When in Paris, do as the Parisians do.

Paris.pngHere’s a fact: anyone with a few million pounds in their bank account can stroll into Selfridges and become Fashionable with a capital F. But here’s another fact: very few people—substantial bank account or not— can be considered people of genuine style.

When you have a quick scroll through Instagram or check out any of the multitudes of fashion blogs that exist today – you’re inundated with people clutching onto the latest trends in a dizzying attempt to keep up with the times. And that, ironically, results in hordes of beautiful, talented young men and women looking, well, exactly like everyone else. These types of people are not the genuinely stylish people with whom we should take our fashion inspiration from.

And that’s why I like Paris.

It’s home to the Eiffel Tower,The Palace of Versailles, The Champs Elysees and and has birthed some of the worlds most stylish people – including Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. But the people of Paris (and France at large) arguably possess the best knack for fashion I’ve seen in all my travels.

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I’ve been fortunate to have visited France a few times, and I’m consistently reminded of how much I just love the way French men and women dress. I love how the French flirt with androgyny and embrace the elegance of simple sophistication. Perhaps it was ever since my first visit to Paris in grade 6 that my fashion choices have been precast today, but over the years my observations of French women’s style have definitely been a catalyst for my own very personal style.

Here are a few reasons why I like the way the French do Fashion:

– Trends –

Echoing the previous point, French people are not slaves to short-lived, high frequency fads such as trends.

In London – you’re so aware of trends because the moment something becomes ‘on trend’ – every second girl or guy is wearing it. I don’t have an issue with that – but what I like about France is that the French tend to stick to timeless, well-cut pieces that are classics.

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I also love French architecture. We passed this building on the way to The Louvre – it’s part of the Grand Palais. C’est magnifique!

In a 2014 Vogue research analysis of French Ready-to-Wear style, it was not only revealed that French women aren’t slaves to seasonal trends, but it also proved that they found style inspiration from the streets — not magazines or TV.. I love that.

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My stylish travel buddy, Indigo.We loved spotting the differences/similarities between the French and English cultures.

– Simplicity – 

It’s as simple as that.

They eat simply, they drink simply and their attitude towards fashion is – beautifully – simple. They don’t try so hard to adorn and embellish things the way us English naturally do – they stick to what they know and they stick to the essentials. This is where the true allure of “Frenchness” lies.

In today’s consumerist culture we are constantly bombarded with a kaleidoscope of aspirations; we need to keep up with the Joneses – to look this way or act that way, to have certain beliefs and portray certain strengths. And then the French culture comes in as a breath of Fresch air (oh you’re quick if you got that.. 😉 ) and they seem simply immune from the assault of Western Culture – somewhat virginised in their approach to style and free of all 21st Century pressures.

It’s as if the French take the modern day fashion world with a large pinch of salt (because, obviously their food wouldn’t be the same without salt) and instead have simplified their approach to encompass a more authentic and “chic” style that has no Westernised frills and tassels.

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Ile De La Cite – my favourite nook of Paris. Dressed in black – all day, everyday

 – Femininity – 

This is personally a point that resonates most with me. I must admit, and I know a few readers will condemn me for saying this as it’s a modern day society etc etc – but I think women are to embrace being just that – women.

I am not a feminist. At all.

Even though I believe in gender equality, I appreciate that men and women are just different. And they should dress differently, too. I like men to wear the pants! And while I love a wardrobe that has a slight flirtation with androgyny – I think women look best when they dress femininely.

Androgynous femininity is one of the core elements of a French Girl’s wardrobe and is the perfect interplay of masculine and feminine.That is why the French style is so alluring and interesting and captivating. Androgynous femininity is somewhat of a genius style that the French have mastered.

Perhaps it all began with Coco Chanel, who revolutionised the female wardrobe by incorporating the relaxed styles of menswear into her designs for women.

Having said that, I know this is a contentious topic in today’s climate but I’d love to hear your opinion. Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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I bought this (super cheap!) off the shoulder top on sale from Boohoo a while ago.

 – Basics – 

Parisians have a penchant for good quality basics. I’m talking about crisp white collared shirts, black trousers, trench coats, the perfect tee, black leather loafers, soft cashmere sweaters and a great pair of jeans. And let’s not forget a black blazer.

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My favourite black blazer these days is a military-inspired one from Zara. It reminds me of my dads school blazer.

 – Perfectly Imperfect – 

Perfection is boring and the French are easily bored.  They don’t want to look perfect, and I love that.

Where the English are constantly searching for some objective level of perfected beauty, French women pointedly optimise their own level of attractiveness – and this lends itself to a perfectly imperfect appearance.

