Wearing The Boyfriend Jeans

July 29, 2014

Jane Birkin, Google Images, Denim, Boyfriend Jeans, French Essence, Vicki Archer jane birkin back in the day

To wear or not to wear is the question?

Boyfriend jeans that is.

My answer is yes… although my daughters disagree… they only like the skinny jean.

That’s too bad, because I love my boyfriends and will wear them regardless.

I don’t always take notice of them.

The secret to a good boyfriend jean is the cut… they look best if they are a slim fit.

That’s a contradiction… but they exist.

At my age I am not too much into the rips and holes… faded and distressed, yes… cut and torn… no.

I have nothing against them, I am just a believer in adapting fashion to suit my age and stage.

How To Wear The Boyfriend

I have tried on so many pairs and rejected most of them.

Too baggy and too unflattering… they need to be loose, but not too loose.

Give the impression of ease without swamping the frame.

I wear my boyfriend jeans with a very simple teeshirt and longer line blazer… flats or the new balance trainers… even the slip on sneakers work well with this look.

I wear the blue boyfriend jeans with a white tee and white blazer… the white boyfriend jeans with a black tee and black tuxedo .

If day is turning into evening, I will add a pair of heels… a suede pump with a little ankle action for interest.

The tee shirt means there is no extra bulk around the body and the longer line of the jacket slims down the hips.

I like that… xv

Which Boyfriends?

**j brand slim boyfriend jeans in white   on sale  //  ** citizens of humanity skyler in faded or deep denim   on sale  //  current elliot boyfriend jeans  //  j brand 1265 ace boyfriend jeans  //  ** rag & bone slim boyfriend on sale

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The Best Kept Beauty Secrets #4

July 28, 2014

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets #4 , French essence, Posture, Vicki Archer

One of the best kept beauty secrets is posture.

Easier said than done… in my case any way.

The mind is always willing but sometimes the body does let me down.

Stance and posture do they reflect a positive state of mind?

I think perhaps they do.

Bad posture is body language that none of us mean to imply.

Life  interferes and a slouch of the shoulders, a relaxing of the stomach muscles is oftentimes a signal that we are tired, overwhelmed or not at our happiest.

And it could be that we just forgot… to sit upright, drop our shoulders and think about our core.

There is so much that our brain has to concentrate on at any given time, it’s not surprising that certain elements slide.

Self correcting my posture on a bad day makes me immediately feel stronger and in control.

Good posture is youthful, beneficial for the health and simply put… makes us feel better about ourselves.

I have the best intentions when it comes to my posture, because I know that it’s the simplest way to look and feel younger.

I have seen this time and time again… walking along a crowded street admiring someone in the distance, only to be surprised when they turn… their gait is suggestive of a much younger body.

Wanting and having good posture is admirable… but it takes a serious commitment.

It’s one I want to make… but I have been neglectful.

Lifestyle, working and all the excuses under the sun mean that time for ourselves is limited.

Don’t you feel as women we tend to neglect ourselves in our focus on our friends and families?

This is praiseworthy and I wouldn’t want us to be vapid, self obsessed creatures… but beauty is about finding the balance… and that is sometimes a struggle.

After the summer I am going to make amends… yoga and Pilates must become a part of my routine, an easy habit.

No more excuses.

Tell me your secret to finding the balance… Have you found it? Is posture on the top of your beauty regime… or is it a good intention that slips and slides?

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets

#1   //  #2  //  #3

looking for a more practical approach… the french essence beauty edit


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The Long And The Short Of It… Bermuda Bound

July 27, 2014

John and Jackie Kennedy, Life Magazine Sometimes I surprise myself.

I am wearing shorts… long ones admittedly, but still they are shorts.

This season the runway was full of longer length bermuda style shorts.

The other day when I could stand the heat no more, I tried a pair on.

Strangely enough… I liked them… loose and easy and worn colour blocked.

I did the all black thing… and then I went back and tried the all white/cream look.

It’s done… I now own 2 pairs of shorts.

They need to be worn super baggy and with a non fitting style top.

Wearing the same colour top and bottom works for me because it’s more slimming.

I even wore them with a blazer for evening and pointy toe flats.

A cute look… and the longer length means there are no age restrictions.

