Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recessionista Part Deux

You know what I miss about the States?

Cheap stuff!

TJ Maxx, Target, Marshalls – oh, the thrill of getting more for less.

On the other hand, I’ve never been better-dressed than in Paris. Since even reasonably-priced stores like the Gap cost an arm and a leg over here, I splash out on just one or two items that makes me feel like a million bucks (make that euros, given the current exchange rate.)

Maman hammers it into French girls’ heads since birth:

Always buy quality.

Magazine articles tell women to buy a classic Chanel jacket and wear it for the rest of their lives. OK, I’m down with that – as soon as I find an extra 3000 euros in change behind the couch cushions.

Real-life chic Frenchwomen shop at upmarket stores like Gerard Darel and Comptoir des Cotonniers. (And make sure they’re on their mailing lists for private sale invitations.) Their designs have an interesting twist every season but are classic enough to last a few years. Tara Jarmon is a personal fave with their 60’s-inspired dresses and ultra-feminine suits. I’ve trotted out the same hot-pink satin Tara Jarmon cocktail dress for countless weddings and get compliments every time. Now that’s return on investment.

A faire: Always look at materials. Wool, cotton, and cashmere will probably stand the test of time – polyester, not so much.

A ne pas faire à tout prix: Wear something that doesn’t fit just because it’s trendy.

Here’s what you really need:

A fantastic spring and winter coat
A tailored leather jacket
A crisp white shirt with feminine details
Throw-on basics like washable cashmere T’s

Fantastic Frenchy Fashion:

Zadig & Voltaire
Gerard Darel
American Vintage (yep, it’s French)
Comptoir des Cotonniers
Tara Jarmon

What are your favorite French brands? registered & protected


Kelli said...

Great Post La Mom!! Would you like to guest post on my blog? We can start with Recessionista Part One?
I completely agree with all you are saying, buy quality and the worry and stress fade away!
Bisous et bon weekend!

vicki archer said...

Chanel, silly! No just kidding.

I love Isabel Marant and Vanessa Bruno and also there are many little boutiques in the Marais - their names fail me - that I love which are not brand names. xv

Anne said...

Washable cashmere T's? Seriously? I had no idea.

Anonymous said...

I love Berenice. I agree with Viki - how could you forget Isabel & Vanessa, oh and Paul Ka :)

Peggy said...

Great post!
I really love Comptoir and they recently opened in NYC where they had an amazing Winter sale. At the sale, I overheard a Maman on her phone with her daughter in Paris asking for her sizes! She said the sale in NYC was better than Paris.
And what about - agnes b!- the epitome of cool classic French.

Anonymous said...

I really like et vous.

La Mom said...


Yep, cashmere & cotton T's. I have a couple from American Vintage that they bill as "pulls" but they're really T-shirty things that I wear under other sweaters or with one of their sheer T's. You can throw them in the machine on the hand wash cycle.

I think J.Crew had some a few seasons ago, too -- but unfortunately I hardly ever shop there anymore!

La Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm into Costume National for special occasions. It is rather expensive.

The Antiques Diva™ said...

Hi La Mom,
Have you read the book by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux called "A Guide to Elegance - For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occassions"
It was written in the 1960's but has such wonderfully relevant tips for today much along the lines of what you were writing about.
The Antiques Diva

Alix said...

I love Maje ! Although, I don't know if it's french.
My personal secret is to dress only with basics and play with "trendy" accessoires: jewelry bien sûr. That way, you're always chic for less.

H.I.T. said...

Great post!

Love Anne Fontaine. You can never go wrong with a tailored button down shirt and the styles are trendy enough to be cool, but classic enough to last more than one season.

La Mom said...

Oh, Paule Ka -- j'adore! Not so practical for a SAHM, but hey, I could throw on a raw silk dress and duster coat to make grocery shopping an extra-special moment...

La Mom

Sara said...

I love love love Tara Jarmon. I was first turned onto her by my visit to Tar-zhaaay! (I think they do a good job with their Go!International campaign, which is where I first of heard Tara Jarmon.) I've been a fan ever since.

I also like Catherine Malandrino. Alas, I'm an American chick with boobs, so her dresses don't ever fit me.

I haven't updated the blog in a millennium, but I did write something about French style here-- Those are my picks.

MH said...

Very cute. You might want to check some of the International Shopping clubs like Beyond The Rack for some of the fashions you like. They ship to France.
You can check this and other tips on my blog, The Recessionista:

Bon Fetes!


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