Exclusive, custom fit, made to order for a specific customer; made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Gwyneth Paltrow stepped onto the red carpet at the 2012 Oscars wearing a stunning white Tom Ford dress with a cape.  

Her hair pulled back, a simple cuffed bracelet and minimal makeup.  No one could have worn that dress like Gwyneth.  It was made just for her.  It was haute couture.

The haute couture life is the same, designed and fitted just for you.  When you wear it, you will look and feel fabulous.  While living it, you’ll feel like you’re on the red carpet wearing an haute couture Dior.

If your life is not haute couture, what is it?

If you’re life isn’t being designed and crafted by you, it’s most likely a generic, off the rack, dollar store, or worse, a knock off Iife.  In other words, it’s passionless, draining, boring, exhausting, stressful, black and white and ill-fitted.

Doing work that others think you should do, wearing clothes that don’t make you feel beautiful, finding yourself frequenting the drive-thrus and eating out of bags, hanging out with draining, uninspiring people and living a life of fear and anxiety are all signs of a knock off life.

However, there is some fabulous news.  Go look in the mirror.  Staring back at you is your own inner Coco who knows what looks good on you.

Channel your Inner Coco

Of all the people in the world, no one is more equipped and able to create your hautecouture life than you.  Your soul is the designer and your mind is the seamstress.   The former guides you towards your perfectly fitted life and the former is what helps you create it in the real world.

So, darling, take some deep breaths and channel your inner Coco Chanel.  It’s time to create some haute-ness.  Shall we?

Steps to Haute-ness

Refuse to buy Knock Offs

When walking through New York, I am sometimes approached by a street vendor trying to sell me a knock off Louis Vuitton or Prada.

No, merci!  If I can’t afford the real thing, I don’t want it.  I feel the same about life.  I want the real thing.  The life meant just for me.

So, the first step to creating an haute couture life is to refuse to buy knock offs.

Here a some ways:

  • Let go of the draining relationships (e.g. the friend who’s always complaining, the abusive boyfriend, the women that you have nothing in common with other than you all decided to procreate, etc.)
  • Get rid of any clothing that doesn’t make you feel beautiful.  This can be done piece by piece or you can do a massive purge
  • Start moving your body on a daily basis
  • Begin to treat time as a commodity.  Spending time mindlessly or without strategy  does not fit into an haute couture life.  Begin to rid your calendar of commitments that feel like you just walked into the dollar store (and you’ll know which ones those are because you’ll feel shackled by just the thought of doing it).
  • Become aware and work on your dollar store thoughts:

I’m not good enough
I can’t afford it
I don’t have time
No one will love me
I’m not smart enough

You must begin to create space for creativity, passions and inspiration.  This cannot happen as long as you’re stuck in a generic, knock off life.

Clear and Clean. Then, collect and create.

Collect your Passions

Whenever a designer begins to conceptualize a garment, he starts with his inspirations–colors, a place, an era in time, a piece of artwork, certain lines, etc.  Then, he begins to sketch.

The process is the same for creating an haute couture life.  Begin to notice the things that inspire or interest you–people, hobbies, books, a charity, places, etc.  Commit to infusing your daily life with at least one of your passions, hopefully more.

Focus on Quality

Imagine paying $60,000 for a dress that unraveled at the seams because the material was bought from some mass production factory in China.  Not haute couture.

If you want to live an haute couture life, you must focus on infusing your experience with quality–people, foods, experiences, books, etc.  Rid your experience of cheapness–draining relationships, junk foods, crap thoughts, clutter, excesses.  This will leave you with the resources to focus on pure quality.

Detail is the Sparkle

A vase of fresh flowers, a beautiful home-cooked meal, a trip to the farmer’s market, a handwritten note, a beautiful scarf, a meaningful conversation…these beautiful details are what adds sparkle to your life.  It wouldn’t be haute couture without them.

Be Wild and Original

Many of the haute couture pieces that you see grace the Paris runways during fashion week are wild works of art.  You will not find them in the local department stores or the dollar store.

They are unique, one of a kind pieces.

If your designed life looks just like your neighbors, it’s not haute couture. It’s a replication, something you could pick up at the local Nordstroms.

Which would you rather have?

Slow Down…haute couture takes time

An haute couture gown can take up to one thousand hours to create.  A customized life is no different.  If you feel the need to hurry, I promise you that you’ll end right back in the dollar store, because hurry creates fear and anxiety.  An haute couture life is created from a place of inspiration, joy and excitement.

So, slow down to savor your meals.  Stroll around your neighborhood after dinner.  Take the time to read a book.  Take long baths.  The haute couture lifestyle is slow and sexy.

It’s Not about the Money, Honey

I have some dear friends who live in Antibes, France.  By materialistic standards, they are not wealthy.  In fact, they live a very modest life.  However, when I visit them, I leave wanting more of what they have–a life filled to the brim with simple pleasures. Real wealth.

They rock out their haute couture lives with bike rides to work by the sea, backyard cookouts on the weekends, taking dinner to neighbors, celebrating a self-proclaimed pastis day, quality time with family and a conversations that leave you changed.

Fortunately, for us, the haute couture life does not have the same grand price tag of a Dior gown, which only a handful of women in the world can afford.

The haute couture life does cost awareness, time and attention, but not necessarily a lot of money.  It’s more about simple pleasures than gaudy adornment.  In fact, some of the most generic lives I know are full of materialism and money.  They’ve crafted a life based on a pattern not designed by them but by society.  One that encourages them to work hard, buy things and keep up with the Jones, leading to stress, debt and a life of external wealth but internal poverty.  In other words, a gaudy, knock off life.

When it comes to designing a beautiful, custom life, lean on the side of simple elegance and pleasures.

Many fittings will be required.

Don’t expect to slide into and haute couture life without many fittings.  The truth is that our desires and needs are always changing. The key is to stay keenly aware of when you feel like your life is not fitting you beautifully and knowing how to readjust or just add a little sparkle.  At some point, you may want to retire your haute couture design and start again.  As long as it feels good and is being inspired by your soul, continue with pleasure.

Flaunt it!

Love, you are beautiful, even as you are designing your most grand life.  So, flaunt it. Make the world your runway and show us what you’ve got!

Will you Share your Haute Couture Lifestyle Secrets?

How have you learned what stays and what goes?
Where do you find your inspiration?
Do you have special ways of adding sparkle to your life?
Do you have some special ways of creating your haute couture life?

Please share and inspire in the comments below with your own designer secrets.

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