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French Style over 50: The Functional Wardrobe – Part One

Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a The Wandering Parisian

style over 50 French Chic image




What every woman dreams of is a functional wardrobe – a wardrobe that provides her with the pieces she needs to be able to get up every morning and have something to wear to every, and any, event or activity in her life. That is the true secret of French dressing – optimal functionality. French women are nothing if not pragmatic!

While you may want to buy something special for your 25th wedding anniversary or to be the mother of the bride, you do not want to spend your time or your money scramble-shopping for something to wear to the upcoming baptism, funeral, quarterly presentation or college reunion.

You need a collection of pieces – dresses, trousers, skirts, jackets, blouses – that look so good and are so comfortable and flattering that getting dressed is merely a question of putting them on and together in different ways.

Style is not about ‘costumes’

Once you are 50+ you know you are not a princess, a gypsy or a cowgirl.

You may now safely, and happily, make room in your closet by jettisoning – immediately and irrevocably – anything and everything that might be considered a costume. Long tiered skirts, any jewelery so noisy you can’t wear it to a concert, anything you cannot sit in, stand in or would not want to wear for more than two hours running.

Okay, now we have more room and can really look at what you have.

Working from the premise that you have a pair of black trousers; we are talking about serious trousers – something in a smart fabric with a supremely flattering fit. If you don’t have a pair of trousers like that, stop reading now and go and buy some.  Look at brands such as Winser or Jigsaw

french style over 50 black trousers french style over 50 slim trousers image

Jigsaw trousers

Winser trousers

So now we have those trousers, we can literally go anywhere. At 50+ they should be ankle length.

Yes, I am serious.

Carine Roitfeld, former editor of French Vogue and one of the MOST stylish women, ever, is very clear – over 50 – ankles and wrists are key.

You need to work with a professional seamstress in front of a mirror to determine exactly where the trouser needs to hit your ankle for maximal flatter.

The point is that an ankle length trouser is the most adaptable for your needs. If you are running around town you can pair it with a loafer, at the office you can do a ballet flat or boots and for dinner out you can wear heels. All those different options work with that ankle length. With the loafer you could wear a white blouse under a French-striped tee (marinière); to the office in ballet flats or boots you could do a blouse or a sweater under a jacket or sleeveless tunic; and for dinner wear a big necklace and a jacket and nothing underneath!


To be continued…


Meredith Keeve

Now a Personal Stylist, Meredith Keeve has worked in publishing, fashion, cinema, interior decoration and art in Paris, London, Miami and Toronto. Working as a wardrobe consultant with her French mentor, she learned to identify the ‘closet’ issues women face – the emotional/intellectual relationship to clothes and how clothing can impact and influence how a woman presents and perceives herself. MK chose to specialize in the 50+ customer, attuning her understanding of that customer’s particular needs and desires to determine and implement optimal wardrobe solutions for each individual, in every circumstance.

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  1. Trendy Fashion

    April 1, 2021

    Many thanks for this informative article. I have shared
    it on my own Fb account. I hope, a few of my friends and family
    will pay you a visit …. not in physical form 🙂

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