Nine Fashion Lessons I Learned From French Women A trip to France is an opportunity to check yourself in the fashion and confidence departments. I spent a lot of hours on trains, walking for miles and dining in several French cities and towns,including Nantes, Bordeaux and Paris, carefully studying what French women are wearing these days. Here’s what I brought back with me to share with you. De Rien.

  1. Women dress like women 

    Sometimes when I look in the mirror at my hoodie, ripped jeans and Converse, I wonder, what exactly sets me apart sartorially form the 12 year old boy I sat across from on the bus yesterday? I get it, it’s comfy. The weeks that I was traveling, staying in towns, villages and cities of France, traveling by bicycle, metro and on foot, there was something that struck me. Regardless of age, women dressed like adults. The styles varied wildly, it could be feminine, masculine, edgy, sophisticated.. but, I got a clear sense they were not trying to dress like a teenager.  They did not dress like a 12 year old walking home from school. Their clothes spoke of a personal standard.

  2. Your clothes and make up should be flexible enough to do anything

    Not just one thing (like sit in an office). You should be able to bicycle through traffic, run to catch the bus or have spontaneous afternoon drinks (Did I mentioned it was France?)

  3. Tight isn’t always right

    The coolest looking women I saw were wearing loose, semi-structured, skimming togs – snug was less common; tight, rare  Surprising? If one were to hypothetically get sucked into the infinity scroll of Instagram, and see beautiful women of note, e.g. your friends on a night out, models, magazine spreads and influencers, you’d logically deduce that sexy = tight.  This is not the rule in France. See #2.

  4. Leggings are mostly not a thing

    Sure they’re in every store you can name and Millennials are stockpiling them. They are much harder to find on the streets of Paris than you’d think. At least on their own, passing as outerwear. My conclusion, French women are better than me.

  5. Shape is Embraced not Hidden

    The shape of your body (or your age for that matter) need not stop you from rocking the fashions. The confidence of the French woman, combined with an innate style and knowing means that large small, lopsided, flat chested, big-booty – they manage to make it all look good.  (Side note: Our friends at Smithery are rockstars at dressing for your shape.)

  6. Skinny jeans and booties are everywhere

    In the words of one my most fashionista friends “skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere,” and France is proof positive (Nantes in particular, what’s up ladies of Nantes?). The skinny jean trend has been with us well over a decade and it refuses to die. It will be the embarrassing fashion flashback of the future. Booties became the go-to skinny jean combo and now it’s an endless parade of skinny-jeans-and-booties-wearing soldiers everywhere. Even guys.  Perhaps we’re about to reach our saturation point?

  7. The secret is in the shoes

    Having said that, booties are not everything. This might be my favourite observation, not least of all because I love shoes.  Fancy shoes can change everything- fancy sparkly tennis shoes with a shift dress; silver flats with ankle jeans,  high-heels, biker boots  with a skirt. And obviously, #6. The French woman’s shoe game is on fire.

  8. Less is more

    Edit, edit, edit.. When I was casually stalking the street style of French women, young and old, it was easy to take it all in with a glance. It’s a simple aesthetic. A great scarf, a cute overcoat or sparkly flats – just one of these items was enough to elevate a look. Make-up was the same. Barefaced with a pop of colour and easy hair is their MO.

  9. Cold weather is just another fashion season

    I was there when the temperature was starting to get chilly. All the same  fashion rules applied, just in chic layers with nary a puffy coat to be seen.




Happy 51st Birthday Salma Hayek, Actress, Producer, Possible Feminist Salma Hayek, like many sexy, beautiful women, has not always been taken seriously.  I mean, how can you be sexy, show off your cleavage AND have something intelligent to say, or, make astute business decisions?

Salma Hayek Credit: FilmMagic

Not that she’s let this stop her. At all. Today, at 51 (!!!) she is as drop-dead as she was 30 years ago, more outspoken and irreverent, and yes, still smart.

Career Moves

Let’s look at her resume – remember when she totally held her own opposite Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock (thanks to the brilliant Tina Fey)? By the way, that pairing was such a hit that the two are starring in a movie together called Drunk Parents.

Who remembers that she produced and starred in Frida, which won TWO OSCARS!  And, that her production company Ventanarosa brought Ugly Betty to America.

She is regularly listed on Hollywood’s Power Women roster and one of Hollywoods biggest ball breakers, Harvey Weinstein called her a “ball breaker“.

Earlier this year,  Rolling Stone called her performance in Beatriz At Dinner  “the performance of her career”.

She’s a bonafide Boss Lady.

Feminist Blur

We could take a page from her stance on sexism and it’s evil twin ageism. “We are the generation that said, ‘We’re not going away at 30,’” she said to uproarious applause as she received an award for her charity work, and laid some harsh truth on Hollywood. “They cannot ignore us anymore.”

