Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

In honour of Deb’s Balance by Deborah Hutton French River cruise this week, I’d like to pay homage to Gallic style.

Since Coco Chanel the world has been inspired by certain French women who have earnt the title ‘style icon’.  These women have been inspiring millions of women around the world for decades but what is it about them that gives them that special style  je ne sais quoi that is loved and emulated world-wide?

Look to current French style icons whose style may vary but who all share the secret French ingrediant that makes world-wide style icons, par example Carine Roitfeld’s classically sexy style, Inès de la Fressange’s effortless elegance, Emmanuelle Alt’s cool rock-chick look, or Catherine Denevue’s elegance.

Believe it or not, having French style isn’t hard to do.  All you have to do is keep in mind a ‘French-woman’ traits and Gallic style and elegance can be yours:

Embrace It:  French women embrace age and sexuality.  They are THE champions of the ‘style is attitude’ adage and live by it.  As Mireille Guiliano, bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat says, “In France, a woman in her 40s or 50s is still seen as alluring. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend that she is still young. She is comfortable and takes care of herself.”

Uniform Dressing:  French women have a ‘style uniform’ honed over the years that they stick to religiously.  Alt’s is skinny jeans and a blazer, Fressange’s is a classic pant and blazer, and no one does a pencil skirt and silk shirt better than Carine Roitfeld.

A Few Quality Basics:  According to Inès de la Fressange in her book Parisian Chic, the ‘Magnificent Seven’ is a must for every woman’s wardrobe and the secret to French flair – trench coat, blazer, jeans, sweater, tank top, LBD, biker jacket -in quality or high-end labels which they endlessly mix and match for day and night.

Mix and Match:  As Inès de la Fressange states in her book Parisian Chic, “c0-ordination is a crime!”.  You will never see a stylish French women head to in labels.  Their style mantra is ‘mix it up’.  Chic and cheap is the Gallic way.

Effortless:  Whether their style is boho or elegant, French women always look effortless – and comfortable.  No one-dimensional super-tight anything or sharp edges – just effortlessly chic.

If It Feels Good:  Though they stick to a few basic style rules, French women approach fashion with a sense of playfullness and “it it feels good, wear it” approach.

Beauty is Skin Deep:  French women are taught from a very young age to look after their skin and is the basis of their beauty routines.  In France, you can buy the most amazing skin care products at local pharmacies and grocery stores.

Nonchalant Beauty:  Though they love to be well groomed, French women are never ‘over coiffed’.  They prefer easy and effortless hairstyles, think ‘bedhair’ and never over-colour.  (A big no-no for all women).  The ’10-minute’ makeup routine is their preference and always includes mascara, a sweep of eyeliner, minimal foundation and well-groomed brows.

Logo-less:  Though most French style icons are besties with Karl Lagerfeld and wear AMAZING Chanel ensembles, French women choose style over substance.  French women never do head-to-toe luxury labels.

Style Info: Sportscraft ‘Audrey’ trench $239.99, faux-leather jacket $139,; Dolce & Gabbana off-shoulder dress $3,700, Road mid-rise jean $99.95,; Witchery slub tank $49.95, Joe Woman by Gail Elliott ‘Rock Your Baby Blazer’ $350,; Marcs ‘Stardust’ sweater $139,

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Balanced Style, Celebrity Style, Fashion

Can you feel it?  A hint of spring is in the air this week and with the lovely warmer weather it’s a perfect time to start planning your summer wardrobe.  For a little spring-spiration, here is a sneak peek of what we will be wearing for Spring Summer 16/17 – with the help of a few well-dressed celebrities and the dreamy designs of Aussie label Zimmerman.   (Style note:  I will do a full trend report in the weeks to come).

Floaty Feel:  Sarah Jessica Parker has cleverly combined two of spring/summer’s major trends, off-shoulder and metallics, with her gorgeous white and silver dress.  Love the boho-style silver accessories.

Bedtime Dressing:  Boudoir dressing returns for spring/summer but if a slinky nude slip dress is not your style, try a beautiful black silk jumpsuit instead. Nightie-night.

Colour Chart:  This summer sees you bravely mixing colours and patterns.  Bright colours of fushcia pink, bright yellow, electric blue return in clashing patterns and prints – think florals mixed with graphics and stripes – then finished off in textured and embellished fabrics.  Not for the faint-hearted.

70’s Redux (again):  We can’t seem to let go of the 70’s era – which I for one am very happy about.  Channel your boho vibe again this summer.

Elegantly Waisted:  Is there any trouser that provides more elegant ease than a high-waisted palazzo or wide-legged pant?  I think not.

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Style Info – all styles shown below at


Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

“A woman is never too old to appear in Vogue” – Emmanuelle Alt

In my ‘Women of Style’ series on my website, I regularly feature over-40 women who I believe have great style.  Coming from all walks of life, they are business women, mums, celebrities and ‘real’ women who have a great attitude to life and to style.  They know who they are, what suits them, what doesn’t, they are comfortable and confident in their choices AND they don’t give a toss about what other people think – and I love that.   They take care of themselves, mix luxe with less and don’t regard their age as a barrier to anything from style to love to life.

My next featured Woman of Style is French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt who is the personification of ‘cool understatement’.  At 49, Alt’s style is steadfastly classic and elegant with a masculine/rock-chick edge sprinkled with a sexy laissez-faire attitude that only French women can master.

As Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue you would expect Alt to be a show-pony of the world’s most luxurious labels, but that isn’t her style modus operandi “I’m never someone who’s thinking, ‘OK, next week it’s the show, I’m going to do this crazy stuff.’  First, I think a good attitude for a woman is to be confident, and to be confident is to be natural.  I don’t want to be an image” Alt says.

