by style contributor, Julie
As a former stylist, and one who entrenched herself in Paris during the formative years of a fashion career, I can tell you there’s something undeniably enchanting about a French woman. The effortless chicness that seems to be in their DNA, and their almost too-cool-to-care simplicity is something that’s almost impossible to replicate. Trust me when I say that simply standing in a queue with such simple jaw-dropping easy elegance is very intimidating, and is a great exercise in self style evaluation.
Upon closer inspection, however, that French je ne sais quoi, that makes everything they do, from waiting for the bus, to sipping coffee al fresco, ooze a feminine grace – actually does seem to have some unwritten architecture.
Establish your signature style:
There’s nothing more organic and beautiful than staying true to who you are. Find the clothes that make you comfortable in your own skin instead of dabbling in aspirational pieces that might not fit your true self.
Wear clothes that fit:
Paying attention to the size on your tag is très passé. Perfect fitting lines, no matter what the number printed on the interior, is half the battle of French dressing.
Less is more:
Less is more is precisely Parisian. Less embellishment, muted watercolors, added interest through textured fabrics, or unique understated lines. Anything that screams flash is frowned upon in French fashion.
Put on some pants:
There’s nothing wrong with elegant dresses or nicely fitting skirts, but we’ve forgotten that a pair of perfectly tailored pants can be incredibly polished and comfortable.
The quintessential Parisian piece that must be hanging in your closet is a beautiful scarf. Of course it serves as a functional barrier between you and the elements, but it’s also an “I couldn’t care less” way of saying you completely do care. No French neck leaves home without one!
Simple elegant gold necklaces, rings, and bracelets are a must don. But take heed, there are no statement necklaces or chunky rings that pass for Parisian.
The key to effortless dressing and staying chic is to remain ever mindful. Take “dress to impress” out of your vocabulary and replace it with a mantra of effortless elegance, and you’ve channeled your inner belle femme.
Each Peruvian Connection sweater is an investment of time, materials and a bit of love. Knowing this, we think that caring for your sweaters is just as important as seeking them out and falling for them in the first place. Once you find the sweater you’ve been seeking, keep these tips in mind to keep your knit in tip-top shape.
Sweater pilling is caused by friction, which could mean something as simple as your arm repeatedly brushing against your side. To remove these inevitable pills, use a sweater shaver to safely trim them away without damaging the sweater’s main fibers.
Sweaters needn’t be washed after each wear, but they will likely need to be cleaned every now and then. Always follow the label’s laundering guidance, and take these tips into account:
- Always use cool water whether hand washing or using your machine, since warm or hot water can cause wool fibers to shrink.
- Use a mild soap like our Luxury Fibre Wash, which has a natural, non-toxic formula that maintains the garment’s natural lanolin and oils.
- Never use chlorine bleach.
- Don’t wring or twist your sweater—press gently instead to remove any excess water.
- Dry flat on a towel after smoothing out any wrinkles and seams.
First, forget using hangers: sweaters shouldn’t be hung up, as their weight will tug down on the hanger and leave you with a misshapen knit. Ideally, you would store any hand-knit or hand-loomed sweater flat, but you can fold or roll your knits for nearly crease-free storage that will help retain their shape.
If you’ll be storing your alpaca or wool sweaters, be sure to do some mothproofing: most dry cleaners will offer this service, but you can ward off bugs by first cleaning your items and then storing them in clothing storage bags (rather than plastic containers, which can cause mildew) with sachets of lavender or cedar blocks included.
By style contributor, Julie
At the transition of every season, the same blogs and Pinterest boards pop up regarding what to stock up on while waiting for the weather to change. Inciting a doomsday sense of urgency, you feel the need to hunker down in the nearest retail outlet until you find the perfect pieces to replace what you wore in the winter. Once the initial wave of purchasing panic has passed, you stand in front of your filled-to-the-brim closet, shopping bags dangling from your arms and wonder ‘WHERE IS ALL THIS STUFFING GOING TO GO?’
Here are our 4 steps to taming the closet chaos, and weeding out your wardrobe.
1. It’s a Head Game: In one of my many lives, I was a professional stylist and helped women get their closets in shape. The biggest roadblock for every woman was being mentally able to detach themselves from their clothes. No matter how unflattering, ill-fitting or out-of-date items were, women would hang onto them with a death grip. A little tough love and a tear or two later, the realization set in that parting doesn’t have to be such sweet sorrow, but more of a liberating and cathartic experience, and ladies were dominating their donation pile! Once you prepare yourself for purging, this process will become easier and even enjoyable. *Expert Tip: if it doesn’t fit today, don’t count on it fitting tomorrow!
2. Be a Giver: Unless something is thread-worn or stained, DONATE IT! Knowing your clothes are going to someone who really needs them not only makes it easier to say goodbye, it gives you the opportunity to give back to your community. Pick an organization you’re passionate about and let ‘em have it! And forget that excuse “I don’t have time to drop my things off” or “My haul is too heavy.” Call the organization and 9 times out of 10, they’ll send someone to pick up your donation. *Expert Tip: get those items out of your house ASAP! The longer they sit in your livingroom, the more you’ll be tempted to rescue items you were unsure about.
3. The Good of the Group: Once your closet is free and clear of what I call white noise, it’s time for the easiest of the entire closet conditioning tasks. We only wear about 30% of what is housed in our closet – to up this percentage and give you a fighting chance at sporting all your items, group them. Not only will grouping your closet by color, sleeve length, and style make it easier to get more pieces back in rotation, putting your clothes away won’t be as daunting! *Expert Tip: organizing your shoes in the same fashion will achieve the same result while upping your outfit ante.
