{Street Spotted} Paris, where every week is Fashion Week

A photo essay on French style by Geri, who yearns to be French in her next life.

I think everyone in Paris is tres chic, from the bebes in their hand-knit sweaters…

to the octogenarian who tilts her beret just so.

The moment I stepped into Miller et Bertaux, on Rue Ferdinand Duval,  I knew I was going to buy something.  I am wearing my purchases, a featherweight raincoat in eggplant…

and a gorgeous silk dress and scarf—with an ever-so-slightly different pattern—that designer Francis Miller adjusts perfectly.

Francis’s friend Katherine stops by his shop to say hello, wearing a belted denim skirt with a short leather jacket, that’s definitely on trend.

Saleswomen Yvette does justice to her employer’s clothes.

…nor this one, which teams a leather shirt jacket with a short-sleeved open sweater. “This is a hot trend,” said FOF Frenchwoman Cecile, who I spotted checking into a flight to New York.

So, my views are clear, but what do you think of French style?

  • RarnChild

    That plaid dress is just plain UGLY! The only outfit I like even a little is the denim skirt one.

  • Sheila

    I live in a very rural area in upstate NY where there are more heifers than humans. Regrettably, precious little attention is paid to looking pulled together here – these women could be the locals!

  • Laurie

    Love it. It’s individual, eclectic and stylish.

  • Ann

    Yuck! Everything was shapeless….and I thought only Americans wore jeans on airplanes….

  • Fab55

    um…if it’s so cold that you need a sweatshirt and sweater, I would prefer boots on the femme fatale.

  • Geri

    Mamavalvetta03

    You and I are in the minority, but I still love it all.

    Geri

  • ctgal

    I’m with most of you! The baby is wonderful as is the octogenarian with that marvelous coat. But everyone else looks so sloppy and drab. I do like the leather jacket with the longer jeans skirt and cool short boots, but tuck in your nice white shirt a little better, and the hair?? and make-up? Nobody’s clothing seemed to fit. And I usually think that many women in Paris are so chic, or at least terribly clever in what they wear. But not here. Sorry.

  • Catherine Davis

    I’m not a bit impressed. They could be in Walmart and fit right in. I like being comfy but still, the clothese didn’t seem to fit right; to baggy,to sloppy, to “not my style”.

  • Mamavalveeta03

    Love it all–such chic insouciance!

  • bearbara

    Ick, the only thing I did like was the long black skirt with the red skinny belt, everything else looked very ill fitting, and not stylish in the slightest.
    And those spotted tights with the high heeled shoes that had the red accents??! Ack! Hideous.

    Paris is lovely but this is not the best side I have ever seen of it.

  • soap

    The look like they got dressed in the dark with their eyes closed. What a mish-mash of pieces that do not fit well together. Sloppy!!!!!!

  • Ruth

    The baby nailed it.

  • Marcia

    The baby’s sweater was lovely, the jeans skirt and leather jacket on Katherine was “normal”, and everything else would make Coco Chanel barf.

  • Laura Borud

    Love the octogenarians jacket!!

  • judy h.

    The outfits look ill-fitting, dumpy and sloppy!

  • Diane

    Dreadful – with the exception of the darling bebe and the jaunty beret.
    Apparently Paris would be a good place to open a mirror store.

  • vkuhl

    Everything here, except the baby, belongs on Glamour magazine’s “Don’t” list. A lot of these things look like they don’t fit properly and that saleslady’s shoes with that skirt…yikes!

  • Sherrie Mathieson

    What I like about French women is their lesser dependence on surgical enhancement and their look of “naturalness” paired with an attempt at style.
    Note–I say “attempt”.
    I find issue with each woman’s style depicted above–from “eccentricity” not done well, too much loose big clothing, to a certain “sloppiness”, to wearing sandals with a winter-y look.
    I always like to give credit when it’s due. Yes the French (and other Mediterranean cultures–especially the “upper crust” as in Italy and Spain– have generally better style but not each and every person necessarily.
    Best,
    Sherrie (www.sherriemathieson.com)

  • wendy in wyoming

    Sorry I think Catherine is the only one representing French Fashion worth looking at . The rest Frumpy ( not the baby… tres chic)

  • Andy

    I was in Paris for 4 nights last month and can tell you that some of the clothes are absolutely gorgeous! I even bought a coat which I just love! If you love the look anywhere, you can pull it off. It’s all up to the individual. Frankly, I can’t wait to go back and do more “damage” 🙂

  • Kathleen

    Oh, dear…I agree with most of the comments here. I was very startled to see these clothes on these poor women…Geri’s dress is a bit big but may look just fine in person and those boots really didn’t go with the look but that was probably all she had on at the time. The coat is a great color. Nevertheless, all of the other ladies look like average, ordinary women in America who just jumped out to buy some milk. Never in a hundred years would I try and emulate them.

