Simplicity ( In Fashion & Life) is the Keynote of All True Elegance
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
I’m quoting Coco Chanel again. It’s hard to not be inspired and not feel a need to share the wisdom of the great French couturiere, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who took fussiness and pretension out of high fashion and exchanged it for style. She refined luxury as simplicity, and elegance as practicality, ease, and comfort.
She preferred natural colors, especially beige, and made jersey, a fabric formerly worn as undergarments, the vehicle of her loose-lined couture. The little black dress, sling back shoes, and the Chanel tweed suit- “in style” for a century-are her legacy. I love this popular Chanel quote which is very much reposted, retweeted, repinned and often used as a caption on Instagram: “A suit only looks good when the woman who wears it seems to have nothing on underneath.”
I don’t wear a lot of suits. If you’ve been following me here or on Instagram you definitely know my wardrobe primarily consists of dresses and lots of fun accessories to add details to a look and also provide more options within my wardrobe.
From a sad, impoverished childhood, Chanel became a beacon of cafe and high society. Her private life was a succession of poignant affairs with aristocrats whose closets she raided for her design. ( She closed down her haute couture in 1939, but made a comeback in 1954, at age 71.) Her work and her life, however grand, certainly debunked snobbery with irony. Her lavish costume jewelry-adorned with large and small stones, the semiprecious and the fake- removed the monetary assessment from bijoux and made it something more pure, a thing of beauty.
I often find inexpensive accessories that I feel are valuable treasures and add so much flare to an already chic and elegant outfit. It’s those pieces, when chosen carefully, whether they happen to be authentic ‘Chanel’ or ‘Chanel Inspired’ that I believe allow us to express ourselves in an elegant way.
Especially when we find pieces that speak to us. Pieces that we feel were made just for us and our own unique interests and lifestyles. That’s how I felt when I found this Betsy Johnson Leopard Bag and also my Leopard High Heel Mary Janes. I definitely believe leopard is a pattern that can and should be used as a neutral but I don’t buy a lot of it because a little can go a long way. And also because I don’t really buy a lot in general. I shop my closet often but love to change it up and wear things in different ways.
I do have a basic leopard work-style bag and leopard pumps but when I saw these particular leopard accessories on the ThredUP website I decided I had to also have them because of the special details within each. I mean, really, the bag is shaped like a cat and is a very convenient crossbody shape and it was less than $20!!! The shoes are not JUST leopard. They have the cutest little patent details and a Mary Jane strap! Less than $15!!! The best thing about Thredup is that they have special pieces that are super affordable and 100% returnable if something is not exactly what you are looking for. If you’ve never shopped online at ThredUP before you may use this link which will give you $10.00 towards your first purchase.
These are the Leopard Mary Jane Heels and this next dress is a really comfortable and affordable one I found online at Shein. It has a pretty texture woven into the fabric, pockets, and a pretty black grosgrain ribbon in the back as a nice feminine detail and honestly doesn’t need any accessories. However, I always like to add my own touch to even a very vibrant and special dress such as this one and of course the Leopard Mary Jane Heels from ThredUP came in handy!
Good taste shouldn’t have to cost anything extra and you can quality does not depend on the amount of money spent, but on the value received. That value is ultimately a subjective assessment, depending on your budget, need, and what really is appealing to you. Aesthetic satisfaction is important and can be achieved when you have classic pieces, such as a basic black dress or suit with special details, such as my black dotted dress I’m wearing in the first outfit here and something in a favorite color that just makes you happy, like the red Shein dress.
I consider pieces such as these classics because they have proven to be versatile and kept their elegance over time. Those of you following me on Instagram may remember the black dress ( coincidentally from ThredUP) from this post many years ago. Wow. I just saw that picture was from 2015 and there’s even one further back on my feed ( Here!) from my amazing and completely gorgeous cousin’s (Nikayla Brown) wedding! Now jumping ahead here’s one here from just last year and as you can see this dress has earned its “Classic” value and didn’t even cost a lot. It’s an Express Brand dress and I paid less than $20.00 for it on ThredUP.
