Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Making inspired chic changes
Wouldn't this be a nice dressing room (from

Reader Rebecca wrote:

I think the biggest barrier I have to living a more chic simple French-inspired life is that I feel overwhelmed by the thought of the changes I'd have to make.

For example, I need to change my wardrobe, but before that I need to lose weight, but before that I need to change my diet, but before that I need to find recipes, but before that I need to use the food I have etc.

I get so bogged down in the minute details and overwhelmed by the magnitude I become paralyzed with doubt and questions and do nothing.


What a great question!  Can I say, I hear you - I have done the exact same thing. When I have a fun idea such as ‘I want to create my perfect and most chic wardrobe - why not do it today?’, it seems that my mind immediately jumps to ‘but I have to do that first before I can do this, and then this other thing comes first, and what would I do with the decluttered clothes, some cost me money’... It turns into this big long chain that I have to start at the beginning and of course it makes it difficult to be enthused to do anything because it’s hard within one second. Whew!

My first thought to counteract all this? Something that has really helped me is to do the one thing that excites you and start with that, not what you think you should do.

Just taking one little step can spark off all sorts of other things. If the thought of having a chic minimal wardrobe excites you, have a play around in your closet and take out everything you think does not deserve to be there for this exercise. Do it straight away and brush away thoughts of weight loss or what you ‘should’ be doing instead (often when I do something like this I gain lots of energy and end up finishing my other tasks in record time).

With your closet, either hang the pieces you’ve taken out in another closet or even put them in a suitcase for now. Use your new chic minimal wardrobe for a little while and see how different you feel. It might lead onto eating cleaner food. An unsweetened tea or coffee might appeal more than a snack between meals. I’ve found both these things to be the case. Changing one thing often leads to changing other things, it's like a chain reaction - you're mixing up your little world so things happen!

Sometimes if I have too much junky food in the pantry I do the same as the wardrobe. I put everything on the kitchen counter, wipe out the pantry and put back only the elegant and stylish food. A few times I've even stored all the potato chips etc. in our guest bedroom in a box so I didn't see them every day. It has helped with my eating, definitely - and there are no potato chips or junky sweet stuff in our house currently :).

Pretend you're the chic and elegant lady of your dreams and make it fun. Incredibly the ‘pretend you’ influences your real life in a good way – yay for that! I hope this has been useful, and I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts if you have done anything similar.


  1. Hi Fiona,

    I have been reading your blog since I was in Singapore until now that I am living in the same city with you :) and only now did I find the "courage" to leave a comment.

    I like the idea of pretending to be the chic me. As they say fake it till you make it. Thanks for constantly inspiring with your wonderful ideas.


  2. Oh, Rebecca, you don't have to "wait" for anything to live a chic life -- seriously! That's just some scared part of your brain trying to stop you from changing, because change is always scary even when we know it's what we want most in the world. Take tiny steps. My first step, swear to God, was starting to wear earrings at home, even when all I was doing was cleaning house. I started with small ones; now I wear all my big clattery earrings even when I'm cleaning the oven & feel terrific! Then I added lipstick. Then I started to style my hair even if no one else was going to see me. Ditto make-up. And -- always! -- a spritz of good perfume.

    Start drinking more water -- but drink it from a nice wine glass. Oil your cuticles at night. Have a my version of a continental lunch: sliced ham or roast beef or a piece of steamed salmon, a few olives, some celery sticks, a few bits of swet red pepper, a nice flatbread, some good cheese, a handful of grapes or sliced apple, 2 or 3 dates or figs. A (pretty) glass of sparkling grape juice.

    They seem like small inconsequential changes, but they're FAR from inconsequential -- they trigger something in you that wants *more* of that & less of the things [habits, food, even the clothing you wear & the people you hang out with] that don't support & nourish you. And not one of them depends on your doing something else first.

    I've wasted HUGE tracts of my life over the years to "when", but finally realized "when" truly never comes. There's only right now in this delicious & perfect moment. "When" comes at the end and as a result of the things you do now. Good luck -- & enjoy your chic today!

  3. Ranne, welcome to Auckland!

    And Susanne, thank you so much for a fabulous comment, so much good stuff in there! Bravo to you.

  4. Me too Pret a Porter P, I think it's a perfectionist thing, would you agree?

  5. Perfectionism is the great procrastinator and I have always struggled. I also wanted a chic, lean wardrobe but balked at the thought of going through everything and making decisions. But I decided to "dress up" every day. Not in dressy clothes but everyday things. I experimented with good jeans, different tee's, a nice scarf. I did this while going through radiation therapy. It changed my attitude and started me down the path of bringing only those things into my life that give me pleasure. I may be the only person who thinks I am chic, but attitude is everything.

  6. I think you are right! Just begin with the one thing we can do now and enjoy that victory.

  7. I love this because it is highly motivating. I'm writing on my laptop right now on my dining room table that is cluttered with stuff. I'm going to take the first step to reclaiming my table!

  8. I love your blog Fiona. I found you a few days ago on Lady Lydia's Homeliving blog sidebar - and all other blogs that I usually visit have temporarily fallen to the wayside as I devour your wonderful writing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    As previous commentators have also said, it's the little things that add up and get you started on the road to chicness. Since I first read you, I have begun taking 20 minute morning strolls. No pace, no running, no power walking. Just a lovely leisurely walk, dressed in whatever skirt or dress I'm wearing that day (I only wear skirts and dresses, unless I'm going to the gym). It is a beautiful way to start the day.

    There are other little things I have changed too - Last night I exfoliated my face for the first time in years, on Friday night I had three pieces of pizza instead of my usual four ;-) , I avoided popping in to the local op-shop while out and about so that I wouldn't be extremely tempted to buy something that I didn't really need but is almost always impossible to resist.

    One of my favourite sayings is Nike's "Just Do It".

  9. Mara, welcome, and thank you for your comment. I love Lady Lydia's writings too, they always soothe me. Your chic changes sound fabulous, thank you for sharing them with us. Well done with your pizza too, some might say it's not much, but every little bit counts. If you do something like that every day, at the end of a year you will have achievements. It's the 'little and often' way to lasting change.

  10. Thanks Fiona. In regards to the pizza, I potentially could have not joined in on the special Friday night treat with my family, but when I thought about it I came to the conclusion that I would have been a party pooper and definitely unchic to isolate myself from them on this night. So I did the chic thing and ate one piece less than I usually do. It worked for me.

  11. So wise, Mara. 'Chic' is not about rigid rules. To me it's doing exactly as you've done. I like to be 'in the middle', as in not perfect and not slovenly, because I want it to be a way of life, rather than a diet or being beholden to perfection because that is too hard to maintain.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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