On Getting Dressed

by Leandra Medine
October 1, 2012
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Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I have obviously recognized the difference between quality and quantity and subsequently the championing qualities of quality (insert giggle here) vs. its contender, but pretending to be French the last several days has taught me more keenly about the importance of simplification.

Frankly, the looming lesson started while I was packing for this trip. A six day trip anywhere never mandates a suitcase heavier than 25 pounds and so at 50, it’s bewildering that my decision to cheat the system (e.g. figure ways to get on flight without paying overweight fees) outweighed (pun intended) the more practical solution: unpacking the large percent of things I would likely not need. Were navy blue 7 inch platform lace ups really necessary if hunter green 7 inch platform lace ups had already made the suitcase cut?

My dad once told me that “things ruin trips,” I think he was right.

When I arrived, I unpacked and looked into the black hole of familiar threads uncomfortably staring at me. I tried to justify the very crowded small closet with fashion week. “I’ll wear the red satin Carven skirt to Louis Vuitton, and I need the very similar, almost exactly identical red wool Three Floor skirt for the preceding day.” I didn’t need either. It took approximately ten minutes upon arriving to remember what I already knew but had foolishly forgotten after my semester abroad: when in France, you do as the French do.

I came upon a devastatingly French woman yesterday wearing a pair of black jeans, a grey t shirt and the most majestic green fringe jacket. I saw her again today, she was wearing the same outfit. The French motto seems to go: wearing what makes you happy because it makes you happy and not because you’re feeling guilty because you bought it but haven’t worn it in a long time. It is a (the) key to pleasant living.

A pair of well fit, somewhat high waist boot cut cropped jeans with comfortable sneakers for day, perhaps an interesting boot for night would have done for the entire trip sprinkled over a graphic t shirt, one plaid shirt and maybe–maybe, a sweater.

I also really want a pant suit but I think that’s because I am a perennial product of my changing environment and the women here do masculinity better than even Italians do. Here is the brief assortment of what I intend to wear this fall in its entirety. You’ll notice a pair of Nike track shorts at bottom left–there is something novel about taking current trends to their source and dropping them off in favor of the original. As for the rest: A.P.C trench coat, J. Crew navy cashmere sweater. It will work independently or paired with the Club Monaco men’s plaid at right.

The Comme des Garcons mens t-shirt just above the boot-cut vintage Levi’s Made & Crafted will suit your daily needs without falling victim to the hard-to-resist Balenciaga interpretation of the same thing with the gold Tod’s loafers at right. The ubiquitous Isabel Marant booties at bottom for your nocturnal desires. Sometimes investing in a “season-it” just feels right.

The McQ by Alexander McQueen cropped pants beg for a pair of Golden Goose sneakers (and matching jacket,) will work with the plaid, the t shirt, the sweater, the plaid and the sweater, the t shirt and the plaid, or the trench coat topped with a very romantic Rag & Bone wide brimmed hat. Wear socks because it gets cold and buy some funky sunglasses from ASOS because like red lipstick, they change everything.

REPLIES
  • erica wright

    Love this; especially the Tods_NoCode shoes and Star Wars tee, excellent day-wear repelling. http://www.L-BD.blogspot.com

  • lavieenliz

    the plaid pants!!!

    http://lavieenliz.com

  • fashionable collections

    I love the star wars shirt.

    Collections

  • Chelsie Moss

    Love the random nike shorts! No really, I live in those darn ugly shorts on Sundays!

    mossypants.com

  • Rory WearAbouts

    Love the shoe choices! :)

  • Chelsie Moss

    Loving the random nike shorts. I live in those hideous things on Sundays!
    mossypants.com

  • mneave

    The boots are amazing! I could wear those, the trench and glasses and nothing else for months.

  • Bonnie, Clyde + Marni
  • moiminnie
  • Rachelle

    we all have the same problem the sad part for me is that whenever I travel I always shop a lot so on my way back I have to pay these overweight bags fees. smh.. These boots are to die for and love the kicks.
    xo
    Rachelle
    htt://pinksole.com

  • Lilli Dee

    But it will be so hard to resist buying mountains of clothes!?!?

  • Sharon

    The Star Wars shirt is pretty cool!

    http://style-chameleon.blogspot.com/

    Please vote
    for me in the Esprit Style Battle!

