Sunday, April 3, 2016

The lazy girl's guide to chic

Personal style laziness is something I confront most days of the week. I love to see ladies (and guys) make the effort to look good and I like to look like I care as well, but seriously, it’s often an uphill battle.

I’d rather read a few more pages of my current book (After You by JoJo Moyes, so good, but you have to read Me Before You first) than spend the extra ten minutes making my blow-dry professional rather than perfunctory.

I’d rather eat a few more chocolates than be stylishly skinny.

I’d rather stay in and knit on the sofa than hit the latest hotspots.

But you already know those things about me I’m sure.

To not slip completely into a fashion abyss, what I’ve been doing lately is sneaking little bits of style into my day without me even noticing. And when I do, I tell myself it’s easy, it’s not an effort, it’s no problem. I cajole myself along like a child.

In my dream world, I would look effortlessly chic without effort. But I know that doesn’t happen in real life. In the real world when I don’t make an effort I look like I’ve given up on life. Apparently, those sneaky French women make a ton of effort, but the whole goal is to look uncontrived. It takes a lot of effort to look uncontrived!

But I’m willing to learn. I have my bible How to be Parisian wherever you are and it speaks my language. The French girls do make an effort but they do it in a fun and sexy way. If you have your life set up so that your only choice is a chicly curated wardrobe of fabulousness, you can’t go out in something that you know deep in your heart is telling everyone that you come from Frumpsville. If you don’t have a pantry full of different genres of snack foods then you have to eat a piece of fruit instead. And if you tell yourself you’re wearing high heels to work today even though flats would be so easy, you just do it.

And that’s my current ‘thing’. I’m wearing high heels to work. And it feels good! I accept compliments from my husband and feel sexier in myself. In skinny jeans, a slouchy top and high-heeled sandals, I feel chic and like I could happily pop into a cool bar after work. In the same outfit with flat sandals… I don’t. Not that I ever do pop into a cool bar after work, but I could, if I wanted to.

I was telling a customer a few weeks ago that she was the inspiration for me wearing heels more. This lady is a few years older than me and has high-school aged children. I have never seen her in flats. She’s always elegant and wearing heels, and permanently sunny in nature. My husband overheard what I was saying and told her it was true, I did say that. Our customer then told us that her inspiration is a 83 year old lady who still wears high heels and our customer would say to herself ‘well if she’s still wearing heels then I can too’.

How funny is that? The inspiration goes on, passing from one person to another. So you never know who you will influence by doing that one little extra thing on your appearance today. And that’s how I keep laziness at bay, one sneaky trick against myself at a time, one tiny tweak or upgrade.

And just in case you think I’m wearing 5-inch heels, I’m not. The heels I’m currently wearing are a little bit higher than I’d normally wear, and I’m a big fan of finding heels that are all-day-wearable. They do exist and it’s just a matter of looking around at them, not just discounting all heels as uncomfortable.

What’s the first thought that popped into your mind that you could upgrade easily and effortlessly? We’re talking minimum effort/maximum payoff. Please share! And let’s all wear our heels tomorrow shall we?


  1. When I worked, I used to wear heals everyday but sadly, since I've retired, I've fallen into the flat-shoe-abyss. Occasionally, I will put on heals but my legs get sore quite quickly. So, it's true - practice does makes perfect and use it or lose it! BUT, I have found the perfect compromise (for me)....wedge heals. Love them...they're stylish, comfortable, easy on my legs and they correct my posture. WinWin :-)

  2. I love the trail of inspiration that you uncovered for wearing heels! I think mine would be accessorizing before I leave the house. It's easy and brings a lot of polish to my look.

  3. I love the look of heels but can't wear the really high ones. Instead, I opt for ballet flats, kitten heels, and wedges to give me a feminine look.

  4. Lipstick! So easy, but it definitely makes a difference.

  5. I'd love to wear heels everyday but unfortunately my commute into the city is over an hour on the train (where I don't always get a seat) and it is very chilly in the mornings here in the UK and my feet get very cold! So I wear my trusty pair of smart leather boots instead, which are flat but oh so comfy. I work in the creative industries so generally everyone wears to make myself feel a bit more 'chic' I wear a smart jacket and a slick of lipstick...aiming for 'done' but not too prim!

  6. Having retired from teaching high school where I spent many hours a day bent over student desks, and, therefore, wearing slacks was most appropriate, I have been buying beautiful skirts and everyday dresses. I still must force myself to turn away from the ease of slacks, but, like you, I will myself to do this one thing. Finding Jockey brand's longer leg skirt underwear(I can't remember exactly what they are called) has made this transition much easier. I do feel better when I make the effort.

  7. I have always been fond of heels and am now at the point where flats feel uncomfortable. My heels are all 2 to 3 inches high- enough of an oomph but not high enough to unrealistic. I also wear a lot of blazers and jackets - sometimes with a simple tee shirt and jeans- just to make an outfit more chic. Lastly, dresses have always been a favorite, a simple way to look more presentable and put-together.

    Love your posts Fiona- they always make me stop and ponder a bit!!