Loving that… xv

Bermuda Bound

toteme crepe shorts  //  lafayette stretch cotton shorts  //  chaus jackie o bermuda shorts  //  asos long length black shorts  //  asos long line white slouch shorts

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How To Lose Weight? Walk In Paris

July 25, 2014

Paris, Vicki Archer, French Essence, Walking In Paris

How to lose weight? That age old question. I have a solution for you… but it involves Paris.

It is almost impossible to resist the wining and dining when in Paris… and it does play havoc with the diet.

I try and stay on a reduced carbohydrate and sugar regime… (it’s still going on) and it’s not the easiest when in France.

The patisseries, the champagne… the bread… you get the picture.

 6 days of the week I am strong and on the 7th I live a little.

It is the only way to sustain a diet for a lengthy period of time and reach the goals I have set myself.

Except in Paris… In Paris… I walk.

The beauty of Paris makes it easy to walk for hours and hours.

Walking in Paris is no chore and if you walk long and take care of what you eat… the weight falls off or at least maintains.

Below are a few of my favourite paths… with wonderful points of interest along the way… xv

Walk Through Montmartre

Sacré Cœur Basilica

Moulin Rouge

Place du Tertre

Dalí Museum

The Montmartre Vineyards

Montmartre Cemetery

Le Lapin Agile

Famous Windmills

Bateaux Lavoir

Discover The Latin Quarter

Notre Dame

St. Chapelle

Place St. Michel


Luxembourg Gardens

Les Bouquinistes

Stroll Romantic Paris

The Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame

Napoléon’s Tomb

Louvre Museum

Tuileries Gardens

Musée D’Orsay

Champs- Elysées

Sunday In The Marais

Musee Picasso ( re-opening September 2014)

Place des Vosges

Rue des Rosiers

Centre Pompidou

Hôtel de Ville

Musée Carnavalet

Île Saint Louis

Pont Neuf


Sainte -Chapelle

Marché aux Fleurs

Notre Dame Cathedral


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How To Apply Individual Eyelashes

July 24, 2014

day to night cinemagraph, jamie beck and kevin burg, french essence

cinemagraph via ann street studio

I wanted to know how to apply individual eyelashes.

For those special occasions when more is more.

Truthfully, I’m frightened of the process…  too complicated… but I have seen that they make all the difference.

Applying individual false lashes gives a more natural look than strip lashes.

The individual lashes mean you can add as few or as many as needed  and it almost impossible to tell that they aren’t natural.

I was assured that if I followed these simple instructions… I could apply them myself and … I would never look back.

The result… enough to say… I will be wearing them often… xv

The How

apply a natural eye makeup.

 curl the lashes using the shu uemura eye lash curler

 apply a slick of mascara and allow the lashes to dry

 place a pea sized amount of ‘duo’ adhesive to the back of the hand

** this is the secret… all the professionals use this glue and it is the gentlest

  with tweezers pick up the first cluster of lashes and delicately dip the base of them into the adhesive

allow the ‘duo’ to dry slightly for about 30 seconds on the lashes before applying.

this allows the adhesive to become tacky before application

using tweezers, gently place the cluster of lashes as close as possible onto the eyelid, working from the middle of the lash line outwards

to help the lashes stick, use a Q tip or cotton bud to press the lashes into place

if the adhesive is still visible this isn’t a problem as once it dries it becomes transparent

 Once all the lashes have been applied and the adhesive has fully dried (this should only take about 2 minutes),  add a little extra mascara.

Additional eyeliner can also be added if needed to blend the lashes into the natural eye lashes.

duo adhesive  //  mac individual lashes  //  shu uemura curler

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Olivia Palermo… Wedding Day Beauty

July 22, 2014

Olivia Palermo Wedding, Johannes Huebl, French Essence

“I wanted the makeup to be light and fresh and more focused about the lashes while keeping the eyes clean. My hair was in an uncontrived pony tail, one of my favourite personal looks.”

Olivia Palermo is someone who I have long admired for her fabulous style and fashion sense.

She recently married her long time partner, Johannes Huebl quietly and discreetly.. without the normal celebrity bells and whistles that accompany someone with such a high profile.

She is beautiful and her dress sense impeccable… classic with a twist of the unexpected.

What caught my attention was her philosophy towards dressing for her wedding day.

She wanted to look as she does, not different, not complicated.

