5 Ways to Feel More Confident In A Bathing Suit

16_Elya_1AVB15_323-105 A - CopySummer is all about loving life, reveling in sun-kissed days and carefree moments among friends. But somehow all that can come to a halt at the thought of stepping into a skin-baring bathing suit. So every year as summer approaches, I make a point to shift my perspective and step into the season with confidence.

Here are my tried-and-true tips for owning your bathing suit body this season.

  1. Customize Your Suit for Your Curves. One size doesn’t fit all in bras and panties—and this rule applies to swimsuits as well. Take the time to find a swimsuit that flatters your unique shape with bra sizing and different top and bottom sizes. Consider the colors that are most becoming on your skin tone. Need a second opinion? Bring a trusted friend who can help guide you.
  1. Love the Skin You’re In. Glowing, sun-kissed skin has a way of forgiving our petites imperfections. Begin by exfoliating your whole body using an at-home scrub—or better yet, visit the spa for a luxurious exfoliating treatment. Then, use a gradual self-tanner for a lightly bronzed look. Finally, hydrate your skin with a creamy body moisturizer. Looking for an extra hydrating boost? Apply a body oil (such as coconut oil) all over while you’re in the shower. The steam will help the oil penetrate into your skin for a radiant ooh-la-la glow.
  1. Get Summer-Ready Feet. Before slipping into your swimsuit, take a few steps to pamper and polish your feet. Opt for a regular pedicure throughout the summer. In between visits, refresh your feet with a mini at-home pedicure and new polish—and if you’d like to see quick improvement (and sleep better), give your feet a mini massage just before bedtime.
  1. Be Posture Perfect. Perfecting your posture has an instant slimming effect on your silhouette; and it’s a natural confidence booster. That’s right—standing in a posture of confidence, whether you’re actually feeling your best with or not, has an effect on the brain that shapes the way you feel and affects how others see you. This age old trick, now backed by scientific research, is useful for everything from business interviews to beaches!
  1. Accessorize Your Look. Just because you’re in a bathing suit, doesn’t mean you have to stop there. There are 3 accessories that finish your look and exude that oh-so-french elegance and confidence: a chic wide-brimmed sunhat, effortless-cool sunglasses, and a fabulous beach bag.

Now put on your favorite swim suit, sunglasses, a swipe of lipstick, and own the beach!

How to Prolong the Life of Your Bras

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You’ve invested in beautiful bras that fit you comme un rêve (like a dream), so it’s only natural to want to keep them that way for as long as possible. Here are my tried-and-true bra care tips to making your investment last:

  1. Invest in Quality. Not all bras are created equal. The simple truth is that great-fitting, high quality bras made with superior materials are going to last much longer than their one-fit-wonder cousins. A well-made bra lasts for about 100-125 wears, assuming they’re well care for, whereas “short fit life” bras can lose their shape after just a few wears.
  1. Have a Few Bras on Rotation. The golden rule of bra care is to never wear the same bra two days à la suite (in a row). Giving your bra a break allows it to recover from being stretched during the day (yes, being a bra is hard work). I always recommend women have at least 4 or 5 great everyday bras to rotate. Have a favorite? Buy them in multiples.
  1. Store with Care. Spring is the perfect time of year to refresh and reorganize your lingerie. Once you’ve tossed any tattered and très loved bras, store your remaining favorites with love and care. T-shirt, padded or push-up bras can be stacked one behind the other. (This may come as a surprise, but do not fold them in half, as this will damage the cups and twist the center gore). Lacy and unlined bras can be stored separately, folded in half with the straps tucked inside. Limited on drawer space? Try hanging bras on wall hooks or hangers for easy access.
  1. Pack with Precision. Ever packed a suitcase, admired your meticulous packing job, and then had to squish in your bras and panties? Here are a few tips for properly packing your underpinnings: Buy a bra travel case (yes, they exist!). Though the result is a little bulkier, it’s a sure way to project your bras (and allow for easy access on the go). For last minute packers, stack bras one behind the other and stash socks or panties behind them to hold the cup shape. Pack near the top or edge of your suitcase to avoid
    crushing.
  1. Hand Wash: The best way to wash a bra is by hand. Use a mild detergent designed for lingerie and soak in lukewarm water (except for black or bold colors, which should be washed in cool water) and soak your lingerie for 30 minutes. Rinse, pat try (don’t wring or squeeze) and hang dry or lay flat. Be sure to wash similarly-colored bras together to maintain their color. Hang (over the center core to avoid stretching the band) or lay flat to dry. Ne pensez meme pas (don’t even THINK) about tumble drying!

