I am currently reading a book called The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas, the founder of Caudalie, an international skincare company that uses natural ingredients. I’ve always been fascinated by the legendary beauty of French women. Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, and Juliette Binoche continue to look beautiful even as they have aged. In the beginning of the book, Ms. Thomas talks about the Pleasure Principle and says it means “your beauty routine should make you feel good at the same time it makes you look good.” She continues on to say that the Pleasure Principle “is about looking good and feeling good for your own sake – not because it’s trendy or to impress other people.”
That led me to think about my fashion choices and whether I live by that same principle. I am happy to say that yes, at 48 years old, I am finally practicing the Pleasure Principle. But it took me a very long time to get here. When I was working full time, I dressed in suits the majority of the time. While I felt appropriate, I didn’t always feel comfortable. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get home and change into something less restrictive. When I wasn’t working, I would dress in clothes that were too big because I wanted to hide this bump or that weight gain, or because others told me I shouldn’t wear that color, or those pants, or this blouse.
What Really Matters
But age and experience have helped me to realize that when it comes to clothes or beauty routines, I am the only one who matters because I am the only one wearing the garments just as I am the only one putting this or that cream on my face. Just because someone else likes a certain product or claims that it’s better because it’s more expensive does not mean I will feel the same way. And if I don’t like the way it looks or feels, then why should I wear it? But if my reflection in the mirror brings me joy, then that really is the only thing that matters, n’est pas?
I am definitely happy with the outfit that I am showing you today. I bought this navy blue dress on sale from Talbots a few weeks ago because I love its classic shape. The French cotton interlock material is so comfortable against my skin. It feels similar to t-shirt material but it is a little thicker and not clingy nor loose fitting. The fit-and-flare shape is flattering without being childish (which sometimes happens to me with this type of dress). I also love the navy blue color because it can mix and match with so many things. Talbots still has this dress for sale online in a few colors. I found mine in my local store, but sizes were limited. I’m also linking to similar dresses below.
The sleeves and the neckline have a delicate lace detail which gives this dress a feminine touch without being too frilly. The sleeves provide an unbroken line of sight down the arms making them appear slim. The rounded neckline is not too low cut but does draw the eye downward just a bit and lengthens the neck. And the gold tassel necklace adds some sparkle and interest to the dark navy blue and also helps to draw the eye down.
I love a comfortable pair of red pumps and you can never go wrong with combining red and navy blue. I’ve worn this style of shoes before in this post and this one. These are the Comfort Plus by Predictions brand and they are very comfortable. The rounded toe box gives my toes some wiggle room and the medium heel does not leave me teetering around dangerously.
These shoes are old, but you can find the Comfort Plus by Predictions brand on Amazon here in many colors. Although I love pairing red and navy blue, a nude pair of heels like these (same brand as the red pair I’m wearing) would go well with the dress and elongate your legs. These Sam Edelman pumps have a higher heel and are pricey, but I have the same style in nude leather and they are comfortable.
I’ve had this red leather purse for ages and unfortunately, it’s beginning to show. But it’s so roomy and easy to carry that I’m having a hard time letting go. Plus, the gold details on the front pair well with gold jewelry. Here is a similar purse on Amazon that I would definitely consider buying as a replacement (and it’s received good reviews). This one is a classic design from Target that is budget friendly.
From Work to Play
Besides its comfort, one of the other reasons I love this dress is its versatility. Although it can be worn just like I have it for work, you can step up the style a bit for the office with a white blazer or a cardigan. Flat cognac color or nude sandals would make it perfect for an evening out. I have these sandals and they have a slightly padded foot bed, making them comfortable. I also love their understated but classic style.
Everything about this outfit hits on the two main points of the Pleasure Principle: I know it makes me feel good and I’m pretty sure it makes me look good. In other words, j’adore cette robe! I hope your clothes do the same for you. If not, maybe it’s time you throw some love your way. You deserve it!
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