It’s Beaujolais Nouveau Time!

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We all know how loyal the French are to their holidays… and though this one isn’t an “official” day of leisure in France, it is certainly well celebrated. Welcome to Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Yes, the French have developed a holiday devoted exclusively to one of their favorite red wines. Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh and fruity red wine from the Beaujolais province of France (just north of Lyon), and was originated as a way for locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season. 100 years or so later, the French still look forward to the nouveau (new) Beaujolais wines that are released each year… on the third Thursday of November at 12:01am, when the gleeful toasts begin. “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” (The new Beaujolais has arrived!

What’s so special about a Beaujolais Nouveau? It’s made entirely of handpicked Gamay grapes, it has a fruit-forward, cheerful flavor, and it’s inexpensive… the perfect wine for a party. Although most things French are better with age (wine, cheese and women come to mind), a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be opened young. In fact, most vintages should be enjoyed before May.

How to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Beaujolais Nouveau is a young, stylish, casual, flirty wine, so celebrating its arrival should be the same way… fuss-free and spontaneous.

Whether you’re inviting a large group of people, a couple of friends, or just your “Cherie,” set the atmosphere with a few candles, your favorite French tunes (add Jane Birkin and Carla Bruni to your playlist), and a few simple hors d’oeuvres. No need for fancy stemware, your everyday wine glasses will work just fine. A Beaujolais Nouveau is best enjoyed slightly cool, at 55 degrees (F), which brings its fruit forward, and it pairs with just about anything… it’s as delicious with haute cuisine as it is with a warm baguette and cheese.

Or, for impromptu rendez-vous on the town, grab your “Cherie” and jump into the fun at the local French bistro.

Cheers!

Oh So French Color Spotlight: Beautiful in Bordeaux

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It’s a beautiful fall day.  I’m sipping my beloved cappuccino, watching the city from a café, and I can’t help but be romanced by the season’s fashion colors. Pops of vibrant jewel tones are everywhere, but one color stands out from the rest. It’s timeless, mysterious, deep and brimming with sensuality…Bonjour Bordeaux.

This is one sizzling color every woman should wear. Besides being universally flattering, it’s supremely sophisticated and it exudes confidence. And when it comes to French women, Bordeaux is the seductive sister to navy.

Here are 5 ways to seduce with a touch of Bordeaux:

1.     Take it in Suede… pumps, that is. Pair them with everything from a classic black dress to dark jeans for a look that instantly takes your style up a notch. A pair of Bordeaux pumps is as chic for work as they are for date night.

2.     Lip Service. Nothing says seduction quite like a deep Bordeaux hue on your lips. Complement it with ultra-simple makeup (barely-there blush and au naturel eyes).

3.     Sensual Stems. Feeling a little bold? Try a pair of tailored Bordeaux-colored pants paired with a fitted cashmere sweater for an ultra-chic look that elongates legs and exudes confidence.

4.     For Your (and his) Eyes Only. We all know the power of red lingerie… Bordeaux is just as stunning but slightly more mysterious and sophisticated. I love the elegant style of Simone Perele’s Revelation Demi Full Cup bra in Bordeaux.

5.     Be a Gem. Of course, nothing exudes glamour and femininity quite like a little sparkle. Invest in a pair of timeless garnet studs. The color will add a subtle flush to your cheeks and lips, giving you that radiant je-ne-sais-quoi glow.

And of course, nothing completes a fabulous sense of style and a beautiful fall day quite like a glass of wine so… #6 would have to be: pair any of the above with a glass of Bordeaux for “la touche finale” (the finishing touch)!

6 Chic Ways to Wear a Scarf

Blog 19 imageIf you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ve undoubtedly been seduced by a scarf or two.

The scarf is a French woman’s style companion, so much more than an accessory. In fact, she would rather leave the house without a bra than without a scarf… it’s simply “pas possible” (not an option).

Yes, EVERY French woman wears a scarf.

Truthfully, I must admit that our devotion to scarves is not purely for style. They keep us warm and chill-free should the slightest breeze threaten to touch our necks, or temperatures waver below 50 degrees (F). They’re also fabulously soft and comfortable (cashmere anyone?), so we never suffer for style.

Should you be slightly intimidated by the scarf, or how to wear one… know that all is takes is a few ways to wear it, a little practice, and a touch of French confidence.

