I have been watching and observing the huge difference, in how the American’s dress for winter, and the Parisians. One basic fact of life here, is the lack of space. No other place, I have lived in, has the same challenges , (except NYC). Space is very limited, and you must always buy something, with the ever physical question of where ..are you going to put it ??
Now, you ask – why is this information, in the beginning of a fashion blog ?? wait.. i will connect the dots for you. In growing up, my Auntie had the most fashion influence on me, and in winter, she loved to travel to Vermont to ski. So with this, came the style of, turtlenecks, big bulky sweaters in either bright colors; or the winter white classic. Every sweater was the center of the style , black leggings and boots were the bottom half of this fashion equation. As I grew up, this “winter style ” stayed with me. To this day, I have a love of the big sweaters..Auntie always said, a big sweater, can make you bottom half look a size smaller ( and we all want that !) . The boots were always flat, with good lining, and black- (to not show the mud that comes with snow).
Even though, I no longer had a need for ski sweaters in VA Beach, or Charleston, I still had a small collection from my college days in NYC- when I would travel with Auntie up north. Now, some of you will not believe it, but my sweaters are an easy 20 years old, or older .. I like to get my money’s worth from clothing. I do not consider it a rag, until it starts to have visible holes, or when the yarns are so spread apart – that you can build a house in the space…yep, I still have some of my “Auntie sweaters ” .
Now that my life has changed, again.I am back to living in a cold climate. However the fashion rules are very different here. And the Parisians view this need to stay warm, very differently. First is the space problem, which we talked about above.With this, is almost the total removal of big bulky sweaters , because, to dedicate so much room in you home for a clothing item, that can’t be worn year round is not logical or acceptable to them .
Keep in mind, here clothing is considered an “investment” .. not a quick transfer of fashion styles. So like me, when the frenchies buy something, they really wear it … ALOT , so bright colors – again is not practical in this new world. The sweater must work with tons of outfits, and a bright pink bulky sweater just will not do it. So when I view sweaters for sale, most of the designs are classic strips, or cable knits. The colors are your basics- black, beige, blue & brown (the 4 B’s ). Sometimes, you will see a red or pink in a bulky style, but its not very common.
Economic side note ;( i think they still make clothes in this country !! yeah – see pic )
Next comes the elimination of the turtlenecks. Instead frenchies tend to buy a long sleeve pullover crew neck shirt. Now this, is a logical step for me. With this item – you can make it casual with jeans, and it looks classic. Or wear it as a long john ( which is what i have been doing). Also, with a suit jacket- you can dress it up, and go to the office with it. I have kept to buying the 4 B’s, and have been very satisfied with my new french fashion correction.
I like V-necks better, but they are harder to find. I picked up 2 new blue tops at a very modest price at a “walmart kind” of store called E.Leclerc (sounds like ‘le claire) ,as you can see the size is the first shocker ..yep a big 38 !! I still freak out about that HUGE number .. Also, you can see, I am trying to keep it within my selected colors of choice. Keeping it simple ..I did go for that stripped blue – that was too “french” to pass up .. and for the price – 3 & 4 euros ! SOLD (thanks Nic).
So this is my little lesson.. first – it gets COLD in Paris, and you need to dress for it. Layers are the key over here, so if you have turtles or mock necks already – bring them over, but do not buy any to come here. Bulky sweaters are not common here, so do not plan on finding great deals. If you own some ( like i do), wear them of course – but do not expect to fit in a bureau 10 bulky sweaters – they will not fit.
So when in Paris – do Parisian layering..