“Never use the word ‘cheap’. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.” Karl Lagerfeld
No, I am not making an argument for closets full of cheap clothes. And, yes, the ideal is to have a few wear forever, probably expensive, well-made, make us feel gorgeous every time we put them on, perfect finds we have collected over the years. Of course.
But, let’s not be rigid. Fashion is supposed to be fun. Certainly we want to have built our foundation on solid materials and design. It’s old-fashioned, boring, staid, not at all lighthearted to be locked into the same old, same old however.
|A Petit Bateau T-shirt (which you probably can’t see, but you get the idea).|
|A Uniqlo T-shirt.|
Back to basics: I ask you, why would anyone spend hundreds of dollars on a basic T-shirt? Where’s the logic, where’s the solid argument that says a simple designer T-shirt has more value than the wonderful — 100 percent cotton, I might add (although some have a touch of flattering stretch) — from Uniqlo or Petit Bateau?
Please do not get into the debate about “fabulous fit” that’s nonsense. One gets quality at a price from Petit Bateau and Uniqlo. My great friend Judy is petite in the extreme, I am tall in the extreme. She wears the former; I wear the latter. It’s simply a question of finding the right cut.
|An orange compromise. In other words, not too orange. . .|
Let’s take orange, for example. As I pointed out last week orange is everywhere — high and low, from designers to Monoprix. I’m not a fan of orange. I’ve see other women wearing it and it looks great, for me it’s too “out there” maybe. Never mind. I do intend to buy something orange. In fact, I have my eye on a summer scarf. It sort of cheats over into coral, but it’s still in the family. Et voila, I’ve bought into the season. I’ll add my coral jewelry to the mix and I am so on message that I amaze myself. . .
|A “very of the moment” black and white blouse from Zara. It’s classic and it’s not. . .|
I have an acquaintance who is considered one of the most elegant women in Paris with a closet full of haute couture to bolster her reputation. Do you know where she loves to shop? Zara, Mango and Monoprix. She wore a pretty sleeveless, pleat front, shell pink satin blouse from Zara with an embroidered couture jacket and satin trousers to a chi-chi dinner party and said she had a little frisson of delight wearing her new top.
I fully realized that we are always and forever told that if we want to be très, très French we should own a leather jacket of some sort. Believe me I see them every time I go into Paris and in the country as well. Here is my conundrum: after living so many years in France I feel as if I have an obligation to own a leather jacket, but I do not. Anything biker-like is anathema to me.
They are entirely too masculine for me. I end up looking like a biker which I somehow feel is not the desired effect. What I’ve been considering is something cardigan like, low-key, leaving the impression that, “yes, it’s leather, but she couldn’t go all the way,” if you see what I mean.
|Perhaps, just the leather “cardigan” I’ve been looking for all these years. From Mango, 119.99 Euros.|
Not going all the way also means, not spending multiply hundreds of Euros on the compromise.
Please weigh-in on what you think. No doubt we all have areas were we splurge, where we save, and where we swoon.
“Elegance is a physical quality. If a woman doesn’t have it naked, she’ll never have it clothed.” Karl Lagerfeld (Hmmm. . .)