Fashion editor and stylist Carine Roitfeld gives tips on developing a unique sense of style
Exhibit your individuality
Amidst globalisation, trends are becoming worldwide, so it’s important to take a unique approach to what fashion has to offer. Be yourself in the middle of it all; fashion shouldn’t be try-hard. My friends who are designers always want to change my style and give me clothes to wear, but I say no. It’s fundamental that my dress stays true to my strong character. The woman is always more significant than the clothes.
Carine Roitfeld: She Wears It Well
Up close with Carine Roitfeld, the world’s chicest grandmother
Stick to what suits you
I have dressed in the same way for the past 20 years; only the length of my skirt has changed. Consistent style shows confidence, and knowing what suits you saves time when you are choosing what to wear. I only have one fashion personality – the Carine one – which I would describe as sober and almost classically Parisian. She is tough, my woman. It’s important to have a sense of humour about dressing, so I always add a twist to my outfits. My Givenchy sweater with a Bambi-cartoon print is one of my favourite pieces (£750, net-a-porter.com ).
Highlight your strengths
Find something you like about your appearance and accentuate it. My eyebrows and legs are my best features. I like to wear black eye make-up to draw attention to my eyes and brows, and my wardrobe contains mostly fitted clothes. With my black eyes, black clothes and skinny legs, my style can appear quite rock ‘n’ roll.
Don’t shop the trends
Only buy clothes that you plan to keep forever. It’s important to see trends for what they are: a game. I think finding a well-fitting garment is more exciting than buying into a crazy fad. My panther-print Azzedine Alaïa dress (autumn/winter 2010) is one of my signature pieces and fits me perfectly. Black items are an investment, and though colours have a place in my wardrobe too, I never mix them: my outfits are all-black, all-white or all-khaki.
Choose pieces with character
“Comfort” is not part of my fashion vocabulary. You lose attitude when you feel too comfortable, so I prefer to wear clothes that have a certain edge to them. I think of my lace negligee as sexy rather than relaxing, and I keep that feeling in mind when I wear it under my clothes for fittings or shopping.
Dress from the head down
My hair and make-up secret is “the messier the better”. It’s easy for me as I can’t see anything without my glasses. I never put my eyeliner on very well in the morning, so it’s usually smudged. I think it’s sexy, plus it always looks better come the evening. And messy hair adds a certain youthfulness to a look. Like everyone, I am trying to hide the signs of ageing as I get older, though I do respect my age.
Cost effective Parisian chic!
“Mademoiselle C”, a documentary about Carine Roitfeld, is available on Blu-ray and DVD