Nothing I do is effortless.
This is hard to admit to you all, because I so badly want to be that woman who looks as though I just swept into my closet and came out looking chic without ever having had to work for it. Truth is, I do sweep (though it’s more like duck in this house) into my closet; I don’t spend a lot of time dressing or doing my make up and I’m almost 100% that it’s totally obvious.
All I can say is that I am so much better than I used to be and that’s because I started asking myself before leaving the house: What Would Coco Do? or Say? Would she even say anything? Would she instead just roll her eyes and click her tongue all Frenchy because I’m such a hot mess? And what could I do to at the very least get a Gallic groan of approval? Here’s some tips I’ve read and gleaned over the years in my extensive Coco research to help me answer this pivotal question.
A bag with a shoulder strap is best. This I can do and so can you. Unless you’re Angelina Jolie, you cannot pull off a Jansport knapsack. Sorry. In fact, I suggest blowing the bank so that you have at least one gorgeous bag. A gorgeous well made bag costs money – that’s it, case closed. The reason you spend said cash on a purse? So that your Old Navy outfit looks super posh.
Pants make women free. Coco was the first woman to design and wear pants. I’m sure that Coco didn’t really have jeans in mind when she said this. Too bad. She said it. I wear jeans with everything.
A woman who does not wear perfume has no future. This is rather dramatic, I admit. But I also admit that I rotate my perfumes out every season and I spend an insane amount of money to smell good. Why? Well, when I was super fat (and I was, I mean it, I’m not talking LA fat), wearing a complex perfume made me feel beautiful. I am proud to say that I am now only LA fat, BTW.
Luxury must be comfortable or else it is not luxury. I use this quote whenever I am trying something on in a store. Even if something looks great, it has to be bearable for at least an entire evening. If not, no way-Why am I going to pay for the privilege of being uncomfortable? This is also my excuse for walking around the house most every day in sweatpants. But at least now, I don’t leave the house in sweatpants. Progress.
The perfect suit should have both feminine and masculine elements. Honestly, I don’t really wear suits. I wish I did, but as an author/songwriter, there isn’t much call for them. However, I do try to but a little boyish joie de vivre in every outfit. How? I wear oxford shoes, V neck sweaters, shawl collared sweaters, boy jeans rolled up, Pea and Trench coats. I counter these items by showing a lot of cleavage. I’m pretty sure Coco would hate this. But I’m also pretty sure she had no boobs.
Worship the Little Black Dress. Yes! The LBD was invented by Coco in 1926 to transition the same outfit into both day and evening wear. Black makes you look good. And thin. If you don’t have the perfect LBD, make it your mission to find one. Immediament!
The more accessories, the better. Now, I realize that there is also a quote out there by her saying, “Before you leave the house, take something off.” But anyone who truly worships at the altar of Coco like I do knows the woman loved to accessorize. She was almost never seen without a string of pearls or a chic little brooch or a sassy chapeau. I think she meant, you know, don’t put a ring on every finger (unless you’re a rapper or a gypsy maybe) And just like Coco, you should mix up cheap jewelry with expensive stuff. A couple solid gold bangles and 15 fake ones perhaps? Or a silk scarf or a really good belt.
Jackets should be soft. Okay, I really don’t know EXACTLY what this means, but I think she meant that it should fit well and there should be ample room for movement. There gets to be a certain point in a woman’s life, when she reaches a certain age and watches enough What Not To Wear when she understands that for things to look really good, you probably have to them altered. Nothing looks as chic as a well tailored jacket. But since we aren’t all fit models, we have to make the clothes fit us and not the other way around.
The perfect skirt should cover the knees. Coco believed that knees were not a woman’s strongest attribute. She obviously was projecting into the future and looking at mine. Unless you are really young or were blessed with insanely great legs, pencil skirt that shizz.
Two toned shoes are fabulous and make your feet look smaller. Well, my feet are already freakishly small (which is why I fall a lot) but I do think that the right two tones will add a depth to any ensemble.
And finally: Fashion fades, only style remains the same. Here’s the thing, whenever I am thinking about spending money on clothes whether it be a little or a lot, I think, will this still look good a decade from now? If I don’t think it will, I don’t buy it. After all, anyone can be trendy but it takes real class to pull off style.
I’m working on it Coco.
Catch up with us here at the Heatley Cliff!
(photo from modelandshop.com)