A little love goes a long way to happy bras and happy curves!

4 Style Pieces that Rock in Fuchsia

02_CELESTE_12M250&12M710_321_0056 1 - reduced - CopyIt’s no secret that fuchsia is a force to be reckoned with. Bold, commanding and fiercely feminine, a pop of fuchsia has an instant va-va-voom effect that’s thrilling, glamorous and wildly seductive.

Since a full-tilt fuchsia outfit simply won’t do (this blog is about French lifestyle not Barbie style), I’ve selected the 4 pieces that bring out the best of the racy hue—while still maintaining chic elegance:

1. THE BRA. Nothing exudes sexy chic like a fuchsia-colored lace bra and panty set. You’ll feel gorgeous from the inside out!

How to Rock It: Perfect for summer days and layering under sleeveless tops and dresses—or wow for date night with fuchsia lace under a LBD.

2. THE LIP. The season’s lip color du jour is so more than just another pretty pink. Bold and bright, fuchsia lipstick has the power to transform a plain-Jane outfit into something edgy and chic.

How to Rock It: Think of a fuchsia lip more as an accessory than a beauty look. Balance it with a minimum of accessories, such as a simple gold necklace or studs (no statement jewelry) and neutral tones. Tip: Wearing a fuchsia lip is a lot like creating a red lip: it’s about precision and balance. Prep lips with a touch of nude concealer to create a neutral base and layer with fuchsia lipstick in a matte finish.

3. THE BLAZER. Fuchsia lends an edgy twist to the classic blazer. Ultra-versatile, this is one spring/summer statement piece that speaks for itself.

How to Rock It:  Pair a fuchsia blazer with neutral tones such as beige, tan, gray or olive green (sounds odd but it’s a brilliant combo!). Word of caution: steer clear of bright whites or all-black, as they tend to make fuchsia look even brighter.

4.THE SPRING SWEATER. There’s something unexpected and seductive about a breezy sweater in sizzling fuchsia.

How to Rock It: Layer a loose fuchsia sweater over skinny jeans, or style a fitted fuchsia knit with a flowing skirt or stylish shorts. Again, pair it with muted tones (khaki, beige, olive, navy and gray are all game).

Whether you’re slightly wild at heart, feel pretty in pink, or simply in need of a style refresh, give one of these a try… and rock it with confidence!

5 Things to Do this Weekend to Live Like the French

Plotting your weekend plans? Infuse some French joie-de-vivre (joy of living) into your activities. Here are 6 FrenchYoung trendy Parisian woman in the street-approved ways to spend your weekend.

  1. Go Unplugged. Put away your cell phone and embrace a mostly tech-free weekend. It’s amazing how much time we gain, and how much richer the day can be when our personal antennas are tuned to the world around us. Need a little extra motivation? Go cell-free for a good cause.
  1. Have an Apéritif. After a hectic week, my favorite way to shed stress and start the weekend is with an apéritif. This brilliant French ritual involves a glass of wine or other drink with a small snack (think olives or nuts) before dinner. It’s about sitting down and taking une petite pause between the day’s activities and dinner. Enjoy an aperitif solo, with your chéri, or with friends. Santé! (Cheers)
  1. Be a Lady of Leisure. Toss your checklist, ditch your morning gym class, turn off your phone and let your day unfold naturally, à la française. Take inspiration from Parisians, who spend much of their weekends in cafés chatting with a friend or lover, reading a book in the park, or enjoying a long, stress-free lunch. (The French wear watches, but only as accessories). Whatever you decide to do, do it unrushed, unfussed, and for the sheer pleasure of it.
  1. Get a Hair Cut. Few things are as refreshing as a hair cut. Whereas many American women often go six months or longer before trimming their tresses (you know who you are), French women make a point of going at least every two to three months to keep their hair healthy, shiny and en vogue (in fashion). Plus, a great hair cut reduces blow-drying and maintenance, so you can spend a few more moments enjoying your morning café and croissant…
  1. Cook Like a French Woman. Make a date with your kitchen and lose yourself in a passionate encounter with a new (or favorite) recipe. Choose rich, mouth-watering ingredients (preferably picked up from your local market) and taste as you go. The recipe doesn’t need to be complicated—just delectable. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with an amoureux (lover) or friend over a bottle of wine.
  1. Go for a Stroll. Put on your favorite flats, a swipe of lipstick, classic trench and go for a stroll. It’s not about the exercise (though I’ll take the calorie deficit, thank you), but about taking in the world around you in a new light, clearing your mind and rebalancing your energy. A walk is also about seeing—and being seen—so I don’t want to hear a single word about sweatpants!

