Looking Good in Bad Weather

IMG_4694Good riddance, Gloria. Spain and southern France were pummeled earlier this week by Tempête Gloria, which flooded a bunch of places, including Carcassonne, where the Aude river ran into the streets despite having a large floodplain where vineyards, vegetable farms and parks are adapted for soaking up surplus water.

We didn’t get out much, because il tombait des cordes (literally, it was raining ropes–imagine rain falling so hard it seems like ropes–but more akin to raining cats and dogs). Now the sun is out again and it’s in the mid-50s F. As you can see from the photos, even bad weather here is pretty mild, except when we get three months of rain in two days, and even then it wasn’t cold.

I’m seeing lots of young women wearing black tights or semi-opaque nylons with white athletic shoes and skirts, like in the top photo. Sometimes the skirts are short, sometimes long like the one above. I don’t follow sneaker trends but hers seem unusually spiky. Also, the guy next to her has some very colorful Nikes.IMG_4575Winter white is another trend. The young woman’s white skirt, this woman’s white pants. Do you wear a sweater as a scarf? It gives her a nice color accent, and, hey, if it turns out to be colder than she thought she can put on the sweater for an extra layer. Practical!IMG_4771A white coat. Her boots were interesting but my toes hurt just looking at those heels. IMG_4213Another white coat, with white boots. And a scarf. Always a scarf. IMG_4577Even on men. Hanging insouciantly.IMG_4768You also can coordinate your white coat with your white dog. However big it looks, in reality it was bigger. HUGE.IMG_4364Red is even more popular as a coat color. Note that the top of her bag is red. This coat had a lovely swing to it as she walked, thanks to the pleats in the back.IMG_4254All-in for red.IMG_4255She looked so good–straight posture, good haircut, shiny shoes, cleverly tied scarf, that red coat. IMG_4256Also red accents, on the right, or all blue, on the left. The audacity of a red artificial flower in her hair–I love it. I want to sit and have coffee with her and hear all about her life, because I bet it’s interesting. Not easy to see, but she’s wearing a long red pencil skirt with flat red boots.IMG_4766A monochrome look also is popular. This woman paired gray glen plaid pants with gray high-tops and a gray coat.IMG_4776A different neutral–camel. Her bag was in the same Burberry-esque tartan as her scarf. For all I know, they’re both real Burberry; I didn’t ask to check the lablels. Boots and coat both camel. It all went with her hair, something I noticed with lots of women, especially redheads. French women pay attention to which colors work for them and they make the most of it.IMG_4777She was just one of the redheads I noticed wearing coppery colors. There were several others whose photos didn’t turn out. Once you notice one, you see so many! What impresses me is that this shade is hard to match, and it isn’t always on trend, so you can’t just walk into a store and expect to find what you want in that shade. They must collect and curate constantly, making sure what they choose will last several seasons.IMG_4695This is quite a different shade of red, and it matches her coat exactly. She gets points for confidence.IMG_4770Another example of flamboyance, with an oversize hat and a furry coat. You don’t wear that to blend in. She also looked like she would be interesting.

How do you cope with winter? Do you hunker down in black and wait for it to be over, or do you have a fantastic, fun coat that makes you happy every time you put it on? I’ll cop to being boring in black–black sweater dress with black leggings, black boots, black bag, and either a brown or dark gray coat, depending on the weather. I have fewer and fewer clothes as time goes on, and wearing forgettable clothes makes them seem less monotonous. Are you also a minimalist or, like some of the examples here, more flamboyant?

Last Fall Looks

IMG_3861Before everybody bundles up in winter gear, here are a few final fashionable moments from this fall.

