Friday, July 25, 2014

Isn't It Time for a Change of Uniform?

Juicy Dreaming Diva

The cultural divide between Mom and her teen-aged daughter may be wider today than in previous generations, but there is at least one area in which they have found common ground.  They both love and live in their sweats.

While there are still sightings of casual chic on city streets, there is no denying that sweats have become the unofficial official uniform of the suburban American woman.    

I understand the need for comfort, but when did comfy and frumpy become joined at the hip? 

O.K., O.K., I know I’ve been on this soap box before on this very Blog; and I know I’m fighting a losing battle, but, hey, I’m French.  It’s not about winning; it’s about fighting for something worth fighting for, and I believe the sartorial soul of the American woman is indeed worth fighting for. 

And so, to that end, I teach all my clients how to put together a wardrobe based on casual chic pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down in the blink of an eye.  Other than a formal affair, with the right pieces in your wardrobe, you’re pretty much ready for anything at a moment’s notice. 

Here’s what I mean. 

This is a great example of a casual chic outfit that can go seamlessly from day (lunch with the girls) to evening (dinner with spouse/significant other).  Here, the details make the difference: 

n     Cropped, fitted blazer with embellished collar;
n     Velvet-trimmed top;
n     Dark wash, boot-cut jeans; and
n     High-heeled, pointy-toed boots.

Now, let’s dress it up for a special dinner.


We have kept the cropped blazer, but have

n     Changed the top for a silk blouse with embellished shoulders;
n     Changed the jeans for a pencil skirt;
n     Added a rose gold choker and garnet cocktail ring;
n     Added a great evening clutch; and
n     Changed the boots for a pair of sexy, sling-back heels.

Now, let’s dress it down for a day of shopping and antiquing.

Here we have

n     Changed the jacket for an embellished cardigan;
n     Changed the top for a striped Tee-shirt;
n     Changed the boot-cut jeans for skinny, tapered jeans;
n     Added a statement watch and tote bag; and
n     Added a cute pair of ballet flats

And there you have it.  How easy is that?  Come join the casual chic army and help us fight the frump. 




    1. Dearest Sissy, "As always...." your comment is perfect. Style is indeed the way we speak to the world about ourselves w/out saying a word.

      Always appreciate your stopping by.

      Cheers, M-t

  2. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    You deserve a BIG AMEN to that! Let me tell you one anecdote about the ONLY street pajama (a lilac velvet one and not ugly!) I ever owned. Pieter and I were having to fly back to Indonesia to work; we did so 21 times and it's 2 nights on a plane. We got to see so many Americans in their sweats, so we wondered if me might have to change to 'comfort' as well. So we did wear them too! Guess what? In Singapore we were pulled aside and they did rumage through all our suitcases. We felt so embarressed and we gave away our sweats and NEVER EVER wore them again! It was against our dress code feeling anyway and to me it looks frumpy and sloppy like you are too lazy to get really dressed. Stand tall, square your shoulders and put shoes on and go into the world looking decent and making such a different impression!
    Especially when we moved back from living and working in Italy I vowed that I only be me and always try to look nice; be it in shorts or what but no more sweats ever!
    Sending you a big hug for the weekend and stay cool.

    1. OMG, Mariette, what a great story....and what a great lesson to us all. Thanks for sharing it. Stay cool, ma chère amie,

      Big bisous, M-T

  3. We don't seem to wear sweat pants as much in the UK unless going to the gym which is great as I am definitely not a fan, not at all chic. I like the outfits you have put together.

    1. I agree. I don't see sweats in the UK or France, unless working out at the gym. It seems to be more of an American "thing." It's so easy to look chic. Why would anyone choose not to, n'est-ce pas?

      Thanks for stopping by, Josephine

      Cheers, M-T

  4. Great post and so very true. Dressing up is fun, be it casual or for a special occasion. Love the ensembles that you created.

    1. No one puts the "fun" in "dressing up" like you do, Judith. Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

  5. I love to dress up; no way would you ever catch me in sweats. So un-chic. Really like the clothes you put together.

    1. Clearly, you are a woman after my own heart. So glad to have you on my "Fight the Frump" team. Keep the faith.

      Cheers, M-T

  6. I totally agree. I'm always shocked at how people dress to fly. How hard can it be to find a pair of jeans that are comfortable, but .chic.

    I'm in love with the fitted jacket that you showed and am considering buying one, but don't want to look frumpy (which is why I gave my old ones away). I wondered if you could let us know what to look for in a jacket so it looks modern and fashionable. Thanks.

    1. That fitted jacket is no longer available, but it is still classic and fashionable, which is why I show it. Why did you give your old jackets away, Grace? Did they make you look "frumpy" because they did not fit correctly?

      Choosing the right jacket means choosing one that's right for your shape. It's crucial that the jacket be the right proportion and the right length, have the right shaped lapel and the right number of buttons. If you are large busted, the buttons should hit just under the bust line not over it, which can make you look top heavy. Also, pockets on an angle are more slimming, just as is an angled hem rather than cut straight across. Make sure your sleeves are close-fitting and that the back is properly tapered. Gosh, I could go on and on. Sometimes a jacket is more flattering left open to show a great top or scarf.

      Let me know if you would like me to do a post on jackets.

      Cheers, dear Grace,


  7. Outstanding post!! The sweat pant craze is very sad and flatters no one. I don't own sweat pants, which appalled my sister-in-law so much she bought me a pair. They remain unworn to this day. Casual does not have to be synonymous with sloppy as you so beautifully showed!! More of these! American women need saving.
    xo ~J

    1. So glad you to have you join the Crusade.

      xoxo, M-T

  8. As a french leaving in France I can confirm than most french women do not sweatpants that much, or only to go to the gym. That said it is true also that you can find unfortunately some women, especially the very young adults wearing such things. But I should also add that NOT wearing sweatpants does not make one look chic (alas...). I've never worn sweatpants but at the gym while at school (some time ago then). When I want to lounge, I wear a nice skirt or a comfy pair or jeans (but not slim). I have been following you for quite a while but this is my first comment since you added the possibility to comment under one's name only. I really appreciate this kind of "bridge" you're trying to build between french and american although you seem to me to be much more american than french now. Anyway I do not think that chic is something really french, it is just something one has to cultivate and feel. One was not not really born chic one has to learn a bit and mostly have right people to look at as inspirations. But is it true that most french only think about just wearing clothes and be stylish but never too much, aka not with the perfect dress + the perfect shoes = the perfect hair + the perfect make up +... you got my meaning. Very often less is much better than too much. But this not really french but personnal don't you think?

    1. I am so delighted you were able to leave a comment, particularly since everything you said is absolutely correct. You express yourself beautifully. Am I more American than French? Sometimes I feel more French, sometimes more American. It all depends.... Sometimes it's more of an "entente cordiale." I have spent my life adapting the best of French culture to my American way of life. I would not be complete without both halves.

      I agree that you can learn to be "chic," but you must have the proper icons to inspire you. Very few people are born with a well-developed sense of style.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment. I hope to hear from you again.

      Ciao, M-T


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