We leave for our long awaited, many times postponed trip to France in three weeks. France. For a month. In the spring. Sublime. We’ll probably miss the cherry trees in bloom. But it will still be France. Arras, Avignon, Provence, the Loire Valley. And Paris.
Paris. Hemingway ‘shrines’, Shakespeare and Company, the Marché Aux Puces. I’m so stoked about Paris; I can hardly wait. The history, the culture, the food. The fashion. The incredibly fashionable women, who will be everywhere… I’m sure. Looking intimidatingly chic and perfectly soigné.
Akkkkk. Wait, wait, I’m not ready. What the heck will I wear?
Eh bien. When in doubt, it’s time for research. So, I’ve been doing my homework. Following fashion blogs like A Femme d’Un Certain Age where Trish has been doing a series of posts on what to wear in Paris.
And reading articles. Like the one last month on Vogue.com by Liana Satanstein. It’s about “Real Parisian Style,” which, according to Ms. Satanstein is all about “artfully rumpled hair” and “perfectly tailored basics.” She says “Parisian Style” is simple and polished, seemingly effortless, and without designer labels or added bling. Apparently stylish Parisian women achieve a “look of gamine insouciance,” all without even trying to look gamine or insouciant.
Okay. All this information sounds very helpful. But I simply don’t have time to perfect a look of “gamine insouciance,” and then get so accustomed to looking that way that I stop looking like I’m trying to look that way. Are you with me? And then it dawns on me that I’m suffering from information overload. Just like back in university when I’d researched an essay topic soooo much that I eventually just sat and stared at pages and pages of notes of other people’s ideas; so many ideas that I couldn’t remember what my own ideas were, or even if I’d had any ideas.
This is silly. Hubby and I have travelled lots of places and I have never before stressed about what I would wear. I’ve researched, planned, shopped, and packed. But not stressed. I wasn’t intimidated by Sydney or Melbourne, by Edinburgh or Dublin, or even London or New York.
I mean really. Maybe I’m not soigné, or devastatingly insouciant. But I can certainly do simple and tailored. For crying out loud, that’s what I have been doing for years. So I start an “inspiration file” of images that I like, and shots of Paris “street style” that don’t include outfits with sky-high heels, or shots of “it girls” at Fashion Week who are definitely NOT not trying. And I create a “Travel Fashion” board on Pinterest. (You can check it out here if you like.) And then I weed out the looks that could never possibly be “my style.” And I apply a wise question that I learned from the blog Une femme d’un certain âge last year….”Would I wear this in Paris?”
D’accord. Here are a few of the looks to which I will aspire. When I’m in Paris.
|Ines de la Fressange on pinterest.com|
|Ellen Claesson on ellenclaesson.metromode.se|
|Ellen Claesson at ellenclaesson.metromode.se|
|Annette Haga on Just the Design.com|
Maintenant. Now for the list. I need good jeans, white cropped pants (probably jeans), black pants (maybe navy…but probably black), a good coat or raincoat, a light jacket (maybe a blazer), a white shirt. Scarves. Long sleeved tee shirts, one striped. A couple of sweaters. One dressy top to wear with both white pants and black. Sneakers, sandals (flats) and one pair of comfortable shoes that can also be dressy.
Some of these items are already in my closet. But not all. And I have three weeks… to try everything on that I already own, mix and match for day and evening outfits, ask the question “Would I wear this in Paris?” Then… identify gaps… and get shopping.
So. I guess I need to get cracking. I’m going to Nordstrom tomorrow to visit my friend Liz who’s the personal shopper there. If you’re planning a shopping trip to the Rideau Center in Ottawa, I highly recommend you give Liz a shout before you go. Here’s her contact information: [email protected]. (613 567-7005 Ext 1350)
C’est tout. With a plan of action, I’m not as stressed about what to wear in Paris as I was. Maybe I will be ready after all. But now, it’s late and I need my beauty sleep if I’m going to be power shopping tomorrow.
Bonne nuit, mes amis. Mon dieu… sometimes I am just so darned insouciant.
Have you been to Paris? Any wise fashion advice to pass on? I’m all ears.