Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style

I've recently heard that Retro Fashion Girl is coming to town. Retro Fashion Girl, of course, is my maternal grandmother, who gave birth to The Fashion Girl, my mother (who founded and owns the soap business), and I am Baby Fashion Girl, otherwise known as your friend, The Soap Heiress. Gotta love genealogy!

Being raised by my mom's side of the family was literally like living in a personalized finishing school, because many a dinner, family event, shopping trip, car ride, conversation, and countless other moments in my childhood were like mini-lessons to train me into becoming (hopefully) a poised, classy, young lady with taste.

Like when I was little, my mum would run my tiny hand over three different sweaters and tell me, "Baby, this is wool, this is angora, and this is cashmere. All three of them are different kinds of knits." And she'd be delighted to hear that my favourite is cashmere. Or my grandma would coach me at the dinner table on the finer points of proper chopstick handling (Chinese rules, of course, like your chopsticks are not supposed to ever cross, and it's rude to skewer food on them, etc.) and banquet etiquette, which actually apply to any dinner with distant relatives, despite any pretense of casualness.

Of all my "lessons," my favourite had to be the ones on style. All my basic knowledge of being chic comes from them. And what good teachers, too - Retro Fashion Girl is literally "The Lady in Red When Everyone Else Is Wearing Tan" (there are pictures to prove it!) and The Fashion Girl is always the least adorned but the most beautifully tasteful at every event.

So I thought that I'd share with everyone the Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style. It's the sort of thing that you shouldn't study like a textbook, but should just soak in, forget about, and then let them resurface on their own later. The list can be quite extensive, but the basics are as follows:

The Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style
*wearing knockoffs is the #1 NO-NO because apart from poaching the designers' art, someone recognizing a fake on you is worse than not being able to afford the piece
*always dress appropriately for your age to enjoy every stage of your life (and the beauty of it) to the fullest
*less is more; truly beautiful people don't need a lot of embellishment
*don't be a style-prude - if it looks good and you can pull it off, don't be afraid to be a little daring
*it's all about good cutting, tailoring, fit and lush materials
*know how to appreciate (quality) handiwork
*take good care of your belongings (if you can't afford to hire someone to do it for you!)
*secondhand stuff is gross, unless it comes from someone in your family
*it is a basic courtesy to have your feet pedicured and your toes polished if you're going to wear open-toed shoes

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