Monthly Archives: July 2012

Summer French Fashion

We had such fun “studying” french fashion during our summer travels. What we saw, once again, is the timelessness and the Je ne sais quoi (literally, I don’t know what) of French fashion: that indefinable, elusive quality that the French have. The secret seems to be in HOW they wear it.

Sexy is never trampy or vulgar (think Audrey Tautou in the film “Priceless”), they can show flirty insouciance without being detached or cold.  

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This summer we saw a lot of stripes and polka dots, which like many French statements can not be assigned a year or decade of fashion, instead they represent the quality of timelessness: practical yet chic, never stuffy or rigid;  simple yet not dull;  interesting never gauche. The stripes depict classic “maritime” France, not a year or decade, but a way of life. The polka dots say plein de verve; vivant, (full of zesty, fire, life!).

Shopping in France

Note the men’s fashion also works with prints, polka dots (see button down shirts in photo above), sweaters with collars:

Man walking in Jardin des Tuileries with his “sac”, he has no worries of being perceived as effeminate because he is comfortable with self. 

Another timeless French style is the military jacket, which was a way of life for centuries, and will always be in fashion. Popular French actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg is often seen wearing this popular look:

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Napoléon Bonaparte

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We saw classic French fashion everywhere, even on the 75 yr. old Bernadette, owner of a phenomenally successful B&B in Provence, sporting her striped tee, a “pull-over” casually draped over the shoulders, a classic bonnet (practical yet chic), just to drive to a neighboring village. Stopping along the roadside to eat cherries, we add our obvious American denim look, also practical, but more stereotypical. just not the same chic…!  Then at the table, she’s got a simple vest  in naturelle colors, common sense, but the layers say chic.

Timeless fashion

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As in the “Beauty of the Real” by Mick LaSalle, French actresses are the paradigm of self-assurance, of showing the “real you” through fashion: have conviction in who you are and what you wear, important to be yourself (not what magazines are saying is in…!!).

Vanessa Paradis for Chanel

Take Vanessa Paradis, who is classic Chanel, but mixes it up, timeless plus the addition of her own personality…Her Je ne sais quoi, self assurance is just sexy!!


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Summer Drinks Series: Tequila!

Bottles of Tequila for sale

For those of us in Texas, we’re all pretty familiar with tequila, or at least drinking it. Margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, salted or not, is one of the most popular cocktails in the United States, especially come summer time. We write songs about it (Margaritaville anyone?), create popular cocktails with it, and even cook with it. However, even though we might be pro’s at consuming tequila, and dealing with the morning after, not many of us are familiar with tequila’s production or history. So here’s a couple things you might not have known about your favorite drink.

Tequila was first exported to the US by Jose Cuervo, when in 1873 three barrels were shipped to El Paso, Texas, a number that rapidly increased throughout time. Similar to Champagne, Tequila has denomination of origin, meaning that under regulations and laws, tequila can only be produced in certain areas of Mexico. The most popular area being Jalisco. Mexico takes their tequila seriously, so it comes as no surprise that it is the country’s national drink. It is created from the blue agave plant, and unlike many liquors, is primarily aged within the plant, and not in casks. The plant takes around 8 to 12 years to mature before being harvested, and if the tequila is aged, anything beyond 4 years can lessen the quality of it.

Blue agave plant (left) Blue agave painting (right)

In Texas, one of the most popular tequila drinks is the Texan Martini (also known as the Mexican Martini). The cocktail was actually created here in Austin, at The Cedar Door Bar and Grill, some twenty years ago. Now, this strong drink can be found pretty much everywhere in Austin, with some of our favorites being at the Cedar Door, Trudy’s,  and Baby Acapulco. For those that want to make this drink at home, try this tasty recipe:

 Ingredients:

Servings: 1

2 fluid ounces tequila

1 fluid ounce Cointreau liqueur

1 -2 fluid ounce Sprite

1 fluid ounce orange juice

1/2 lime juice

Directions:
Shake all ingredients and strain into glass rimmed with salt; add stuffed olives, enjoy!

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