{style observations} french style: inventive design experiments

Friday, December 4, 2015

sometimes i stare.

i admit it's true. i don't mean to, but ever since i moved to france, i just can't get help myself. i stare. i can't get over how artfully disheveled + naturally stylish the french are.

i don't like to engage in generalities, but i've detected some patterns. here listed are some of my favorite style observations from the land of très bon.

{ flowers / fleurs } on my daily walks to work or while exploring the 20 districts of paris, i see this: lasses on bikes ride by with colorful blooms in baskets + girls on scooters whiz past with bundled flowers in tow; the prettiest accessory in france is the bouquet. french gals do not wait for flowers to be brought to them. always in heels. always with flowers. i dig it.

{ hair / cheveux } so i noticed, every gal on the metro, in the bookshops, at the famers' markets, they all embrace the frizz, natural waves that is. nobody is straightening or fussing with their flyaways. untamed tresses only here. shortly after arriving to france, i sent a text to my bestie in chicago proclaiming, "i loooove the beautiful french frizz! i can get used to this!" wash + go, ladies.

i read an article in elle belgium in which french beauty caroline de maigret explains why she doesn't use conditioner: "conditioner makes the hair smooth. if you don't use conditioner, you keep your volume." in other words: flat is not welcome here. no one is waving a banner for big hair here, but these gals are au natural, and i like it. who wants to be bothered with boring shiny, smooth hair anyways?

{ lips / lèvres } as a self-proclaimed town boy, i have never worn much makeup. and neither do the french. natural is key. however, you better believe lips are lacquered in saturated hues. often times red, sometimes shades of berry, but never bare. i went into a makeup shop here in paris and tried on a lipstick color that could best be described as . . . well, as the same color as my lips. i asked the sales clerk what she thought, and she knit her eyebrows together and said in a consolatory way, "well, eet ees natural. . . ." i'm a creature of habit, so there was no julia roberts/pretty lady transformation moment, hence i'm content wearing my w3ll people gloss or hurraw lip balm. but i dig the old-school hollywood starlet look. young and elderly alike always have lacquered lips.

{ vintage + layers / vintage + couches } i see lots of vintage + oversized coats down these cobblestone streets. while the guys are wearing perfectly tailored jackets, the gals are wearing borrowed-from-the-boys outerwear. what i love are the layers of scarves and chunky sweaters worn under andogynous coats, mixed + matched: there are no rules here. bold colors, subdued palates, graphic patterns + sophisticated designs intersect in the most beguiling way. worn with tees, jeans + booties or layered over skirts + heels: simple, yet cozy ensembles with cacoon coats are always winsome. i get the feeling that french style is one grand experiment in which the streets are a personal runway for the daring, the creative + for inventive souls. and i like it.

really, the most beautiful part of french style is this: confidence. the most stunning women i have met + chatted with are really those that are comfortable in their own bodies, who really appreciate their many assets, who are strong + clever, witty + warm. because we all know the beauty, confidence + kindness go hand in hand!

{image by f+d / wearing cropped top by jacob + esau 
and in a rare instance, boldy-hued lipstick by cruelty-free brand aromi}

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