Bon week-end!

The One Item Every French Woman Owns: The Trench

trench-coat-francoise-hardyFrom ‘60s beauty Francoise Hardy to modern muse Marion Cotillard, every French style-setter and icon has worn the trench coat, and given it her own unique touche.  Here’s why you need it and how to wear this ageless, wear-with-anything wardrobe essential.

WHY YOU NEED IT

Eternally chic, the trench’s tailored silhouette is flattering on every shape, and every age, from 18 to 80. Its neutral shade matches with everything, and is as wearable on casual weekends as it is at the office or for a mysterious date night.  Plus, as we edge towards spring, it’s the perfect layer for transitional seasons (both spring and fall).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Look for a simple, timeless trench in classic beige/toffee tones. It should be cropped a little above the knee (and even a bit shorter for petite women) and fitted at the shoulders.

HOW TO WEAR IToriginal

1. Over a navy and white Breton-striped top, skinny jeans and pumps (this look oozes French chic). A classic trench over jeans and a sweater is effortlessly cool.

2. Wear it like a cape, draped over your shoulders, for a sophisticated feel.

3. Roll up or scrunch the sleeves and wear it open for a casual vibe, or to show off stylish bangles.

4. Layer it over a LBD or evening dress for an alluring date night ensemble that ups your cool factor.

5. Belt the trench but leave it unbuttoned to reveal a hint of your outfit american-flaneuse-kate-moss-trench-coat-21underneath

6. Pair it with neutral tones and classic cuts, such as whites, heather grays and shades of beige for an elegant look that makes a quiet statement.

7. Go sleek and sexy in a black trench over black jeans and black or red pumps or ankle boots.

8. Opt for a classic cut in a spring color, such as blush pink or baby blue to add some zest to your look.

No matter how you wear it, the classically cool trench is the ultimate spring wardrobe companion… so invest in one you love!

What Bra to Wear Under White: 6 Shades of Risqué

Clémence Poésy effortless pulls off a black bra under a white shirt by matching it with black pants and black handbag and keeping the rest of her look simple

Clémence Poésy is chic in a black bra under a white shirt

The topic of what bra to wear under a white top has been hotly debated on both sides of the Atlantic. Since every woman has a different take and comfort level, here are all of your options, ranging from least to most risqué.

No matter what bra you wear under a white or semi-sheer top, there are a few rules every woman should play by. Your bra must fit flawlessly—no bulges, gaps, falling straps or sliding bra bands please! It must be in mint condition (tattered straps to the trash please). Pretty details and fabrics that make you feel beautiful and confident are always a plus.

Here are my Oh So French style-approved tips for what bra to wear under le blanc (a white) top:

The always-flawless nude T-shirt bra

The always-flawless nude T-shirt bra

Level 1, TOTALLY SAFE: THE INVISIBLE NUDE T-SHIRT BRA 

The nude T-shirt bra is undoubtedly the most modest, invisible option under any white top.

HOW TO WEAR IT: Look for a curve-hugging spacer bra that molds to your shape, like the Delice 3D Demi, or for full busts the Revelation 3D Demi Full, both by Simone Perele. For a bra that disappears completely for a barely-there look, try an unlined nude bra.

Level 2, PRETTY SAFE: THE BLUSH T-SHIRT BRA

Pale pinks are a feminine update on the classic nude bra and are just as practical. When worn under white, blush disappears on paler skin tones.

HOW TO WEAR IT: Add stylish details, like the embroidered straps on this Andora 3D Triangle, for a feel-beautiful finish, while still being practical.

 Level 3, CURIOUS: THE NUDE LACE BRA

What if your everyday nude bra had a sexy twist? Touches of lace are discreet but also beautiful and chic.

HOW TO WEAR IT: Start with a nude T-shirt bra accented with lace and graduate to an all-over lace demi. The nude blends with your skin tone while the hint of lace is a subtle wink to your sex appeal.

