Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Who’s the stylish of them ALL?

I am the ultimate Francophile. 

I live and breathe for all things en francais

Le language, le cuisine, le art, le rues. Vous nom et, I’m living for it.

You will be surprised to know what I don’t live pour en francais

STYLE.

Oui, mes amies. 

I know my passport will be shredded during one of my mutli-annual trips to moi beloved city, mais c’est vrai!

I believe that most Américaine women are obsessed with what we think Parisian fashion is.

Tweed jackets, ballets flats, multi layered pearls, essentially moi (minus the flats of course.)

That image does not portray the style of 99% of Parisians. Oui.

Most Parisians I meet are adorned in American brands: LEVI, GAP, Adidas, Chuck Taylors and vintage concert tees. I remember the husband being so mad that I wouldn’t let him pack his shell-toes when we went to Paris. To spite me, he complimented/pointed out everyone he saw wearing his beloved shell-toes. If young Parisians are not draped in American brands, a simple sweater and a straight leg pair of jeans is wait you’ll see.

Parisian woman are extremely unassuming, rarely wearing logos or designer pieces.  

Whenever I’m en Paris, CHANEL is the FIRST stop.

During one shopping session, when I was BLESSED with an opportunity to see Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s living quarters above her shop, I mentioned to the sales associated that I would seriously PAY to see her closet at home.

She assured me that there wasn’t any CHANEL to see. 

I clutched EVERY strand of pearls and released the gasp heard around zee world.

I couldn’t believe that a FRENCH woman didn’t have CHANEL.

Furthermore, I could not process that a French woman who worked at CHANEL didn’t have, CHANEL. 

I was truly under the impression that possessing CHANEL was mandatory for every Parisian woman. I thought that every Parisian teenager inherited a CHANEL flap on their 16 birthday circa a deceased tante or grandmere.

I never read that anywhere, I just felt that it was culturally approperiate.  Along with carrying a baguette and wearing black cigarette pants that stopped just above the ankle. Insert your favorite Parisian cliché here.

Below I’ve listed the top five women EYE deem the most stylish of them all.

5. 40+ Parisians.

My style is truly classic with hints of contemporary lines and styles.  Which is why I absolutely adore sitting in un cafe watching the seasoned women of Paris perusing their arrondissements. Whether its a chunky sweater with a classic purse or a silk overcoat and ballet flats, the mature women in the City of Lights never disappoint.

4.  Danes and Swedes

The husband and I spent time in Copenhagen a few weeks before getting married.  I was studying interior design and there was a huge exhibit at the Denmark Museum of Art that I wanted to see.  I was totally shocked to see the amount of women dressed in patterns and colors. I’ve always pictured Scandinavian women wearing all black, drastically contrasting their tan less skin. In conjunction to the quirky addition of prints and patterns, the mind-blowing pattern-making and intriguing fabrics left me wanting to fill my closet with all Danish designers.  While in Denmark, we took the train to Sweden and there too, I feel for the simplistic intricacy of Scandinavian style. 

3. Jo’Burg.

The fashion in Jo’Burg is everything that I am not, which confirms that opposites do attract.  As a plus one to events ranging from derbies, Embassy galas to braai’s in Soweto, I was able to witness a vast amount of style.  The women of Jo’Burg douse themselves in colorful sometimes tribal textiles with constructed designs that easily rival those of European couture maisons. I love the boldness, and the undeniable effect that such intense colors have on ones moods. It wasn’t until after my time in Jo’Burg that I began incorporating color into my wardrobe.

2. Montreal

I’m definitely biased.  Montreal embodies le trois things I long for most:

  1. The French Language
  2. Cold weather
  3. Nior

Fur (and faux fur) is EVERYWHERE en Montreal.  You can get a fur muff from a poutine stand. I got carried away? But you get the point.  The women of Montreal are a different type of chic.  With temperatures dropping well below 11°C, they remain stylishly on trend in spite of Arctic chills.

The women that I deem most stylish are

DRUMROLL S’IL VOUS PLAIT.

ITALIANE.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, style throughout Italia is NOT the same. 

I’ve witnessed the evolution of Milanese style from the time I lived there (over 13 years ago) until a recent trip there this year. And I am still enamored.

What I love most about Italian fashion, is the tailoring and pure gaudy-ness of it all. Think Versace’s baroque Medusa heads displayed repeatedly on a dress. Or sweaters embossed with Fendi’s bolded F. Logos are everywhere and I cannot get enough of it. In most of the countries listed above, it is very rare to spot a local rocking monograms. Not in Milano, the flashier, the better.

Simply going to museums can feel like being a spectator at a fashion show. The coat checks are filled with designer totes and monogrammed lined outerwear galore.

Italian women also WEAR heels. The unwavering dedication to heels is very rare to find consistently in other countries. I don’t feel vain when trekking across 14th century cathedral marble floors while wearing pumps in Italia. I have never spotted an Italian woman changing shoes throughout the day. Please know that I see you, I respect you, and I am doing so across the pond.

Lastly, I fell so hard for Italian style because of the sheer femininity. Everything about Italian women oozes romance, in the most well crafted manner. Subtle peeks of lace lingerie hanging below a dresses hemline. Mini skirts and nude pumps to elongate ones legs. Or a whimsical jacket that blows in the breeze and slightly drapes off of the shoulder. These attributes collectively is why Italiane style stole my heart and wallet, which so happens to be FENDI.

Oui mes amies. I’m certain that anyone who knows me is in utter shock that my love of France has absolutely nothing to do with their sense of fashion.

I’d love to hear/read your opinion. Who do you think is the most stylish?

Be certain to check “notify me of comments via email” so we can keep this style convo going.

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Ciao!

4 Comments

  1. Chantal Nicole

    I loved reading this. Some things I would have never thought. I love the boldness of the women in Jo’burg. They are so carefree with their color choices and pairings. I dream to be that bold. I’m definitely incorporating at least one faux fur vest for this winter and fall. These pictures have given me some focus for the fall. Loving it!!!!

    Like

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