Alt’s signature style consists mostly of jeans, pants, jackets, beautifully well-cut blazers and shirts and comfort plays a key factor.

Though she supports and promotes young designers in her magazine, Alt does not intend for Vogue to be a vehicle only for the young.  She is a champion of the over 40 woman and believes that a woman is never too old to appear in Vogue.  Past covers have included a 46-year-old Sophie Marceau in black knickers and sweater, 70-year-old Lauren Hutton and 50-year-old Cindy Crawford.  “It’s great to have a woman who’s 70 on the cover,” she says of Hutton. “In France we have a lot of actresses who are ageing and accept their age, which I think is a good example.”
For all of Alt’s cool style, she, like most of women, is not a fan of aging but is doing so with great attitude.  I love this quote where she says “The age I am? That is it. Who would you want to convince you’re 10 years younger? Who do you care about? The people who know you, they know your age, so deal with it!
Attitude not age.  Alt has that covered.

For more great style for over 40 women, subscribe to

[Quotes from an article on]

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

As I mentioned in my beauty post, Cold Shoulder Beauty, Olivia Palermo is the queen of off-shoulder style.  By day or evening, Palermo’s off-shoulder style is always polished and timeless.

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

‘The shoulder looks good no matter your age or body type’ – Donna Karan

I’m loving the return of the versatile off-the-shoulder top which is the perfect vacation statement for strolling through the streets of Portfino or for cool urban style.

Many celebrities over the years have worn the style well such as Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe including modern day style-stars such as Olivia Palermo, Elle MacPherson and even a royal, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge.

Make the look your own bearing in mind a few simple style tips:

  • Think ‘effortless elegance’ when styling your off-the-shoulder top – apply the KISS rule and don’t over-style.
  • Opt for a style with a little volume – avoid anything too tight.  Balance is key also – pair with a fitted or semi-fitted pant.
  • Avoid a style that sits too low – leave those for the 20-somethings.  A few inches from the top of your shoulder is best.
  • Pair with classic style pant styles such as a great jean, sateen pants or cotton chino – beware anything too fussy or with too much detail.
  • Minimise jewellery  – the best look for off-the-shoulder is simple and effortless.
  • Make like a French woman and wear a silk scarf knotted at the neck.
  • A monochromatic ensemble of black-on-black is polished, chic and timeless.
  • Choose fit over form.  A well fitting top is essential to avoid riding up – or quelle horreur down.  Elastised versions often work best.
  • A well-fitting and secure strapless bra is essential.
  • Your décolletage is on show so a lovely glow provided by your favourite bronzer or tanner is essential.
Style note:  An off-the-shoulder top is a great option for those lucky Balance readers who are winging their way to France to join Deborah Hutton on her Food, Wine and Relaxtion river cruise.

Style info, clockwise left to right:  Sussan bell-sleeve top $99.95,; Sportsgirl textured top $79.95,; Seed Heritage flare top $59.95,; Country Road t-shirt top $79.95,; Forever New ‘Avery’ top $59.99,; Forever New ‘Vienna’ top $69.99, as before.

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

If you’re one of the lucky ones to be joining Deborah Hutton on her Food, Wine and Relaxtion river cruise through France next month or perhaps you’re intending to become a seasoned jetsetter, I’ve compiled a list of the ‘best-of’ in-flight essentials to stay stylish and comfortable on long haul flights.

  1. Start with lighweight and comfortable classics such as soft tapered pants, wrap cardigan and cotton long sleeve tees.  Tapered pants or joggers will always look more stylish and can be worn with a feminine ballet flat or metallic sneakers.
  2. If you’re going to a warm destintation, take a non-crease and lightweight dress to change into before landing.
  3. A scarf adds an extra layer of warmth inflight and whilst on vacation.
  4. A soft and comforable pair of ballet flats are a classic and stylish choice.
  5. Add a touch of bling to your onboard ensemble – a hoop earring is a great option.
  6. Socks in organic cotton or wool will keep feet warm and toasty in the chilly cabin.  Rub essential oil on feet first (see beauty tip).
  7. Jetsetting celebrities always carry a large tote on board to hold everything from iPads to toiletries.
  8. Carry a good size cosmetics bag for skin care and beauty products.
  9. Always carry a travel size/mini manicure case for those inevitable nail dilemmas.
  10. A silk eye mask will not just help you to sleep but is also gentle on skin.
  11. Noise reducing earphones or ear plugs are the jetsetter’s must-have accessory when travelling.
  12. Boring luggage tags are so yesterday.  Choose personalised or stylish tags that will help you quickly identify your bags.
  13. Inflatable pillows are the only way to fly on long haul flights.
  14. Take a good book – or your favourite series and binge-watch to your heart’s content.

Style info clockwise left to right:  Witchery print resort dress $129.95; Oroton hooded knit sale $197.50; Country Road asymmetrical wrap cardy sale $134.25; Country Road soft pull-on jogger pant $159; Country Road socks $12.95; Nine West ‘Busybee’ sneaker $129.95; Banjo and Matilda cashmere/silk scarf $298; Bag Tag Studio ‘Parisian Chic’ luggage tags $12.95 set; Marcs striped tee $79; Suits DVD set $34.95; Go Travel Super Snoozer inflatable pillow $23.95; Diane Von Furstenberg ‘The Woman I Wanted To Be $30; Sussan nail set $12.95; Witchery cosmetics bag $39.95; Apple Wireless ear phones $395; Kerrie Hess x Balletonet Frenchie ballet flats $295; Samantha Wills earrings $119