My Style: Jessica Michault

Portrait of Jessica Michault of Now Fashion

Illustration: Ben Seidler — Courtesy of Jessica Michault

Which city has the best-dressed women?

Ahh… well that depends on what kind of woman you like! But I have to say I do love the elegant nonchalance of the Parisian woman. I have yet to figure out how they always look so effortlessly put-together. I have been living in Paris for fifteen years and I still haven’t got it down. It must be in the genes!

Please describe your style in three words.

Elegant. Understated. Functional.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Not looking in the mirror before walking out the door. Or even better, asking a small child: “How do I look?” You are sure to get an even more truthful answer than what the mirror is showing you.

Do you believe in role models?

Yes! Role models are very important. They act as guides, mentors and in some cases can show you what NOT to do.

What are your favourite fabrics?

God, is there anything better than cashmere?

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

No. I think that one of the most wonderful things about working in the fashion industry is being able to see all of the different and inventive ways people, both on a runway and on the street, can put different and diverging things together and make an unexpected outfit work, sometimes just by the force of their own will.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I am sorry to say that, more times than not, I am conservative when it comes to dressing. But there are those odd days when I surprise myself and put on my elbow length black leather Undercover gloves — the ones with the felt feather trim — and see what adventures I can get into.

What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?

Comfort is key — especially if I have to run from one show to another and file my reviews between collections. I can’t be late with my copy because my high heel snapped in a cobblestone Parisian street.

One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Handbags and hair combs.

A woman should always look like...

She knows what she is doing.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My mother. I would also have to say that covering the fashion beat for the past 15 years has had a lot to do with how I honed my personal style.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

The weather, the city, comfort and, if I am meeting him for dinner, what my husband likes.

Your biggest regret is...

Well, my biggest fashion regret is not buying a Guy Laroche dress covered in a flower-embroidered tulle overlay. It was from the first fashion show I saw that knocked my socks off when I had just started out in this business. It was designed by a young, up-and-coming designer named Alber Elbaz.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are...

Be true to your own style. Anything else will look forced. Perfume is a powerful thing, use it. Always walk into a room with a smile on your face.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Rituals no, but rules, yes: never shop alone, never shop online after midnight, and even if it’s on sale, if you’re never going to wear it then it really isn’t a bargain.

We will never see you wearing...

A micro mini.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

Tom Ford and Lady Gaga — I have met both and it really is a tie.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her smile. Same goes for a man by the way.

The only article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is...

Her underwear. You get that right and the rest of the clothes will, at the very least, look right on your body.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Absolutely not.

The best word of advice you have ever heard?

Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.

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