The fashion bible: Parisian Chic.

Today’s post is a heaping, helpful serving of lovely style advice from one of my favorite fashon icons, Ines de la Fressange. Ines, a French model and author, penned Parisian Chic – a perfect mix of style pointers and fashion photographs.

When referencing women with a certain panache, women with Parisian chic, Ines poses the question: What is her secret?

The swaying answer: “She breathes the air du temps and puts it to good use, her way, and always with the same aim: fashion should be fun. The Parisian follows a few golden rules, but she likes to transgress, too. It’s part of the style.”

Ines shares her secrets to the “Parisian gene code. C’est facile!”

Outfits are out.

Coordination is a crime—mix it up! A clever mix of chic and cheap is essential. (Cathy Horyn of The New York Times said a perfectly harmonized ensemble is perfectly boring. She compared the interest level of a completely coordinated outfit to cardboard. I agree. Mix it up boys and girls! When I think fully synchronized, I think of eighties boy bands, and I want to forget.)

Bye-bye bling.

Steer clear of anything bling (Oh, thank goodness. I, personally, don’t even like the word “bling”. Hopefully this doesn’t include my beloved sequined attire. Gulp.) Glitter and logos are not the thing, Ines counsels.

Explore! J’adore…

Creative, affordable labels, a clever mix of cheap and affordable buys, deserve love. She advises: “Have faith in your own talent as a fashion stylist.” Never be the first with latest, high-priced It bag, Ines cautions. She reminds us this is “so vulgar.” (Ahh, great advice, since I love a thrift/consignment shop as much as I love a fashion boutique.)

If it feels good, wear it.

Ines cautions: No complaining about a skirt being too short, a dress too tight, or heels too high. The secret of great style is to feel good in what you wear. (Translation: If it doesn’t feel good, don’t wear it. Here, Ines rightfully advocates a proactive approach to dressing to reduce all unnecessary bellyaching.) Know your shape, what suits you, and what matches your lifestyle. We are warned: If you don’t feel comfortable in a plunging sweater, skin-tight jeans, and killer heels, go home and change. (This is like fashion boot camp!)

Worship no idols.

Take inspiration from the street. Never worship fashion idols—but admiring is deemed acceptable. (Quite frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without fashion inspiration from amazing women here, there, and everywhere.) Ines asks us to “sail serenely into a certain age” and encourages “a faultless offbeat style.” (I like the sound of that!)

Beware of good taste.  

Every time you dress, you assert your identity. With style, you tell the world your story. In that way, style affords you opportunities to think about your appearance as a quality of your creative character. (I love these words of wisdom. I like the idea that your apparel tells a tale; I love a good story as much as I love a great ensemble.)

So, give yourself permission to be as creative as can be! Don’t wait for someone else to give you the go-ahead. (And yes, blue and black can be worn together, just as brown and black should be worn together!) After all, rules are meant to be broken.

Find Parisian Chic at The Book Table in Oak Park. For store hours and prices, visit.

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