Thursday, January 26, 2017

Building a chic wardrobe - lingerie

Shall we talk about lingerie?  I’ve had some requests from chic readers on this topic, so let’s go.  Over the past years I have upgraded my lingerie drawer, and continue to do so once or twice a year.  I did it again recently and enjoyed buying a few new pieces.

My desire with lingerie is to have it be ‘sexy and sophisticated’.  Those are the two essence words I have in mind when I am shopping, or deciding what to keep when I am going through my lingerie drawer.  I elaborate on this concept in ‘Day 12. Curate your wardrobe like it is your own bijou boutique’ of my book ‘Thirty Chic Days’.

Even though I might like some pieces when I am out browsing, I sometimes pass them by.  This might be if they are pretty but a bit mumsy (I am drawn to that look!) or practical and comfortable but with not enough elegance (I want everything in the one package).

I don’t buy expensive underwear and I usually shop in a sale.  My most recent shopping trip I went to the ‘nothing over $20’ sale at the Bendon Outlet store.  I still spent $150 but for that I found three nice bras and several pairs of knickers.  Also, a pair of satin drawstring pants for home loungewear.

I am more adventurous with my lingerie these days, and like to buy pretty colours and always in lace.  I buy matching and semi-matching knickers to the bras and pair them up when I am dressing.

For example, if I have a black bra and black knickers, that’s fine with me.  They don’t have to be from the same range.  I have a charcoal grey lace bra with hot pink satin straps.  I do have the matching knickers, but I also like to wear that bra with my hot pink lace knickers.

It has taken me some time to put the comfortable and utilitarian underwear mindset behind me.  I still do have comfy knickers that I have for when I change into my exercise gear and go for a walk, plus my sports bra of course; but when I get dressed after my shower, I wear my pretty, lacy lingerie which hasn’t always been the case in the past.

What I have taken from the French lady, is that underwear doesn’t have to be entirely invisible.  I don’t mean have all your lingerie hanging out and tacky-looking, but if you can see a little bit of lace pattern through a top, or a peek of a coloured satin bra strap in my boat-neck top, that’s okay.

For me, I’d far rather have the bright-coloured strap showing than a beige knit strap.  Do you know what men think of smooth beige underwear?  Not a lot.  It’s the biggest passion killer!  My husband will actually shudder if I ask him what he thinks of it.  When he first mentioned this ages ago, I got rid of my beige smooth tee-shirt bra.  It was near the end anyway so it was a good time to upgrade to something prettier.

And it makes me so happy to open my lingerie drawers these days!  I have two KonMari-folded rows of lacy, pretty knickers and one row of older/comfy knickers for exercise, plus a drawer of pretty bras (my drawers are tiny, I don’t really have that much of anything).

When I find that my underwear selection feels a bit stale and things are looking shabby, it’s time to have a go-through.  Sometimes I don’t need to go shopping if I get rid of some knickers and a bra, perhaps.  I never find myself too low because I’ll come across a good sale before that happens.

There’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of money of fancy lingerie if that’s what you like, but for me, I am happy with mid-priced underwear.  I wash it in the washing machine (with the bras in lingerie bags) and it comes out fine.

Let’s get pretty.  We are feminine beings!  Even if you don’t buy anything new, why not reorganise your lingerie drawer today.  Tip everything out on your bed and put it all back in neat folded rows, checking as you go if anything really does need to be thrown out.  Even this mini-refresh will feel good and it will be so nice when you come to get dressed tomorrow morning.

Have you upgraded your mindset around lingerie lately?  Would you like to?  What is your favourite type/colour/styles etc?  I don’t like g’s any more and prefer the boy-leg, Brazilian, low-rise kind of brief.  I like my bras lacy with underwire and no padding.


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Are you 100% chic?

