Thursday, April 23, 2009

Am I French Yet?

They make it look so easy...

Reams and volumes have been written about the bred-in-the-bone, girl-can't-help-it, throwaway chic of French women, Parisiennes in particular. But dammit, it's just true!

The Alaia sure boots don't hurt...

I'm a little embarrassed by how much I want one of those YSL logo t's. And I'm not a very logo-y person, I generally eschew them completely. But I've just become a complete ho for all things YSL.

In the chick-flick version of my life, the one where my character is played by Kate Hudson, or if it's a low-budget arty/indie chick-flick, Maggie Gyllenhaal, I go to sleep one night and I wake up French.

How does this happen? Okay, I'll tell ya. Here's my movie: A rabid Francophile, Maggie has taught herself to speak French, watched every French-language movie -- modern or classic -- available, mastered the art of French cooking, and rides a bicycle with one of those fetching baskets on the handlebars to her job waiting tables in a sweet little faux-French café in her mid-sized mid-western city. Sadly, she has never been to Paris -- can you believe it? But one day, exploring a musty yet charming used bookstore, she stumbles across an old, slightly tattered copy of one of Colette's novels -- probably "Cheri" -- that has an inscription written in a spidery hand that reads, "Le rêve devient la vérité." Late that night, with a glass of French wine on the table beside her, Maggie snuggles into her couch and sets about reading the book. Hours pass. The candle flickers. The cat's tail twitches. Maggie falls asleep, the book slipping from her hand and dropping to the floor. A breeze ruffles the pages, the candle goes out & the picture fades to black and when the lights come up, Maggie shakes herself awake in an adorable Left Bank apartment with a geranium-laden balcony and a gorgeous view.

(Comme ça.)

Wackiness, romance, and self-discovery ensue.

Sadly, so far I have not woken up French. I haven't given up completely on some sort of French fairy godmother tapping me on ma tête bouclée with her magic wand, but until then I have to be content with trying to look the part. To paraphrase Kevin Costner, if I wear it, it will come.

Here's my latest effort:

Random white button-front blouse (Ann Taylor, I think), Lucky jeans, black sequined Golde vest, long ribbon-tied faux pearl necklace as belt, Gucci Flora black silk sandals.

(You need a closer look at these sandals, because these? Are magical. Oh, I love these shoes.)

And because I know I'm going to get chilly eventually, my long purple merino cardi from Banana Republic to go over it.

It would be more Parisian if the cardi were black or gray, but I just can't do without a shot of color.

(A note on the jeans: I really love these. They're actually men's jeans from Lucky Brand -- I was wanting some so-called "boyfriend jeans" but I didn't want to spend a mint, which is what a lot of them cost. I also wanted something that was a mid-rise -- long-waisted me is tired of hoiking my waistband up over my hipbones. And then I thought, "Well, hey, if I want men's-style jeans, why don't I just try some men's jeans?" So I did. I'm pretty sure they're these, and if you're looking for this sort of thing but don't want to spend tons of money, Style Spy highly recs.)

I wore this out to dinner with a friend the other night. We were originally supposed to be hitting my favorite French place, but Jim was visiting from up north where it snows and they think Taco Bell is Mexican food and he had a tooth for mole, so we went & got the best to be had in Austin. So I didn't get to order my vin blanc en français, but I still worked my outfit. Whaddya think? Could I pass at Café Flore?

Perhaps it's silly. I dunno. But if I can't be there (and I just can't right now), it makes me feel a teeny bit better if I feel like I at least look like I'm there.

And by the way -- if you're my French fairy godmother and you're reading this, get a move on, ma petite chou. Redhead's not getting any plus jeune!

Photos:,, Style Spy

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Anonymous said...

OH dear , it takes a certain something . Said in English for those who are not french. But it requires the very thing you are doing too much of ,a carefree feel. NO not I just threw on this old thing , that would be english. but a mix of "I just do not care" with "Mon dieu I saved a year for these boots so I will wear them every day" sort of thing. "Never let them see you trying" should be on a handbook ,as every french girl knows it by the time she is 12. Living in a french city I see it daily so not fair of me is it. katie

Stephanie said...

Hey that's my dream too! I like the outfit and especially the shoes, they are dreamy.

Susan B said...

Those shoes are fabulous. How clever of you to try the men's jeans! I think the ensemble with the cardigan gets closer to what you're aiming for. Lord knows I keep trying for that Parisienne look and it ain't easy!

dana said...

ok, I am so over those gross gigantic bags. The ones that scream I spent $600 and my shoulder is killing me. Personally, I'm all about fabric and vinyl. There. I said it. you can haul me off to prison now. I don't care.
Have I mentioned how truly awesome your haircut is?

Glove Slap said...

THAT IS THE BEST IDEA FOR A MOVIE!!!! I generally despise "chick flicks" but I would run right out to see that. I am dead serious, you must write the screenplay.

Also, as a person who is often told she looks French (?) (I live in NYC) and who is often stopped and asked for directions when I visit France, I want to tell you you look totes French to me, in the picture. And I don't think the sweater was taking it too far; violet goes great with your coloring so why wear grey. I would only say maybe the shoes are a bit much. And thanks for the men's jeans tip!

Anonymous said...

I've certainly bought and enjoyed men's jeans. But it seems like there is often a bit of extra "room" around the zipper, if you know what I mean. When I sit down it makes me look like I perhaps have some extra equipment.

This was never a problem when I was a teen (eons ago) when all jeans came stiff and awful and you had to shrink them etc. . .there was no extra space anywhere. But lately, this problem has made me abandon my men's jeans addiction

Mindy said...

I don't know how to say this in a more mature, articulate way; your blog is so yummy.

StyleSpy said...

Madame -- Someday, we will wake up French...

Deja -- there's something about the long cardi, isn't there...?

Dana -- it's okay if you're not a bag person, I'm not much of one either. Thanks about the haircut. It's grow in some & I'm liking it a lot more now.

Glove Slap -- I'm so in love with purple these days. I don't know where it's been all my lie.

Melissa -- HAH! Well, now you know where to stash your cell phone...

Mindy -- I'll take yummy over articulate any day. Merci beaucoup!

kim@parisianparty said...

After having lived in Paris for nearly 8 years, I finally realized that it's not nessesarily just the clothes, it's the attitude. Parisian women do have an amazing sense of style, but then they pair it with an aloof sort of "what, this ole thing?" -meets-"whatchoolookinat" attitude that many American women (myself included) find hard to duplicate.

Anonymous said...

God, that pink jacket in the first picture...Delicious. And I would totally go see your movie, but only if your character were played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Karen G.

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

So true. It just goes to show that a fitted jacket, skinny pants, and high heels ALWAYS work.

Thanks for the NM offer! So sweet of you. Do they have any YSL?! :P

littlemissme said...

Oh, I adore those shoes. Your taste is very different from mine but I love damn near everything you wear.