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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets of the Perfect French Pout

SONY DSCSensuality is the secret to seduction. And what’s more sensual than a lusciously perfect pout? French women seem to have mastered the art of kissable, come-hither lips, needing nothing more than a swipe of gloss to look irresistible. Add a coat of bold lipstick and you’re 100% bisous-ready.

For those of us who aren’t genetically blessed with French femme fatale lips, or if you’ve ever started the evening with a perfect pout—only to discover red wine stained lips a couple of hours later—this is for you.

Here are my Paris-approved tricks to smooch-worthy lips:

  1. Polish Your Pout. Exfoliate once a week for smoother, softer lips. Use a soft bristle tooth brush or a moisturizing homemade scrub (mix sugar and coconut oil), for the perfect remedy during dry, wintery months.
  2. Moisturize. French women swear by their high quality pharmacie-purchased lip balms. Find a super-hydrating balm you love and apply it throughout the day, taking time to apply an extra coat every night before bed. Also, drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated au maximum.
  3. Go Au Naturel. Sometimes a woman needs nothing more than a swipe of high-quality lip balm on her lips to maintain an air of unfussed chic. Add a touch of nude or mauve gloss for a barely-there look with a hint of flattering color.
  4. Plump and Glow. Nothing gives the illusion of fuller lips better than a dab of gloss. Apply a touch of semi-clear lip gloss at the center of the Cupid’s Bow and bottom lip, and voilà!
  5. Line Up. Lip liner is fabulously versatile; use it to make your lipstick last longer, as an all-over lip color base, or as border-control for creamy lip colors. Your lips will look fuller and your color will appear richer. The trick? Blend your liner and lipstick together with a fine brush for complete coverage without a hard line.
  6. Wear Red…And Nothing More. When it comes to wearing a bold red lip, strive for fashionable, not flashy. Red lips pop best when paired with au naturel eye makeup and neutral clothing (think shades of grey, beige and jet-black). They’re also the perfect accessory to add instant glam to an unfussed, casual outfit. When going for a red pout, be sure to prime lips with liner the same color as your lipstick, filling in the entire lip.

Read my lips: A little bit of effort perfecting your pout = complete confidence and total séduction.

Champagne: How To Drink It Like the French

iStock_000009456926Large - CopyAmidst a flurry of festive gatherings, nothing exudes luxury and style more than a flute of your favorite French bubbly. Yes, it’s my favorite time of year: Champagne season.

Before raising your flute and saying santé (“to your health”) there are a few facts you might want to know about this glamorous, sparkling drink—including how to store, serve and enjoy it.

Here are a few things you might not know (and definitely should) about le Champagne:

  1. Unlike Women, Champagne Doesn’t Age Gracefully, so drink it young (preferably within the year), when the flavors are at their best.
  1. The Freezer is Not Your Friend. Need to quickly cool a bottle of Champagne? Don’t be tempted to put the bottle in the freezer, as it damages the aromas and flavors. Instead, place it in an ice bucket (or in a pinch, the kitchen sink) filled with a mixture of water and ice for 15-20 minutes to bring the temp to a cool (not ice-cold) 50 degrees.
  1. There Is A Right Way to Open Champagne. While festive, popping the cork can jeopardize the integrity of Champagne. Opt for this slightly more elegant technique: untwist the bottom of the muselet (wire cage), but do not remove it. Then, in one hand, enclose the cage and cork while holding the base of the bottle with your other hand. Twist your hands in opposite directions. When you feel the pressure of the cork, try to push it back while continuing to gently twist until the cork is gently released. Voilà.
  1. Think Outside the Flute. Though the traditional flute is ideal for retaining Champagne’s sparkling bubbles, a tulip-shaped glass is better suited for savoring the complex aromas and flavors. The elegant Champagne tulip has a wider bowl that perfectly aerates the wine, while still giving a beautiful display of sparkling effervescence.
  1. Try A Grower Champagne. While large Champagne houses (think Veuve Cliquot) source grapes from as many as 80 different vineyards, grower Champagnes come directly from estates that cultivate their own grapes. The beautiful quality of these “home grown” Champagnes is personal and distinctive. Tip: To identify a grower Champagne, look for the letters “RM” Récoltant Manipulant on the label.
  1. Champagne Is Beautiful In Blush. Made by adding a hint of Pinot Noir or grape skins to the wine base, Rosé Champagne is delicious, and, of course, très romantique.
  1. Vintage Is Always In. Looking to impress with a luxe-level champagne? A single-vintage Champagne is made of grapes harvested from a single year, making it rarer, more prestigious and more expensive. Note: The majority of Champagnes (about 85%) are non-vintage, meaning that they are composed of several different vintages, rather than from a single harvest.
  1. Celebrate. Champagne is one of the most refined and glamorous plaisirs de vie (life’s pleasures), so make a toast and enjoy every decadent sip.

Happy New Year 2015!

Devastatingly Sexy: Le Bustier

Volupte BustierThe art of seduction has its seasons. Spring is a time of flirtation, florals, lace and color. Summer showcases natural beauty and carefree, sun-kissed romance. Now the cooler temps and shorter days invite a more sensual seduction. It’s sultry, exotic and mysterious. Lingerie takes a turn with rich velvets, soft silks, deep colors and alluring layers. My favorite of which is, Le Bustier.

Devastatingly sexy, the bustier worships a woman’s curves. The waist is cinched and the bust lifted, dressed in decadent laces, silks, eye-hook closures and lace-up backs.

Rock it solo with a hip-hugging boyshort for seduction le soir (at night). Have a sortie (event)? Layer it under a blazer or Velvet Bodysuit in Graymoto jacket and black jeans, and voilà.

Whether the bustier is your pièce de résistance or not, we can all take in the richness of what the season’s new forms of seduction bring. Our wardrobes shift each season, so why shouldn’t our lingerie? Look for sensual, touchable fabrics, rich hues and figure-flattering bodysuits.

Tap into the season’s gentle shift in energy, and you’ll find a whole new spirit of le sex appeal.