Carolina Hererra designed an elegant cream cashmere sweater with scattered ostrich feathers and a satin and silk tulle skirt that cinched in at the waist.

 Her hair was a simple pony tail… a style she wears often and her shoes were her much loved blue silk satin Manolos.

She wore a natural make-up with emphasis on her eyes through the lashes.

This is a make-up strategy that can apply so well to women of all ages… a little on the lids, plenty on the lashes.

And that is what we want… an easy way to make all the difference… xv

Focus on the Eyes

lightly dust the entire lid with mac dazzlelight eyeshadow

apply mac bronze eyeshadow within the socket line, build the intensity towards the outer part of the eye lid

blend the edges of the  eyeshadow with the mac 217 brush

apply a mac smolder pencil eye liner along the top lash line and smudge using mac 219 brush

even if we can’t or don’t want to follow the steps above the last one is the easiest and makes all the difference in the world

*** curl the lashes and apply several coats of black dior show mascara to define the eye lashes and make them the focal point of the look

** for special occasions add a few extra ‘individual’ lashes… more about how to do that tomorrow

mac dazzlelight  //  mac bronze  //  mac 217  //  mac smolder  //  mac 219   //  dior show 

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Living in France… Feeling French?

July 21, 2014

Paris, Place des Vosges, Living in France, Vicki Archer

Living in France… What makes you feel “French”? What changes you?

Living away from your birthplace does re-align your thinking… it’s impossible not too… but I believe the revisions are positive… it’s important to adapt, to be open to new ways of doing things… otherwise we may as well stay put.

It’s not about loosing who we are or where we have come from… home is always home… but more about growing and adapting.

Provence, where I have spent a large proportion of my time in the last 15 years has most certainly altered me.

What are the differences? What are the mannerisms that I have inevitably picked up?

I have learned patience.

France is a bureaucratic juggle at times… and as much as we love her… she can test even the most generous of natures.

I have learned to hold my breath, count to ten and wait… Waiting is the long suffering partner 0f patience… they are a necessary and essential team to draw upon when living in France.

The importance and the benefits of taking time.

This is different to being patient… this is about pleasure, about opening the eyes to beauty and appreciating the here and now.

Being in the moment.

It sounds so obvious and easy, but it’s not. How often we are involved in one activity only to be thinking of another.

Taking time for the simple pleasures is a lesson I continually learn from the French…and one that I am most grateful for.

Food has become much more predominant in life.

Lunch is a meal I rarely go without… or grab… eating on the run is not the French way.

Dining… the art of dining even if it’s two lettuce leaves and a shaving of carrot… is an experience, one to be savoured and a time in the day to stop, to enjoy.

On the flip side… Who would have thought that the name of ten varieties of cheese could roll off the tongue so readily?

That so much time could be spent discussing menus with butchers or that seasonal produce could become dinner party conversation?

Language changes… the way you speak and write.

It’s impossible not to be affected by the cadence of the French language, to become more descriptive… to embellish.

It’s inevitable that questions are ended with an answer. The French often do that… answer their own question with the negative, “non”, which really means yes.

Living in France can’t help but bring out the romantic in you.

France means Paris and I believe to this day that it is the most romantic city on earth.

Symmetry… French design has made me appreciate the classic… the relevance of the pair.

The simple is elevated to a whole new league in France… through symmetry, the simple becomes grand.

The eclectic in design… that new and old work beautifully together, that courage and originality is applauded.

The way French women dress and present themselves has influenced my sense of fashion and my thoughts on beauty and ageing in our modern world.

The French way has taught me self-confidence and an appreciation of what I have rather than what I don’t or can’t have.

And lastly…

Once upon a time my dream would be to play in Prada… now you will find me browsing in the French pharmacy, an Aladdin’s Cave for beauty… :) xv

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P.S… More From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

July 20, 2014

A small aside

I couldn’t help but re-browse the online Nordstrom Anniversary sale, this morning.

Quite a few great buys have come on… or I missed them before in my excitement.

Thought you might like to see what I have been looking for… xv

Nordstron Anniversary Sale, Mac, French Essence, Vicki Archer,


burberry pea coat  //  burberry brit anorak  //  burberry leather trim taffeta  //  rag & bone slim boyfriend jeans  //  rag & bone tee  //  stuart weitzman oxford brogues

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale… Beauty Edit

July 19, 2014

Nordstron Anniversary Sale, Mac, French Essence, Vicki Archer, Google Images

Are you in the mood for beauty?