The woman at the top has it all: Mustard. Orange. Leopard. Rolled cuffs. Great glasses. Great hair. You can’t really make it out, but her bag was orange with a narrow turquoise-green strap, picking up on the turquoise in her shirt. IMG_3859This one is the opposite: monochrome from head to toe. I cut off her also awesome hair (simple bob) but even her graying blonde color went with her clothes and looked good.IMG_3878More mustard. Two examples of what to wear for Saturday shopping. I like to think their choices reflect their personalities. I love the flowing duster but I’m not much of a flowing kind of person. Much more of a blazer type. How about you?IMG_3881Speaking of flowing, lots of long dresses worn with sneakers. Love it. IMG_3883Same day, not that long ago! It was warm! I love that she went for bold color. You can’t really tell but she had great posture and moved fast through the crowd.IMG_3894Another long dress, this one with impractical boots. The skirt was tiered and very big when the wind took it, but otherwise made of a material that hung straight down. Interesting.IMG_3899I love the straight business skirt worn with sneakers.IMG_3980This is a lousy photo but it was to show the little details: a canvas bag with a cool rope handle, the shirt cuffs folded over the sweater.

One thing I’m seeing in shop windows but not so much on the street are high-waisted pants, especially dressy wool pants. Shown with shirts or sweaters tucked in. I like it.

The fashion sightings are getting harder as we move into the rainy season. Folks are covered up and it’s hard to take pictures while holding an umbrella. Although I have to say that even if it’s raining, don’t forget your sunglasses. Sometimes you need them AND the umbrella at the same time. Crazy. When I lived in Brussels it was the opposite: even if the sun was out, it would be only momentary and you’d better have an umbrella ready.

Are you colorful or neutral? Bohemian or business?

French Summer Fashion Summary

IMG_3562Before the weather changes too much–and it’s very summery here today–here are the street style photos I’ve gathered over the past two months.

Some “trends” include white dresses, like the one above. Though a printed sheath dress like her friend’s, with flat sandals, is very popular as well. And note the two girls on the left with their short skirts, tucked-in tees and white tennis shoes–another look among the younger set.

IMG_3496
Flowing. Cotton tote bags are de rigueur, as much if not more than straw bags.
IMG_3004
With a print–floral or abstract (and more tote bages!).

Metallic accents are everywhere. In the top photo, the woman in white has metallic accents on her bag and sandals. The dress below has gold leaves all over it. I saw so many women in versions of this dress, some long, some very short, some, like this one, short in front and long in back. There was a woman at the market in a long, Greek goddess version of it, and she walked as regally as the dress deserved (and disappeared into the crowd before I got my phone out).

 

IMG_2846
Metallic sandals.

The woman was so crisp on a hot day. Slick chignon. somewhat structured straw bag, perfectly pressed dress and ramrod posture. She brings me to another trend: crisp and tailored.

IMG_1879
With two more trends: white pants and metallic shoes. And as soon as the temperatures drop below 85 F, bring out the scarf.
IMG_3425
Looking dressy in jeans. Great haircut.
IMG_1875
That jacket, with the collar popped! More great hair. And how about the snakeskin boots.
IMG_3543
Airy but structured. 
IMG_2986
Something you see often here: young men in starched shirts. This one is rocking the fanny pack as bandolier.
IMG_3058
Maybe crisp, for athleisure (black and white!), but what grabbed my eye was the way he is wearing his fanny pack as a neck bag. Daring.

While we’re on people doing their own thing, here are a few more. I admire their confidence.IMG_3239

IMG_3073
Sorry for the blur, but I was trying to catch up. Red gingham shirt and RED GINGHAM UMBRELLA!!! You go, guy!
IMG_2709
A vest/duster with Modigliani’s portrait of his lover, Jeanne Hébuterne. But it isn’t simply a print–it isn’t exactly the painting. I’m betting the wearer did a tribute. Unique. Too cool.
IMG_2998
Zebra with snakeskin. I love it. Also, that she wears driving gloves to steer her walker. It can’t be easy for her to walk, but here she is, navigating the market crowd, and with tons of class. Inspirational.

Color is another trend, especially red.IMG_3001

IMG_2992
I just can’t get on board with the visible bra. Her dress is so cute with that crisscross detail, and the peekaboo back is messed up by the bra closure.
IMG_3006
And metallic sandals!
IMG_3585
Bandana, pants, shoes in red, and cotton tote bag in a small red print that looks like a pale red from a distance. 

IMG_3005Which brings us to white pants. If the fabric is lightweight cotton or linen, they are worn loose.IMG_3582IMG_2987And if they’re denim they can be more form-fitting.IMG_3011While not a trend, per se, these women managed to look cool despite the heat. Loose dresses rule!IMG_2990IMG_3213Which looks appeal to you? Are you wearing similar styles?