It might seem trivial, but,  Salma’s (among other’s) popping up in #nomakeup selfies have a role.  For one, hello??? um, I’m pretty excited to see a 51 year old woman look like this. Secondly, after 40, women tend to go either one of two ways – ‘what the hell, I give up’ and stop caring, or ‘botox and full make-up all the time’ to hide the effects of aging.  We need to show more of our real faces, everyday faces.  We don’t need to be perfect. We do need to be seen. (Trust me, I realize most of us don’t look like Salma Hayek, but still. And, PS a lot of you look amazing.)

And, for a bonus shot of over-forty natural beauty, here are Salma and Penelope Cruz.


But, there’s one area that’s hard to completely get a grasp on with Salma: feminism. First she said she isn’t one, (what??) then, thankfully, she turned it around and she now says she is,  “I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women. I am a feminist because I am proud to be a woman, and I am passionate about making the world a better place for women. I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me the woman I am today. I am inspired by women every day, as friends and as colleagues.”

Salma Hayek receiving award for her foundation Chime for Change.

Yet, earlier this year she had some very uncomfortable challenges for former Daily Show bad-ass Jessica Williams’ point of view at a women in hollywood roundtable (read about it here), that comes across as naive and privileged. Salma comes from privilege. An affluent upbringing, a million dollar paycheque, a billionaire husband. She exists in the 1%.

In other words, despite the trappings of a perfect life, she’s not perfect.

The important lesson here is that it hasn’t stopped her, and it needn’t be a roadblock to gleaning inspiration.  Too often women wait until some BS version of perfection has been attained before we are willing to use our voices. Our plan is that once we have it completely figured out, polished and practiced, then we’ll step out. It’s a losing game.  It’s been shown time and again in the workplace and in life, we fear judgment, being ostracized, looking stupid.

This is a result of centuries of inequality and disenfranchisement, NOT, because women are weak or incapable. It’s a deeply ingrained habit.  But, a habit that will only change as we exercise our willingness to choose using our voice over waiting on misguided perfection. And, its important we cheer each other on, and, chill out if a woman says or does something that isn’t perfect.

Happy Birthday, Salma. You make 51 look good, and not just because you’re hot.

Related: Sheryl Sandberg on how men can Lean In





Red, White & Green

This past July 1st, Canadian skies were lit up with fireworks and red maple leafs waving  as the country marked 150 years of Confederation (that means, independence from the British Empire, for non-Canadian readers 🍁).  Seeing so much Canadian pride has been a beautiful thing. We’re coming into our own, and, the rest of the world is catching on to how great this peaceful, art-making, love-is-love nation really is.  And, since we love to #shoplocal, it’s the perfect time to show some true patriot love to Canadian eco-friendly brands.  Fortyology asked Kym Klopp, owner of the fabulous Ecoexistence – a store that specializes in top of the line green products for your house and your body –  to share her Top Ten Canadian brands. Scroll down and tell us what you love. Where do you #shoplocal for Canadian made? ~F


10 Ways To Shop Canadian 

BBy Rachael Dolan


Buck Naked – Soap🍁

It all started with 1 bar of  soap, handmade with owner’s Rina and John’s ethics and belief system intact, to soothe their infant son’s delicate skin.  Four years later Buck Naked Soap Company boasts 40 products and counting!  Each soap bar smells amazing, is packaging free, made of only the finest natural ingredients, and is vegan to boot!  Buck Naked continues to be committed to using only ingredients that “if you can’t (or shouldn’t) eat it,” they won’t use it. One-percent of their annual earnings is donated to the World Wildlife Foundation, and, they source as much as possible of their ingredients locally to cut down on their environmental impact.

Citchen Candle Co. – Mason Jar Candle 🍁


candle mason jar figs

Citchen Candle Company

Felicia Laplume, (owner and creator) likes it “when things do what they are supposed to, are affordable and eco-friendly.”  Handmade in small batches in Toronto to ensure consistency and quality, her soy based beauties are comprised of only high quality, natural scents and come in reusable containers. The words eco-friendly and luxurious don’t often find themselves in the same sentence. Citchen Candles however, has mastered this delicate balance! The result is a candle for every mood, that smells amazing from start to finish.  So, what will it be? Lavender fields? Ginger Fig? Pumpkin pie? Grapefruit basil? Yeah, good luck choosing.




Nicole Kagan – Earrings🍁

No two pair are exactly alike and that’s the way we like it!  From her studio in Artscape Wychwood Barns, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Nicole manages to perfectly combine elegance, simplicity, and fun into each of her creations (as well as raising her beautiful family!)  We especially love that you can easily wear your chosen piece anytime, anywhere.  Most of our customers choose a pair as a gift and then reward themselves with a unique pair of their own.  Nicole’s earrings are only the beginning, like a gateway drug, to her necklaces, artwork, and stationery.


