It occurred to me that I never finished the chapter-by-chapter review of the book, Forever Chic. I did 7 out of 9 chapters and it seems rather silly to not finish. So here goes:
The Essential Accessory Arsenal
Every Woman’s Necessary Accoutrements
The French woman tends to purchase simple, good quality basics and wear them for many years. Her wardrobe is generally small, too. So what is her secret to always looking chic? Why, accessories, of course. A small collection of basics in neutral, solid colors comes alive with the addition of jewelry (real or costume), a striking bag, colorful shoes or the ubiquitous scarf. Yes, it’s true. French women DO wear scarves. Often.
- Hats: Sadly, not as popular as I might like, hats don’t play a huge role in the French woman’s accessorizing. They do make an appearance during cold weather and weddings, however.
- Bags: The important rule is that the bag never matches the shoes. While some French women save for and treasure an expensive bag such as the famous Birkin, many more choose something unique…something one isn’t likely to see anyone else carrying.
- Shoes: The French woman of un certain age may still wear high heels but only if she can still walk properly in them. Or she may wear more comfortable shoes in the car and change into stilettos just as she steps out on her way to a party. For daily wear she will likely choose ballerina flats, a low-heeled boot or a pretty pair of sandals. “Sensible” shoes don’t have to be dowdy.
- Jewelry: The most personal of accessories, a French woman’s jewelry is often a sentimental piece or a family heirloom. Staples include pearls (often given on the 16th birthday), gold bangles, hoop earrings, gold and silver chains and simple diamond earrings. She isn’t opposed to unique pieces of quality costume jewelry, either.
- Belts: As the French woman ages, a slightly thickened waistline is not a reason to stop wearing belts. She simply wears them a bit differently – looser, lower and over a layer rather than tightly cinched around the waist.
- Scarves: These most versatile of accessories are where French women are truly in their element. When we were in Paris last fall we couldn’t help but notice that virtually everyone was wearing a scarf. Nothing dresses up a simple outfit quite like a beautiful scarf.
- Lingerie: No discussion of French accessories would be complete with mentioning lingerie. Even if no one else is likely to see it, the French woman loves to wear beautiful lingerie. And always in matching sets.
- Nail polish: Yes, nail polish can be an accessory. It’s a simple and inexpensive touch, accessible even for those with limited financial resources.