I was only in Paris for 4 days for the first time in 15 years, so I am sure it is wrong
to generalize, but I will give it a shot anyway
1. One thing that distinguished locals from tourists right away was their walk
and posture. The French people I saw sat, stood and walked particularly gracefully.
2. I saw all the typical French cliches - trench coats, ballet slippers, scarves and bright red
lips, but not all at the same time or on every French person. Clothing fit did strike me. What Angie calls tailored, as opposed to either oversized or bodycon,
was by far the most common fit.
3. The general vibe was neutral, low key, non-statementy. Everything fit well and looked almost
like an extension of the person with no jarring notes. Nothing looked like it was trying to grab
attention, rather the overall look was harmonious and well aligned (a phrase I stole from
Isabelle from a different context).
4. Unlike what I have read, plenty of Parisiennes wear sneakers. Converse and Stan Smiths
are popular, as well as Superga. The sneakers were the more streamlined tennis shoe shape. I
don't recall any bulkier shapes or hi tops. I saw a surprising amount of sandals considering the
weather. Almost all flats, or low wedges.
5. Leather moto style jackets are very common (the weather was pretty cool when we were there).
Black or to a lesser extent tan/chestnut were by far the most common. Again the fit always seemed
spot on and tailored. 6. Speaking of leather I noticed that there was a lot of mixing of black and tan. So someone might
have a black jacket and shoes and tan bag for example.
7. White blazers and white Uniqlo down coats were popular.
8. Jeans were generally skinny or straight, mostly ankle length. I did not see a lot of more cropped jeans or
9. I noticed that women of all ages liked to show their legs - most of the skirts were shorter than
10. As for hair, I did see a lot of casual (aka messy) updos, some chignons, but I also saw a number
of precision cuts and pixies.
11. Ok I am going out on a limb here, but I would say individuality was expressed less by looking
different for the sake of difference, or being outrageous, or even unique, but rather by displaying an extraordinary degree of self knowledge that seem to allow each woman to know how to best present herself.
French style seems ultimately practical and based on appearing elegant and
charming through wind, rain and cold, while walking on uneven pavement. The vibe was freedom
within structure rather than anything goes and I had the impression of a culture that is more
Haiku than free verse.
Comments, questions and certainly objections all welcome! My keyboard and internet time will be limited for the next few days so I apologize for my lack of forum time - I miss it!