on style and self-possession

“If you strip away the stereotypes and contradictions about her, one of the fundamental qualities associated with the French girl is her sense of self-possession. She is entirely, unequivocally self-contained. She is focused on living her full life, following her own agenda and cultivating her actual self, rather than reinventing herself or pining away to be someone she’s not. Throughout her life, she invests herself in learning and experiencing, not to change who she is, but to become more fundamentally and more fully who she truly is.”

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide To Finding Her Inner French Girl

To be honest, I’m completely over those French girl stereotypes but when reading the excerpt above, it reminded me of Archana’s comment on my 5 piece French wardrobe overview post and more specifically the fact that I decided to wear a black jumpsuit instead of a white dress for my wedding: “But I cant help admire the ones who do what they desire.” This has always been something I take pride in: I refuse to give in to the pressure to be someone that I am not. Not only when it comes to style but also in everyday life. From a very young age I knew that it is impossible for everyone to like you and your actions or beliefs. So you might as well just be yourself, follow your own path and surround yourself with people who like and love you for who you truly are.

Style-wise I try to stay away from trends unless they fit my own individual style which is simple and fuss-free. As much as I would like to experiment at times, in the end I usually go back to my trusted uniform; jeans, a simple t-shirt / sweater and sneakers or ankle boots. Which is fine because I aim to build a wardrobe that is functional, timeless and a reflection of my personality. I know that some people consider this blog too intense in terms of shopping, planning etc. but I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to dissect your personal style and preferences. The better you get to know yourself, the easier it is to get dressed in the morning and to feel put together, which leaves more time for the things that are truly important in life.

Image: Knobbly Studio x Laurie Franck

chanel the making of

I love to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of a large fashion brand. Especially when it concerns one of the most iconic fashion houses in the world. I’m currently spending my day in bed sick and have been re-watching the making of several Chanel Haute-Couture collections. Even though I don’t consider myself a Chanel woman (not a fan of the flashy logos on their bags and I could never pull off a classic Chanel look), I do find the process of creating a new collection incredibly fascinating. The amount of time and energy that goes into each garment is absolutely mind-blowing. Each piece of clothing is made with the utmost precision and care.

You can watch the short videos here:
Fall/Winter 2013-2014Fall/Winter 2014-2015Fall/Winter 2015-2016Fall/Winter 2016-2017

If you have a little more time to spare, I also recommend the behind the scenes documentary ‘Signé Chanel’ from 2005 which shows the design process from sketch to finished product. While the Chanel Haute-Couture making of videos mostly focus on the intricate details of different garments, Signé Chanel also focusses on the designer but most of all on the people who turn his sketches into real clothes; his atelier. My favourite and, without a doubt, most interesting character is Madame Pouzieux, a then 75 year old farmer who is also responsible for the signature Chanel braids which she creates on an antique loom in her farm house. You can watch the episodes here.

the new garconne

I spent a large part of my youth reading whatever I could get my hands on. I used to visit the library every single week, borrowing several books at a time. Unfortunately the pressure of reading many, many books in high school and university somewhat killed the pleasure of reading for me. Along with this fast paced world we are currently living in, I can hardly find the time to rediscover my love for books. However, occasionally I’ll pick up a style related book for some light reading such as The New Garconne – How to be a Modern Gentlewoman.

The book by Navaz Batliwalla celebrates fashion’s gentlewomen. Inspiring, independent and relatable women with a penchant for classic styles and a more reflective way of shopping such a La Garçonne founder Kris Kim and perfumer Lyn Harris. A nice change from the usual well-known fashion suspects. Apart from the interviews you’ll also come across an enjoyable essay on the evolution of the gentlewoman, a section on the classic items that every Gentlewoman most likely has in her closet and a shopping guide which not only focusses on designer brands but also more attainable high street brands such as COS.

I definitely don’t consider this the ‘perfect’ style-guide but is there really such a thing? What I like about it is that it’s not another book that dictates you what to buy. Instead, the profiles of these fairly unknown, modern women leave you inspired and make you rethink your own wardrobe. The imagery is lovely and the design is very reminiscent of the Gentlewoman magazine. The only negative thing I can think of is that I got through it rather quickly and would have loved to read more on the subject. This book would make a great gift for the upcoming holiday season or just as a gift to yourself.

On an entirely different note, I’ll be in London the next three days for work and tomorrow (Monday) I’ll be exploring the city on my own before my colleague joins me on Tuesday. I don’t know if this blog has any visitors from London but if someone would like to meet up for drinks, send me a message or leave a comment!

i've got it covered

Now that the weather is changing rapidly, there is at least one thing I don’t have to worry about; my outerwear. As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently rediscovered my Isabel Marant Atea peacoat. The fit was a little snug last year so I decided to wear my other coats instead. But right now, I am completely smitten with this coat again. I bought it on sale online in 2011 and was surprised by the fit and overall quality in real life. Unlike many other Isabel Marant coats, this classic menswear inspired coat is fully lined and tailored to precision in a woven wool blend. It has been holding up extremely well and it’s warm enough to withstand a typical Dutch winter. When it gets really cold, I’ll pair it with my Acne Canada scarf (review here). It’s nice to know that I’ve got this part of my wardrobe covered with pieces that have been with me for several years.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Vince peacoat / H&M wool scarf / Embryolisse cream