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People watching. . . I learned a lot!

I was really early for an appointment and found myself sitting on a bench in Rockefeller Center doing my favorite thing: people-watching.

Being in the center of New York City’s midtown business district, I was treated to a never-ending parade of women. Some wearing nice dresses, others wearing skirts, and others in pants. They wore some accessories: necklaces, earrings, and scarves with handbags and shoes. They were well dressed. The pieces were fine, fit well, they looked good, but they didn’t stand out! They looked as plain as they might have displayed in the store. There was nothing original. The person’s uniqueness and their personality were missing. I wasn’t seeing anything that looked original or that made me take a second look or instantly conveyed the personality of the wearer.

Being a French woman, I can tell you that is not how we dress! Yes, French women also buy clothes off the rack but, and it’s a big BUT, a French woman takes that dress and transforms it into something she knows is her own style. Her goal is to look good by expressing her uniqueness. She does not want to look like anyone else or simply be thought of as being well-dressed. She wants to have panache. When she dresses in the morning, her goal is to make herself happy. As she walks down the street, she knows the statement she is making is about her individuality, her vision, that indefinable quality known as je ne sais quoi.

Living in the United States, I know that, for the most part, American women do not want to be different. They prefer to blend in. For them, dressing is about finding clothes that are fashionable, trendy, and stylish. They look for clothes that will make them look good but not necessarily UNIQUE. They desire to please and want approval from the people they socialize with. I empathize with that feeling; there is nothing wrong with it, but it does not express personality or individuality.

If American women want to look distinctive, and not like everyone else, they are going to have to kick it up a notch. Nothing is impossible if you want it.

If you are willing to make one different choice each time you get dressed, then you are taking the first step to developing your unique look. The more comfortable you are making small changes, the more you’ll be willing to express your individuality.

My friend Jane told me about her friend Melissa. Melissa was so excited by how she was dressed that when they got together Melissa blurted out, “Don’t I look great?” Jane looked and said, “Yes” because in fact she did. “What did you do?” asked Jane. “I tied my scarf differently!” Melissa responded. Jane said Melissa’s excitement was so charming it was contagious. The truth was Melissa did look great, especially with all that enthusiasm.

It doesn’t take a lot to create your personal statement. One of my trademark looks is to wear my silver bracelets all together. I wear them with everything: jeans, a dress, or even a suit. The only exception might be if I’m getting very dressed up and I want to create a very different look.

If every time you dress, you make one different choice-something that is unique to you-you’ll soon have that indefinable je ne sais quoi.

What do you think? Do you want to blend in or are you happy expressing who you are when you dress?


Le Kitchen Cookbook

A Workbook

Everything you need to know to be a good cook.

by Adeline M. Olmer

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