IMG_3241
Gorgeous hair, striped shirt, but above all, that BIKE.

Fashionable French Men

IMG_1276French men seem as keen about fashion as French women are. Here’s a look at a few trends I spotted.

French men wear scarves. Granted, not so much in July and August, although I have seen some guys with crinkled cotton knotted loosely about their necks. In cooler seasons, the gigantic cashmere scarf wrapped multiple times is as common on men as it is on women.

IMG_1653
This guy looked like a million bucks, from his monochrome palette (and I didn’t get his perfectly shined brown shoes) to his close-cropped coiffure and beard, and the movie-star sunglasses. And of course, a scarf.
IMG_1495
Another neutral monochrome look, another scarf. Even his wicker basket goes with the color scheme. Getting groceries doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look good.

The biggest trend is with the pants. The young ones are going for a very lean silhouette with what’s called “carrot” pants that are a little big on top and that taper to a tight ankle. And then they either crop them or wear them rolled up. With white socks.

IMG_2868
This is a local celeb, one of the Frères Rayz, two brothers who are THE DJs, and I agree they are very talented. He was at the start of the Color Run. Notice his pants have a plaid pattern, almost like dress pants. But very different.

IMG_0984IMG_0770 2IMG_0983IMG_0835

IMG_0795
Even in the store windows.

IMG_0837IMG_1685Color is another trend. BRIGHT color. Be bold! Be not afraid to mix! Dare to match your shoes and pants!IMG_2739IMG_2529IMG_1526They manage to look good even while biking.IMG_2652IMG_2800A jacket even in hot weather. I thought this guy was so dignified, and his assistant was so attentive.IMG_2522Do you see the same trends where you are? What of these rolled-up carrot pants? And the wild colors?

South of France Street Style

IMG_2556What do French women wear when the weather turns warm? Long and flowing, short and sporty, or just trim and no-nonsense seem to be the major trends I spotted recently. And they aren’t afraid of color, even though black and white maintain a strong presence.

The dress on the right above was striking, even without the over-the-top coiffure and the dressed-to-be-noticed friend in white and yellow. There were lots of long skirts that caught the breeze.

IMG_2554
Simple black and white, with sneakers. On the move.
IMG_2589
This dress was enormous and blew way out dramatically at one point.
IMG_2587
A rare example of heels. Somber palette but then that red bag.
IMG_2586
Her skirt and shoes were the same metallic millennial pink. Check out the colorful bag.

Tops and pants (usually one or the other) also were billowy.

IMG_2606
Cool, collected and chic. I just realized that pleats also seem to be a thing.
IMG_2657
Bell sleeves and wide-legged pants.
IMG_2585
The two silhouettes: trim or flowing.
IMG_2583
The one on the left is similar to the look above, with a loose top over straight pants. The one on the right is a jumpsuit, another big trend.

Black and white are popular.

IMG_2582
Just a storelength apart, dressed almost the same. Must be a trend.
IMG_2566
Even the young ones: a black dress with sneakers; white jeans with a black top, and an all-black ensemble. And the one on the left is going for khaki shades with black.
IMG_2523
A sharp couple. Monochrome is simple to pull off.
IMG_2541
This isn’t black but blue, yet similar to the others, with a dark top over white pants/skirt. I love how her tote bag is similar to her pants’ print.

Sneakers reign, including with dresses. My aching feet celebrate this.IMG_2662

IMG_2660
With long dresses or short ones.
IMG_2614
Her bag was a little square straw basket. Too cute. She stuffed her jean jacket into it.
IMG_2608
Long and short again.

IMG_2592IMG_2575IMG_2600Lots of colors, especially red, yellow and mustard.

IMG_2610
Teens leaving school. They hone their taste young.
IMG_2578
Yellow pants, and, on the right, a yellow bag.
IMG_2568
Even her shoes were mustard.

IMG_2573

IMG_2619
Dressed to bike.