Less is just automatically more when versatility is involved. I wore this red Shein dress on Valentine’s Day with fun heart themed accessories for the classroom and another teaching day with a black and white patterned belt and black faux leather leggings. I also wore it with OTK ( Over The Knee) nude toned lace up boots and a little denim vest during the coldest days of last Spring. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures. It was a super busy time and I wasn’t thinking about the sharing the outfits until now. Mixing and matching and wearing clothes over and over in different ways is simply what I do.
Most of the time my outfits are not photographed unless I have a blog post planned such as this one or lately when my son just happens to want to play photographer and I have a link or deal to share. Then they wind up on the Instastories. Thank you to those of you that faithfully tune into those stories!!!!! I do appreciate the feedback tremendously!
Speaking of quoting Chanel and also of the concept of choosing less but keeping your fashionable pieces versatile I love what Ines de la Fressange, who is a former Chanel model who later launched her own business, says about style and shopping: “I have worked in the fashion industry for a long time. Just like everyone else, I work, I go out, and every morning, I must find something to wear- something that suits me, in which I feel comfortable all day long. In the past, I have had closets so full they could burst. Now I prefer to have only a few things, but good ones.” I could not possibly agree more and feel the same way about a lot of things.
As I’ve grown older I find myself constantly reflecting and trying my best to add positivity to any and all experiences I choose to involve myself in but that definitely means letting a lot go. I definitely have found that with a lot of situations less is more. For example less judgment, less negativity, less drama, less reacting without understanding, less giving in to the pettiness that may surround you, less letting others stealing your sunshine because it’s simply too bright. Less explaining to others why you are not what they want you to be.
And on the other hand, some situations and parts of life need more. More honesty, more understanding, more listening and more time spent on relationships that add value to life. I’ve learned not to speculate, good or bad, and simply do my best to make a situation better.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to recognize and surround myself with like-minded people who share not only the same values but also the growth mindset of wanting to grow and not being afraid to take a risk to create a better situation. It’s important to me to have people who are not only there for me but also supportive of my desire to change and grow.
All of this talk about classics/ switching up a look / making a positive difference some how gets me thinking about this recipe. Strawberry Cheesecake is a great classic recipe right? But you don’t want to make a plain old strawberry cheesecake AGAIN do you? Next time you feel like treating your family and friends to something special you might want to try this very simple yet irresistible ( and definitely irreplaceable) recipe for No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits.
This dreamy, creamy twist on strawberry cheesecake can be assembled in any container you have on hand. The layers are very forgiving, so really any size works too, but I recommend clear containers if you have them ( even plastic cups are awesome) because the parfaits are just so pretty with their contrasting layers. The different colors and textures mixed together are just like pattern/ print mixing for clothes only with food!
No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits
You will need:
2 1/2 cups amaretti (almond) cookies
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Strawberry Layer and Puree:
2 pounds strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup graulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Use food processor or rolling pin to crush cookies ( They do not need to be fine). Remove 1 tablespoon for garnish. Add remaining crumbs to a medium bowl and stir in butter until well combined. Set aside.
Divide out 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries and add to food processor along with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Process until smooth and set aside.
Beat cream cheese until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add sour cream and heavy cream and beat on medium high until smooth, thick, and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
1. Spoon 2 tablespoons cookie crumbs into 6 parfait glasses ( or whatever glass/dish works for you). Top with 1/4 cup strawberry slices, 1 tablespoon strawberry purée, 1/4 cup cheesecake; repeat layers. Garnish with reserved cookie crumbs and diced leftover strawberries. You may have strawberry purée leftover which you can drizzle over just before serving.
2. Chill for 1-2 hours. You can refrigerate longer but just be aware the cookies will soften more.
It’s really so easy to take a classic outfit ( or dessert) and add your own special flair to create your own style that is not only elegant and aesthetically pleasing but also uniquely you.
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