Sunday, July 26, 2009

La Vie En Rose

It always amuses me to no end to see an American girls' intepretation of "French style". I suppose they've watched "Paris, Je t'aime" one too many times, but in any case, it's usually wrong. I know I am not necessarily in a comfortable place to judge, being that I've never been to France, however, the fact that most of my highschool friends were French allowed me to glean some essential knowledge I hope to share with you.

And so I give you, How Not to Dress French

Some of these should be fairly obvious, but you should avoid:

The beige trench. I have yet to see a european woman in this, worn wrong, it can make you look like "Columbo" the detective (google it). And honestly, I think it's boring as hell. There is nothing particularly "un-French" about a trench however, but if you wear one, make sure you have it tailored so that's it's not frumpy or awkward, and opt for one in black with a unique cut, fabric or texture.

The Breton Sweater:
Established by French sailors to keep them warm on the high seas during the late 19th century, it gradually trickled down into common French society and in women's clothing, and of course, the American girls had to have it. If you do wear it, wear it in an "American fashion", with gray stripes as opposed to navy, and paired with cut-offs or a leather mini and sneakers.

The Jauntily Tied Scarf:

In this unfortunate advent of the cotton "summer" scarf used to jazz up an outfit, I think we've forgotten that scarves serve an actual purpose, that being to keep our necks warm. In short, I really think you should only be wearing this when it's actually cold outside.

The Beret:

Berets are seeing quite a heydey, and I for one could not be more pleased, as I own half a dozen. Nothing adds an air of "I actually put thought into this" in under five seconds to a lazy outfit like a hat, and the easiest one to wear is a beret. I say, simply avoid looking like a francophile by wearing a wool tam variety (like the one above) loped over your brow, opting for the back of the head instead. And avoid the tired hipster look by not pairing it with a plaid shirt and skinnies.

Something to remember
You are not French. You are American. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with emulating international style, but keep in mind your region of origin. If you live in the dusty southwest, a trenchcoat is not going to be practical for your every day life. In the rainsoaked pacific? Stilettos are not your jive. And so on and so forth. Keep your own quirks and body type in mind, instead of wistfully wishing you lived in the street of Montmartre or had the body of some willowy girl in Malmo. Denying who you are and where you live will never look fashionable.


Tavi said...

teacher: My, such a pretty scarf you have on.
annoying girl in class who told me Guess and Coach were "the best designers ever.": Thank you. It's a very Parisian thing to do.

Grace said...

This made me laugh.

Love Grace.

Yess said...

All true. It is very very difficult to make a beige trench look good (beige is such a difficult color with the complexion, first off, and double-breasted anything is not the most flattering style).

What the fuck are you supposed to do with a beret, anyway? It never stays 'jaunty' for long, it keeps falling off.

Pashupati said...

I'm french and have the same exact beret as the woman with the yellow trench you pictured. Funny.

Pashupati said...

I mean, exactly the same beret. Sorry.

Faux Naif said...

ha! i'm french, and i must admit i do have (much) too many striped sweaters - they are sort of a staple in the french wardrobe. but i agree with the general spirit of this post. well done!

Gladys said...

Hahaha! This is so cute!

Anonymous said...

Hahah did you realise that the girl with the beret on is standing in front of the Canal St Martin in Paris?? xx

Anonymous said...

Hahah did you realise that the girl with the beret on is standing in front of the Canal St Martin in Paris?? xx

Mikkel said...

loves the trench!

Anonymous said...

'Remember, you are not French. You are American.'

Remember- some of us actually live in Europe too!

Julia R. said...

Ahaha ! Beret is such a cliché - people quite don't wear it-
But we are invade by "marinières"(french sailor sweater) I love it, but we see too much of them

krf said...

Ha ha! Amen to the last paragraph! I laugh every day here in San Diego - scarves in 100 degree weather. Quite funny.

Thee said...

I went to Paris for Spring Break, and during a shopping trip and waiting for my friend to buy something, this annoying bunch of girls, aged 15-50, overly tanned, thouroughly obnoxious, and VERY American were grabbing all the striped shirts saying:
"OH, this is SOOOOO French! OMG, you'd look SUPER French in THAT! SO FRENCH."
I am an American myself, and I could not be more embarrased of us.

City Girl (EC1) said...

Great post! I love French style! What you are saying though is so true, briliant observations! I recently have been blogging about France, french fashion etc and also on Jean Seberg in "Breathless"...have you seen it? It's amazing for the clothes never mind anything else. I haven't yet watched "Paris, Je T'aime", but it's on my list! City Girlx
ps. perhaps you can take a peek at my blog? :)

Lela said...

...I actually am French.

Hahaha. Great post :)


Mary said...
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