At the age of 22 my style bible was a book called “A guide to Elegance: for every woman who wants to be well and properly dressed on all occasions” by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux.
I know! But after a few years spent clad in black leather everything, I wanted to be an uptown girl. So.
Published in 1964 the book is full of bygone era’s charm and practical advice (perhaps in places outdated now) but for me it was an early advocate (before a flurry of books about French style arrived a few years later) of quality over quantity, and a few, well chosen essentials. An ideal wardrobe, according to madame Dariaux, would only have a few selected items. A cashmere sweater, great quality skirt, well cut suit (preferably designer) and an excellent handbag. A wardrobe like this still remains a very stylish yet utterly unattainable daydream of mine (what about gym clothes? Where do they fit?)
One of the items that a woman should own, in madame Dariaux world, is an opera coat. Would a girl need one in today’s day & age? Perhaps not but when I saw a red coat on Poppy Delavigne, I was sold. Now, Poppy’s style does’t suit me at all but that coat was something else. I wanted a similar one! So I had it made.
In truth, I don’t really need it. It remains one of this beautiful but quite useless items, which I love to have. It mostly hangs in my closet, unworn because it’s not the easiest item to pair. If I do wear it, I try to pair it with worn denim and a t-shirt, like today, to avoid looking too done.
If you get a chance, I recommend you read the book. You’ll read it in one day. In today’s day & age of fast fashion, it’s a useful reminder of what is really important- quality and style.
Coat by Jadzia Doroba
Jeans- Ralph Lauren