Lifestyle: Daily life and that Joie de vivre
After we took over the keys to our apartment (sweetly furnished in French minimalist style) we ventured out on the street to get our bearings. It was wandering the streets of the second, third and fourth arrondissements on the weekend, doing as the Parisians do (shopping for fresh produce at the Bastille markets, lunching in the Place des Voges, sitting side by side on typically French woven cafe chairs sipping cafe au lait and just people watching in general) that really got me thinking about their way of life.
Everybody just had that something ‘extra’ about them. Inexplicable and hard to pinpoint but there was definitely something different in the way they carried themselves. Perhaps it was their complete and utter self confidence, or the fact that they seemed entirely comfortable with who they were, how they looked and the clothes they choose to express themselves with.
A perfect example was when we sought assistance from a make-up specialist in Sephora (a bigger and better version of Mecca Cosmetica). A bleached blonde, voluptuous woman with bright fuscia lips she encompassed the meaning of joie de vivre. She wasn’t stick thin and was wearing the uniform of all black but she expressed her vivacious personality through her immaculate hair and makeup (as you would expect) and her bright and enthusiastic service style. As she did her best to help Mama find a new lipstick (Mama has a routine selection of colours when it comes to makeup purchases) she made her promise that even if she didn’t buy one single thing there that day she was never to step near dark shades of lipstick again because it made her look older. She left us to trawl the shelves of coloured cremes, shimmering lacquers and matte tubes with a final piece of wisdom – “in France we have a saying…I don’t know what the translation is in English but when it comes to trying things you just have to go for it. You have nothing to lose!” Joie de vivre.
Fashion: Paris Street Style
I noticed something on the streets of Paris…their street style is SO varied. Of course there was the quintessential Parisienne outfit of skinny jeans (usually in lighter shades, typically white) that inexplicably fit every shape, size and proportion walking down the street, a billowy silk or denim shirt layered under a black leather jacket or long length blazer, finished with a cascading scarf and either brown laced brogues, black ballet flats or (surprisingly) a wedged sneaker.
But then there was also an abundance of indie channeling students in their SnapBack caps, well-worn Converses and oversized knits as well as polished designer-handbag-carrying professionals donning cigarette trousers and the classic trench. On a side note the secret to securing a trench is NOT by using the clasp and looping the belt through but by tying it in a knot and letting clasp end hang down like shoe lace. Fascinating, as I started to notice it on every single trench wearing French woman. There was also the occasional “outrageous” get-up (those kinds where I feel an instant admiration for the wearer just for the fact they had the guts to step outside)…
I digress but my point is that I was completely surprised by the diversity. Yes there were outfits you would consider to be “typically French” but everyone seemed to inject very individual accents or accessorise to make them stand out. The shopping was also incredibly varied – really ANYTHING goes. Punk/grunge, polished pastels, denim or sheer, a lot of cerulean paired with maroon or emerald green. Stepping into each store was like indulging in a visual feast. Regardless, everyone and everything looked effortlessly fashionable and encompassed Parisienne style. Although I’m not sure if that is my “Paris-tinted” glasses speaking or a factually true recount…:P
PS my Parisienne-style travel wardrobe will be up soon!