A few days ago, I got an e-mail from Joanna. Joanna is a New Yorker, has a super-rad blog and her last name is Goddard. A predestined name, I said as I read her letter. She wanted to add a French touch to her wardrobe.
Amused and well, okay… Flattered by her request, I proposed that we do it in Q&A format.
Except that the notion of French chicness isn’t rightfully mine. And making generalizations isn’t really my cup of tea. All my answers are therefore subjective enough to dissect Brigitte Bardot’s choucroute*, if she’d hear what I say.
That’s why I beg, command suggest you to put in your two cents’ worth in the comments section below. Even if you’re not French.
Come one, come all. Let’s do our part to perpetrate this myth about la femme française, which makes for a delightful undertaking when you’re so lucky to be born or become a woman, a woman and French at the same time.
Joanna : My New Year’s Resolution is to dress like a French woman. But I don’t know how!
Chère Joanna, your first question encompasses everything about French womanitude. I’ll stop you right this second and suggest we tackle this particular issue at the end of our dialogue.
Do French women wear lots of stripes? That’s how it is in the movies…
So listen, Joanna. I stand witness straight from my armoire, and since you don’t see me, I’ve got my hands on:
three short-sleeved striped shirts,
two long-sleeved striped shirts
two round-necked striped pullovers,
and one striped cardigan..
Non. Non, I don’t think we can conclude that the French woman (esp. someone named Garance Doré) wears one too many stripes. ;-)
Do French women wear lots of layers? They seem to…
I think the French woman does something what I refer to as “unconscious layering.” It’s an expression that I’ve just made up for the purpose of this interview because the French woman loves to use English phrases to sound cool.
So, the FW often pursues the art of unconscious layering. It comes from the very popular concept called ‘%$@&!-I-don’t-have-anything-to-wear-this-morning-i’ll-just-grab-whatever…’
Mais attention. When dressing up, she never forgets the sexy detail. Even if she’s a bit disorganized. So there goes the (too) short skirt, the tee that falls off a shoulder, etc…
All that along with the theory, phew-I-haven’t-got-much-time-to…
Do French women often have long hair? How does it have that perfect messiness?
I have long hair and so do most of my friends. Wow, look at that. Don’t you find the French woman very original?
Here in New York, people wear lots of patterns and prints. But it seems like French women wear lots of solid colors, is that true?
Yeah. That’s right. The French wear mostly black, but we’re known to mix it up a bit. Like for special occasions, we’ll even wear grey. Ha!
Are scarves huge in winter?
Yes, and sometimes we wear two of them. But then again, you’re talking to an accessories nutcase who has an entire shelf of scarves in all shapes, sizes and colors in her reserve closet.
In New York, everyone wears jeans. Do French women prefer other kind of pants, like black leggings perhaps, or skirts?
I believe the French woman also has a love affair with her jeans. Although we wear a lot of skirts and dresses too, whatever the season, n’est-ce pas?
No leggings for the French woman that I am.
What’s the deal with flats vs. heels?
Very personnal answer : HEELS !!! Come on !
Should I start smoking? :-)
Oui, toute de suite; You know the FF smokes yet always has perfect complexion; she eats whatever she wants yet keeps her slim figure. And she lies with no shame. Yep, that too.
Do you have any French fashion slang?
Hmmm… I’ll have to ask my beloved readers to answer for me. All the fashion slang that comes to mind right now lacks the necessary refinement… may be inappropriate. ;-)
What would a French woman NEVER wear? (Maybe big white sneakers?)
Big white sneakers.
How do you get that French je ne sais quoi?
The secret? The nonchalant air and the smoky eye, the perfect alternative to the cigarette.
To sum it up, here’s the answer to your first question.
The French woman is like Alain Delon**. The French woman doesn’t take any resolutions. The French woman is. The present is her sole religion. In fact, Joanna, the mystery behind the French woman is that she has confidence in herself, despite all the nonsense she says.
There’s the secret to her indestructible Frenchitude.
Euuuh. Voilà. Feel free to share your opinions, in French or English. I’m very curious to know what you think about this question. I’d love to know how you see yourselves, whether you’re a Frenchwoman here or elsewhere, if you’re a foreigner in Paris, if you’ve never set foot in France… If you’re a guy, I don’t know….
How do you see us?
* By choucroute, I mean BB’s chignon, the way she did that famous hairstyle in her heyday was like in the form of a cabbage—a little tousled, quite high and big.
** This famous French actor is known to talk about himself in the third person, i..e. Alain Delon does this, does that…
Translation : Magali Eva Suárez.