This week, Barbara of Best of Everything After 50 is hosting Fashion Flash. She is such a positive image of what over 50 really looks like– slim, active, happy and always engaged in life. Never didactic or preachy she offers always useful advice from the best way to “plank” to the right way to enhance eyebrows. And through her infectious enthusiasm she is the only person who could get me to eat kale– and like it. See her on the Today Show, watch her AARP Youube videos and read her articles in Huff Post. Your body will thank you.
My always chic MIL spent the last 20 years of her life trying to turn me into a faux french woman. ( you can read about my attempts to buy an iconic french bra at Better After 50). And I am still trying to master the seemingly effotless look of everyday style of the women walking so confidently along the streets of Paris.
When I saw a copy of Paris Street Style in a trendy book store in Chelsea Market, I knew I had to take it home with me. It is a mix of drawings, photos, interviews with experts, do and don’t tips and list ( I do love lists). But when I snuggled into my couch to read it carefully, the book began to confuse me. In page after page there was nothing I could use to crank up my personal style. The fashion photos featured very tall, twenty something natural beauties who hd been carefully styled by experts. While many shots were taken on Parisian streets, it did not make them “street style”.
Then there is the issue of age. Even as a young girl, I had style envy of the always chic over 40 women like my MIL Fanny ( pronounced Fan-Knee). When you are slim, young with yards of hair, its not that hard to look great and feel strong. When your year count starts to approach 50, it gets harder, a lot harder. But that is exactly what makes true French style so timeless and tempting– it actually gets better with age! Sadly, Paris Street Style doesn’t offer this insight and a big reason why this book just didn’t work for me.
If you really want to learn the real secrets of true Parisian style pick up a copy of French Chic by Tish Jett. An American style writer who married a Parisian, she writes about French diet, beauty and style in her wonderful blog A Femme of a Certain Age. Her real life street photos show exactly how its done. For example, she recently did a Polyvore to show how a Parisian would accessorize a simple black pants suit. On her advice, I switched out my standard little black patent bag for a small Chanel style red quilted number and added a black and red scarf– and it made all the difference. That’s the real secret of French style, the little “trucs” that bring it all together and at any age.