A delicious edition or a refill for your make-up bag…  aren’t we always in the mood for that.

I have some suggestions to share.

Nordstrom during their anniversary sale, is reducing so many of my favourite beauty items… those that I have already mentioned in The French Essence Beauty Edit.

Nordstron Anniversary Sale, Mac, French Essence, Vicki Archer, Google Images

bobbi brown nude on nude  //  diptyque feu du bois and tuberose candles  //  mac all about nude  //  skII hydrating boost set

 moroccanoil moisture repair hair set  //  mac basic brush kit  //  clarisonic collection  //  jo malone blackberry and bay

Until next week… have a fabulous weekend… xv

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Happy Anniversary… The Nordstrom Sale… My Edit

July 18, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Vintage Images, French Essence, Google, Vicki Archer

I cannot believe that Nordstrom reduce all the new season’s merchandise before the cooler months get under way.

This just does not happen in Europe… If you live in the US or happen to have an account at Nordstrom… you are in for a treat.

SO much is marked down, I mean genuinely marked down.

It is the time to buy…

I have certain “sale’ rules.

I only buy what I know and what I need.

It’s not the moment to experiment… it’s the time to restock and refresh the wardrobe.

I have had a comprehensive search through Nordstrom this morning… and it’s amazing… I can’t believe it.

My choices are classic… those fashion staples that I wear all the time and that could oftentimes do with an update.

I thought you might like some of these.

For The Weekend

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, French Essence, Vicki Archer

1. Veda Leather Jacket  //  2. Dolce Vita Studded Bootie  //  3. Burton Moto Boot  //  4. Steve Madden Moto Boot  //  5. Rag & Bone Suede Bootie

6. Chuck Taylor “All Star” Leather Sneakers  //  7. Rebecca Minkoff Studded Tote  //  8. Chloe Leather Hobo (also in grey)  //  9. Majestic Turtleneck  //  10. Burberry Wool Cashmere Coat

Out And About

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, French Essence, Vicki Archer

1. DVF Lace Skirt  //  2. Theory Jacket and Pants  //  3. Vince Ribbed Pencil Dress  //  4. DVF Lace Blouse

5. DVF Shoe Bootie  //  6. Burberry Leather Sleeve Sheath Dress  //  7. Theory Stretch Sheath  //  8. Hallogen Peep Toe Bootie

And The Extras

the cashmere  //  the trainers  //  ** the longchamp pliage

It’s a lot to take in… too much to see and so much to think about… but if a deal is part of your day… then have fun, browsing… xv

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Paris… The Insider’s List

July 17, 2014

Au Printemps, Paris , French Essence, Vicki Archer

What is the latest and coolest place to eat and have a cocktail in Paris?

Where are the Parisians eating? Where are they headed to after work? I always want to know.

The best way to find out is to ask someone who is local and loves food and wine as much as I do… as we all do.

I have been wanting to explore the 9th arrondissement for ages…

The 9th is located on the Right bank,with many places of cultural, historical, and architectural interest, including the Palais Garnier, home to the Paris OperaBoulevard Haussmann and the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Last week my daughter’s friend was visiting London, he has lived in the 9th in Paris for many years and as we chatted we inevitably talked about “where to eat” and the best places for a cocktail or two in his neighbourhood.

He has generously shared his list so we can all visit when we are next in Paris.

 That’s the next question… When are we going? xv

The Insider’s List

he suggests…

Petrelle –  a really exquisite place, with a beautiful candle-lit funky interior and farm/market-to-table food that is sensational.

Also a very strong and fairly reasonably priced wine list.

Really my favourite spot.


34 Rue Petrelle, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 42 82 11 02


Ito – the Asian hit of the 9th

Ito moved from a small fun interior to a larger more sophisticated space next door after only 6 months or so in operation.

Super friendly folks and terrific small plate Japanese tasting menus. Very popular these days, and it should be.


2 Rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 9 52 91 00

Buvette – building off the success of its NY West Village sister restaurant.

We really love this quaint and cute taverna.

Good small plates (salads, vegetables, cheeses, some sandwiches) served with a smile and some pretty darn good cocktails too.