4. Round It Out with a Recap: You’ll notice that while on this journey to Closet Mecca, you’ll rediscover long lost pieces you forgot you had, become inspired by new outfit pairings, and find there may indeed be some key items missing from your repertoire. Put the rediscovered pieces in appropriate places in your closet so you’ll wear them. Take pictures of new outfit inspirations so you don’t forget. Make a list of all the items that you think might be missing. *Expert Tip: stop before you shop! Do this step before you open your coin purse and you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save on things you never wear!
In closet conclusion, everyone loves something shiny and new, but when you get your head in the game and become a giver for the good of the group, seasonal transitions won’t be so terrifying. Maintaining order will become second nature and your checkbook could become fatter.
By Style Contributor, Julie
I would never consider myself a “hat person.” Although I love the look of dramatic floppies on ultra feminine ladies, the idea of hiding under a wide brim and overly exaggerated sunglasses is fascinatingly mysterious to me, and I can never seem to pull the trigger. Likewise with the now popular fedora, the juxtaposition between hipster, and preppy confuses me and I can’t decide if I really love the look or loathe it. Unexpectedly, my life long internal turmoil over whether to hat or not to hat came to an apex whilst in Old San Juan…
A tip from a friend who is a native of the lush tropical island lead me to wander the streets of Old San Juan, which in and of itself is a whole other world. I was sent to look for a little shop called Olé. My tipster left out the details of what goods the shop sold, but told me only that it would quite possibly be the highlight of my trip! So as I wandered up and down the cobblestones of this historic city, along with cruise shippers, and rows and rows of uniquely painted “tourist trappy” souvenir shops, I began to wonder if just experiencing the history and architecture was really the aim of my friend’s suggested treasure hunt. Finally, snuggled completely inconspicuously between a haberdashery of this-and-that shops selling painted Old San Juan sea shells, and “My friends went to Puerto Rico and I all I got was this tee-shirt” tee-shirts, was Olé!!
When I finally crossed the threshold into Mecca, I instantly knew that every time I walked out of my flip flops and dodged the call of “hey pretty lady” on this journey was so worth it. Close your eyes, imagine yourself in 1950’s Puerto Rico, now expand your chest and breathe in the smell of fresh moist straw, just a hint of earthy tobacco from a cigar a leathery old man is puffing on. Can you detect the presence of very old atrophying leather bound books? Everything you just pictured was only a morsel of what the authentic ambiance of Olé is like. Thousands of handwoven unfinished hats lined the store’s wooden shelving along with hand carved statues depicting religious figures, and those beyond-old books you were smelling. In the center of the 600 square foot store sets a workbench scattered with very old, very used millinery tools, hat forms, and heavy shears. Every color and pattern of handwoven wide ribbon was housed on giant wooden spools attached to the walls. This was indeed going to be the highlight of my trip!
Antique shop, tucked away in the heart of Old San Juan.
After an appropriate time of perusing the selection of hats ranging from $40 to $400, a young man who turned out to be an expert milliner, gently guided me to the Panama Hats where he popped a chapeau on my cabeza! I’m not sure if it was the romance of the atmosphere or the fact that this guy was so proficient at his trade that he could eyeball my melon and instantly know the perfect shape of hat, brim style, and size, but I looked in the mirror and what I saw was a beautiful hat person!
I fingered through samples and spools of ribbon that would make my new hat uniquely mine, and after landing on my favorite, my hat was fit, and my ribbon was cut. I watched as his nibble fingers finessed the perfect pinch in the ribbon’s bow and was in awe of how he gracefully applied heat to the hat as he stretched it back and fourth on the hat form. Several eagerly awaited minutes later he presented me with his handcrafted, perfectly fit hat. I was instructed several times that the proper way to put my new friend on was “from front to back.” Apparently this is a very important and crucial part of wearing said hat, because he even yelled it at me as I stepped out of the shop from the past and back onto the streets of today.
It was an absolutely unexpected lesson in appreciation for an almost lost art of hand-craftsmanship. In an era of fast fashion, we tend to forget that there was a day when items we now take for granted we’re actually created with love, art, and talent. When you stumble upon experiences that allow you to peek into the past, soak them up, and remember…always front to back!
105 Calle De Fortaleza
San Juan, Puerto Rico
by style contributor, Julie
Ahhhh…New Year’s Eve, it’s the hardest holiday to get figured out. When we were 20-something, fresh faced and fancy free, it was a no brainer. Posh nightclubs, short skirts, mini dresses and meeting midnight still bright eyed and bushy tailed. Now that we’ve graduated to more sophisticated stages of life, and swanky parties mean cocktails with close friends, not standing in line behind velvet ropes, it’s time to seek that same clarity in our December 31st outfits. Here are a few tips on how to keep your spark without losing your shine!
30’s: Still Flouncy and Flirty
Even though you’ve bid adieu to very young adulthood, you haven’t suddenly become buttoned-up. Flouncy hemlines and breathy fabrics help you maintain your youth. It’s icing your outfit with gorgeously designed and detailed jewelry that adds the perfect amount of elegance.
40’s: Perfectly Fitted
Figure flattering and fitted is what you should be aiming for. Don’t be afraid of curves or the most amazingly tailored dresses to hug them. When you let the silhouette become the star, accessories should be held to a minimum. Let the outfit speak for itself and it’s sure to only have very sweet things to say!
50’s: Very Laced Back
A little kiss of lace keeps you demure, and when it’s expertly placed, adds a little spicing of very appropriate sexiness. Artful accessories such as a statement bag or conversation starting earrings and bracelets will make your New Year that much better.
Even though you’ve outgrown the socialites of the South Beach scene, remember elegance is ageless and there’s nothing more beautiful than a poised and polished woman! This year, embrace your elevated New Year’s Eve!