A Prairie Girl In Paris
Some girls dream of wedding days. Other gals dream about a home full of children. Others yet dream of their name on a wall at a fancy office. Some dream of all three or none of that. Right to choose, right? Getting back to it, since I came to know about Paris, this prairie girl dreamed of going there.
After my fantastic week in Ireland it was hard to imagine that the vacation was still rolling. There was more. There was Paris.
Like any cliché white girl in fashion, the top of my travel bucket list has always been Paris. Thus, extending the trip to include the city of lights was a no brainer.
Like many cities before, I can’t help but to notice what the people are wearing and how they are wearing it. As the thousands of faces whipped past me, I started to notice some themes. Here are a few things that stood out to me.
Black is Boss
Gird your loins; black clothing is a thing. In fact, it may be the OG of dressing oneself in black. Some Parisians wore black toe to top while others smattered it in amongst other colours. I should mention that it was quiet cold while I was there so that may have played a “this is the only thing I can throw overtop and be warm” type of situation. Regardless, noir is the thing.
Not as Fancy Dressed as I Expected
Perhaps I’m jaded. It could, too, be a function of the cold weather but I was less than overwhelmed by the street style. Of course there were standouts, see below, but I would not say that Parisians were *better dressed* than say, Londoners. Although, similar to London, people wore actual pants. Further, clunky, weather-specific boots were rarely seen unlike here at home. I know I’m a nag to casual clothing outside of the house - as we all don’t look like Rihanna or Pharrell - I try to cope by reminding myself that I’m the problem, I dress as formal as I choose to, and that I was likely born in the wrong era.
Fast Fashion is Everywhere
Paris, like many other places, is not immune to the siren call of fast fashion. Bags full of loot lined the streets with smiling shoppers. All the usual suspects – Zara, H&M, Topshop, Primark, MonoPrix - were packed with thirsty customers going for the look they want (for a lesser dollar amount). Assuming from the French language falling out of many mouths it wasn’t just the tourists topping up, locals are buying too.
High End Fashion is Everywhere
That said, my Beyoncé, there were labels lurking everywhere. Hundred person lines outside Louis Vuitton, Goyard, and Chanel mystified my travel mate. I played a game where I would count a Birken everyday that I was there to see what day counted the most. One day, Wednesday, I spotted seven. That’s just what I saw on my particular path. Photo worthy department stores - with the beautifully dressed windows - baited we passerby to pop in, take a look, and stock up. I was tempted.
The Number One Accessory is a Hand Rolled Cigarette
This is really saying something after being in Ireland where smokers were more than a wee amount. Ireland has nothing on Parisians. Cigarettes were everywhere and puffed by anyone resembling adulthood. What was notable was the amount of smokers who rolled their own. Pouches full of tobacco, tiny filters, and rolling paper were lined in coats and bags. Some rolled on the tables of restaurants after their meal and before they headed out the door, some sat outside in the covered patios to enjoy more freely, and some ever rolled as they walked. Though I’m no fan of Lung Cancer, the slow, deliberate way that each took time to prepare their indulgence was sort of horribly lovely.
Stand Out Style
As a true believer in beauty is everywhere, Paris did not disappoint. Although I probably had an exceedingly romantic view of what folks would be wearing - damn you, fashion week street style photos - like everything, not all people dress to the nines. But the ones who do stood out. It’s hard to articulate exactly what made them stand out. If I was trying to I’d say it was a mix of unique personality, ease, and how they carried themselves. The clothes didn’t swallow them; they wore the clothes. My favourite place to admire the style was on the Metro. Sure, seeing someone on the street as they passed by was nice, but on the Metro you have minutes, rather than seconds, to drink the look all in.
Paris, for me, was just like the movies, books, and blogs tell us it is: a gorgeous, romantic dripped city. There is an unhurried, quiet, yet no bullshit attitude that I admired amongst the streets. The subtle awareness of others and the surroundings without being in your face was refreshing. Très chic.