IMG_2557Florals seem to be popular, especially on pants (like the white and blue ones earlier).  Especially large prints on black.IMG_2579

IMG_2667
Interesting flounce at the bottom.
IMG_2601
As far as I know, she’s French but to me she doesn’t look like it–hair too unnaturally straight, dress too tight, heels too high.

The ones below have that je ne sais quoi easy chic I associate with French style. Absolutely nothing special, nothing to grab attention. Understated. But thought-out, neat, just so, without crossing the line into too much.IMG_2656

IMG_2659
Running errands? Shoes and pants in the same color. And always a scarf.

IMG_2661

IMG_2576
Posture.

Anything here that you would wear (or are)? Are you seeing the same trends? It fascinates me that despite global chains like H&M and Zara, everybody does style a little differently.

South of France Street Style

IMG_1540Before the weather changes too much–it was downright hot yesterday–and these photos make everybody uncomfortable, I needed to give a nod to the stylish people I’ve encountered.

IMG_1608
Aren’t they adorable? Skirts, sneakers, black motos. Even as kids, French women have class.

IMG_1610At least some of them. It isn’t easy to take photos! I always have other stuff in my hands and have to search for my phone (at least now I have a phone that takes photos. New for me. Such a convenience!). And my targets are on the move, sometimes very speedy. Plus there are lots of other people getting in the way. I tip my hat to those who manage to take good street style shots.

IMG_1826
Matching couples crack me up.

As you can see in the first photo, low boots, not too bulky, with cropped or cuffed pants are popular. I also have seen a number of young women with cropped pants that are more flowy, wearing high socks that match their shoes (for example, wide black pants with red socks and red shoes). Not a look I would adopt, but if you’re a daring type…

IMG_1830
Maroon pants, maroon shoes.
IMG_1829
Green pants, green shoes on a guy.

Similarly, I see lots of people–men and women–matching their pants and shoes. These are just the two shots I got, but I have seen more red pants/red shoes combos than I can count. Even mustard pants with mustard Pumas. IMG_1683 2Olive green is everywhere, as I noted previously. This lovely lady was entirely dressed in sage. I have seen so many others; one who impressed me wore olive from head to toe, and her olive boots had a metallic sheen. I’ve seen other monochrome outfits as well, such as a woman in a silvery gray, with silver boots. This has always been a chic choice when done in black, but it’s in other colors, too. A French style tip that anybody can pull off anywhere–dress completely in one color. Matchy-matchy is back.IMG_2085This lady was dressed to travel. I blurred her face. Note her simple-yet-a-statement necklace and pretty earrings. Her red jacket was fitted and matched her suitcase. The jewelry and jacket make her look dressy despite jeans and (red) ballerinas. And she had an excellent haircut. She had a little makeup on–neither “made up” nor bare-faced. Just soignée–well-maintained.IMG_1544I’m not artsy or bohemian enough for this look, but kudos to her for mixing a leopard coat with an Indian bag. And her boots have embroidery. I bet she is interesting.IMG_1733Sorry about the awful photo, but it’s to show pants I see all over: self-tie, rolled cuffs, high/natural waist. With or without the cargo pockets, but in light, silky fabrics, not the usual twill.IMG_1546With the weather changing, I’ll be hunting for summer looks, and I’m still gathering men’s pics. Anything here that you would wear? Do you see the same trends where you are?

IMG_1538
Carcassonne’s market…my style hunting ground, where locals dress to shop.

 

Fashion Sightings in the South of France

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.

IMG_1500
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.

IMG_0767
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.

IMG_1418
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.

IMG_0784
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.

IMG_0947
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.

 

IMG_1100
Mustard tights, mustard sweater and a black-and-mustard scarf.
IMG_1501
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.

 

IMG_1384
Pop of color. 

 

IMG_1116
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.

IMG_1413
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.
IMG_1392
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.

IMG_1425
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?

Flat Footed

img_0776How I love the fashion trend of flat shoes. And they are everywhere, on women of all ages. I started really paying attention, and I spotted some trends, at least among the fashionable women around here in the south of France.

img_0641
Seen in a waiting room…patent leather lace-ups with a studded detail around the sole. Worn with an ankle bracelet and leather (pleather?) pants. She was well over 65 and pulled it off with panache.

