December 6th, 2018
The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

Sophie Hersan Inspired

This time of year my outfits often feel a bit bougie. So, to right the ship, I turn to my fav style bible The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman by Navaz Batliwalla. Inspired by the profiles on chic, modern women, this book is my go-to style compass.

One of my favorite profiles is on Sophie Hersan, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. Everything Ms. Hersan wears is classic, yet she makes a simple white shirt and jeans — accessorized with a Kelly bag, tank watch, and pumps — look incredibly chic. Maybe it’s a French thing.

Image top left © The New Garconne


What's New


Everett leather tote bag


Silvia silk-twill scarf


Caged satin minaudière


Wool-crepe strapless top


Vokayo high-rise straight-leg jeans


Garcon suede loafers


Laser-engraved logo belt


Belted leather biker jacket

Jil Sander

Gathered Knit Midi Dress


Cropped leather jacket


Triple Francois 18kt gold vermeil earrings


Jimmy Leather Puffer Jacket


Le 57 quilted leather shoulder bag


Belted wool blazer


Blade velvet slingback pumps


Logo-embellished leather loafers

  • Why don’t I have this book in my collection? Love. Just ordered. Thanks for sharing.

    KarimaDecember 6th, 2018  8:11 AM

  • Love her casual chic look, so effortless yet somehow very classy.

    SusanDecember 6th, 2018  8:20 AM

  • Without fail I start to pull out my “style bibles” in my at the end of the year. I am always up for a loop back around this time of year. Agreed. Great style profile to return to. Thanks for the reminder!

    Amy Thorne RichardsonDecember 6th, 2018  8:27 AM

  • Sorry if I’m being daft, but what do you mean by ‘bougie’ – wearing too many things, too much gold jewelry? I understand it in other contexts but it’s not a term I’d associate with you. I’m just curious what you’re referring to. I also really like the Gentlewoman’s guide. I grew up going to the GH Bass store in my town in the Midwest, so your post on the Re/Done Weejuns collab sparked my curiosity. I bought a pair on sale, in silver. Got them yesterday, so beautiful and simple at the same time. Thanks for that.

    NoelleDecember 6th, 2018  8:59 AM

  • This time of year I have a number of events where I need to look “done”, which is outside of my day-to-day comfort zone. I swap my Hermes Apple watch for a gold Cartier, pull out a Birkin, a Lanvin skirt suit, Manolo pumps… I love all of these items individually, but when worn together (with no jeans or sneakers) I feel too pulled-together.

    PrestonDecember 6th, 2018  9:13 AM

  • Very chic. It’s easier to pull off these looks if one is stick thin though…..

    LizDecember 6th, 2018  10:20 AM

  • I completely relate to feeling ‘too done’ when I am wearing more than a couple of fairly obvious brand items at the same time. No matter how beautiful each is individually, it’s very uncomfortable for me and I feel ‘too branded.’ My mother would say ‘ostentatious.’ It helps to have dresses and sweaters that are fabulous but somewhat nondescript. And I always stick to very good but very simple shoes, especially for dress.
    A good friend who is very petite wears her Cartier Tank black band watch with a gold ‘bit’ link Gucci bracelet, which is perfect scale (not too chunky), and a simple diamond disk on a chain with almost everything, from jeans and a sweater/t-shirt to a cocktail dress. She just happened to find a nice combination of jewelry that can be worn all at the same time but isn’t overwhelming. She also wears a very clean Patek Phillipe watch, positively stunning. Her handbags tend to be small, which suits her physique.
    More and more, probably because of my age, I feel jewelry and accessories are more important than the clothing. Probably because so much of fashion is truly better on a younger woman. If you have terrific accessories, the dress/suit/jeans can be very simple, even somewhat inexpensive and several years old. A 90-something woman looks very chic wearing an ancient suit and a fabulous bracelet. (Fyi, I’m not 90. . . yet!).

    PaulaDecember 6th, 2018  10:57 PM

  • I agree with the overdone feeling as well, but if your wardrobe is filled with designer clothing that you bought to wear, its hard to get past it. So wear it my dear. I know you looked fabulous as usual! I think a lot of people who have expensive items sometimes feel uncomfortable and I let an old friend make me feel bad because she told me I was too much. At first I was upset, but I can’t help who I am and what I like. I’ve been this way since I was 12.

    TracyDecember 7th, 2018  9:04 AM

  • Must add this book to my shelf. I do love the casual chic of good jeans and a white button down (sub loafers for the heels). But I’m having a hard time finding a white Oxford that looks slouchy chic and doesn’t make me look like a tent. Narrow waist & big hips don’t help. Also think I’m going to invest in a medium length silver necklace to elevate my endless supply of black Ts like in the first photo. A farandole would do the trick.

    LauraDecember 7th, 2018  9:09 AM

  • Try the Ralph Lauren Polo “Big Shirt”. I purchased it in white and wear it in a very similar manner to the shirt pictured above. I love it. And….Paula…your comments resonate with me as always.

    BarbaraDecember 7th, 2018  2:51 PM

  • Thanks Preston, Sophie really was the perfect embodiment of ‘the new garconne’ woman and a real pleasure to meet and interview!

    disneyrollergirlDecember 18th, 2018  6:43 AM

  • blond version of Emmanuelle Alt…

    IsabelAugust 5th, 2021  4:16 PM


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