What To Wear For The Rest Of Your Life: Really!

what to wear the rest of your life, book, review, style, french women, style secrets
While I know we'd all love to think that we look fantastic (and that we always will), the truth is that a lot of use get bogged down in the past. We age and time moves on... but the things in our closet don't.

The author confronts her closet in a huge number of ways in this book. Finding the perfect jeans. Figuring out what to wear to her daughter's graduation (where the ex is in attendance with his new, younger woman). She discusses how to solve these issues, how to flatter your body type and more.

The book has a lot of discussion, mostly revolving around the author's life (along with some anecdotes from other women), and I have to say I found her to be very engaging and often amusing. This isn't a fashion book, it's a personal memoir via closet.

One of the chapters that I connected with the most was about French women. Kim Johnson Gross went to Paris every year for fashion shows, but what impressed her the most about these visits was the women in Paris and their approach to clothes. I felt the same way when I visited there last year. Every french women was perfectly turned out, looked confident and so polished.

To help achieve the look, she offered some great hints! I received special permission to share an excerpt here.

Beginner’s French: French Women’s Secrets for Ageless Style
French women are legendary for packing their stylish wardrobe into armoire-size closets. For centuries, the limited space taught them that to stow a chic wardrobe required discipline, self-scrutiny, and mindfulness. However small or large their closets may be today, as a culture they continue to abide by those principles that have made french style indisputably renowned.

French women dress to please themselves.

French women are scrupulous about wearing clothes that fit perfectly. It’s not uncommon for them to have even the cheapest garment tailored to fit their body better.

French women know that quality is more important than quantity.

French women know that “closet classics” are a wardrobe’s secret weapon.

French women know that a few closet classics and accessories are the workhorses of their closet.

French women know that adding a soupçon of surprise to what they wear makes their style distinctive. It might be the coquettish flounce of a skirt, a flurry of fabulous faux jewelry, or a splash of a surprising color.

French women know the powerful connection between what they wear and how they feel, so they take delight in dressing whether they’re alone, shopping for groceries, or out on more special occasions.

French women know that comfort and style are simpatico, although they can enjoy the fun of wearing a pair of naughty shoes when they don’t have to walk.

French women are not youth-obsessed. They dress to honor the women they are and bodies they have at any age.

French women are not hesitant to dress to express their femininity, sensuality, or sexuality.

French women take comfort in what they wear.

French women carry themselves with confidence, which translates into great posture, which makes everything they wear look better.

What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style by Kim Johnson Gross

Excerpt from WHAT TO WEAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE: Ageless Secrets of Style by Kim Johnson Gross, courtesy of Springboard Press/Grand Central Publishing, 2010.


  1. French women, and Italian women, even the Mod Brits are known for style. I have traveled throughout Europe and have found that while fashionable Europeans dress fashionably, there are lots of regular folks who dress like normal humans. The doubled scarf is, however, is a must in France.
    My tips for non-Europeans in Europe

    1. Learn to eat without switching your fork from left to right. turn your fork over to spear food.A hand switch poinsts you out as a non-European faster than your passport. In these security conscious days this is a small habit that may increase your safety.
    2. Do not wear athletic shoes, or track suits. A good pair of black walking shoes and a pair of dressy flats are good. Wearing a track suit makes you look as if you just came in from working the field.

    3. Wear real jewelry in Italy, (preferably 18K), in safe areas. I find jewelry is totemic in Italy -- the more you have the more important you are to your family.
    That is my theory and I am sticking to it.

    4. Never ever wear a "fanny pack" and never, ever, ever call it a "fanny pack" in the UK (it is an anatomically more private part of the body). Have, instead a small, high-quality purse.

    5. Buy the best you can afford.

    6. A good quality blazer jacket, Armani Jeans and Black pants will take you a long way. It is better to pay to have clothes cleaned than carry a billion suitcases. And with airlines charging for bags is becoming cost effective. Avoid synthetic fabrics except where added to a natural fiber to improve structure or decrease wrinkles. Need something? Buy it. Europeans have everything now not like right after WWII -- an era for which we seem to continue to pack. Stores in Germany are usually closed on Sunday.

    7. Don't wear a lot of bright eye shadow unless you are a TV announcer.
    8. Scoop-neck, high-quality logo tees are ok, but never wear a tee with a slogan (like "I am with Stupid". The "good" tees make a great first layer.

    9. While on vacation only buy classic clothing you know you will wear at home or have a closet full of mumus.
    10. Unless it is a heat wave don't drink from a plastic H2O bottle on the street. Gauche.

    Adopting some of these habits at home will make you look more polished and European in everyday life.

  2. Loved this Steph!
    Oh, If only all Americans would take heed an adopt this state side.
    The worst of American "style" is in evidence every day in Orlando Florida at Disney World (Land or whatever it is). Painful, actually.

  3. I am always a little baffled by this type of statements - the mystification and creation of a glamorous secret society of French women. I'm Swedish, but have spent quite some time in France. I must say I haven't seen the magical mysterious creatures of which the author speaks. Perhaps it should be rephrased to "boho middle-aged Parisiennes" - I have yet to see anyone my age (34) or younger adapt that old-fashioned manner of thinking about their clothes.

    Also, attemping to pinpoint a "European" look is futile. Albania, Italy, Norway and Ireland don't have much more in common, style-wise, than the US and Europe... Still, it's amusig and flattering that you would see us as style icons .-)


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