Friday, July 29, 2011

Caryl writes: She's got style. And power. And our admiration

I admit it: I have a new girl crush. I am always looking for role models, women who just don’t just look good for their age (don’t you hate that back-handed compliment?) but just look good. Period. And, if a woman can combine style with substance, feminity with feminism, panache with power, well then I am totally besotted.

The woman I admire most at the moment is Christine Lagarde, a fifty-five year old French lawyer and the newly appointed director of the International Monetary Fund. (Yes, she replaces Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is awaiting trial for sexual misconduct.)
Lagarde is our first 2nd life style icon. She’s has a distinguished resume: head of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie and France’s economic minister. She was the first woman to hold both those positions and with IMF, she has hit the trifecta. See her front row center at the recent G20 economic summit in Korea. When asked what advice she’d give the second female economic minister to attend the previously all-male forum, she paused for a moment and then said: “You don’t have to behave like the boys.” Women have an advantage because they don’t have to worry about keeping their “libido and the testosterone” in check, according to Lagarde.
But she doesn’t throw out the men’s wear with the men. Lagarde knows how to rock a little black suit -- whether it's with pants or a skirt. She knows how to accessorize too. She keeps the jewelry simple—earrings always, a brooch or pearls, scarves big and in bold colors, and shoes that allow her to climb stairs as well as the ladder. She often carries big, beautiful handbags --including a Birkin. Lagarde’s fashion palette tends towards black, white, and grey. (At least, that’s what I like her in. She goes a little frumpy in beige and navy.) Great white coat, huh?

And, her eveningwear is quietly glamorous.

She’s not afraid of patterns...
...or baring her arms...

...or getting wet . ..

... or even traffic. (She plans to ride her bike to the IMF offices in Washington, D.C.)
So what makes her a 2nd life style icon? Her style is ageless, timeless, and yes, grown-up. It helps that she is tall and thin and, of course, French. Her number one accessory is confidence. She had the courage to go gray early. Other qualities that all of us second lifers can emulate regardless of our nationality and vital statistics: her perfect posture, her winning smile, her impeccable grooming, and her dedication to fitness. She swims daily and does yoga—and don’t forget she’ll be biking to work now. The divorced, mother of two sons with a big job and a full life is a perfect example of unflappable, casual elegance. And, if you don’t believe me, look for her soon in the pages of Vogue, the American bible of fashion. She was shot for an upcoming profile/fashion story (think Kirstin Gillibrand, Hilary Clinton) last week in her DC office. But remember you saw her first at Second Lives Club.


  1. My first visit to this site. I just love the idea of highlighting women of age and experience who know how to embrace thier femininity. What are women afraid of when it comes to being totally female? I am a little put off by the comment that when a woman puts on a suit with trousers it is considered "mens wear". I think we can own our style, too, whether it is slacks and suit coat or dress and heels. We are, as women, powerful and accomplished. We need to celebrate our feminine strength and not be man-imitators. CB

  2. For 55 years old, she's hot!!!!

  3. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.