Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News & Views, This & That

Ines de la Fressange in her navy cashmere sweater from Monoprix with daughter Nine in hers from Bompard.  
Welcome to an essay in defense of Monoprix. You know I love the place, so the discourse is not without prejudice.

Please remember, I can only speak from my experiences. My generalizations may not be yours. (There, I think I've qualified the subject to death.) One cannot compare Monoprix to Target, even when it's pronounced "Tar-jaay."

Yes, I'm aware that designers produce capsule collections for Target, and some seem sort of cute, but usually the materials make my teeth hurt. There's something skimpy, nothing special about them (my impressions). Meanwhile at Monoprix the silks, cashmeres, cottons and linens are lovely and provide perfect fill-ins for two types of wardrobe needs:

One can't get more classic than this linen tunic.

1.) The basics. T-shirts of all sorts, styles and colors at rock bottom prices. All nicely finished and the cotton is truly luxe. If one wants a single item dabble in a wild, trendy color without full commitment, this is the time and place.
Wonderfully affordable linens in the summer -- tunics, shirts, shift dresses. And, they're keepers. I've had some of my tunics for years. The other day I bought my daughter a short-sleeved, knee-skimming linen shift.                                                                                                                                                            

 The cashmeres are light and reasonably priced. They come in amazing colors and there are always a few unexpected designs like marinieres this season for example in gray and red or navy and red stripes.



Last fall, the king of cashmere, Lucien Pellat-Finet, designed these cashmere sweaters for Monoprix.

2.) A flash of fashion. Always, one can find something of-the-moment or better yet, something unexpected like mariniere dresses, linen skimmers, sweet open-toed espadrilles with a bow, great belts to give the basics a shot of color --  shocking pink, electric yellow, neon blue, lime green.

A new design team is behind the brand and it shows.


Whenever I shop in my favorite Monoprix(s) I see incredibly chic women perusing the racks and shelves. It's another great place to find beautiful underpinnings and pretty, light cotton sleep wear including long cotton pajama trousers from the men's department.

Let's see, how shall I put this? One doesn't see the "trash" element one often observes at seemingly comparable emporiums. Monoprix has the French twist.

Ines in the same navy cashmere sweater with her daughter Nine.
As Ines de la Fressange said in an interview in this week's Figaro Madame magazine when asked the question, "What is a Parisienne?"

". . . my sense is she is a woman who knows how to melange the expensive and the inexpensive, the new and the old, a T-shirt from Monoprix and a bracelet from a fine jeweler."


News Report: Regarding the activities of Une Femme and A Femme (you're already here): lots of fun, gossip, walking, talking, talking, talking, shopping, sipping and tonight dinner with our Reasons-For-Being-Married.

Aside: You asked why I have a discount at Monoprix. I have a Monoprix card and whenever I buy something I get points and then one magic day a notice arrives by the post telling me to come in and use my points, i.e. discounts.  Very exciting as you can imagine.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pretty Feet On-the-Street


More lovely shoes (and toes) for your delectation. I'm on my way to Paris to meet Deja Pseu (Une Femme ) to shop, shop, shop and probably gossip. I have tons of discounts at Monoprix so will definitely try to point her in that direction.








If she needs new Marcels, now is the moment. I also saw a great linen jacket and of course there are scarves. You know how much she loves scarves.

A demain with, I hope, head-to-toe pictures on the street.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Next Week or La Semaine Prochaine



C'est la Fête des Mères today.

To celebrate, I thought you would like to see our new neighbor and his mother. Isn't he adorable? He spends most of his days sprawled in the sun sleeping. She passes her days gazing lovingly at her petit garçon. Well, who wouldn't? I do.



Back to business. . .

On The Calendar for The Week Ahead

On Their Feet On-the-Street

News & Views

Full Body On-the-Street pictures

More News & Views

Surprises

**A report about what Deja Pseu -- Une Femme -- and I are up to in Paris.

Next Week's Round-Up

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Feet On-the-Street


Oh, what a fool I've been. I didn't even realize I may have solved all my on-the-street photographic problems. "Bonjour, madame, may I please take a picture of your feet?" By simply cropping my subjects from the knees down they might be more amenable.






Whenever I see pedicures and/or shoes that interest me I always ask the women who already agreed to a full body shot if I can do a close-up of their feet. I'm now thinking this approach -- "just your feet, please" -- could lead to not only an entirely new series for us, but could also make potential subjects less reticent.

On the other hand, they might think I have some sort of foot fetish blog thing going. A couple of women asked me if their pictures could wind up on a porn site. "Unlikely," I assured them.

Welcome to the first of what may be a continuing series on neat feet.

Happy weekend. It continues to be ab-so-lute-ly gorgeous in these parts.

My pal Deja Pseu, Une Femme, arrives tonight. We plan to shop and dine in the days ahead. I'll keep you posted -- literally.

Friday, May 27, 2011

News, Views, This & That. . .

Mother and child by Mary Cassatt. 
Of course I intended to take on-the-street pictures in Paris earlier in the week. I really did. However -- and this is an excuse you will understand -- I ran out of my cards. Now, many of you have suggested I should snap and run, not ask permission. The problem with that technique, which, btw I like very, very much, is the fact I'm not certain it's legal.

Do I have the right to photograph a non-public person and "publish" it on a public blog? I'm not sure, and on the outside chance I do not have the right, I truly do not want to end up in a courtroom. And, as I've said, the house is in my name so you can see why I hesitate.