  8. What heels do for you, ballet flats do for me. I feel very "Audrey Hepburn" when I slip on a pair. Lately, I have had to wear sneakers because of a sprained ankle and, although comfortable, I hate them. My hair stylist suggested that I wear cool exercise clothing while I recuperate so the shoes don't look quite so sloppy. Not a bad idea, actually. My way to perk up my everyday tee and slim-leg pants is to pop on a statement necklace. It's unexpected and fun--although not with the sneakers.

  9. I tend to get very lazy about accessories. I hardly even wore earrings in my 30s! lazy! Now, I tell myself I need to have 2 accessories before leaving the house for work. It can be earrings, a bracelet, scarf, etc. but two is the goal. (1 is not enough and 3 is overdoing it!)-Carla.

  10. Hi Fiona, This is where a small wardrobe comes in very handy. I feel I'm very lazy with my small wardrobe because I don't have to think about what to wear! I just pick out "whatever." It all mostly mixes and matches with everything else due to the simple, classic lines, no prints, and mostly neutral colors. A minimalist wardrobe really does work, and like you said, if you don't have anything too unattractive to begin with, you can't go wrong (i.e. no stained items, etc.).

  11. Ha! Having spent 11 years in a microbiology lab and another 12 years in nursing I am so used to the 'uniform' of scrubs, lab coat, flat sensible shoes, short nails, hair tied back and no jewelery that I actually don't know how to dress anymore. I wear the same necklace & earrings every day, can't stand my nails to be more than 1/8" longer than my nail bed and would probably topple over in anything higher than a 1" heel lol! A couple of very chic friends took me out shopping last year and introduced me to black & grey leggings...much more flattering than Walmart 'Mom' jeans (and I do have good legs), but I've now worn nothing else but leggings and either leather boots or sandals in almost a year. I do enjoy wearing a dress for special occasions, but I've put on about 15lbs over the past couple of years with stress related chocolate eating and none of my dresses look good on me anymore. Post-menopausal weight loss is a b***h, let me tell you! Trying hard, but 1/2 to 1lb a week is a struggle to achieve, even with just 1000 calories a day, and walking. Still, I'm determined to learn and eventually become the chic put-together woman that I know is hiding under here somewhere lol!

  12. Fiona, as always I love your blog and yes, laziness is indeed one of my besetting sins. But you cannot really consider anything in "Be Parisian wherever you are" to be a serious book about French Chic.

    We have so many good books on the subject, that one really failed to meet the grade. Unless you wish to be a chain smoking, ill mannered Parisian of course.

  13. Anonymous, whilst not being ridiculous about it, I believe 'use it or lose it' is true when it comes to heels. At a certain point it is mind over matter. Not with the super-high heels of course, but with lower heels or wedges, I can easily wear them. I tell myself I will be comfortable, and I am.

    Stephanie, it seems that accessories are the chic secret weapon. Notice in these comments that many of us are talking about shoes, lipstick, jewellery etc.

    Cherie, I love ballet flats too, they are my chic flat choice of shoe.

    Chiara, so true!

    Lolli, you've worked out your look for your industry and you travel in comfort - now that's chic. I get cold feet too, so flat boots that are cosy to commute to work in sound like perfection to me :)

    Memeee, I love that you have rediscovered dresses and skirts after retirement. I enjoy wearing dresses in the summer too.

    Dana, I always feel more chic and polished in a jacket or blazer too, yet it's a piece of clothing I often forget to wear 'because I'll just be taking it straight off at work'. Like wearing heels more often, this is another area where I need to remind myself to wear my lovely jackets too.

    Kristien, your hairdresser's idea is excellent. Running shoes with my normal clothes would bother me too :) Love your statement necklace with simple outfits.

    Carla, two accessories sounds perfect to me too. With earrings (or anything else) it's just a habit that it's easy to get out of, or back into again.

    Anonymous, totally! Congratulations on having the holy grail of a small, chic wardrobe. It takes real guts to actually get rid of those things you know don't fit in with your dream personal style.

    Anonymous 2, it sounds like you have great friends there, taking you shopping for a new look. I know what you mean about putting on a little bit of weight. What I've found helpful right now is to forget all about dieting and focus on being healthy. I walk most days and think 'health' to myself when I'm shopping for food. I asked myself how I wanted to feel overall and my first thought was 'peaceful'. So now I focus on making my life peaceful and think to myself 'peace' when I start stressing about my weight. It feels much better and I don't crave sugar as much (which is my downfall).

    Anonymous 3, I know this book gets a lot of bad reviews and it seems to really polarise people. It's not my number one book in the French Chic genre, but the reason I like it is that it reminds me not to take things too seriously, to shake myself up, to be more loose. I'm sure it is written a bit tongue-in-cheek and I take it as such. It doesn't just say the same things as all the other French Chic books (yet I still love them all) but has its own point of view which makes me think - even if I don't agree with everything the authors say or roll my eyes at a certain page :) And I don't plan to take up chain-smoking (or any type of smoking).

  14. A bad back limits my shoe choices, but I always wear simple earrings, a statement necklace, lipstick and scent

  15. Anonymous, love your attitude! Can't wear heels, try something else. Good for you.

  16. Anonymous, love your attitude! Can't wear heels, try something else. Good for you.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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