Level 4, ADVENTUROUS: THE RED BRA

Top secret style alert! Here’s a tip that French women have sworn by for years: red is just as invisible as many nudes under white tops. Sultry shades of rouge are discreet under white, yet secretly seductive underneath. (And just imagine the oh-la-la you’ll get when your petite surprise is discovered!)

HOW TO WEAR IT: Any red will do, but the darker your skin tone, the more invisible the red will look under white.

Go for a beautiful pastel with a hint of lace in spring and summer

Go for a beautiful pastel with a hint of lace in spring and summer

Level 5, READY TO BREAK THE RULES: THE COLORED BRA

Think of your lingerie as the first layer of your look. Try matching the color of your bra to another aspect of your outfit. Or turn up the heat in an obviously bold color. A pop of fuchsia lace under a loose white tee is an edgy yet chic combination in spring and summer. There’s something so thrilling about breaking the rules!

HOW TO WEAR IT: A blue-hued bra gives a chic edge to a classic white shirt and jeans. Also, when going for bold color, pair it with casual, looser fitting clothes and simple accessories to keep the ensemble in balance.

Level 6, DARING: THE BLACK BRA

Embrace your inner femme fatale with sexy black under white

Embrace your inner femme fatale with sexy black under white

Whether your inspiration is Carrie Bradshaw or iconic French femme fatales, a black bra under a white top, when done right, is rebelliously chic and fashion-forward.

HOW TO WEAR IT: The black should be noticeable but not distracting (not to be worn under a super-sheer white shirt). Avoid satin finishes and look for feminine touches of lace to soften the look. Or, opt for a ultra-wearable slate gray. Finally, style it so the look appears intentional (such as matched with black pants or pumps), and keep the rest of your look simple.

CAUTION: BLANC SUR BLANC (WHITE UNDER WHITE)

Generally, white under white is a fashion faux pas, however this look can be chic when done right. Because white is the most visible color bra you can wear under a white shirt, style it the way you would a black bra. Look for pretty lace, ultra-feminine details, and wear it with unapologetic confidence.

How To Feel Beautiful Without Being Perfect: French-Approved Rules to Live By

French actress Lou Doillon captures the essence of alluringly imperfect beauty

French actress Lou Doillon captures the essence of alluringly imperfect beauty

  1. Don’t Fear Aging. Tout simplement – put simply, a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, and she’ll turn heads at twenty-two or sixty-one. The key? Wear your inner beauty on the outside—because on the inside, we’re all ageless.
  2. Always Keep One Element Of Your Look “Undone.” For all the work we put into primping and perfecting, real beauty is in finding balance. For example, pair an elegant outfit with undone-chic hair; or wear bold red lips with your loose tee and jeans.
  3. Don’t Fish For Compliments. Don’t seek approval from others. Instead, cultivate your confidence. Identify a few things you truly love about yourself, and make them your mantra of the week. “J’adore mes yeux.” (“I love my eyes”).
  4. Embrace Your Unique Features. When you accept the unique qualities of a bold nose, dark brows or spattering of freckles, they add character and confidence to your look—but when you love them, they become the je ne sais quoi that gives you an aura of irresistible allure.
  5. Don’t Use Foundation. Dab a touch of concealer here and there and keep your skin dewy, fresh and natural. Devoted to your foundation? Mix it with moisturizer before applying for a beauty that’s au naturel.
  6. Find Your Signature Scent. Nothing exudes confidence and allure like scent. Perfume is one of the most intimate expressions of who you are.
  7. Reveal Your Character Flaws. Always late? Painfully shy? Don’t take yourself too seriously, and accept these qualities as part of your unique, loveable and ever-evolving appeal.
  8. Wear Pretty Lingerie, Even When No One Else Will See. Go for a bra fitting and leave with pretty sets in luscious laces and sensuous shades you love. There is something so powerful about feeling beautiful for you!
  9. Invest In Quality. Invest in a few fabulous, well-made items. A divinely soft cashmere sweater, irresistible leather coat, fabulous hobo or femme fatale pumps are signature pieces you can always rely on to feel strong and beautiful.
  10. Don’t Take It Personally. Rejected by a lover? Gossiped about by a girlfriend? Ce n’est pas important. (It’s not important). A confident woman isn’t easily ruffled by others (or at least doesn’t show it). YOU are fabulously perfect in every imperfect way.