Friday, October 30, 2009

Dear Cherie

You know of course, Cherie lives and breathes fashion, style, elegance, chic, the whole  joie de vivre, art de vivre, style de vivre aesthetic. It's her very reason to leave her beautiful reves, slip from beneath her Porthault sheets and attack another day of beauty and possibility armed with a frothy cafe creme

(That entire last part is one of her major reves if you catch the drift. . .  Although she does own one pair of threadbare Porthault sheets and a machine that makes cafe creme just as well as any bistro in Paris. Unfortunately it is yet to be delivered on a tiny tray by a cute French waiter in a full-length white apron. Cherie is thinking, maybe when the film rights to this blog are sold she could not only get the new sheets she's been dreaming about, but also a little personal service as well.)

Never mind.

You have more pressing concerns and conundrums. So let's move on.

Q: Oh, Cherie, really this whole boot thing this season. I'm in a state. Everyone is buying them -- all your French friends -- they're in every magazine and the stores are full of them. I don't know what to do: high, low, mid. I'm at a loss. Au secours(!)

A: Cherie didn't think you would ever get to the point. As you can imagine she has the answer to all your questions and in only one boot (well one for each leg, but I know how mentally astute you are)  -- high, low, mid. It's all about zip, zip, zip and a mere 1400 Euros. (Ever your thrifty friend, Cherie will now teach you a nifty math trick, divide the astronomical sum of your new Louis Vuittons by three. As Cherie's ex often said, "You can rationalize anything." Eh, qui.)

BTW, very cute that off-handed addition of au secours, Cherie's impressed you know how to say help(!) in French, that might come in more handy than boots you can divide by three. 

Q: Mme. M: You have promised a continuation of the basics of French women's wardrobes. We've got the black cashmere turtleneck, what's next?

A: A black pencil skirt. Now, before those of you who have "issues" start to hyperventilate, there are pencil skirts and pencil skirts. There are also A-line-ish black skirts. French women shop until they find the one -- it may take scores of shopping sorties -- that is absolutely perfect for their bodies. Then, forever after they pretty much stay to the same shape. It's a staple, it MUST be in every woman's wardrobe. This is no place to compromise and the usual rule applies: The best you can afford. Light wool of the finest quality is a good start.

Q: Mme. A: I'm constantly hearing French women's wardrobes are a trade-off, something like addition and subtraction: one thing in, one thing out. Is that true, Cherie?

A: It depends. Among Cherie's friends and acquaintances it's more like a circle that keeps turning -- or re-cycling if you will. French women hold on to their best clothes until they have to be replaced. The lucky ones have a seamstress whose name they won't divulge to their best friend so precious is her service. Thus with her seamstress enabler she can tweak pieces that are not quite on the fashion mark, but are worth saving and reviving.  When she buys inexpensive of the moment pieces she often hands them off to make room for another.

The good stuff she keeps. You know why? It's not only because she probably has some precious designer duds, but also she can still fit into them year after year, after year. There's the rub.

Q: Mme: To your knowledge, Cherie, do French women travel alone either in their own country or abroad?

A: As far as Cherie has observed, they figure out a way to bring a girlfriend if there is a significant other who is either not interested or not available. They have no problem sitting alone with a book or a magazine in a bistro or restaurant, but they seem to travel in pairs or seek out a tour. Another advantage in this country is even small towns offer excursions that can include anything from a trip to the Louvre with a guide, lunch in Paris and back home to a trip to Vienna for example.

Q: I'm sure, living in France and all, it is practically impossible to shock Cherie. Am I right?

A: Probably. 

Cherie prefers to use the word "surprised" or if she were 100 percent French she would say un peu surprised. In fact, that sentiment arrived full-blown just last week when researching aprons at the request of a faithful reader. In the pursuit of the perfect shield between a too vigorously whisked vinaigrette and a Chanel ensemble Cherie found "The French Maid Apron." As you surmised Cherie is not easily "surprised," but the second thought that popped into her head -- well, she has been living in France for some 20 years -- was: "That little item is probably used for Gallic pursuits that do not necessarily stay in the kitchen." Then again, maybe Cherie has lived here too long or needs more fresh air.

Q: Sometimes Cherie, no offense intended, it seems to me you are entirely too involved in the frivolous world of fashion. I have the feeling you're not getting out enough with real people, with real values who have real lives that do not orbit around appearance.

A: Is that a question?

Cherie is bridling at your assumption that she is out of touch with what really matters in this life. She is anything but, which brings us not only to proof of this fact, but also a beauty tip.

So often Cherie is asked about lining one's eyes. She feels it is such an individual decision, so much a part of a woman's personality, that she and only she can decide. A note of caution: If one's eyes are not as wrinkle, crease and puff free as they once were -- rethink the kohl, at least on the bottom.

Speaking of kohl which will underline my proof that I do wander hither and yon. I recently learned from a friend, a veterinarian btw, that Arabian horses in competition have their hooves painted into a shiny patent leather finish and their huge eyes are enhanced with eye-liner. She told me sometime she might take me to see them.

See, where else would you get an off-subject bijou like that if you didn't turn to Cherie?

No one could ever accuse Cherie of being shallow. 

Note: Photo of boots from Elle taken by Paul Empson. The skirt is DKYN.


Marsi said...

Cherie, your blog is so nothing but value-added content day after day, week after week. No wonder I love you!

A black pencil skirt is indeed on my "Must Buy" list, where it's been a fixture for a while. Why? Because as you said, it's difficult indeed to find exactly the right one. Du courage!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Oh how I adore Cherie!

And to answer the question about only being concerned with fashion... if one is to travel around the world and do interesting things... wouldn't one rather look fabulous doing them?

can't wait until next time...


knitpurl said...

Happy to read Marsi's back out there in the land of snow!! I'm in the land of rain and more rain.

Ah Cherie this was a delightful read right down to the info. on Arabian horses.

And Dear Cherie, been reading that in some Boardrooms, it is now fashionable for MEN to wear expensive jeans, shoes, topped with dress shirt and a designer blazer. Wondering if you have learned about an equivalent for women? Or, am I circling around what you have already taught us?

BTW, that was too funny on the French apron.

Anoninoz said...

Dear Cherie - how did you know?! You must have heard me start to hyperventilate regarding the pencil skirt (being more 'poire' in shape rather than any other type of fruit) -however, I will take your wise counsel and cherche, cherche, cherche for one which may suit....!

Rita said...

Cherie, your fashion insight is perfect. You always have the best advice.

Gypsy Purple said...

Just love reading your blog!

aaonce said...

Cherie, thank you for being such a good sport about all of our questions. I didn't get the opportunity to tell you that with last week's posting. Great eye with those boots! I was sold at the design alone but they are practical too? Hmmm, tempting...
Thank you for reminding me that the endless hunts I go upon for the perfect skirt, blouse, ect are NOT in vain. My best (and most highly complemented pieces) I sometimes spend a little more on, but I have had for years. You will get no accusations of frivolity from this woman, as I believe fashion is both science and an art. We must first learn the process (science) then feel free to let loose the creativity (art) -and who thinks that science and art are frivolous?

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