Lace-up oxfords are popular. My podiatrist told me that lace-up shoes are good because they hold your foot and adjust to the width, whereas slip-ons can slide around. (The fact that I had a podiatrist explains my enthusiasm for flat shoes, eh?) Don’t you love the ones in the top photo? Not loud but not quiet either. Interesting. The woman told me they were extremely comfortable and advised looking for the handstitching around the sole as a sign of quality.img_0793That said, simple low Chelsea boots were ubiquitous. Also, note the cuffs. Slim pants or jeans, either cropped or cuffed.

img_0643
Another waiting room shot, which doesn’t really capture how well-shined the boots were. I have to say the striped socks make me think of the Wicked Witch of the West, but I also like the fact that it’s a little rebellion mostly hidden.

Shoes should shine. No scuffs! When I lived in Africa, my students would shine their shoes daily; in fact they were always impeccable in their uniforms. People today are so sloppy. They have so much and take care of so little. I like how so many French iron their clothes and shine their shoes.img_0769Shiny shoes can mean patent leather. Not just for summer anymore. You can even wear them in the rain.

img_0796
Note the little buttons at the bottom of her pants. Typically French detail–something small and discreet but not completely plain. And yes, we have marble sidewalks. Carcassonne has class!

Otherwise, black shoes don’t have to be plain Janes. I loved the black-on-black paisley on these.

img_0785
Black-on-black with different textures, plus thick soles.

img_0777I spotted bows, especially at the back of the ankle, on several women. And lots of stud details.img_0786img_0789The athleisure look is everywhere, too. Plenty of women were wearing outright running shoes, but there were also lots of comfortable-but-not-great-for-sports Chuck Taylors and Stan Smiths. On the main pedestrian shopping street, a shoe store that used to sell dressy heels (escarpins) now is called La Toile (the Canvas–like canvas tennis shoes) and sells athleisure shoes for men and women. Not a heel in sight.

img_0775
Almost sporty, but not really. Bet they’re comfy.

Even the models in the windows of dress shops are sporting flats.img_0802img_0799There also were lots of flat-heeled high boots, but I didn’t get good shots. img_0787I think I saw two women in all in relatively high heels, similar to the ones above. Certainly no stilettos. And as for heels, make them count.img_0788All that said, not everybody here is making an effort to live up to the French stereotype of high fashion. It’s quite typical to spy retirees going out to the boulangerie for their daily baguette wearing plaid flannel bedroom slippers. And sometimes they wear them other places, too.img_0639Are heels finally dead? I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

Chic at the Market

rue-de-la-republique-2

Even though this blog is about the good life in France, and appreciating the Gallic taste in all things gastronomic and aesthetic, we usually avoid fashion. There are just so many great French fashion and street-style blogs: Garance Doré (even though she moved to NY; she remains steadfastly French), Inès de la Fressange,  French Essence and more.

in-white
The woman in white/khaki, left, was meeting the one in the white dress.

How fantastic is the woman above in the white dress? The skirt is lace. She’s wearing gold sneakers. And that mini straw bag! Her friend, left, also looks classy in a simple, crisp white shirt and khaki trousers. Note the sharp crease on the sleeve. People here iron.

rue-de-la-republique-1
Neutrals are winners in summer. I think both of these women look like a million bucks.

Or take the pair above. Clearly the one on the right fits the classic image of a chic French woman. I love that she’s wearing  flats. Her market basket is full. Fanciful feathers in her hat. Her tunic is a bit transparent, so she has on beige leggings. This was in summer, so it was quite warm, but she isn’t baring much. Her friend on the left isn’t as svelte (and this isn’t a perfect-body blog, so we don’t care!), but she has chosen a top that’s cool and flattering.

chic-at-the-market
Not everybody goes neutral. This woman mixed orange and apple green.

There’s plenty of material walking around here, though usually I fail to have my camera in my hand. There’s one woman who dresses like Geneviève de Fontenay, always in an impeccable suit, with a hat cocked at a jaunty angle.

Of course, we also see some don’ts. Even in France.

brit-at-bricomarche