Posted on February 7, 2015

The Myth of Parisian Chic – BUSTED!

Coats/ Current Affairs/ Movie & Books/ Rebel/ Romantique

French Books on Chic, Style, Life, relationships

“Parisian Chic”, “How to be Parisian wherever you are”, “Paris Street Style”, “Why French children don’t throw food” – the French-know-it-all hype shows no sign of abating. French women clearly have the world figured out – from style to love life to children. We at Romantique and Rebel are francophiles too and have fallen for the myth – there’s no book on French style we don’t have, we’ve written many articles on French icons we adore and have interviewed French colleagues and friends, all in the quest for deciphering their secret to style, love and life.

Last week, Rebel and I booked a train from London to Paris to engross ourselves in some field work. We’ve been to Paris many times before, but this time we wanted to look at Parisians with a fresh pair of scrutinising eyes. We looked at the myth and carefully checked this against reality. Here’s our impressions from our Paris trip:

French women wear red lipstick (and nothing else):

100% correct. Mostly warm, yellow based red lipstick is a make-up staple all Parisiennes share. However, we noted that little else make-up is applied. From a certain age, one should cover up imperfections to smooth skin to look polished. Not so the Parisienne. Which leads us to the next point….

French women have the “effortless style” nailed:

There’s a fine line between effortless and down right sloppy. We witnessed  French ladies in hip Marais sported having-just-crawled-out-of-bed hair, scruffy jeans, grey hair, paired with dirty adidas Stan Smith trainers. All of this seemed forced, as if the carrier wanted to appear “cool” by appearing to not have made too much of an effort.  Which defies the whole idea of “effortless” , right?

French women are chain smokers:

This is a stereotype which rings very true. People on the continent, compared to the UK, smoke a lot, especially in Paris. Which might explain how Parisienne’s stay so slim. Look at Caroline de Maigret, one of the authors of the book “How to be Parisian wherever you are”. She’s 39 and may be skinny, but also looks a decade older than she is.

Caroline de Maigret wearing Stan Smith trainers in Paris.

Caroline de Maigret wearing Stan Smith trainers in Paris.

French women love heels: 

Quite the contrary, Paris is the city of adidas trainers. Women of all ages can be seen in two types: Stan Smith and Superstar. Every shop window displaying elegant fashion paired outfits with a pair of trainers. Our Air B and B landlady wore the same pair as Rebel who is a fan too. I’ll stick with my ballerina, thank you!

Rebel is wearing: "Stan Smith" Adidas, Sunnies by Fendi, Bag by GF Ferré

Rebel is wearing: “Stan Smith” Adidas, Wintercoat by Max & Co., Sunnies by Fendi, Bag by GF Ferré

 

Parisiennes and labels

YSL, Celine, Balmain – all these labels can be seen worn by Asian women. I wonder if it’s the astronomical price or the cliche the Parisiennes are avoiding?

I'm wearing: Black Max and Co coast, quilted leather cross body bag from L Credi, sunnies by Prada, pink oxford lace-ups by AGL Attilio Giusi Leombruni.

I’m wearing: Black Max and Co coat, quilted leather cross body bag from L Credi, sunnies by Prada, pink Oxford lace-ups by AGL Attilio Giusi Leombruni.

 

For many, including us, French culture is the synonym for elegance, style and charm and the French have perfected fuelling this fire.

Where do you stand? Do you think the French are naturally good at putting clothes together and finding the perfect balance in life between femininity and feminism? Is common sense fashion advise such as: Choose a few quality timeless basics and build on them, avoid faddy fashion trends.” inherently French? Let’s start the debate!

Parisian Chic - busted

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