Observations on French Style
Like anyone who’s had access to the internet (and therefore, fashion blogs) during the past 10-15 years, I’ve been led to the understanding that French fashion is the absolute epitome of cool. I was fascinated to see first-hand whether all the “how to build the French girl wardrobe” posts out there are accurate , and if walking through Paris really is like all those fashion week street photos make it look (it’s not). It didn’t turn out to be a carnival of cutting-edge fashion – I think I was there at the wrong time of year for all that – but there were a few things that struck me as distinctly different from American style.
If it fits…
The number one biggest thing I noticed is that no one – and I mean that literally, no one – looked uncomfortable in their clothing. Are there just more retailers catering to different body shapes? Do Parisian women get everything altered to fit perfectly? Tell me your secrets.
Aside from that there didn’t seem to be any real unifying elements to people’s outfits, except possibly a love of neutral colors and subtle patterns. For once in my life, my ‘black & grey for spring’ wardrobe didn’t feel even a little bit out of place. Nor did my sneakers – the idea that no one wears sneakers in Paris is a complete myth, at least among the people I saw.
Why are you people so cold?
Ok, maybe there was one other common denominator to the Parisian uniform – layers. Even though it was 70+ degrees (and even into the 80’s) pretty much the whole time we were there. I have to admit I’m baffled. I’d be standing in a packed subway car, starting to sweat a little, and see a woman right beside me in a puffy coat & scarf without the first hint of discomfort. I cannot explain this.
Embrace the frizz
And I do mean that in the best way possible. Women in Paris have perfected the undone, DGAF yet effortlessly chic hairstyle to a degree that my mind can barely wrap around. Living in the US south, I’m used to seeing immaculately highlighted & straightened hair, beachy curls that are too perfect to be created by nature and perfectly groomed up-do’s all day every day. Paris was a stark contrast, with a lot more people wearing their hair down and just letting it do its own thing. Do people even use heat styling tools there? I’m skeptical.
This is one area where my expectations were fulfilled – I’ve always heard that French women are much more into skincare than makeup, and that rings true based on my few days there. Not that I didn’t see any makeup at all – it was definitely there, but extreme contouring and insta-brows were non-existent. The trends seemed to be light-coverage or no foundation, perfectly groomed natural eyebrows and nude or red lips. I tend to be incredibly lazy about makeup when I’m traveling (and for the first time ever I didn’t take way more than I needed!) so that was at least one area where I fit right in.
Do you notice different fashion & beauty trends when you’re traveling?