A Fashion Good Friday: The French say, "We're afraid NOT to wear black."

After a couple days of deep rumination, I think I've cracked the secret to French street style.  Oh yes, everyone knows French women pretty much invented chic, and that they live and breathe fashion the way ordinary human beings have to eat food just to survive.  Everyone knows they don't get fat. And everything they do, from walking down the street to buying bread to smoking a cigarette, oozes elegance.  

I'm no francophile--too biased after studying German for 5 years.  I mean, I enjoy croissants and duck confit as much as the next girl but I'll be darned if I think a French accent is sexy on anyone (except Vincent Perez, who probably isn't even French...right, he's Swiss-German and Spanish).  But I gotta admit, them Frenchies sure knows how to dress.

There are a number of articles, blogs, etc. out there devoted to that certain je ne sais quoi that makes Parisian street style so maddeningly alluring.  After going through reams of photos online, I think I've got it: the French wear a whole lot of black.  

When I announced this to Garry, he was unimpressed: "You mean like New Yorkers or interactive designers wear black?"

No. Yeah, New Yorkers (and Bostonians, and Londoners) wear a ton of black, but it's a serious black, with sharp edges and a no-nonsense kind of matter-of-course-ness.  It restrains rather than liberates.  No, the color black in France seems more essential, more necessary, like a lifeline or a child's security blanket.  It even becomes warm, playful and easy-going.  Interesting, non?

Of course there are other elements that seem to comprise the French style:
  • An "undone" or even underdone quality: One thing I notice is that American fashion is incredibly over-accessorized.  Just look at that recurring section in InStyle where they put together outfits that are supposed to go with different kinds of outings/occasions.  Bangles, earrings, necklaces, sunglasses, watches, etc etc etc.  Geez, man.
  • Ease: They never seem to think too hard about it.  With the exception of skinny jeans, they seem to prefer flowy and organic shapes comfortable enough to wear all day.
  • Proportion & fit:  Classic cuts, and everything judiciously edited, perfectly balanced, as if the outfit was grown on your body.
  • Color: Mostly neutral, ranging from black, tan, gray, navy, and hunter green.
  • Quality: Fine fabrics, well-shaped silhouettes, good stitching, lovely details.
  • Thinness: I was serious.  I don't think French women would look nearly as good if they were as fat as Americans.
  • Something unexpected: There is usually some small flourish that makes you look twice, either a pop of color or an interesting embellishment.
Essential elements
  • BangsYes, hair always looks perfectly mussed, left long and loose.  
  • Minimal makeup, perfect skin: Eyes are lined, smoky, or plain.  Lips nude or classic red.
  • Black tights: Seriously, it's like every woman in Paris owns about 5 pairs.
  • A luxurious handbag and/or a beautiful scarf: That's all the accessorizing they need.
  • Fantastic shoes: They really pay attention to shoes and use them to make a statement.
For more inspiration, check out this blog I'm newly in love with from Garance Dore, a French fashion photographer.  Miles and miles of impossibly chic and effortless-looking style.

Thanks to:

Help keep me accountable.

I am not Catholic, but I decided to give up shopping for Lent.  That is, shopping for things I don't really need, specifically clothing and home goods.  If I really wanted to be good, I would cut out extraneous groceries also, but that's a huge gray area because I get around to eating everything eventually.

It has actually been effective for me, because each time I find myself salivating over something exquisite, even this Philip Stein diamond bezel watch ($662 from $1,325.00), I catch myself and am reminded of the greatest and most exquisite sacrifice of all, if you choose to believe in it, and how sad and small everything else is when compared to that!

Stainless steel case with a white nouveau dial and a stainless steel bezel. Total diamond carat weight is 0.22. 'Thumbtack' crown and diamond hour-markers. Black pradino strap that is changeable. Features active frequency technology to restore and improve the flow of energy in your body. Case is water resistance tested at 3 ATM. Case measures 50 mm (1.75 inches) in length and 32mm (1 inch) in width. Band measures 20 mm (0.9 inches) at widest point and 190 mm (9 inches) in length. Buckle closure. Two year limited manufacturer warranty on the case only.

It all sounds so fancy and yet - it's just a watch for heaven's sake!  Anyway, if I post something and ask, 'Should I buy this?" go ahead and start a flame war or something, haha!

Cholosoy is having a sale

One of my earliest posts was asking people which chullo hat I should buy from Cholosoy's Etsy shop, which featured some of the most lightweight, ugly-awesome chullos I'd ever seen (I got the blue-green one).

I thought I got a deal for $18.50...this weekend only, they're having an even better sale.  All hats $15!  Makes you wonder if they are employing Peruvian orphans to make these and paying them $1/day.

Dilemmas: Someone please talk me out of this trench coat.

By Alvin Valley - the 'City Spire' trench.  "Long sleeve v-neck faux snake trench coat with optional belted waist and back flap detail. Front slash pockets. Button down front."  Final sale: $98, down from $1,030.40.  

1) Fantastic cut, structure, and make.
2) It's less than 1/10 the original price.

1) It's still $98, which for normal people is a decent lot of money.
2) It's FAUX SNAKE and it's GREEN.  Where the heck would I wear it, a vampire prom?