June 13, 2011

Bonne Manière

Malandrino Blouse, Carven Pleated Wool-Crepe Skirt, Miu Miu Shoes

There has been much discussion about the Five Piece French Wardrobe- a shopping philosophy modeled after how French women center their wardrobes around essentials and add a few (five) new purchases each season. You can read more about the Five Piece French Wardrobe- HERE. French women are known for their shopping expertise. Parisiennes manage to look chic and sophisticated by investing in a few quality pieces that fit well. There are practical reasons why French women buy less- there is a knowledge of quality, closets are incredibly small and clothing is expensive to name a few. 

Many perceive limiting purchases in this manner as a challenge, but it's how I was taught to think about my wardrobe. I don't adhere strictly to limiting my new purchases to five items, but I'm aware of my consumerism. I believe in connoisseurship when it comes to shopping. I'm always looking for pieces that fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. There's an art to building a wardrobe and it takes time and precision. 

I looked at Carven's pleated wool-crepe skirt on Net-A-Porter all Spring. I have a penchant for skirts. There is something about this skirt that is sophisticated, but also a bit whimsical. It reminds me of whiling away time in the Tuileries, however with a blouse and jacket this skirt could work in a professional setting. I greatly admire Guillaume Henry's resurrection of Carven. In just two years he has developed a well considered aesthetic with a very specific girl in mind. Intellectual bourgeois has been bantered about.  According to  Style.com "His girl may be proper—choosing skirts over pants, never saying no to a little white collar, opting to cover up rather than going bare (at least most of the time)—but she isn't dull." This describes my approach to dressing perfectly.

You can imagine my dismay when I finally decided that this skirt would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe, only to find it sold out in my size everywhere. On a whim and the gentleman's recommendation I went to Barneys expecting the skirt to it to be sold out. A quick scan of the rack turned up no skirt in my size, but a wonderful sales associate was able to track down the skirt. I'm looking forward to integrating this skirt into my wardrobe. Bonne Manière * indeed. 

*  Bonne Manière means to be properly dressed. 


  1. what a great piece, versatile indeed. xo

  2. The pleating of the skirt is so unusual....at first glance it looks like it could be any other full-skirt but it actually has so much structure. I love simple things that actually have so much going on...they are true investments.

    It also reminds of me of the peplums Nicolas Ghesquiere did for Balenciaga a few years ago, inspired by the master himself.

    I don't think I can realistically do exactly four or five items a season, but I usually aim for as little as possible. I think of all my clothes as an investment, even if it's just a t-shirt from Zara - I try not to buy clothes for fun...there are many other things I can buy or do for fun, I've realised!

  3. The skirt fits you perfectly and hits at the right length. I am equally as smitten with the skirt as you are! It looks gorgeous on you!

  4. Oh, when I saw that skirt on NAP it made me so nostalgic for London winters :) Agree with you about Carven - then again, when Natalie Massenet backs a designer I know he/she must be somewhat special. I love trousers, but have recently begun to appreciate skirts. Bought a beautiful black and gold pleated piece made by a French designer in India last fall. Just gorgeous. Enjoy your new purchase - you look stunning! I love the blouse too.

  5. So beautiful! I met a girl wearing the exact same skirt on Thursday, she got it at the press sale in NYC. You look fantastic! So glad you're posting outfit photos.

  6. The skirt has an amazing structure to it.

  7. Simple and elegant! Love this outfit!

  8. Bang and Buck- Thank you, I find it really versatile too.

    Lin- You summed it up perfectly. At first glance it could be just another pleated skirt, but it has so much structure. I think it can be worn in a multitude of ways, which makes it a true investment.

    It does remind me of the peplums Nicolas Ghesquière did a few years ago. I guess I had just been too timid/hadn’t found the right skirt to try it on.

    Four to five items is a tight edit. I think it’s more important (regardless of how many items you buy) to think of clothing as an investment and carefully construct your wardrobe. I don’t believe in shopping for fun either.

    Joy- Thank you. Fit and finding the right length is so important. When it comes to skirts, I always have that problem where the waist gets turned all around- even after alterations. Smitten is exactly the right word.
    Ammu- It’s the perfect skirt for moody London winters and layering tights underneath. Natalie Massenet is pretty amazing. She definitely has such an eye for spotting new talent and to think that she was once told that her idea would never work because women would never shop online! The blouse is one of my favorites for warmer weather! It’s just easy and cool.
    Thank you for your sweet comment. Your black and gold skirt sounds lovely.

    Fleurette- Thank you! The press staff at Carven is wonderful. They are carefully growing the company in a smart way, which I like. I'm very impressed by the quality of the construction. It's well made and lined really well. We’ll see how the outfit photos go;)

    Prêt à Porter P- I love the unique structure. I also realized that underneath all of the pleating there are POCKETS! I’m in heaven.

    Emmy- Thank you. Simple and elegant are two things that I always like to hear.

  9. It looks perfect on you! (Love the shoes, too.)

    I totally agree with this approach. Quality over quantity and acknowledging that 'trends' might not necessarily be for all of us.

    Great post!

  10. This skirt is adorable. Love the FT dress below too. Thanks for sharing the photos and feel free to drop by me too, soon.


  11. Oh I love that skirt! I am having serious wardrobe envy! I have been staring at it on NAP willing it to come on sale. Haha. It looks fabulous on you :)

  12. Alice Olive- Thank you! I like that the black pump has an extra bit of detail. Elegant and classic doesn't have to mean boring, right:)

    I'm a stickler for quality over quantity. Even if it takes time to find the perfect items. It should be a joy to get dressed in the morning.

    Ellinor Forje-Thank you! I can't wait to look at your blog and will definitely be in touch. I love discovering new blogs.

    La Fille mal Gardée- Merci! You're too funny! We all have wardrobe envy from time to time:) I was on NAP all spring going back and forth. When it went on sale and was sold out I was devastated. So glad I found it.

  13. You look great and so put together as always. I could never pull off a skirt like that but it looks amazing on you and fits right in with your other outfits. You must have a real tightly edited wardrobe! I'm aiming for that and still on my curatorial learning but slowly learning to have a more discriminating eye on what fits best on my body.

    I finally have a new post up! Thanks for your comment on the hair post and look forward to hear your upcoming ones.


  14. agnes comme fellini- Thank you. I always strive to look put together- so that's nice to hear. I work in an environment where you never know when your going to get dragged into an important meeting at a momments notice, so it's even more important to always be on top of things.

    You could wear a skirt with volume! I have to admit, it takes time to adjust to this silhouette. I had my momments of doubt.

    I do have a tightly edited wardrobe. I have a lot of clothing, but I wear everything. The pieces (for the most part) relate to each other and fit my aesethic. But, you grow and emerge, so there are pieces that reflect that too. When I shop- it's always about building on what I already have. I think we can be our own worst critic when it comes to how clothing fits.

    I can't wait to read your new blog post!

  15. Bonjour!
    Thank you so much for your comment! I love your blog! You're always really sophisticated! :)
    You look like a Parisienne ;)

  16. Camille S.- Bonjoir! Thank you for your sweet comment. I love that a true Parisienne thinks I look sophisticated. I wish more women here valued that.