  • Girlie Blogger

    I would have picked the same things. Good job helping your dad.
    Girlie Blog Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

  • Ida Eerola

    Fun choices especially the sunnies and Star wars tee, the Marants are cool but predictible.

  • AlexsFashion

    Am loving the hat and the Trench coat!!! :D and the French have a point there….:)

  • Josephine

    I love this. So much. And Nike track shorts are always key for life.

    <3 Josephine
    http://www.champagnestar.com

  • fashionqamar

    Trousers.Hat.Trench and these Booooooots!!! xD
    need need need!!!!

    fashionqamar.blogspot.com

  • The Provoker

    I agree with how overpacking can ruin a trip, you’d think with all the years of experiencing of flying around the world has taught me how to be a packing expert, but the truth is when it comes to packing for fashion week, don’t we all overdo in multiple anticipations of what you “could” need. Just wear whatever no?

    As for the lot, I’d have to go for the coppery-gold metallic Tod Loafers and the Rag&Bone wide brimmed hat, prefably if they have it in another color (not black). I’ve just got featured in The Fashion Network, it’s
    my biggest one yet since my blog’s not even a year old. I’d appreciate
    it if you’d take the time to tell me what you think and check it out, my
    answers are quite interesting ;)

    xx The Provoker
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2012/09/feature-fashion-network.html

  • http://glitzyblues.com/ Rachel

    Love the trench and those wild sunglasses!!

    Xo, Rachel

    http://www.glitzyblues.com

  • georgia

    Hi Leandra, my mum has the same packing problem when she travels, it causes me emotional distress, I think your father and I could probably have a gin and tonic and discuss said problem. I like the edit though, there is something about coolness and style that needs less not more and there is something about fashion that is always screaming more more more. Because its a business, and a bit of art. Anyway maybe the problem is that you have to travel with a suitcase rather than a trunk that is shipped, and you were simply just born into the wrong era. I think you should take comfort in the fact that you are a truely supreme layerer (if thats a word) and you cant layer without lots of shit to layer. Yaay for you xo

  • http://natseesstyle.com/ Nat

    Thank you THANK YOU for pointing out the obvious but often forgotten fact that we should all wear what makes us happy. I certainly could have used this advise when getting dressed today, in that my thought process brought me to an outfit that I really only wore because I knew I hadn’t worn it in a while. The French really do have it figured out.

    xoxo,
    Nat

    http://www.natseesstyle.com

  • rhodawong
  • Sophie Louise

    Love this, especially the motto of the French. So very true.

    xo Sophie Louise
    http://www.trendsandtribulations.com

  • monkeyshines

    stunning picks!

    Bises,monkeyshineshttp://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • Alice

    I like my print on prints (dont match dont care), my 6 inch YSL sailor wedges, my metallic everything. So the 4 times I’ve been to Paris I thought I was doing it all right, ending up trying to find good jeans at Sandro. Last week for fashion week I packed what seemed to be le Parisien wardrobe: jeans, isabel marant heels, tshirts, patent loafers and a embroidered jacket to make things less gloomy. It was the easiest fashion week I’ve ever had

  • The Decorum

    The joy of dressing like a boy! We also dig this- http://thedecorum.co/boy-dressing

  • Maria

    It’s not usual for us EU women to wear the exact same outfit repeated, I guess she had an interesting night and just crashed somewhere. The concept of the making you happy is to perhaps use the coat with the black jeans but with a dressier shirt and shoes, adding a scarve. I wish I could follow this motto more often…: )

  • http://www.styleclouds.de/ Styleclouds

    I love the Star Wars tee!! xo, Christina

    http://www.styleclouds.de

  • http://pantherstophat.com/ The Panther’s Tophat

    Those Isabel Marant boots will be mine soon!

    xoxo

    http://www.pantherstophat.com/

  • http://twitter.com/matchalattewdrb Raphaëlle Lavielle

    The French are actually pretty obsessed with NOT wearing the same outfit two days in a row.
    But the green fringe jacket sounds so you. Maybe you should have stolen it from her. Maybe that’s even the reason why you saw her twice in the same outfit.

    http://matchalattewardrobe.blogspot.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicoletta.peretti.37 Nicoletta Peretti

    I always have the same problem when travelling, all these lovely things want to come with me! I have the same trip planned in two weeks, only vice-versa, Paris to NYC! Any tips for me on what I need or need not bring for a happy NYC week?

