Can anyone solve a conundrum for me? How do European women and particularly french women manage to look so effortlessly stylish? I realise this is hardly answering one of life's great questions but it has been a perpetual puzzle for me, a girl from Rotherham, who was trying to make it in the very international, and glamorous world of fashion from my early 20s.
I felt abit like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole if I'm honest, as all the women had incredible style like they'd just walked off the set of a Federico Fellini film, whilst I looked more Carry on Camping! It's such a difficult thing to define but I always felt like there was something aesthetically not quite right with my 'look' for want of a better word - my nails weren't manicured, my shoes were the wrong shape, or something similarly ridiculous that would leave me feeling constantly inadequate.
I only ask as I was reminded again whilst looking at the brilliant blog The Sartorialist. I will borrow a couple of images to illustrate but you should really go straight to Scott Schuman's website as it is a pictorial education in modern style. Even the dressed-down outfits of the Euro-fashionistas have a confidence and f**k it approach the British don't seem to have.
Vanessa Paradis, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sophie Marceau, Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Tatou - all elegant and seemingly better with age and botox-free!
I'm also reaching an age [my mid-30s] where I think my style needs to become a little more considered if I'm going to look someway resembling good. This is of course something that doesn't begin to cross my mind as I'm wrestling with a toddler first thing in the morning trying to persuade him of the merits of brushing his teeth and putting clothes on other than his cartoon PJs. But I'm starting to think about what my next career step will be and my re-emergence into the real world - bad nails and all.
So I'll continue pondering on my predicament - although I seem to remember reading somewhere that French women spend the most money on lingerie and cosmetics in the world. True or false? Maybe that effortless chic does actually require considerable effort...