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I lived in Paris from 2000-2004. During my years there I learnt very quickly that the way we dress in Sydney is very different to the way one dresses in Paris. My personal style was about to take a huge learning curve.
In Sydney it is not a faux pas to wear your active wear long past your spin or pilates class. In Paris it would not be acceptable to stroll down to the local boulangerie in your tights and sloppy joe. For my morning walks I would often slip on a pair of comfy trousers or jeans and team it with a smart shirt or jumper , depending on the season. Throwing on a smart scarf to complete the outfit. When you hit the streets you need to look chic and well dressed. When I put the effort in, which I did increasingly in the years I lived there, other women would stare commendably on my wardrobe choices.
In the foot wear department it is a fallacy that French women pound the pavements in Christian Louboutin high heels. Paris demands a lot of walking. Whether you're catching the metro, bus or taking a velo you need comfortable shoes. French girl footwear choices very much lean on the side of being practical. Ballerina flats, smart trainers, espadrilles and short boots for winter are the go to shoes.
French women are renowned for their timeless style. They dismiss trends and wear clothes that suit their own personal style. I admired women who I saw that had a stylish handbag from an unknown designer. I seemed to see more designer bags on the tourists that were visiting the city. I big trend in France is the classic canvas tote with a lick of sequins. This has become very fashionable in the past ten years. The great thing about canvas is it is not heavy. The totes are not over sized but big enough to handle a day out fitting comfortably an umbrella, scarf, wallet, phone and makeup pochette.
The French seem to invest in gorgeous jackets, pieces that will last. I remember seeing a cute girl at the super marché with her blue jeans, Chanel jacket and trainers, it really worked! Jackets are a real staple and can be worn with short and long skirts and are a great accompaniment with dresses.
As my mother always says “ Dress becomingly, dress the best you can because people have to look at you all day”.