Despite the plethora of magazines that you find in the occidental world, I am always surprised to see how little women know about some general facts in fashion. The sad result is that most of them don’t really know what to wear and how to wear it. I do not intend to become the next Trinny & Susannah but I am also fed up to be asked the same questions.
The first truth is that no origin is better than another. This said- how nice can I be- if you want to look slim, don’t wear French couture. And if you don’t like frills and complicated patterns, do not turn towards English couture. You disagree? You are intrigued? Let me explain.
To understand how to be stylish, you have to figure out how and by whom the clothes have been created. Let’s start with the French. When I say French, most women think Dior, Yves St Laurent, Chanel and Agnes b. Dior is runned now by an English man, Chanel by a German one and Yves St Laurent changes all the time. Agnes b. is still at the head of her line so there is not much surprise here. But when you buy French couture what you ask for is this little je-ne-sais-quoi that makes the French women appear stylish and in control of their seduction. So despite their international origins the masters behind the French labels or names are doing their best to give their clients what they demand. So now look at the French women. Lately quite a few books have come out about their extraordinary waistline and incredible look. So if you want to appear effortlessly stylish, groomed, made up and grown up – in other words female- you buy French clothes. The good thing about it is that they fit any age. You can wear Agnes b. at 15,25,45 and beyond without looking out of date. This is called the capsule wardrobe. It means that you get a few basics that you can marry indefinitely for the rest of your life and that a single item can update when you’re looking for a change. But beware: French women don’t let themselves go. So in return you have to be average in order to wear these clothes. You can’t be more than half a stone overweight ( 3 kgs) and you can neither be small or tall. As for your humps, nothing too big above the waistline or too small under. French women are the only ones who dare to wear a plunging neck jumper on a flat chest and a low waist jeans on hips that make heads turn. They are not afraid of flashing bright colors- but only one at a time on some basic combination of clothes that would have appeared boring otherwise. They also play with foulards and jewellery to add a striking touch to a discreet outfit. Shoes and bags are usually expensive but never out of fashion. Now Dior has gone excentric since Gallianno arrived and Chanel has a German rigueur thanks to Mr Lagerfeld. As for St Laurent, only long and skinny women can get away with it.
When you turn towards the Italian, you have an entirely different picture. Italian women have always been seen as of generous in shape and the closest derivative you have to the stereotypes of the mamma. The results are schizophrenic as a whole. You either like Dolce & Gabbana for their dresses and clothes that gives a waist, tits and bum to any ironboard or you prefer Armani who makes them disappear altogether. Armani has become incredibly popular with young greedy bankers – especially it’s Emporio Armani ‘s line as it makes you look tall and thin. It also makes you look like one of these rich heirs that you see nonchalantly wandering from party to party in every posh magazines such as Hello, Vogue, Baazar and Tatler in the impossible research of a sense to their life until their parents die. The Armani line is better worn by people who are afraid to look out of place and want to be seen in ” the sure thing”. It usually says that you’re loaded and have no clue about what you should wear but want to appear tasteful and above any materialistic ideal.
Now the American are all about the simple way of life crossed with the American dream. Both refers usually to past times of grandeur and the worship of youth. So it has to be practical, comfortable and opulent. It is not so hard to tell the difference between Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. They have targeted their clients and never changed their direction. Donna Karan is for the active woman -whatever her shape. It’s about a woman wo wants to please…to other women. It still screams power though as it shows pure lines and materials. Calvin Klein is for the working woman who doesn’t have time to waste. Ralph Lauren is the epithom of the (fake)gentleman farmer who takes his holidays at Martha Vineyard or Aspen. A classic.
I saved the indescripible for last. The English have a taste for the past and another for their multiple colonial paradises lost. They never surrender and it shows. Almost every year you have a line reminding you of the Scottish, the Victorians, the Mods and the Punk era. Eccentricity being part of their roots they obviously have to display it on the sidewalk as well as on the pages of their glossy magazines. The results are quite interesting but challenging. It is not always easy to mix summer flowery skirts with the harshness of winter. That doesn’t discourage one bit the ladettes of London when they have to display naked feet, legs or midrift by – 5 degrees. And there is sometimes a very small step from genius to vulgarity. With this ideal of constant mismatch in mind most women have forgotten to check that their body shape can support the style of their clothes. But if you want to show your individuality, your strength of character and your courage, I would advise you to wear English clothes. It takes sometimes to figure it out – let alone get accustomed to it- but it will certainly put you in contact with a great variety of individuals that you would have never thought of talking to – from builders to millionnaires. Now from Chloe to Burberry you have enough choice to let your inclination to good old classic be revisited and revised in order to show that you’re still in even when you’re out.
I haven’t covered here the nightlife requirements of the female wardrobe as it could cover an entire new chapter. But here again, I would take a look at the different nationalities dpendent on the event I am going to ( and the reasons why I have accepted the invitation in the first place).
The final straw is a simple advice. Do not dress yourself as who you are. Dress yourself as who you want to be.