The biggest fashion faux pas in France is looking like you tried too hard.

Don’t take your self (or your style) too seriously in France and you will fit right in.

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These jeans are my perfectly imperfect wardrobe essential 😉

What is your favourite thing about French Fashion? Comment below and let me know, I love to read everyone’s messages and comments.

If you liked this post then follow my blog to stay in touch

HH xx

10 THINGS GUYS SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING DRESSED

I must admit I’ve had a surprisingly large amount of response regarding my blog posts from the last audience I was expecting: males. This has therefore led me to articulate my thoughts on the modern day man. Due to the fact that I’ve grown up with two brothers and have had to bare witness to the cesspit of bad decisions that men in South Africa have accustomed themselves to – I feel that I have the authority to voice my opinions around the subject of men’s clothing.

It’s a well-known fact that you guys generally just don’t take fashion as seriously as us girls – so I’m here to help. In all honesty I’ve always avoided telling you what to wear because we all know that you can be SUPER SENSITIVE when it comes to comments made on your appearances (I’ve encountered many disagreements regarding this subject unfortunately!). However, I’m diving straight into the deep-end and letting you guys in on what us girls have been discussing for years.

This is rather cheeky of me because evidently these are all written from my own, opinionated perspective so at the end of the day you’re welcome to take them or leave them. You will, however, thank me later I promise 😉

– 1 –

YOU DON’T NEED TO SHOUT

You’re wearing a Polo shirt, I can see that. But you don’t need to buy an excessively branded shirt to show that you have taste or perhaps even money. The way you co-ordinate your outfit can speak for the quality of your clothes in itself and this subtlety is a lot more effective than a shouty branded shirt. Unless the girl you’re dating is exceedingly shallow – it’s not all about brands..

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– 2 –

TAILORED, NOT TIGHT

Lest you’re wearing a shirt from ninth grade – your clothes shouldn’t choke you but instead should impeccably fit you. On the other end of the spectrum – baggy jeans, baggy suits, baggy anything – are eternally unflattering and deeply disappoints your body frame. I also cannot stress enough how much every guy needs a tailored suit in their cupboard! One look at Johannes Heubl and you’ll understand why …

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– 3 –

SKINNY JEANS ARE A GIRLS’ THING

You’re never going to master the rugged gentleman look if you’re wearing jeans so tight you can see your business. Skinny jeans scream that you’re a hipster and suggest that perhaps you still live with your parents. Unless you want to look like you’re wearing your girlfriend’s jeans, don’t do skinnies.  The perfect jeans are The Slim Fit.

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– 4 –

BACKWARDS CAPS

Ohhhkay. I must confess I have a massive weakness for guys in backwards caps, haha! Hardcore, arrogant and OH SO cool. Backward caps are the easiest accessory you can use to transform a boring everyday look into a stylish, badboy look that says you can handle any crisis that’s thrown at you.

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– 5 –

PLAIN WHITE TEE’S

The modern somewhat rugged gentleman is an alpha male. His clothing strikes a sophisticated equilibrium between form versus function – therefore the Plain White Tee is his saviour. A Plain White Tee shows that you don’t need shouty branded shirts to look good and tends to compliment most guys’ physiques (if they have one, haha).

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– 6 –

WATCH IT

Perhaps I’m just a watch person – but I always notice when a guy is wearing a nice watch. It need not be expensive or branded – it just doesn’t have to be one of those chunky digital ones that you go scuba diving with.

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– 7 –

NEVER DO HIGHLIGHTS

Just don’t.

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DENIM SHIRTS.

 Denim is casual and comfortable and looks like you’re not trying too hard to be stylish – which ironically makes you look even more stylish.

I’ll never forget meeting the Director of Levi’s, Oliver Pywell, who (as expected) was double-deniming it. He has to be one of the coolest people I’ve possibly ever met and his hardcore personality was complimented perfectly by his Levi’s ensemble. I guess there’s just something about denim… 🙂

If you’re not comfortable double-deniming it, couple your denim shirt with Chino’s and you’ll get the perfect casual, stylish outfit. Hellloooo Beckham!

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– 9 –

COLOGNE 

Guys. Nothing is better than a well-perfumed lad! I wish more guys knew of the power of a decent perfume – it is the cherry on top for a well-groomed gentleman and shows that you possess a superior level of etiquette. Your natural pheromones are okay, but a dash or two of Bleu de Chanel (the nicest guy’s perfume I’ve ever inhaled, in my life) won’t hurt you.

Side note: take care not to drown yourself in your perfume – there’s a fine line between an overwhelming scent and a subtle yet striking one. Good perfume is worth every single scent (oh you’re so quick if you got that).

