Parisian Women, Fashion and being Mindful
Paris was fantastic!! I had a lovely time and the weather was super – sunshine all the way, we had the odd day of showers, but apart from that I lived in my spaghetti strapped tops. We did all the things that as a tourist you are expected to do – went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, took a boat ride down the river Seine, strolled down the Champs des Elysees, took pictures in front of all the designer shops (but didn’t dare venture into any of them), had freshly baked baguettes and croissants for breakfast and generally embraced the French way of life for ten days. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the mandatory crepes of course.
But the one thing that impressed me the most about Paris was its women.
Now, I have read and been told all my life that Parisian women are up there when it comes to style and fashion – and my trip only served to confirm this age old tale. Boy, those women know how to dress! And the funny thing is I didn’t see one of them, not one of them, wearing anything that was considered the ‘current fashion of the season’ and yet, they managed to put every ardent trend follower to shame. I am a firm believer of ‘if you’ve got it, you’ve got it’ and believe me, the Parisian women sure have got it.
I see loads of women here in England dripping in designer gear from head to toe, and it’s obvious that they spent a small fortune on their ensemble, but many of them still manage to come off looking cheap. Not so the Parisian woman. There is something about the way she wears her clothes – with a confidence and a knowledge that what she has on suits her. The use of accessories, I noticed, also plays a big part in their wardrobe. They always have something on that gives a little twist to whatever outfit they are wearing – a scarf around the neck that matches a ring, or a pair of shoes that matches their cardigan or a belt that matches their bag. And though they may not have spent much money on the outfit, they still manage to look like a million dollars. In my opinion, the difference between the way French women dress and the way women in England dress is that French women pay attention to detail and they make and EFFORT to look nice. Not so here – since my return I have not seen one woman who has evoked me to say ‘wow, I really like what she is wearing’. Here, the women all have on jeans, t-shirts and blond hair – Topshop fashion victims. No personal style just following the ‘what’s in and what’s out’ pages of Glamour and Grazia and this just creates a boring sameness to their sense of fashion. For instance, so called skinny jeans are/were all the rage but I know that they sure as hell don’t suit me – my African sized bottom and thighs scream NO, NO, NO when I dare to try a pair on – and so I avoid them like the plague. There is no need to look like an idiot all for the sake of following the flavour of the season. The style of the Parisian woman is classic and timeless and you can see that she dresses for pleasure – her pleasure, and I love that. They stick a defiant finger up at latest trends.
Another thing that stuck me about Paris and its women is that not one of them seems to be overweight. It’s true. Even my hubby commented on it as well. Not that they are skinny mind you, they are just not overweight. This has got me wondering how they do it and to help me understand this phenomenon, I have dragged out my copy of French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mirelle Guiliano once again and this time I will pay attention to what she is saying and not just whizz through it like a novel, as I did the first time around.
Being in Paris and seeing all these effortlessly glamorous, well pulled together women made me realise just how much I have let myself go over the years. There was a time I wouldn’t leave the house without lipstick on but now I don’t give
[I just got a book titled ‘It’s Vintage, Darling!’ by Christa Weil and it promises to teach you how to be a clothes connoisseur. I have skimmed it and from what I have read, it looks good. And don’t let the title fool you, it talks about clothes in general, not only vintage clothing.]
And then my poor husband – I cannot apologise to him enough. I remember there was a time (it seems so long, long ago now) when I pulled out all the stops to look good for him when I knew he would be coming to see me or we were going out on a date. Back then, every time he saw me I knew I took his breath away by the way I looked and he always, ALWAYS complimented me. But these days, five years of marriage later, how things have changed. I slob around the house with oil stained joggers, run down Birkenstocks and dishevelled hair and even when I do make what I think is an effort, I am the one who has to ask ‘Do I look nice?’. Not a good sign. I have taken myself (and my husbands’ interest in me) for granted for too long. So I have decided to change my ways – I have the desire to. I cannot hide behind the ‘I am mum to a toddler; I don’t have the time to look nice’ excuse anymore. If I care enough about myself, and I do, I WILL MAKE THE TIME. This is a gift to myself and to help me on my way I resolve to:
Take more interest in my Self (health, looks, body, spirit, and mind) and pay more attention to what I wear. It’s all in the detail.
Be mindful of what I put into my mouth – as the saying goes, a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips.
Walk at a slower pace – life isn’t a race.
Take joy in the simple pleasures – there is always something to be grateful for.
Centre myself, focus on things that are important to me and get rid of the ‘drainers’ in my life.
Make time each day, to do something for myself – read a chapter of my favourite book, listen to a motivational CD or tape, go for a walk or simply just chill and do nothing.
Be mindful of the words that come out of my mouth (whichever way you look at it, a woman swearing is not pleasant to hear), my reactions to situations (things aren’t always the way they appear) and the way I handle the daily stresses of life.
Develop my communication skills – especially with my husband.
Think of others more.
And now, I gotta run. Oops sorry… walk. I’ve got work to do!