Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Chanel Life

Every time I wear one of my Chanel perfumes or visit the Chanel website or read someone's blog post on Chanel, I feel so stylish and chic and inspired.  I then vow to myself that I am going to get rid of any non-Chanel perfumes and wear only the three Chanel ones I have, dress in black, cream and white (and navy and white stripes for casual) and have a home decorated in black, cream and burnt ochre with gold touches.

Yes, I am prone to thoughts of extreme actions.

I won’t be doing any of that though, because I enjoy variety too much, but Ms Chanel does inspire me enough to make a list of my Dream Chanel Life which will help me not get sucked into the trashy side of things (such as reality television, low-quality foods and gossipy websites etc).

She is also an inspiration to stop looking around at what others are doing and do it for myself.  I highly doubt, if the Daily Mail website had been around when Coco was alive, that she would have read it each morning with her café crème.  Non, Coco would have been starting her day, deciding if she was going to go horse riding, meet a friend in a café or head straight to her atelier to start another design.

Rather than read about someone else who has started a successful business, she would go out and start her own successful business, such as her first boutique in Deauville.  She was a person who made things happen.   

So in honour of Mademoiselle Chanel, here is my Chanel life dream list:

My Chanel Life

I am full of confidence for my own creativity.
I know that I can create a good living for myself with my creativity if only I would believe in myself and stay the course.
I am not swayed by others opinions of what I can or cannot do.
I remain focused on the kind of lifestyle I can create for myself.
I dare to dream, and dream about big ideas.
I do not waste time on unimportant things that do not need my attention.
I do necessary jobs that don’t thrill me in the quickest possible time, and I do them well.
I remain positive about what I am adding to the world.
Food is delicious and nourishing, and mealtimes are social, but food is far down the importance scale for me.  I eat well, then I forget about food until the next meal.
I focus on one thing at a time, I do not multi-task.
I work at something until I have finished it.  I do not let my mind wander if a part becomes difficult.  I persevere until it is done.
Quality comes above all.  If something is worth me doing it, it is worth me making a good job of it without being a procrastinating perfectionist.  If it’s not worth quality work, then, well, why am I doing it?
I am never afraid to put my work out there, take courage and show it to the world.


Phew, now I DO feel ready to take on the world!  Merci Mademoiselle!

It seems to be a cliché to write a Chanel post because there are so many, but she was a truly visionary lady who has impacted fashion and even the way we live, all these years later.  To be as gutsy as she was now would be something, but back then?  Outstanding.

Before I go, one of my favourite Chanel books is ‘The Gospel According to Coco Chanel’ by Karen Karbo.  I’ve read both the paper copy and also have it on audiobook which I love to listen to.  The author is so dry and funny and it’s much more interesting than some of the many straight historical books on Chanel.  Do you have a favourite Chanel book?

The photo above came from the divine ‘Coco Chanel: Three Weeks/1962’ by Douglas Kirkland, such a beautiful and elegant book.


  1. Fabulous list! I have a small bottle of Chanel No. 5 my husband brought me from overseas. It is what Marilyn Monroe wore and I adore her!

  2. Fiona that is such a great list! Being very much a trousers/jeans wearing girl I get inspired by a pair of slim (not skinny) well-cut black jeans or trousers. It "lifts [my] game" so to speak.

  3. I like to look at “signature/classic” Chanel, I rarely look at runway—or anyone’s runway for that matter. Oddly enough over time I’ve grown indifferent to the 2.55. Maybe how ubiquitous its become on “blogs,” and how gaudy Chanel can be---not always in a good way either. It’s interesting that you credit her w/ perseverance, but also I vaguely remember a Chanel quote something along the line of don’t keep banging on a wall, hoping it will turn into a door. Not 100% sure she said it. There’s some good style notes to take from the idealized or caricature version of Coco Chanel…that take one thing off before you leave. But imagine the real Coco Chanel’s boucle jackets reeked of stale chain smoke and chanel no 5 (yuck, in my opinion).

  4. I love that book! It's such a fun read.

    I have a bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. I love it and where it every day, even if I'm just going grocery shopping :) It makes me feel instantly chic. There is something about perfume that just "completes" your outfit.


  5. Hi Fiona,

    I love your list. It's an inspiring ideal.

    I also love the idea of wearing Chanel perfume, however, when I've tried it, I haven't felt that the scent matched me and my personality. I end up having to wash it off. I don't think aldehydic perfumes work on my at all.

    I really admire Chanel style on people who can pull it off -- that crisp, elegant and chic look. However, I've come to realize my body demands a more romantic approach to style (edgy romantic as one friend referred to it) with flowing soft shapes along with interesting details to look its best. The perfumes that seem to complement this best are some of the old pre-reformulation Guerlain perfumes (Apres L'Ondee and Vol de Nuit particularly), Frederic Malle's Lipstick Rose, and Annick Goutal's Quel Amour! Certainly lots of French inspiration there!!


  6. I can't imagine her as Mademoiselle. I see her as Madame :)

  7. Tracy, lucky you!

    Rose, I know that feeling well. Finding a great cut in jeans or pants makes all my tops look instantly better too because the foundation is there.

    Pret a Porter P, I know what you mean. What inspires me most is my internal vision of signature Chanel at the time she was doing her thing. I agree about the cigarettes, the photos in the Douglas Kirkland book often show her with one in her mouth and I did think to myself 'all those beautiful clothes will reek!' I am a fan of No. 5 though :)

    Anna, totally. Perfume is the finishing touch. If I forgot to put some on (like that would ever happen) I'd feel like I had missed a vital part of my outfit.

    Alison, your perfumes and lipstick are very French, lovely. In terms of the Chanel style, I may be similar to you. I don't wear her tweed jackets and aren't stick thin, but I do have the spirit of Chanel in my mind somewhere so can enjoy the feeling without having to dress exactly like her. I hope that makes sense. I always feel inspired by her but it's a feeling rather than a way to look.

    Anonymous, :)

  8. Very fun post! I'm currently reading a biography of Chanel that I am enjoying a lot and I've underlined the text like crazy. I admire her originality greatly.

  9. Hi Fiona, Another great post and a great list. I particularly like the last speaks volumes to me. Being afraid to put oneself (and thoughts, accomplishments, etc) out there can render all the other items moot. Thank you!

  10. I love early Chanel, before the tweedy jackets. The men inspired soft jersey and trousers. She was a trailblazer in her early years. That is the Chanel that inspires me.

  11. This is why I maned my cat... Mademoiselle ;) Yves

  12. Although i admire Chanel her style is not quite me. I once worked with a Canadian woman in London though who, like one of the posters mentioned above, made her own exquisitely tailored chanel type suits. She could make one in a weekend and she always looked fabulous. I worked for a merchant bank at the time and she, like me, was fairly lowly in the organisation. I heard later that she maerried one of the directors and I was not surprised - she reeked class :) she was very clever too!

  13. Hi Fiona, This post is brilliant! I love things Chanel and are prone to wear pearls a lot. I do love navy, black and cream too.

    What I love most about Coco and I know there are issues with her personality, is that she was so feminine. Yes, her petite stature but also her feminine touches such as grossgrain ribbons in her hair, silk pajamas, etc.


  14. Hi Fiona,
    This is a wonderful list! I especially the appreciate your encouragement to finish not-so-fun tasks quickly and well - and then to move on to what I enjoy. Great reminder.

    I also have to thank you for posting awhile ago about Tonya Leigh. You turned me on to her website, and I am now enrolled in the "Modern Day Icon" e-course and loving it. Merci!

    -Alison Trujillo --


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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