Please allow me to entertain you with a few observances:
- If you're wondering about the jumpsuit's spiritual home, it's southern France, people. Lord, I have never seen more varieties of onesies in my life. Slender women wear them, children wear them, old women wear them, women who have no business wear them... They come strapless, plunging v, shorts-style, avec les pantalons ballons. It truly is amazing to see a 60 year old rocking a completely impractical, military-meets-silk one-piece. With absurd heels. On cobblestones. I've been skeptical of the excess of marketing of the jumpsuit for a while now, wondering how it could possibly have any impact in the real world. Well, here, the trend is making money - namely with the elegant set.
- Delightfully, IMO, if you are chic and French, you're allowed to have a menopausal gut. It will in no meaningful way undercut your cache. It's simply ill-advised to have breasts of any volume or to be of substantial frame. Or to be tall, come to think of it. I have tried on everything on sale in this city (except for jumpsuits) and not one fucking thing fits. I'm not joking. And it's not my, ahem, less than flat stomach that's causing the problem. The clothing is cut for straight frames. Furthermore, it's cut with very little profile anywhere. Which is why having breast or hip circumference is not advisable.
- Side note: I'm remarkably nonplussed by my French shopping fails, though my younger self would have been horrified. Actually, my 3 years younger self, when last in France (Paris) could barely find anything to fit - nor could my teenaged self, come to think of it - and they were pretty traumatized. Now I look at all of the clothing and realize I could make much of it, pretty easily (these clothes are architectural sacs, not tailored!) in proportions to fit my body well. It seems crazy to pay 100 euros for a sleeveless, a-line tank. Moreover, these women do not look like me. Not in any way. I have seen myself surreptitiously eyed, perhaps even occasionally critically, by women in shops, by women on the street. Don't misunderstand - I'm not suggesting that I've encountered rudeness (though an exasperated woman in a ring shop within which I could not find ONE RING to fit my man-like fingers, at one point muttered "Mon Dieu!". And, really, at that point I shared her pain.). It's not that I'm all freakish and feeling judged. I'm just an outlier and it's obvious. To wit: No one here wears leopard-skin bodysuits with jeans that sit at the natural waist, even in the cool, after a day of rain. And, if they did, they'd probably have proportionately little in the way of hips or boobs. I wonder if, to some, I'm seen as too observable. No doubt, my accent and mediocre French don't help. But really, in the scheme of things, I'm fairly refined by many standards. I don't think I'm standing out because of my behaviour.
- A propos of the bullet above, absolutely every chic woman wears either linen, cotton with applique/chambray etc. or silk. And 90 per cent of the garments are shapeless, especially in the midsection. A good number of them are quite colourful, or monochrome (namely white) and they've got asymmetrical lines. The cinched drop-waist (belted or elastic is everywhere. What makes you edgy in much of North America, makes you feminine here.
- Nonchalance is de rigeur. There's nothing fussy about the chic French woman. She owns her clothing. Nothing wears her.
- She's not afraid to show off her breasts, though small breasts do tend to be less attention-grabbing (on display) than voluptuous ones. On this topic, I'm willing to go on a limb here in suggesting that the mainstream of the smallest breasts in the western world is in France. That's not because of what I've seen, specifically, but because of what I know of the lingerie industry. The French have cornered the market on the 30-34 B-D shallow, seamed half-cups - and man, do they make them beautifully. But God help you if you are a woman out of that size and shape range, looking for a gorgeous bra. Your options are frumpy. This is like the anti-England.
- They're not afraid to be tanned, wrinkled or to smoke. Age is not the equalizer, fat is.
- They have "great legs", by which I mean slender to the knee, at least, and quite muscular - and they wear very feminine footwear (of high quality).
|File Under: Wear in Canada - And that top is my first Nettie, btw.|