despite all the growing pains that every single teenager experiences, I was over all surrounded by kindness and the belief that I was able. It's such an important gift to be amongst people whom you can look up to and whom in return lift you up. 

I'm writing about that because that's the feeling I get everytime I step off the plane in Cotonou, I'm uplifted, filled with optimism and confidence. Sadly this summer - thanks to crazy expensive tickets inversely proportionnal to my budget- I won't be able to go and get my much needed boost. 

So instead I'm relying on the next best thing for me, fashion! It's all about indigo blue, blood orange, batik and wax prints and somehow I'm less timid, standing taller and prouder when I'm wearing clothes from the motherland...

Dress by Mrs Clotilde Tomety in Benin / tote bag: Céline / sandals: Birkenstock "Madrid"

shirt: Nash Prints It - pinstriped pants (I know, you can't see the stripes with my crappy phone pic but I swear they are there!): Uniqlo - sandals : APC  classic wedges.

linen tshirt: H&M - skirt: Openya - bag: Abaco - sandals: APC 

trench coat: Tcharakoura - striped tshirt: Isabel Marant Etoile - sandals: Birkenstock "Gizeh"- bag: Céline