  1. L’Essentiel. The “Basic” is the perhaps one of the most common styles found in Paris. It consists of keeping the scarf short at one end, and then wrapping it behind the neck, around the front and back behind until there are two ends left in front. Tie the two ends to finish.
  2. L’Express. Also called, “The European,” this is the simplest way to tie a scarf. Fold the scarf in half, wrap it around your neck and thread the ends through the opening.
  3. La Natte (The Braid). Fold the scarf in half, wrap it around the neck, and pass one of the two ends through the loop. Bring the other end through the top of the loop so that it creates a sort of criss-crossed braided look.
  4. Le Double. This super-cozy technique is great for ultra-cold days.  Wrap the scarf around your neck twice and thread one end through one of the loops (top to bottom).
  5. Le Faux-Infinity. Turn your favorite traditional lightweight or mid-weight scarf into an infinity scarf with this quick trick: With the scarf around your neck, tie the ends together twice, then loop it around to the back of your neck so the knot is no longer visible. Voila!
  6. Le Nœud Caché (The Hidden Knot). Wrap the scarf around the neck once in a full loop, with both ends falling in front, then tie the ends. Tuck the knot under the scarf to finish the look.

The right scarf can truly transform your look, adding instant elegance, polish, and even a radiant glow. No time for makeup? Unkempt hair? Outfit falling flat? Wear a chic scarf… and strut.

French “Messy Hair”… The Secrets of Undone Chic

brigitte bardot long hair 5Imagine a chic Parisian woman.  Along with her effortlessly chic outfit and radiant skin with minimal makeup, you’ll find that her hair has a sort of undone, unfussed look.

Truth be told, French women are not as focused on perfectly coiffed hair as many Americans tend to be.  Unbrushed tresses?  A few stray strands falling into your face?  Rumpled chignon?  Pas de problème!  Let’s call it “undone chic.”

Not only is laissez-faire hair acceptable, it’s confident, stylish and downright sexy.

Simply take a look at some of France’s most famously tousled tresses.  Actresses Brigitte Bardot, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Clemence Poesy come to mind, as well as the former editor-in-chief of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, all of whom exude that alluring, slightly undone attitude that French women are celebrated for.

How can you capture this carefree “less is more” look without looking completely disheveled?  It’s as much about how to care for your hair as it is about how to style it.

Here are the 5 rules of irresistibly sexy French hair:

Rule #1: Chic styling…  get a great haircut.  If you have a superb cut, you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time styling it.  Once you’ve found a hair stylist you love, ask him or her to give you a cut that suits your natural hair type without having to spend too much time on it. 

Rule #2: Don’t rush to brush.  The majority of French women don’t over-style, or even brush their hair throughout the day.  Resist the urge to carry a brush in your purse and instead, let your hair take its course.  Brushing has a way of eliminating hair’s natural waves, a key factor in “undone chic.” 

Rule #3: Lather it up every other day. Washing hair every day can strip its natural oils. Try washing it every other day. Plus, nothing tousles hair like a good night’s rest! 

Rule #4: Don’t over-style. Can’t imagine a hair day without your blow-dryer? Resist over-styling your hair: use just a dab of ultra-lightweight styling products to minimize frizz, and try to keep your blow-dry session to under 10 minutes. 

Rule #5: Maintain a healthy mane. Generally, French women prefer to spend their time on hair health rather than on hair styling. Invest in one or two nourishing at-home weekly hair treatments, and ask for a hair and scalp treatment when you go to the salon for a cut.

File these tips in your French style repertoire… and let the wind capture your hair as you turn heads.

5 Must-Have Fall Fashion Pieces

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With fall in full force, we’re seeing the season’s newest lineup of fashion trends and what’s hot… when the weather is definitely not.

Since not every trend is wearable (or desirable), here is my take on the 5 fall fashion pieces every woman can wear:

  1. Jewel Tones. Emerald green, sapphire, amethyst… Fall’s gem-inspired hues will have you looking radiant and sophisticated. A simple accent is all you need to incorporate the shade into your wardrobe: a handbag, high heels, or sweater. Even a jewel toned bra is enough to make you look and feel fabulous!
  2. Turtlenecks. The classic turtleneck is now a fashion must-have, and is perhaps one of the season’s most wearable trends, keeping you warm without bulk. A turtleneck with a tailored fit is also supremely figure-flattering.
  3. Winter Whites. Varying shades of whites, ivories and creams are coming back to brighten the darker months. Wear this ultra-elegant trend with decadent cashmere sweaters and wraps or a stunning tailored coat.
  4. Knee-High Boots. Knee-high boots exude confidence, sex appeal and sophistication.  Look for a leather black or brown boot with a slim cut, or dress it up with elegant and timeless black suede. Tip: look for a handbag that accessorizes well with your boot for a unified, put-together look.
  5. A Statement Coat. Statement coats are coming into the spotlight, and are perhaps one of the best wardrobe investments you can make. A chic coat instantly takes your look to the next level. We’ll see them in every color and length this season, so indulge in a figure-flattering style you love!

Pair any of these fall style essentials with your favorite timeless chic pieces for a supremely elegant, head-turning French finish.

How to Stay Cool in the Summer? Drink a Glass of French Rosé

Blog 17 ImageFrom Paris to Provence, the French woman’s summer essentials are quite simple: white and navy stripes, an airy lace bra, a sun-kissed glow, comfortable espadrilles and… a glass of rosé.  Imagine all of the elements together, add a touch of sunshine and a gentle breeze, and you have the recipe for the perfect summer day “a la francaise.”