  • Opposite Lipstick
  • Catherine and Greer

    My subconscious response to pictures: beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… whoa what the fuck nike running shorts? Oh right I’m on Man Repeller, why does this still surprise me?

    http://girl-hunting.blogspot.com.au

  • Madalina Tita

    love the fedora hat…

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

  • when we wander

    The French woman’s outfit sounds super cute so I wouldn’t mind wearing it two days in a row either! Whatever floats your boat!
    http://www.whenwewander.blogspot.com

  • Amalie Espeland

    awesome post! i could totally start following that motto. i want like everything in that collage.
    x

  • fashionisserious

    If I hadn’t my infinite pairs of jeans, my wardrobe would be almost empty… and I wouldn’t be happy anymore! I love the French mottos…occasionally!
    http://www.fashionisserious.com/

  • Bb de la Branche

    I’m kind of happy to be french right now but you know why do I go everyday reading your blog ? Because you definitely know how to wear something else than a pair of jeans and a trench (add a navy shirt and my APC loafer and there I am, so french) and seems cool and simple as a French ;)

  • Jill

    I lost some weight (20 lbs) last year and had to get rid of a lot of my wardrobe. I’d been holding on to clothes from my skinnier days and once I lost the weight…the old clothes didn’t fit the same. So I sold/gave away a lot of things earlier this year and have a lot less pieces in my closet. And I’m really enjoying getting dressed so much more!

    I just came home from a four day vacation and ended up wearing almost the same thing all four days – it ended up being too warm for the colder weather items I’d brought (thank you, inept weather forecasters!) and we didn’t end up doing the “dressy” dinners we’d planned.. No one cared, no one noticed, my husband included. And I felt fine.

    Americans tend to think more is more but the French are on to the idea of doing so much more with less. Accessories can make an outfit look different and don’t take up much packing room…far less than shoes at least. :)

    Loving the realizations you’re reaching. You have some fabulous items and I’d assume as a style blogger you have access to a lot more but really, paring down to the ones you truly love (and that serve you best) is extremely gratifying.

  • AVSVP

    While I recognize that branding is something that comes hand in hand with this lovely franchise you have built up around yourself, one of the things I always admired about your style is that you are able to transcend the labels of your clothes in favor of the over all picture. You have a keen eye yet lack the pretentiousness that makes the world of fashion seem so inaccesible to the average person. I believe this makes you the opposite of a fashion victim; a fashion maverick if you will! Keep up the good stuff, Leandra! xx

  • http://twitter.com/selenaaponte Selena Delgado

    I love it! I so wish NY would adapt

  • http://twitter.com/fashionduck duckalicious

    your dad sounds like a smart man. too much stuff only weighs you down. obviously, I don’t only mean it literally when I say travel light and leave excess baggage somewhere along the way.

  • Jen

    The plaid pants look more like Tibi’s current ones than McQueen, no?
    http://www.tibi.com/shop/ringo-plaid-skinny-pant

  • Emily

    Ha! I did good then by wearing the same outfit 5 days in a row :D
    Emily
    http://www.thestyleexplorer.blogspot.com

  • leslie

    i get made fun of for wearing nike sweats and/or track shorts to the bars these days. but it hasn’t exactly been a man repeller..

  • Diana H

    Love this lesson learned!!

  • Diana H

    You have to admit though, not everyone pulls that off…honestly not so sure what I would think had I encountered the same thing in NY?

  • Anna Turabelidze

    I think I want to order you as my future daughter:))))

    bellaconscience.blogspot.com

  • Maria

    Packing is like the most complicated thing about travelling!
    http://www.firstshowroom.com

  • Malin

    Could you make a post about layering for curvier women? You are so tiny that you can wear pretty much anything but if I try layering I end up looking like a mountain. It’d be nice to wear something else than a sweater and jeans for a change. I got big boobz and frankly, they’re getting in the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aichng.gb Ai-Ch’ng GB

