IMG_0783Before the weather changes too much, I want to share the street-style photos I’ve been collecting. Usually I am doing something else–I’m no Bill Cunningham, who spent hours at the corner of 57th and Fifth, snapping fashionable Manhattanites on their way to work and inventing street-style photography. So my hands are full, my phone in my bag, and I have to fish it out, open the camera (a feat in itself with bifocals) and try to catch up with my prey, often while pulling a shopping caddy and navigating market throngs.

This tumeric color is everywhere. It has more orange than mustard.

So it takes me a while to get a collection of photos. These have been collected since January, which accounts for the climatic range.

Her cape was a gorgeous blue and swung so elegantly when she walked. I liked that it had a hood.

What catches my eye are people with flair. Or personality. It’s a high bar here, because nearly everybody dresses up to go to the market or to go shopping in town. Carcassonne is far from France’s fashion epicenter, yet I appreciate that people make an effort. I’m not interested in fashionistas wearing the latest off the runway. Or young models or those who could be, who look good no matter what they put on. I like seeing real people with style.

Great haircuts everywhere. Styles that move–not perfect blowouts. I saw her again on Saturday–I recognized her bag first–and she had on a similar outfit, pants with a blazer, this time with leather patches on the elbows. 

My visiting cousin remarked on it–the contrast with farmers markets in a big U.S. city, where everybody looks like they just took a break from weeding the tomatoes to pop by the market and sell or buy some produce. It’s beyond casual to the borderline of grungy. My cousin was surprised to see a vegetable vendor here with perfectly manicured, painted nails.

Between downpours. Her raincoat was beautiful, with unusual gathers all over. Do you see how her gloves match her shopping trolley? And her scarf goes with the roses. She is carrying a slim cross-body bag. Also, note the people giving the “bise” in the background. And the guy with his beautiful straw basket. 

This lady seemed to part the crowds as she walked through the market. She had perfect posture and walked with purpose. I asked to take her photo and she agreed, saying that often happens. We chatted a while and she told me her age–78!!!!! I have seen her since at the market, recognizing her sans chapeau thanks to her shopping caddy. She is always striding like Shelley Hack in the Charlie perfume ads (speaking of which, OMG somebody has a blog just about that!). I was with a friend once when I saw her–too far to catch up. She had a great haircut (of course) and was wearing jeans with boots and a fur vest.  My friend sniffed and said something about another 40-something woman trying to look like she’s 30. I informed her that this woman was nearly double that age. That changed everything. Goals.IMG_1414I don’t know how old this lady is, but her hair also was impeccable. And despite walking with a cane, she had rod-ram-straight posture. Also, you can’t really see it, but she was wearing a cleverly tied scarf.

Note the couple on the left in the same photo, with matching sweaters. I should do a post on couples’ style. I very often see couples with coordinating outfits. Do they plan it, or does one see the other putting on, say, a mustard-colored sweater and then decide, hey, I’ll wear my mustard-colored jeans, to cite an example I spied on Saturday.

This is from a few months ago. I saw them again on Saturday and they were both in red, head to toe.

IMG_1415So much to note here. Cute straw bag. Both have sharp haircuts. Both wearing scarves–cotton for spring–and hers matches his shirt. She has on patterned tights. IMG_1011That leads me to another tangent: tights. Especially now that the weather is mild, but bare legs would be too much, colorful and/or patterned tights are everywhere.


Mustard tights, mustard sweater and a black-and-mustard scarf.
Not tights but leather (pleather?) leggings with lace cut-outs at the knees. And she had two different-colored socks.

Let’s go back to my favorite demographic: the older women who will not be invisible. Women get either ogled or ignored when they’re young, and then just ignored. I love seeing the ones who make staff spring to attention to serve them. It doesn’t depend on beauty or being tall or thin. It does seem to depend on walking into everyplace as if you owned it, like the woman below.IMG_1278This lady was so straight, considering she had a walker. She wore leather gloves, and when she sat down for a coffee on the terrace near me, I saw her perfectly manicured nails matched her hat. A friend of hers walked by and greeted her with the bise. Both wore dangling earrings.

This woman has my admiration for going to the market on a bike! While wearing a skirt! Note that in the photo on the right, her coat and bag match. And on the day on the right, it was raining. I want to get to know her.


Pop of color. 


Goth student? The skirt was very frilly. Not my thing, but she was clearly all-in. You go, girl!

Some colors are clearly trending. Red is big. Red with black. Red with gray. Red with red.

Her coat, which I suspect is from Spanish brand Desigual, very popular here, has red accents, and her skirt has a red and an orange stripe.
Red coat, red boots, red scarf, red bag. And, you can’t see it, but bold red lip.

Olive, sage, hedge green, whatever you want to call it, is big. I saw three women–and three men (not with the women)–in three days completely dressed in olive.

