When in doubt, turn to Emmanuelle Alt

Today I’m off to business trip to south Asia (yeah, just casually saying that) (…of course I’m nervous and looking forward very much!) and while I’ll be packing my stuff on the last minute as usual, I definitely spent the last two weeks wondering – unsurprisingly – what do I pack?

From stockholmstreetstyle.com

I’m quite new to workplace with certain clothing requirements so the packing is not only about the hot and humid weather typical for the area but also about formal dresscode. I hope I can wear a single piece of clothing like shirt more than once but with the rain season currently under way, nobody knows. The question therefore was: did I have sufficient clothes and in sufficient amount to work and to explore in my free time?

I did not, so I chickened out a little and made some unplanned purchases – linen shirtdress with hint of safari style (new), thin woolen skirt and black linen trousers (second hand both). No regrets since these are pretty good buys – the cut, the materials, style compatibility – I can see a lot of wear out of them. And I didn’t buy anything in few months (because of this) which is quite a success for me. I was about to continue in my stress shopping when it came to me like: isn’t this a path I already went like, hundred times before? Isn’t it feeling way too familiar? Wait, what am I doing?

…And in that moment, snap! – Atelier Doré republished on their FB site this interview with Emmanuelle Alt.

The French style stereotype is, like every other stereotype, from certain point very annoying. It’s impossible to avoid it since everybody is talking about it like if it was Holy Grail and it’s just a new pressure, new requirement to be on trend, cool, perfect. But to be honest, though I do realize it’s more of romantic idea than real life, for me it’s that kind of idea – or an anchor, if you like – that helps me ground myself when I feel like drifting away. I’m not talking about the clothing aspect (and especially not about the must-have formulas including LBDs, Breton stripe shirts, etc.) but about the approach: that acceptance of one’s own imperfection and humanity. The confidence to stand for oneself. The relaxed attitude to one’s look. It’s something I still need to remind myself of from time to time.

Although there are many French style icons, Emmanuelle Alt is the one I turn to. The video explains why. Not only she’s stylish of course; there’s also this certain kind of humbleness and down-to-the-earth approach I admire. She’s not my icon in term of the clothing itself – I don’t like the pieces alone that much as I like them on her. And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it?

In video, she speaks about being most comfortable in her own clothes which is why she rather plays with what she already owns than go somewhere to buy something new for the occassion. It made me ask myself: Why couldn’t I do the same? Can’t I just leave the over-worrying and solve the problems when they actually happen? Was the work I did in past year or so on editing my wardrobe useless?

I want to believe it wasn’t, so I decided to stop the worrying and go with the things I already have. There’s not much time left, anyway – gotta pack actually – and my suitcase is not that big. Call it a fate!


2 thoughts on “When in doubt, turn to Emmanuelle Alt

  1. Have a great and productive trip! I used to follow Emmanuelle Alt’s style some years ago before she became EIC. I like her modern classic approach and I agree that she wears her clothes well. I personally prefer her brand of “french” look to the 60s jane birkin look.

    I’m proud of myself when I don’t need to buy clothes for a certain occasion–doesn’t stop me from wanting though. The linen pieces sound beautiful. Some people poo-poo over linen for the wrinkles but I think it’s part of the charm–especially if it is the super soft kind. 🙂


    1. Thank you! It was productive and enjoyable indeed. Yes, I also prefer EA’s “French” style much more than Jane Birkin’s… or Jeanne Damas.
      You have a reason to be proud. I’m terrible when it comes to specific occasion, almost always chickening out and stress-buying stuff I don’t really need. The linen pieces proved to be good workhorses but the wool skirt – not so much. 😦


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