Monday, November 04, 2013

Avec Style: The 10 Rules of Style

So I'm off running around the country again, and will be mostly out of internet range for at least a couple of weeks - my return date is VERY uncertain.  But I've queued up a number of posts for you, on a variety of subjects - colors, books, some Chic Sightings...

Cross your fingers that this adventure goes well!


I've had this book for a while, and now that I'm travelling - AGAIN - for my familial obligations, it seems like a good time to share with you the many interesting insights I found here.

First warning: if you read or speak French, note that this book is from Canada.  99% of the writing is spot on to what you read in France, but every now and then a word will trip me up.  I view it as a learning experience!

One of the salient design elements of this book is that she distills a lot of advice into a series of "10 Rules", so for the next few days I'm going to translate those for your enjoyment, and toss in my thoughts or observations if they seem relevant.

(don't you just love the subtitle - Secrets of a Well Thought-Out Wardrobe?)

The 10 Rules of Style

1.  Fashion is never banal.  Amuse yourself and take risks, without ever forgetting to stay elegant.  It's the key to success. (easier said than done, for me!)

2.  Put your best foot - or features - forward.  You have beautiful legs, or a ravishing decolletage?  Show it off!

3.  Avoid being too "matchy matchy".  Pay scant attention to established codes, and instead mix your styles, such as a classic skirt with a bohemian blouse, or jeans with a satin jacket.

4.  Always include something that shows your personal style - a star accessory, a unique color, a daring print, an original cut...

5.  Is your outfit tired?  Work on your accessories - they are the signature of your style.

6.  Adapt to the trends, with respect to your age and your body type, without becoming predictable or boring.

7.  Don't try too hard! It's better to be classic than to be unnaturally hip!  (now, I'm struggling with the balance between trendy and classic again...)

8.  Don't limit yourself by seasons.   Mix them up - a summer dress with a wool cardigan...

9.  Clothing is NOT more important than you are.   One must see your personality, wearing the clothes - not the other way around.

10.  It's better to be chic than ordinary.


  1. I love Louise Labrecque style, she’s French Canada “fashion guru”. She dresses the real woman, not the ones in magazines.

  2. Good food for thought. Some of these are a stretch for me, but I'm looking for ways to expand my style while not expanding my wardrobe. May need to try some of these suggestions.

    May you have safe travels and make good memories.

  3. Love your translations! Your French must be quite good. I haven't tried a whole book for many years and am afraid I couldn't manage.

  4. Safe travels!

  5. Very decent advice. I think I fall down on playing up my best attributes. I will have to work a bit harder by paying attention to all of these tips.

  6. I just thumbed through Advanced Style by Seth Cohen and those gals are so far from ordinary!
    Fashion should be fun.
    The book sounds like a keeper.

  7. Wishing you safe travels, Janice.

  8. I am finding No 6 hard these days, 'adapt to the trends'. What are the trends? It all seemed easier when fashion was not so 'fast', there were discernable themes to be rejected or assimilated. All I know is that my behind cannot wear the skinny jean, so I reject that trend. But for the rest, I am scratching my head. Am I hopelessly out of touch? I no longer know - what IS the the touchstone of au courant? So I am retreating more to wearing pieces by low profile designers (i.e. my mid price range) who draw a lot from vintage, I know that my figure suits 50s silhouettes and I am consciously side stepping current trends, whatever they may be. So that's my compromise, for now. Any suggestions?
    And happy travelling!

  9. Really enjoyed this. The one I don't get is #8; it is cold here, in Canada, and why one earth anyone would wear a summer dress with a wool cardigan is beyond me. Most people would consider it odd looking, but more than that, hypothermia-inducing. Maybe she is pulling nos jambes?

    @ Margot: I think by "trends", Labrecque means paying attention to ideas like wearing a sequin-studded tee with one's black pants instead of the tried and true turtleneck. Or changing shoes as the styles change (something I have to force myself to do)! Your approach sounds wonderful and I'd love to see some of your wardrobe!

  10. Thank you Duchesse, so she is suggesting mixing things up, not going for the safe, predictable (read 'dowdy') default utilisation of silhouette and fabric, eg rather than a twin set in matchy wool, change the dynamic (I like Crumpet, England, for shaking things up in this way, they did a biker-style cardigan in a mix of fabrics a season or so ago, leather and cashmere).
    Even in shoes I find there to be crazy range of what is now 'in' - kitten heel, block heel, stack heel, round toe, pointy toe... I am heading more for what suits my tiny feet and shapely calves, not try to follow any trend, as again I can't really see one anymore.