    I love Mr Medine’s philosophy :-) I had the same less-is-more lesson over two one-week Paris trips. The first one-week trip to Paris, my husband made each of us take the smallest carry on luggage only – no check in luggage, and imposed a strict ban on purchasing any luggage for check-in (which was supposed to contain all my newly purchased goodies). I nearly died with editing what I would take on the trip, ending up with just one pair of tie-dye jeans (well, a well-known denim company advocates wearing your new jeans everyday, non-stop – without washing – for two months, so I didn’t think one week in the same pair was that unhygienic), since tie-dye hides stains so well for ever-so-long; a tan 70s fringed leather Navajo jacket; two Ts – one red, one grey; one pair of chocolate suede ankle boots; a cable sweater for cold nights; one handbag and the usual underwear changes. I was amazed that that was all I needed for the 7 days. Then, on our second one- week trip to Paris recently, he again imposed the same horrendous ban… but we brought along our teenage son – also with carry-on luggage only. There I was, thinking: “excellent- I’ll squeeze all my teenage son’s souvenirs into one tiny corner of his carry-on bag, and squash the rest of my new, Paris-bought clothes and shoes into his bag”. At the end of the trip, all I wore were the same items as on my first trip there, and bought just one pair of perforated white Churchs brogues, which I wore on the warmer days. It really does take travelling small to help us see how few things we require to take – or to buy – to make us genuinely happy. What we saved on luggage-weight, I made up with eating all that bread, cheese and creme bruleé, though. Ahhh – less luggage really does make travelling a pleasure.

  • Deborah & Gabriel

    We need to think about of what we wear the next days every week again: it’s a long-distance relationship!

    Watch our new post about “Du bist die Mode!” by Galeries Lafayette in Berlin: http://acouplesgallery.blogspot.de/2012/10/en-route-la-mode-cest-vous.html#more

    xx

    D. & G.

  • lemkam

    Without fail, I always over-pack. I over-pack when I spend the weekend at my boyfriend’s place. My excuse has always been that I’ll slop some food product all over myself and need to have an entire backup outfit for each day “just in case.” Of course, I inevitably slop some food product all over myself and am glad I had an extra shirt or two, but realistically I can manage with about 65% less in my suitcase.

    After reading this, I’m going to start packing like a French woman and downgrade to a smaller suitcase. Thank you for the “international” insight!

  • http://nicola-lynde.blogspot.dk/ nicola lynde

    What a great post. Lessons in packing for me, have been learned over far too many transatlantic moves. As fun as trends are, its the basics that keep my wardrobe alive.

  • Samantha Crawford

    I love tartan pants. As a Scot I can’t get enough of mine.
    http://adomfashionmoda.blogspot.com.es/

  • http://www.facebook.com/gaetan.goiran Gaetan Goiran

    J’adore le tee-shirt Comme Des Garcons!! star wars!!

  • http://twitter.com/Alexa_Curtis Alexa Curtis

    I HATE those Marant boots. I noticed them the other day and was appalled. They are the ugliest piece of clothing I have ever seen. Can’t believe Marant even made them!

    http://www.alifeinthefashionlane.blogspot.com
    xo

  • http://twitter.com/far_and_wild Far and Wild Jewelry

    your dad is half right, bringing things ruins trips but buying things makes them! i bring next to nothing so that i have incentive to buy things when i travel and then i have wonderful memories of my trip and an amazing international wardrobe. ok busted i own like 2 pairs of denim shorts and a ton of jewelry.

    abigail
    http://www.farandwildjewelry.blogspot.com

  • Veronika Kochubey

    i am the biggest fan of plaid pants myself! LOVE them! thanks for the post !;))) have a look how i mix them here :
    http://berlinfashionlover.blogspot.de/2012/10/british-breakfast.html

  • http://twitter.com/mercece mercobi

    Perfection !! I think I need this for every trip .. Than you

  • Paolo

    what a cool pants!!!
    This one are so similar, look at that
    http://www.vrients.com/en/designer/umit-benan/pantalone-check.html

  • mary sue

    those rose gold loafers is crazy!

    http://www.ashburyskies.com

  • Jordan

    Is it weird to say thanks for this post? I have been on the web for to much of my day trying to figure out what the hell to buy for my first trip to Paris, let alone Europe. Worrying way to much about how I’ll look when really know one is going to give a crap what I am wearing. I have two vintage t-shirts that I live in & I kept thinking I needed more. But if I know they are what I am comfortable in & always look good then I need to stop my obsessive worrying. That way I’ll have more room in my suitcase for special purchases abroad . ;) So really, thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/girlinthelocker Robin Herman

    Love the gender disinhibition. When buying Club Monaco men’s shirts, what size do you recommend for me? (women’s size 8) Would that be a men’s S or something else?

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