Feels very New York, so of course it is popular in Paris!


28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 44 63 41 71


Momoka – another fantastic Japanese tasting menu hole in the wall.

Momoka is so popular that they have opened a second location on the same street.

You won’t leave hungry, and will try many new things during the meal, all delicious.


5 Rue Jean -Baptiste Pigalle, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 40 16 19 09

Pantruche  – these are the darlings of the 9th, written up all over the world it seems.

A very parisian bistro interior, low-key and charming service and vibe.

Le Pantruche

3 Rue Victor Massé, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 48 78 55 60

Caillebotte -  even more so, and not (yet) visited by the tourists.

Definitely one of the hippest joints in the area and has great success with innovative takes on standard dishes.


8 Rue Hippolyte Lebas, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 53 20 88 70

Professore – if in the mood for some Italian rather than French, this is the coolest spot.

Good (not fantastic) food and a really fun, dark, noisy, warm environment.

Not your standard pastas and pizzas, but you will feel like you are part of the new hip wave overtaking the neighbourhood, especially if you duck into the back where there is a lounge/bar that is probably even better than the restaurant upfront.


7 Rue Choron, 75009, Paris,

+33 (0) 1 45 26 52 15

 L’Artisan – the New York cocktail bar explosion has hit my area too, and this place does it really well.

Fantastic attention to detail is shown at this VERY popular bar where small plates (I haven’t tried them yet) are also on offer.

From bourbon to vodka to gin, the barmen can suit your fancy and he knows exactly what he is doing (of course it takes some time if the place is busy, and it usually is).


14 Rue Bochart de Saron, 75009, Paris

( be early, no reservations possible)


Pizzeta and Da Carmine –  two very different pizzerias near the extraordinarily beautiful and peaceful Avenue Trudaine at the top of rue de Martyrs.

You will have those that will defend to the end one over the other – in fact they are both great.

Pizzeta is pizza chique with the staff and ambiance to prove it, Da Carmine is side-of-the-road Napolitan pizza shop done well, and let’s face it sometimes we don’t want to be at the coolest spot around…


22 Avenue Trudaine, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 48 78 14 08

Da Carmine

61 Rue des Martyrs, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 48 78 28 01


Glass Bar and Dirty Dick’s  – these two bars, across the street from one another have become major players in the rapidly expanding going-out scene in the 9th.

Dirty Dick’s is now a Tikki bar… feels like you are at a Hawaiian Halloween party with a bunch of other revellers looking for strong and fruity rum drinks.

Glass Bar is like walking into a small dark closet speak-easy that is hot and raw and usually very, very fun.

These two are my choices in the hood for a night out, often starting at one and then heading to the other.

Glass Bar

7 Rue Frochot, 75009 ,Paris

+33 (0) 9 80 72 98 83

Dirty Dick’s

10 Rude Frochot, 75009, Paris

+33 (0) 1 48 78 74 58

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Paris… All In White

July 16, 2014

Audrey Tautou Paris , French Essence, Vicki Archer

I can’t help but notice how the women in Paris dress.

Their street style is my most favourite and I am so often inspired by the way they manage to put it all together.

Of course, I want to find the same look for myself.

There is nothing better than seeing first hand what is elegant and stylish… and there is nothing wrong with emulating a beautiful woman… It’s the highest form of flattery.

Don’t you think?

There are several wardrobe essentials that French women hold dear, that are never out of place or out of date.

The white shirt is one of them.

A couple of golden rules… there are never too many white shirts to be had and they must always be in mint condition.

Super white and super crisp… man style, business meeting ready… even when they are worn casually.

I find that the white shirt is the answer when I can’t think of what to wear.

Worn with tailored pants, jeans or a skirt… under a jacket, a cardigan or alone… the white shirt never lets me down.

The white shirt is ageless, timeless and effortless.

What’s not to love? xv

All In White

the best of the white shirts

 halogen cotton and silk white  //  equipment kenton cotton white  //  burberry brit white  //  theory stretch cotton blend white  // j.crew boy shirt classic white

nordstrom have their big anniversary sale starting on the 18th… if you are an account cardholder it’s all ready, set go… it’s their biggest sale of the year on new season’s styles

net-a-porter are clearing out right now… they have some fabulous white shirts, but sizes are sketchy… really worth a browse

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