I read an excellent article about Caroline de Maigret, Chanel ambassador, author, model.  In it she talks about her new blog/website in partnership with Chanel.  I particularly loved this quote from Caroline about her new website:

‘It was very important to me that the platform shows that style comes from everything that builds you – that’s why I could not talk about fashion only.  What makes your style is your personality, the books you read, the music you listen to, the movies you watch’.

Are you hearing that in Caroline’s French accent?  Me too!  You can read the whole article here.

Her description of personal style is exactly how I feel as well.  It’s also why I write about many different facets of living a chic life; not just clothing and outfits, which is what many of us think of when we hear the word ‘chic’.

Caroline’s statement also made me think about my own choices in books, music, movies, clothing, perfume etc.  I have one side of me who is Parisian chic to a ‘T’ – Chanel no. 5, neutral classic clothing, close-to-natural hair colouring, makeup that is sheer and natural.

And the other side?  Well, sometimes she’s a hot mess.  There’s my questionable taste in celebrity fragrances, love of reality television from time to time, and my enjoyment of chick lit and tacky books (I picked up Holly Madison’s book from the library discard pile, although I haven’t yet read it!)

Plus, I recently received a big box of goodness from Bath and Body Works.  I discovered their yummy stuff in Hawaii when we visited three years ago, and despite being more than twice the age of the customers there, I stocked up large.

The Parisian side of me says ‘get rid of all those unchic things out of your life, it’s not what you’re about’, whereas the other side of me says ‘it would be boring to be all buttoned up and perfect, I love to have fun’.

I do actually think about this a lot (I know, I need to get a hobby), and it’s a tough call to know whether I am expressing my personality or whether I am giving in to base levels of ‘whatever’ and the more I lower myself the more I will want of them.

Kind of like junk food.  It’s a well-known fact that the more you have of something, you more you want of it.  So, if you start eating fast food every day for lunch, you will end up craving it every day for lunch.  Alternatively, if you start eating chicken salad every day for lunch, you will want that more, and even miss it if you have something junky.

I’ve found this with my meals.  I used to always have toast for breakfast and thought fruit was so boring (I barely ate any fruit from week to week).  Then, I started adding fruit to my breakfast and now it has taken over so that I have fruit with raw nuts for breakfast and I love it.  On the one or two days a week when I have eggs instead, I really miss my fruit and have to have some later in the day.  Craving fruit!  Is it really me?

So that’s my thought about the bad taste side of me.  If I indulge in it, it will grow bigger and crowd out the chic stuff.

But if I enjoy it and keep it in it’s proper place, not letting it become too big a influence in my life?  I think that’s doable too.  Like a dash of hot sauce on a dish to pep it up (I don’t do that, but my husband and father-in-law do).

I have read that French women welcome a touch of whimsy or bad taste into their outfit or d├ęcor, and it works for me to do that with my personal style.

I think it would be so boring if we all had the same carbon copy white shirt, red lipstick, current contemporary novel and watched the same French sub-titled movie.  I love all of things, of course (except perhaps red lipstick, my certain age mouth prefers to be dressed in something natural-toned, and I play up my eyes instead, a la Day Four in Thirty Chic Days).

I’m going to go the 80/20 way.  I am happy to be 80% chic and 20% hot sauce.

What about you – are you 100% chic?  No bad taste at all?  I’d love to hear how you handle the hot mess side of you – ignore and hope she’ll go away?  Or embrace and be happy that she zazzs up your style.  You’ll get extra points if you share some of your own bad taste examples :)


PS.  If you haven’t read my book Thirty Chic Days yet, I’d love you to!  It’s all about putting on your French-tinted spectacles and approaching your life in a whole new way.  My approach is to make little improvements every day that are fun and easy.

Life is too short to do all the things we ‘should’ do – where’s the enjoyment in that?  I prefer to make mini upgrades by enticing myself along in an elegant and pleasurable way.  It’s easier to stick to and you get better results too.

You can read Thirty Chic Days on Kindle or in paperback, and it’s available on Amazon here.
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