Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Le Marais

So many beautiful people, things and sights to see in Paris. Here's my first street style photo. I was hesitant about asking if I could take a photo, but she was so sweet and obliging. I love her casual and sexy look. We exchanged info. Her name is Audrey Maudry-Gauvin and turns out she is a wonderful photographer of Paris

But of course, Louboutin

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mini Pour Deux

This clipping was sent to me by my Auntie right before we made our first trip together to Paris in 1980. Funny how things never change. We're still talking about sharing and swapping clothes on this trip!

I did one shopping expedition for Paris. A friend told me about Mili in Mill Valley, which is actually three neighboring boutiques. Matt and I drove there from San Francisco one Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. I spent nearly four hours hopping between the Mili shops trying on a great mix of European and American-made clothes. Mili was super nice and had excellent suggestions. Matt kept himself entertained sitting in a comfy chair sketching and offering style crits when asked. I found a number of fabulous items that I think will be perfect for Paris (some of them came from Paris!). I've road-tested it all with success, style and comfort being the top criteria. One funny thing... everything is BLACK! But isn't that perfect for Paris? And San Francisco?

Labels from my new Mili acquistions
Here's my general packing list:

Crate yoga pants
Purple long sleeve T
Black cami
Neesh Highlands jacket (Mili)
Purple floral scarf

Sunlight "scuba" tunic (Mili) 
Navy zip-front dress
Black cotton knit Heartstring dress

McPlanet "tux" pants (Mili)
Paige skinny jeans
Cop Copine "Malice" leggings with bow detail (Mili)
plain leggings

White button down shirt
White l/s T
Black Neesh l/s lined mesh top (Mili)
Black 3/4 sleeve Petit Bateau T
White tank
Black tank

Cop Copine "Verseau" (Mili)
Black cotton knit shrug

"Chanel" flats
Sandals with heel
Flat sandals
Le Coq Sportif athletic

Lilac pashmina
Lilac and pink floral silk chiffon scarf
Mexican silver chain necklace
Various earrings
Silver cuff bracelet
PJ's, undies, etc. 
Laptop, camera, iPod, phone, chargers

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Moo, I Love You

I'm taking a break from packing to show you my new blog cards. My D.O.T. pal Debra is encouraging me to get the word out about Bien Vestido. I've been keeping my blog somewhat of a secret until I posted a few entries and learned how I felt about blogging. And now that it's clear that I am enjoying the process, Deb gently suggested I take a look at and perhaps order some mini moo cards, half-size business cards. Well, I did and I'm thrilled. I ordered a 100 cards with 5 each of 20 different color designs. Moo has a huge selection of great graphics and styles or you can customize with your own photos or graphics. You can bet that I'm bringing a stack to Paris! (Maybe even surreptitiously leave a few  at Colette and Merci.)

Thoughtfully designed packaging.

Packing for Paris

No more procrastinating. It's time to get serious and commit to what I'll be wearing for ten days in Paris. My Auntie and I had the good intentions of each taking only one carry-on. But we've gotten realistic and realized that's not going to happen. If we were moving around a lot, it would be the smart thing to do. But we're staying in one place, a little apartment in the Marais, so we can indulge in one medium size check-on each. 

There are many methods for packing. There's Rick Steves' packing list. It's detailed and he's got the basics. But he lost me at ONE PAIR OF SHOES?!!? I don't think so.  Then there's One Bag. But again, too basic for two Bien Vestidas in Paris. One Bag suggests two trousers or skirts. That's one on and one off. No, merci. 

So, I am seeking a balance of the luxury of having a variety of clothing items, but not so many that I feel bogged down and don't end up wearing half. I do enjoy the challenge. 

I have a file called Travel Clothes. It's where I've kept my packing lists from every trip since 2000. The lists are nothing fancy and somewhat idiosyncratic. When I get home from a trip, I mark on the list what was worth taking and what I could've done without. It helps inform me for the next trip. And since Matt and I travel to Mexico a lot, it makes packing each time a lot easier. 

For some reason, it helps me get started by deciding what I'll wear on the plane. That goes on the list first. Then I begin with categories: pants, jackets, skirts, dresses, tops, shoes, accessories/pj's/undies/socks. I lay everything on the bed or hang from a hook so I can see it all. Halfway through the categories my thinking begins to get muddles, so I begin listing possible outfits while thinking about my upcoming activities. For this trip, let's see, my activities will be eating delicious food in charming restaurants, drinking wine, walking a lot, enjoying cafes, people watching and lots of shopping, window and otherwise. Oui!

It's a bit of extra work, but I try on each outfit with accessories. The dress rehearsal helps me relax and know I'm bringing the right stuff. I can also double-check that each item works with at least several other items. I do all this in several short sessions instead of one big overwhelming session. 

So now to work on my packing list for Paris...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


*Dress Like a Frenchwoman

My Auntie and I are flying to Paris ten days from today and meeting my Uncle Ron from New Orleans.  And now that Matt's show is up and we had a successful opening night and good review by Kenneth Baker (scroll down to "Gil's Thrills"), I can start thinking about what to pack. We want to look like we belong there and not like tourists, although our cameras, Michelin Plan de Paris and confused looks standing on street corners could give us away. But at least we can dress well.

The concept of Dressing Like a Frenchwoman has been a long-time passion for me. One of the best compliments anyone can give me is, "You look so French!"In fact, I've used the phrase so often, I'm officially trademarking and acronyming it. DLFW implies dressing with an elegant, worldly style but with your own individual touches. In scanning my bookshelf, I realize I have a few books on the subject.

Suzanne Sommers, author of French Chic: How to Dress Like a Frenchwoman defines French chic as "striking, subtle, sexy, surprising, understated and overdone, witty, one-of-a kind and is certainly elusive. Yet, although it is composed of a variety of styles, there is only a single spirit: self-expression." And this quote from Azzedine Alaia, "French chic involves few items, a lot of fantasy in putting them together and a talent with accessories." Published in 1988, some of the details like exaggerated shoulders are dated, but a lot of the looks are still inspiring.

Then there's Veronique Vienne, author of French Style. Born and raised in Paris, she became more conscious of what it meant to DLFW when she moved to the United States. Reading her book is like having a french bestfriend who shares all her style secrets with you.

In 1990, an unbelievable twenty-one years ago, my friend Debra and I attended a one-day class at the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco titled "How to Dress Like a Frenchwoman." I kept my notes all these years.

Some of my notes:
  • Be hedonistic. FW nurture themselves from the inside out. 
  • FW like to look like they just came from someplace interesting. 
  • FW show their figure. 
  • FW are fussy about fit and the hang of clothes.
  • Maintain the ability to transform yourself. 
  • Tell yourself: no more so-so dressing. 
  • If you have five items, you want to make it look like you have twenty. 

And an idea I learned in the class and never forgot, that it's important to experience "coup de la coeur" or "beat of the heart" whenever adding something new to your wardrobe. That exciting feeling when you imagine wearing that new dress or blouse and you know you will look great. 

I could go on and on... but I better start my packing!