My new cards will be finished late this afternoon. One set is medium gray with Bordeaux printing, the other light gray with navy blue. Who could refuse such elegance. . .?

I shall now try to redeem myself with useful information, as in actionable. You can run right out and buy this stuff and feel smug and smart (in the two senses of the word).

Produits Pour Maman et Bébé




As those of you who have been visiting this space for a while know, I am addicted to ABC Derm, a cleansing liquid for babies. I have been using it for three years as my principle facial cleanser. It's a miracle in a modest plastic bottle.

I also sometimes use Topicrem an "Ultra-Hydratant" body lotion, originally created for bébé. Supposedly Catherine Deneuve agrees with me. I read that. She didn't tell me herself.

I'm telling you this today because once again I've discovered I'm waaaaay ahead of the curve in my product preferences. It's frightening really.

Less glamorous, ever and always for bébé, but now maman likes the cleansing milk as well.











Above, several products purpose-made for mother and child. It's a new marketing approach apparently. Why didn't I think of this? It's the story of my life.

Herbal Remedies




Yes, I believe in them and have some great herbal "sleeping pills" which work when I'm exhausted and have no problems trotting through my head. But that's another story.

What I'm talking about at the moment is a remedy for one's herbs or a herb preserver. The system is from La Carpe  and promises fresh herbs stay fresh for up to three weeks inside the thingie pictured above.

The bottom is filled with water, the premise being that the stems drink in the water like cut flowers, and the snap-on top creates a sort of greenhouse effect, except cold, because you keep the whole thing in the refrigerator.

No, I do not plan to buy one because as you may recall I have my very own potager. When I need fresh herbs I walk out the back door with my scissors and snip, snip, snip. I might even grab a tomato or a cucumber.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

News & Views, This & That

Carole Bouquet
No good reason to be running late today, so will dispense with excuses and get on with it. Lots to tell you, to keep us on message headlines oblige.

White Shirt Sagas


Charlotte Rampling
True, not your every day white shirt, but so beautiful on Tilda Swinton.
Charlotte Rampling
We've discussed the subject innumerable times -- or rather I've nattered on about the wonders of the white shirt. We must, absolutely must, have them in our wardrobe. Time and time again they prove how simple it can be to look chic without the slightest effort.

Cases in point, the women who chose them during this year's Cannes Film Festival.

One Tank Top = One Marcel


Look! Look! A color-block Marcel -- is that exciting or what?
I ask you, why would anyone refer to them as "wife beaters" when all it takes is substituting the synonym, "Marcel"? Or, how about "tank top" if you're trying to find them in a store and the salesperson doesn't know what you're talking about?

No, not at all a "cult" fashion item, they're simply handy, inexpensive go-to tops that can be sophisticated when properly accessorized or beneath jackets and cardigans. No big deal.

I found them in a rainbow of colors yesterday, but, me being me, bought only gray, white and navy. I had a special discount at Monoprix because I'm such a good customer. Therefore my total was eight Euros.

Happy Birthday Ken





For a moment I thought Barbie was the original Cougar, but she is a mere two years older than Ken who will celebrate his 50th birthday this year.

What fun it would be if the Mattel company created a Barbie Cougar with a much younger lifeguard or model toy boy (literally in this case). Maybe it would be a bad influence on children, but what a great gift for women to give to friends.

Don't forget, you heard the idea here first.

More on My Converse Conversation


How about these for a ladylike alternative?

Yes, I believe they are absolutely ageless and, frankly, they are budget friendly making it possible to have a whimsical pair and a more "classic" understated version.

And, as you pointed out, they're fun without being "wacky."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Converse Conversation

Aren't they sweet? 

Perfectly understandable, your hesitation to wear Converse high-tops with your evening gowns. I mean really. One would definitely have to be in the Best Dressed Hall of Fame (which Ines de la Fressange is btw) to pull off such an aberration.

Ines, I think we can all agree, never makes a fashion misstep. Whatever she does works because, well, because she is Ines. That leaves the rest of us.




Another DIY project: buy one pair and change the laces every day. What a lark n'est-ce pas?










However, it does not leave the rest of us without Converse sneakers. We have a rainbow of choices in the more feminine, down-to-earth and, yes, I believe, ageless low (read "normal") version.

I see them on French children and women of every age almost every day. Often their tops, sometimes T-shirts, on other occasions a jacket or a shirt, repeat the color of the Converse shoes which makes for a fun, pretty, coordinated -- without being coordinated, of course -- look. One woman last week in my country streets pictures added lilac beads to echo the color of her Converse sneakers. Another wore a taupe version that matched her T-shirt.
Hmmm, "paint spattered" Converse sneakers. Now there's a DIY accessory idea. Never let it be said this blog does not give value and priceless ideas. 


Still, I think very few of us would wear the low look with evening wear. Some women known for their eccentric style might consider donning a pair with tuxedo pants. They might. I know someone (she's French) who would. I wouldn't. But pourquoi pas?


And, by-the-by, you are so right, Frenchwomen do love their extremely feminine Bensimon sneakers. Think ageless.

A "Marcel" from Petit Bateau.
Ed. Note: I'm off to Paris right-this-minute. I plan to buy two gray Marcels and one in white. And, yes, I wear something over them unless I'm sleeping in them. At night I just turn off the lights. It's a wonderful fashion trick. I can't believe I haven't mentioned it before. Under the cover of night a woman can get away with almost anything. . .
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