Really Great Goods – Room Spray🍁


The first ingredients listed on every product made by Vicki and Stephanie of RGG are “good vibes.”  And, about that they are serious.  These beautifully divine women partnered up each with their own unique skill sets, to create products that “help people be the best they can be, and to glow with health and happiness.”  Who wouldn’t want to spray that kind of intention into their immediate atmosphere?  Each blend, made in small batches in Toronto, comes in a beautiful amber glass bottle and has a specific energy and affirmation to go along with it. (For example: grounding, calming, rejuvenation etc.) If this all sounds like a lot and you just want your home to smell amazing without making you wheeze, then their room sprays will work wonderfully for you.  If you take a bath with one of their epsom salt blends however, be prepared to truly understand why the first ingredient is always “good vibes.”

Oko – Organic Cotton feminine products🍁

Sister’s Marie-Noel and Melanie Beetz joined forces to create a company that embodies the cute-clever-caring principle of their own invention. With the help of an all female staff,  using only high quality, conscientiously sourced materials (mostly organic cotton,) they cleverly created reusable menstrual pads, and panty liners (including thong size) for every shape of woman out there.  And they are so cute!  Not to mention easy to clean, long lasting  and made in Laval, Quebec, Canada!  Imagine not having to purchase disposable products ever again and imagine the carbon footprint you WON’T leave!?!  They also make cute baby things and even reusable cosmetic pads and breast pads!  Once you go reusable, family owned, and made in Canada, you never to back!


Purely Great – Natural Deodorant🍁


When Deb Cohen developed her line of cream deodorants she wasn’t messing around.  As a healer and “mompreneur,” Debbie has mastered her formula for a product that just simply works incredibly!  There are 6 scents to choose from as well as scent free, and one container last approximately 3 months.  Purely great began In Toronto back in 2011 with a family trip to a bazaar, a love of natural products and healing and one great idea.  Now in 2017,  this deodorant has a diehard fanclub of thousands of people around the globe that won’t use anything else!  Just remember to stir.



Earthlab  Cosmetics – Lipstix🍁

vegan lip stix cosmetics

Vegan Lip Stix


Not quite a lipliner or a lipstick, this vegan hybrid gives you precision without a sticky or dry texture.  Available in 5 colours that flatter every skin tone and are made of only raw natural pigments. You can read and pronounce every ingredient on the ingredient list, and the list isn’t even very long!  The mother/daughter team behind Earthlab have a strong philosophy surrounding their product line.  All of their products are made in B.C with careful attention to creating clean makeup that works well, and makes you feel good about putting it on your skin everyday. 



Mabrook & Co. – Dry Shampoo🍁


The hunt to find an effective dry shampoo that is also free from harsh chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients is over!  Mabrook & Co. has found just the right mixture of finely milled powders (talc free) and essential oils to refresh, add volume, and just generally give you great hair between shampoo days. Owner Aliya Dhalla chose the word Mabrook, which means blessed in Arabic as the name for her company because she believes that “your body is blessed and deserves to be treated with respect and adoration.”  Her products mirror this belief by being produced with social responsibility, are cruelty free, and lack unnecessary fillers and synthetics.  She also donates a portion of each sale to Women for Women International. (   Mabrook & Co. is based out of Parkdale in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Alora – Jewelry🍁



The beautiful pieces created by Calgary, Alberta based Emilyn and Jameela Ghann (mother and daughter) have so many amazing attributes it’s hard to know where to begin. To start, they use recycled brass, and glass ( the glass is fairly manufactured in Ghana) to create meaningful pieces, with self love and uniqueness in mind.  “We don’t believe in perfection. Instead, we believe in personal significance.” Think of their jewelry as sources of positivity, self love, and kindness. Each piece comes with a beautiful little card that has a positive message about the piece to “inspire the wearer.”  Next, they partner with local and international charities donating 5% of each purchase to organizations committed to empowering disadvantaged women and children.  Did I mention the jewelry is stunning and timeless ? Maybe I should have started off with that. 


Abeego – Food Wraps🍁


A show of hands, who uses plastic wrap or aluminum foil more than they even realize? If you think about it, the amount of waste made up of these 2 things  alone is staggering.  When Tony Desrosiers invented Abeego wraps in 2008, this fact was surely weighing on her mind.  So she did something about it.  Abeego food wraps come in many sizes for your wrapping, and covering needs.  Made in Canada by people, their production is zero waste (they use scraps and ends as twist ties and fire starters.)  The wraps last a long time too!  You just need to follow the simple no hot water rule, using cool water to rinse and mild dish soap when needed.  Expect your abeego wraps to last over a year with proper care.



Rachael Dolan is a Toronto based actor, comedian and writer.  She has a passion for clean living, people watching, and talking in the third person.


Lit From Within Glowing skin is harder to maintain after you’ve lived a little.  Whether you’re a west coast girl with sunshine problems, or east coast hardy with the changing seasons, our faces betray our bad habits. What’s more is that our hormones change with babies, peri-menopause and stress. But, there is good news. If you’ve unwillingly traded the glow for a few lines, we have some great tips to help you get it back. P.S. We love your lines. A lot.