Monday, August 31, 2009

The Mystique Of French Chic

I think that any woman who has the soul of a fashionista eventually finds herself trying to understand French style. There is an allure about the French and their sense of style. Let's face it, they gave us champagne, perfume, ballet, chandeliers and the statue of liberty. They even made the maid coquettish instead of a common drudge...or maybe the latter was just more of a Hollywood invention?

At any rate there is something fascinating about French women. Even Marie Antoinette wasn't that interesting until she started shopping in Paris.

Lately I have been finding myself more and more curious about it. So tonight between working on my bear I have been reading articles online. Some of them have been very funny and some quite serious. A few have even been a little rude.

I have learned a few things on my Parisian stroll through cyberspace:

French women make style look effortless. The truth is, it just seems effortless because they don't live in the American tell all world. They apparently put lots of effort into it, they simply don't tell anyone what all they do.

They wear tons of scarves and have a knack for tying them. This leaves me out. I am not a scarf girl. I look at scarves in stores, I admire them, then I go buy sunglasses or a new ring...maybe a pair of earrings. Once however I fell prey to the wiles of a silk number on sale for 70.00. I couldn't leave the shop without it. It was this amazing crinkled silk in a sort of coral/melon hue with trim the perfect shade of a sunflower. It had posy clusters embroidered in ribbon at each end. I just knew it would look a cover for my amoire in the work room. But it has never once adorned my throat. Sigh~

It also seems that their style has more to do with posture and attitude than the actual clothes they are wearing. Now that I would believe. So many American women have a terrible habit of slouching, and as covered in my post a few back, we tend to be self effacing. I don't think the French do that. Perhaps it's why they are considered haughty. Maybe the truth is, they aren't haughty at all, they simply know how to focus on the good.

I have learned that I do have a couple things in common with French women however. I don't buy what is currently in style, I buy what makes me look good. Well usually... I also like to occasionally add a piece for a bit of whimsy.

I don't blow dry my hair, although that's more because of living in a dry climate rather than trying to achieve a certain look. They are also huge fans of creams and lotions. My powder room pantry is overflowing with creams and lotions and I use every one of them. I love that kind of thing.

Oddly enough doing bear shows over the years has helped me understand something about fashion. It's a combination of something you're born with, something you learn...and something geographical. Much of a woman's style is based on where she lives. When you think about it, I doubt French women look at each other and think to themselves we're so chic. They probably take that for granted because it's what everyone does and what everyone wears in that location.

Since I live in Colorado, we have a laid back outdoorsy style. Western wear, bohemian, Birkenstocks and Eddie Bauer are just as prevalent here as Prada and Manolo Blahnik's. (I have never owned a pair of Birkenstocks and I don't intend to. Sadly, I have never owned a pair of Manolo's either, although I recently saw a pair of red velvet and black leather Christian Louboutin's with sky high spikey heels and sparkly toes that made my heart flutter a little. I would kill myself in those shoes but I would look fabulous while doing it.)

I don't think it means that women are less stylish anywhere else. Ultimately I don't believe they are so very different than anyone else, except that they get more hype, and anything out of the ordinary to what you are used to seems exotic. Style is all about you reflecting who you are in the best possible way without conforming. I have learned I don't have a prayer of embodying that French mystique, if for no other reason than that I wasn't raised in Paris. And despite my dislike of Birkenstocks, I have to confess, as hateful as they are...I really love my Victoria's Secret flip flops.

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