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– 10 – 

BE A GENTLEMAN ON THE INSIDE

You can look like David Beckham and yet your vibe can destroy everything. Gentlemen are a rare breed and you certainly can’t become one overnight – but just know that being a decent good oke can do so much more for you than you will ever know. As much as what I’ve said is concerned wholeheartedly with ones looks – your personality should always resonate through your outfit. A little bit of etiquette here and a little bit of manners there does a lot.

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Lemmeno your thoughts.

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week/weekend 🙂

X

Independent thinkers, independent dressers

The world consists of two types of people: independent thinkers and conformists. Independent thinkers are consequentially independent dressers as they have a careless disregard for what’s ‘trending’. Instead, they wear clothes that resonate with their personal style aesthetics and don’t take pop-culture fad’s to heart (like my friend who wears scrunchies haha).

Considering that this is a fashion blog means that’s pretty hypocritical but leeeet’s be real – it’s true.

There’s this guy that I always see at gym who is a hipster in the best of times and while he dresses in head-to-toe tight black Nike (a bit too tight though, if you know what I mean) – he has the most insane beard. It’s perfectly groomed and is as ginger as my neighbour’s cat, but the fact that he just owns it is impressive. Even though I’m absolutely not a fan of facial hair in any regard and am incapable of such testosterone-induced feats myself – I think that we need more people that are comfortable enough with themselves to grow an orange beard and be proud of it.

Since living in Cape Town I’ve learnt that there’s a beauty in other people’s individuality. Of course the conservative part of me is constantly shocked by some people’s eccentric choices of clothing – but I now have an appreciation for people who will outspokenly dress like a bohemian dancer or maybe even a gypsy – because their non-conformist approach to fashion is rare.


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Pineapples.

All of a sudden the world exploded with pineapple-obsessed people. WHY?

But I must admit that perhaps I’m somewhat of an unconventional hipster myself because I hated pineapples when they were trending, and now that they’re fading in popularity I’m actually starting to like them haha. FYI – It’s really hard balancing a pineapple on your head.

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Photo cred to the phenomenal Kelly Mac. I think onlookers were also wondering “why pineapples?”.


Sometimes it seems that the fashion industry is filled with conformists who are just jumping on any trend’s bandwagon – and yet other times I’m in awe at the industry’s ability to reinvent the ordinary and take a step back from what’s trending to invent something new and fresh. The slit dress is an example of the latter.

Considering the fact that women are less afraid to show off what their mama gave them, as well as the fact that we all got introduced to Angeline Jolie’s awkward leg at the 2012 Oscars – the slit dress is back baby! It took some time to get used to, but I quite like it.

Spring is my favourite season and it’s roughly 3 weeks away – which means that we can slowly trade in our jeans for dresses. Long dresses/skirts can be a little boring and so therefore I suppose this is its sexiest approach.

High slit skirts have become a part of fashion that every woman can use to show off her feminine side that she contrasts with her professional self. It’s chic – but it’s also serious. High slits can be paired with everything from a leather jacket to a silk blouse which is an extra bonus (I personally think a casual leather Jacket is perfect).


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Photographed by Kelly Mac

Dress: Woolworths (on sale, only R225!), Watch: Guess Man, Shoes: Cotton On.


P.S While slits offer lots of sex appeal and look phenomenal – they should come with a warning –  as a wardrobe malfunction is VERY likely. Be careful 😉

Check out more photos by Kelly Mac here: http://www.viewbug.com/member/kellyautumn

HH

X

The Triumph of Testino

Mario-Testino

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Some call him a flirt; some go so far as to call him a slut.

Me? I call him the greatest charmer in fashion. With the combination of his billboard smile and voluptuous accent; there’s no wonder why Testino has been so successful in making such highly-ranked subjects such as the Queen so comfortable in front of the camera.

Testino is acclaimed for fast-forwarding the careers of Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen into super-star status. His notorious ability to disarm even the most guarded subjects in front of the camera has allowed him to have one of the best reputations in a very picky and discriminatory industry.

It is very surprising that his first ambition was to become a priest; but the fashion industry certainly appears to see him as holy.

 

Vogue Paris even requested that he take them on personal tour of his hometown Peru, where he shared his childhood memories and revealed his favourite places. The link is below.

http://en.vogue.fr/fashion/fashion-news/articles/vogue-paris-april-2013-mario-testino-emmanuelle-alt-kate-moss-isabeli-fontana-cuzco-nazca-andes-lima-erin-wasson-mario-vargas-llosa-peru/18017

What do you think of Testino’s photographic ability?

 

I say good work Testino. Good work.

 

Holly Hocks x