Have you ever seen a woman so pulled together, that to call her organised, stylish or pretty, just somehow doesn’t cut the bill? You’re not even sure of what to compliment, as her entire demeanor doesn’t relate to one thing. It’s a certain je ne sais quoi.
In French, the phrase means ‘I don’t know what’. Internationally, it’s now recognised to define a certain chic, effortless vibe that a woman possesses, that makes her aesthetically appealing.
I imagine a woman breezing down a quaint street in Paris – coffee bars serenading the paths with a bakery or two, rain hitting hard – the kind that feels as though your shower is pouring above you, and yet she’s there still immaculately strolling.
Makeup in place, hair in full acceptance of it’s blow-dry diminishing; she doesn’t look one piece in shock. No umbrella to adorn above her.
I supposed I’ve robbed it’s meaning and made it my own. Although, can ‘I don’t know what’ really be clear, as the term itself tells you that nobody knows.
Fashion is about something that comes from within you – Ralph Lauren
In my eyes, je ne sais quoi is a uniqueness that makes a person special. A concoction spiced with demeaner, confidence and mannerisms that befall together and create a vibe.
This vibe is what every female can hone. It’s not a – have almond eyes, curvaceous body and full lips type club. Neither a – wear skimpy outfits, mouth-wide open and wear next to nothing facade.
Je ne sais quoi is unique
Lines are blurred between inspiration and copy. Have you admired somebody so much, that perhaps without realising, your lipstick imitation or clothing suggestion, has turned into a costume?
Because that was my answer. ‘I have no style, I’m completely clueless…. let’s duplicate what this girl is doing’.
I went through a Marilyn stage of wearing red every day, white eyeshadow and clothing that snuggled my physique. I opted for trench coats, pumps and cropped trousers like Audrey. A few years ago I emulated Kim Kardashian’s contour where I tried to make a sharp line look natural.
I gave away my identity completely because I wasn’t prepared to source one.
Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak – Rachel Zoe
A makeup artist once said to me, that when I assist others – be a sponge. Soak in all the information and watch everything, and then pick. Don’t follow what they all do, but collectively combine them all until you find your style.
So that’s what it’s about. Let’s take that from her because that feels like me, and this from them.
Je ne sais quoi is confidence
Compliments occasionally are discouraging. If someone said to me, ‘you should always have your hair like this’, ‘or you need to buy more clothes like this’, I would agree.
I ended up with a look and wardrobe complimented, but unknown to what I wanted. Even now, I see some skirts and tops bought more on recommendation.
Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn – Orson Welles
I was told by a photographer that my look is too sweet and innocent, so they tried to make me edgy. And then I consecutively attempted to remove my image and alter it ‘strong’.
But you don’t ever get anywhere when you sway to trees that you never planted.
To find your confidence, you need alone time. A moodboard helps; that’s what I used to makeover my blog.
And an analytical mindset to query what’s true to you. The more you challenge yourself to find new interests, research new designers, artists and people, the more wisdom you’ll bestow in understanding who you are and what you’re about.
Je ne sais quoi is passion
Passion to embrace your identity. Stand up and say – this is me.
It’s not about quitting your job and heading to Broadway or to a street corner to sell art. Unfortunately, reality plunges at us and in a hectic, fast-paced world, passion is hard to find.
Therefore, whatever you do, bring your creativity. I keep editing my routine cooking, I will suddenly want to experiment with a hint or wine or pasta that’s not sided with tomato.
Find a book that you can’t put down, find a breakfast that’s interesting to eat. Take your oats into overnight, buy a different topping.
These little modifications that stop us from mundane gluttony, that’s what slowly builds passion in other areas; it what makes us continually be curious.
But if you can, do something wild. Put yourself out there and take on your miniscule fears – blind dates anyone?
Je ne sais quoi is change
Because to have a certain something, you have to know enough to understand what your thing is.
And I don’t think it’s about trying to be sexy or beautiful. Rather, happy and content with you. Mysterious as well, everybody loves a little intrigue.
What do you think of je ne sais quoi? For words that mean ‘I don’t know what’, can you define it?
If you loved this, read: Getting Comfortable with Your Sense of Style