Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a The Wandering Parisian
So you have an amazing, never-intend-to-take-them-off pair of black trousers ( See our Functional Wardrobe part 1) These trousers may be wide or narrow, wool or crepe. You may have two pairs, one in linen for summer and one in wool for winter. Doesn’t matter, it is the essential building block for the functional wardrobe. Aside from a camping trip, there are very, very few places it’s unacceptable to wear a smart black trouser.
Choosing the right white blouse
Now you need a white blouse. This is not a Pirate-like affair with ruffles, nor a Victorian piece in lace. This is a simple, again, incredibly comfortable and flattering, blouse in cotton or silk, or crepe, or linen or whatever you love. This is a blouse you can wear to a job interview or a first date. White illuminates, flatters all of us. I have five, possibly seven: wide, narrow, asymmetrical, cotton, linen, even one in taffeta. I wear them open and closed, over things, under things, belted, tied, necklaced, buttoned and un.
This white satin blouse by Ghost is currently in sale at John Lewis
And a jacket. You probably should have a black one, but you also need one that is not black. What this jacket needs to be is NOT the top of a suit. This jacket needs to stand alone and say ‘I am so chic, so interesting, so contemporary, so flattering – why would you ever wear anything else?” It may have leather trim, or a zipper or two zippers, it may have an interesting hem, or be a particularly beautiful texture or made of an unusual fabric. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you love it and it fits you and it flatters you. These are some jackets from my own wardrobe.
You can buy similar such as these by Jigsaw Ted Baker and
Please do avoid the black suit unless it’s really spectacular. Nothing says concierge, or make-up sales person like a conventional black suit.
French women only wear flattering clothes. Period. They don’t own things to “wear for running around in”, or to ‘throw over my x to get the newspaper’.
They don’t own things they don’t feel great in, and neither should you.
And you will note I always talk about comfortable, because at 50+ we are post-discomfort and there is no definition of flattering that includes something that squeezes, bunches, itches or twists.
With those three garments you can go to your life every day.
You obviously will have more than three garments in your wardrobe, but the principal remains the same, you need clothes you feel great in, some accessories to reflect your mood or the occasion, and a variety of black shoes.
It really is that simple.