Olive shirt, jeans and jacket with mustard scarf, bag and shoes.

And camel is still going strong, a good color to bridge winter to spring to summer.IMG_1416Did any of these strike your fancy? Are you seeing similar trends?


32 thoughts on “Fashion Sightings in the South of France

  1. Great post! Like you, I admire the women who go market shopping with panache and style. Definitely not my case, as I often squeeze the Sunday market in just before or after a jog. I hate looking like an extra from a bad US sitcom in fashionable France but I hate taking the time to doll myself up even more. That lady in the raincoat could have been my late Belle-mère, who always managed to get every detail right (in a relaxed sort of way…). And I think I may have the answer to your couples question: my mother-in-law was in charge of costume and set decoration in their home and would lay out all of my father-in-law’s clothes each day. So while they didn’t coordinate as such, they always complemented each other perfectly because she was the mastermind!

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  2. I love your preference for “normal” people wearing interesting/stylish/fashionable (or unfashionable) clothing. The people who stand out here in the countryside do so, I find, generally not because of what they wear but in spite of what they wear. Black is still so prevalently worn around here and yet a sharp haircut and great carriage can overcome the most mundane black outfit.

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  3. Great photos! I admire the panache, and while none of these people look “overdone,” one appreciates the thought they obviously put into selecting their outfits. I’ve seen mustard accents in France for a few seasons now…it’s a favorite of mine for accessories and glad to see it’s still around.

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  4. Such a fun post! I love the diversity of what catches your eye. Isn’t it funny that some couples are happy to dress similarly — I have to admit that if we notice that we’ve accidentally skewed towards matching, one of us ends up changing. Even if it’s just that we’re both wearing something relatively neutral and classic, pea coats, for example, or even dark jeans and black sweaters.

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  5. I love seeing so many stylish and beautiful people with style. The leopard coat, the red scarf and the pop of the blue shoes, all wonderful accents that make a statement. I would much rather see a post of “regular” peoples’ style than another blog post of someone wearing the same thing everyone else is wearing. some days I think Gucci must have given belts to every influencer because everyone is wearing a belt with two intertwined G’s. And if I can rant a bit, I am tired of influencers that post “everyday outfits” that costs thousands of dollars a day. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and your village. Have a great day!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. What I admire about the people I posted (even the goth student and the lace peekaboo leggings) is that they have determined their individual style–they HAVE an individual style–and it’s about their aesthetic and not money or a brand.


  6. Oh, for a leopard-print shopping trolley, heaven! With roses on! Quel style.
    I, too, prefer photos like this than of outfits that, oh, anyone can have, as long as you can drop ten thousand or so on a coat. Love that red one with the matching short boots.
    As a foreigner traveling in France, I generally try to look reasonably put together, just because — and I see some useful clues in your pictures.

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  7. Great photos! It’s so nice to see people properly dressed – Sydney is casual to the point of slovenliness at times. Too many people with no sense of occasion! (Beyond wanting to show as much toned and hairless flesh as possible).

    Love that colourful and patterned tights are everywhere. The one thing I’m always on the lookout for when I travel in cool weather. Not enough choice in this neck of the woods.

    As to Couples Dressing, Mr P and I often burst into laughter when we see we’ve dressed to match! It happens often and it’s quite unconscious.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When we find that we are similarly dressed…easy as we both wear black a lot, I change my shoes and scarf. Sometimes I ask which shoes are you wearing, some are almost the same colour. I know that does sound bizzare. I don’t want to feel as if we are part of a bowling team. Now you how totally anal I am 😉
    Ali x

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    1. I wouldn’t give it much thought if you’re in all black. I think the couples dressed in the same palette is charming–after all, in theater, costumes are chosen in the same way, not to match but to be complementary. I have in fact seen couples, and entire families, dressed identically. On the one hand, whatever makes them happy. On the other hand, yes, bowling team.


  9. I love your ‘fashion’ posts. They always make me smile – in a good way! You have a great eye for spotting those details that make people stand out. It’s particularly encouraging to see photos of more mature women who are far from being invisible. They have such style and presence. I was having a coffee, in the market in Castelnaudary, on Monday and I did see a couple of women (and men) who definitely had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. However, by the time I had sorted my glasses and phone, they’d gone. #musttryharder!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The French, especially here, are quietly stylish. In bigger cities, eccentricity and designer labels on the young and the thin grab attention. But it doesn’t work for all of us. I like these people who have flair on an accessible level.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed this quite a lot – and I share your enthusiasm for older women who will not be invisible. Plus, I had a very pleasant flash tour down memory lane as I regarded the miniskirts and patterned stockings that I wore myself in my youth – they were such fun, even on cold days!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve had a purple leather handbag for years and now -at last- my white haired dog has a purple collar and lead. We think we are the cat’s pyjamas !

    Liked by 2 people

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