“I am not in love with fashion although I like it very much. I used to admire the ladies who were elegant lol and my mother was one of them.”
While spending time socializing in the country is considered a luxury for most of us, for Normande Lacoursiere, it’s a way of life.
The former French teacher has made her home in the small Northumberland County town of Campbellford, Ont. for the past 30 years. And with a network online gamers of good friends in the picturesque region, and a passion for gardening, cooking and entertaining, Lacoursiere takes delight in turning up the style volume as she graces myriad country chic settings with her presence.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting this lovely lady at a little backyard dinner party at the beautiful Warkworth home of interior designer David Rollins. I was charmed by Lacoursiere’s innate elegance and European sensibility, which translated into a sophisticated online gaming sense of style that was as inspiring as it was understated.
Normande Lacoursiere shows off an emerald and diamond ring she made from two different rings given to her by the two great loves in her life.
Normande Lacoursiere lives in a small town but is still very much a fashionista always on the lookout for style finds.
“I am not in love with fashion although I like it very much,” reflects Lacoursiere. “When I was a young girl, I used to admire the ladies who were league of legends elegant and my mother was one of them.”
At a statuesque 5-foot-10, Lacoursiere is remarkably svelte and cuts a striking figure. She keeps herself in shape by taking long, early morning walks three times a week, and working out twice weekly. She keeps her age a secret.
“There’s a saying in French,” she responds demurely, when I asked her age. “A woman who tells her age will tell anything.” (Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but to each her own!)
Still, Lacoursiere’s timeless approach to fashion and classic good taste defies any chronological parameters anyway. But she does concede that one becomes more secure with age, and so, personal style improves gaming. “When you get older, you don’t try to copy as much, and you don’t feel compelled to be so up-to-date,” she says.
Born and raised in Beauce, Que., Lacoursiere moved to Toronto in the 1970s, where she worked in tourism for five years before she began teaching French. She moved to Campbellford in the early ‘80s to work on a pilot project for a board of education.
While access to great fashion finds may be somewhat limited in a rural environment, Lacoursiere has never had a problem keeping herself satiated.
“For me, fashion is what’s in the stores, and style is how you interpret it,” she says. “So I like to have mostly classic pieces and current accessories.”
Her frequent trips to Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America certainly feed her spirit and inspire her constantly, but she claims she’s not a creature of habit when it comes to the way she shops.
“I don’t really shop at specific stores,” says Lacoursiere. “First, I go to the high-end stores and look for what’s in style. Then I search for similar clothes. When I travel, I try to buy one game online stylish piece of clothing that will blend with what I already have.”
When it comes to shoes, she does have her favourite haunts: Pensieri Shoes in Peterborough and Harry Young Shoes in Toronto.
Lacoursiere likes to mix vintage with contemporary items, and she considers hats to be one of her style trademarks. Her most cherished hat is a black leather beret. She also takes pride in her unique jewelry pieces, including a stunning emerald and diamond ring she had made from two different rings given to her by the two great loves in her life. As well, in another act of romantic nostalgia, she had her old silver baby bracelet remade into one she could wear as an adult.
The night I dined with Lacoursiere, she was wearing red crepe Ralph Lauren slacks that she bought at The Bay; a black short-sleeved sweater she got at a consignment store; a black, Chanel-style jacket with white trim she purchased in Cannes last winter; black patent leather sandals; silver bracelet; red necklace — a gift from a friend in Palm Beach; and a ring and earrings she got in Mexico.
I asked her six quick questions about fashion:
Q: What’s your idea of a fashion faux-pas?
A: A woman of a certain age wearing white leggings.
Q: Personal style icon?
A: Lauren Bacall because she always looked elegant in the most simple clothes.
Q: Do you ever second-guess an outfit you’re wearing?
A: Yes, and I usually change!
Q: What does fashion do for the soul?
A: It lifts my spirit.
Q: Who taught you your most important style lesson?
A: My mother did. She would say that elegance is simplicity. Later I read a Coco Chanel quote: “Before you go out look in the mirror and take off one accessory.”
Q: Best fashion advice?
A: Observe well-dressed people and look at magazines. Most importantly, try to create your own style according to your body shape. Also ask advice from someone you trust.
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Jeanne Beker is a contributing editor to the Star and host of Fashion Television: The Channel. Email firstname.lastname@example.org , follow @jeanne_beker on Twitter, and watch her on CTV, E! and Fashion Television: The Channel.