In France, rosé (pronounced roh-zay) is universally adored as the summer wine of choice.  And for good reason: dry, fruit-forward and crisp, these pink wines are divinely refreshing on a hot day, and also happen to be rather inexpensive (so you have more to spend on super-chic summer accessories, of course).   ,

The making of rosé starts with dark-skinned red wine grapes, except that the skins are removed after a brief time of steeping with the juice.  This is why rosé wines come in such a wide array of beautiful, blush-colored hues, ranging from pretty peach to a more passionate pink.

Note:  If, while reading this, you find yourself thinking about “Zinfandel” or “blush wine,” “je vous en supplie,” (I beg you), please reconsider.   White Zinfandel is the overly-sweetened red-headed step-sister to rosé… and they are nothing alike.

Here are some things to keep in mind when going for this French signature summer drink:

  1. When in doubt, buy French rosé.  France is the home of traditional, dry rosé.  It’s nearly impossible to go wrong with a bottle from Provence, the Rhone Valley, or the Loire Valley.
  2. Drink it chilled.  The ideal temperature for rosé is at a refreshing 45 degrees (the temperature of a chilly French “cave” or wine basement).
  3. Have it with lunch, or as an “aperitif.”  Yes, you have my permission to drink a glass of rosé at lunch (pair it with some melon and prosciutto for a moment of pure bliss).   Rosé also makes a great “aperitif” (before dinner drink), and of course, with dinner… and adds a chic hue to your table setting.
  4. Pair it with just about anything.  Both dry and fruity rosés are spectacular with grilled foods, such as fish, chicken or pork, or something as simple as fruit and cheese.
  5. Carpe diem.  Unlike French women and red wine, rosé does not improve with age, so go ahead and enjoy your chic summer beverage.

Bedtime Lingerie… “A La Francaise”

Blog 13 ImageAn essential aspect of every woman’s morning ritual is to put herself together… freshly washed hair, a spritz of perfume, a touch of makeup, a figure-flattering outfit and accessories to match. Interestingly, our evenings often consist of undoing the elements of this ritual: we wash off our makeup, undress, and slip into something more “comfortable.”

Of course, every woman has a different definition of comfort.  I’ve found the American version to consist of mainly sweatpants, boxer shorts and soft, oversized t-shirts.  There is nothing wrong with it, but the truth is that many of us go from “tres chic” by day to “tres unkempt” by night, feeling we must sacrifice style in order to properly unwind.  There is no denying that we deserve to relax and feel good after a busy day.   But is there a way to be effortlessly comfortable and still beautiful, chic and seductive?

The French think “oui”!   Not only is it possible, it’s simple, requiring only a minor shift in perspective and a few wardrobe “de nuit” (nighttime) updates.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, “a la Francaise” of course…

  1. It’s a way of embracing your natural beauty.   By maintaining a pretty bedtime wardrobe, it sends the message that you look and feel beautiful even without makeup, embracing your most natural and true beauty.  Nothing is sexier than confidence!
  1. Your bedtime wardrobe is as much for you as it is for your “Cheri”, so be sure to choose things that you love, as well as things you know he will love.  Unsure of what he likes to see you in?  Notice his responses to different things you wear.  Or ask.  Some men like to be asked about these things, while others may simply respond with a smile and a raised eyebrow.  Don’t worry, the message will be clear!
  1. Go for soft fabrics and figure-flattering cuts.  Choose pieces that are soft against your skin (and his), have light stretch and are flattering to your silhouette, draping over curves without constricting them.  Soft shapes that move as you do will draw his eye (and his mind) to where you want his attention, while still being breathable and comfortable for you.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

  • Silk anything.  Silk not only feels amazing against the skin, but it makes you feel simply luxurious.  Nuzzling next to you will leave him feeling the same way.  Try a silk camisole and short set, or a silky nightdress with a touch of lace, like the Simone Perele Celeste Nightdress.  A silk robe is also an easy way to make anything instantly fabulous!
  • Keep your cotton, but give it an upgrade.  Choose super-soft cottons in figure-flattering cuts that gently hug curves.  I love a cotton nightdress with a lace accent, or something as simple as a deep v-neck T, or a pretty tank.  And a simple white cotton top can be supremely sexy!
  • Pick colors you love.  Your bedtime wardrobe should be a rainbow of your favorite colors.  Black exudes seduction and red ignites passion while white/ivory evokes a peaceful femininity.  Try yellow or pink when you feel coquette-ish and sweet.  And don’t forget those sensual blues and lavenders.
  • Add touches of lace.  Chose high quality lace that is soft against your skin and has a hint of stretch.  My bedtime wardrobe includes an assortment of lace boyshorts that I can mix and match with different camisoles and tank tops.

It’s all about looking natural, fresh and feeling sexy… sweet dreams!