    The baby is effortlessly chic, however…:)

  • Rose Shuman

    This is definitely a fashion faux pas. Nothing fits properly. Everything looks too big and overwhelming on this girl. I am of short stature and would never wear clothes this way. All of the pieces are nice – but she has not put them together too well.

  • Louise

    The Annie Hall look has returned. I loved it way back when and still love it. I read everyone’s comments with interest. What it comes down to is this: French women have taken to the American look. And they have stepped it up to a casual elegance, which they have always been able to do. These are attainable styles for the majority of us. Understated, well-made clothing screams louder than that $5000 Chanel suit.

  • jane

    Awful just awful. Based on these photos Pairs fashion is a myth.

  • bclaxton

    I’m agreeing with the others as well. The baby in it’s cute sweater is great but the rest look sloppy. The denim skit and boot outfit would be great if she tucked in her shirt and put a jacket the right size.

  • FiggyLeaf

    I agree with every comment here. None of these women look put together (by American standards at least). So maybe we Americans should be happy with our own style?? and quit looking to Paris as our measuring stick.

  • Soledad

    I must say I don’t like most of it. The raincoat is nice. The woman in the jean skirt would look better with a jacket that doesn’t hide her hands and fits closer to her body. Everythiing else looks like colored potato sacks.

  • Geri

    Hi FOFriends,

    I love that you’re all commenting, even if you hate my new dress. 🙂

    oxo Geri

  • Cynthia

    I have to agree with the general opinion. This is not chic. Making an ugly dress out of silk is still ugly. The shop woman’s skirt needs to be longer or shorter – the wicked-witch-of-the-west shoes could stand to be covered by a longer skirt.
    I like Katherine’s outfit, but the shirt is sloppy and half-tucked. Jacket is too big. Cecile’s jacket is too small.
    The outfits would look better if they were sized properly and didn’t bunch in unattractive ways.

  • styleosophy

    Geri, but that dress looks like a tablecloth on you. It’s wearing you, you aren’t wearing it! Such a large print should have more structure. And adding the scarf just added more tablecloth.

    Katherine could have benefited from a coat that gave her outfit more shape. A tuck of the shirt would have evened out the droopy, slouchy “I just got through chasing someone on a motorcycle” look. She is effortlessly gorgeous but does not look pulled together.

    Yvette’s outfit did not do her employer’s justice. She looks average, and there is nothing except her glasses and scarf that I would consider purchasing from her employer. I enjoyed the pop of color.

    Although I Cecile says the leather jacket/sweater look is all the rage, I wondered, “where. In what city is this look popular”? I understand a vest, quite possibly some type of fur, over the leather jacket, but you must have some balance. A leather motorcycle jacket, or a hip-length leather jacket with a vest of of similar heft balances. Cecile could also benefit from better fitting jeans (camel toes are never in fashion), and a shoe or boot that does not subtract from her outfit. Shoes are and accessory that can make or break an outfit and thought should be given to them also when getting dressed.

  • Constance

    I feel like the majority of the ladies here. A little more tailored and form fitting look is my appeal. The only maybe on these shots is Yvette. The rest are a little less to be desired although the look with the jeans is ok. But the vest is seriously oversized.

  • thereislightonthehorizon

    It’s been years since I’ve been back to Paris but I am a little shocked at these choices for fashion. Each of these looks are either drab, voluminous or just hanging on some dejected shoulders. It’s hard to see the fashionable instead of just do-able. All of these pics will do for errands, taking the grand kids to the bus or to be a shop woman (Yvette is the only one with fashion sense by softening the boxy look of her jacket with the soft folds of her scarf).

    Geri, where are you planning to wear this gown? Did you fall in love with the “feel” of the fabric or the compliments of the designer? It is very difficult to see the “style” of the dress because of the busy-ness of the pattern. There seem to be gathers reminiscent of Greek mythology yet it doesn’t drape the body to complement it. I DO love the plum raincoat it is a great color for your complexion and a nice switch from camel colored. JMO..*sorry- faux pas.

  • Marie Miller

    The older woman with the beret and the buy are the only two who look good, the rest really miss the mark! Not attractive: not appealing in style, color or fit. Sorry, not impressed at all!

  • Monika

    The babys sweater is great. Looks soft and warm in a perfect blue. The other things look very unflattering on the women. I was very surprised!!

  • Nannaof2

    I am disappointed. I have never been to Paris but it is at the top of my “bucket list.” When I think of Paris, I think of all that is beautiful. I think of petit croissants, cafe, beautiful fashion, and slender women behind dark sunglasses slinking around in muted tones of silk and cashmere. This is such a let down. Is this really representative of Paris? Looks more like your average frumpy American. “Just sayin . . .” as they would say in America.

  • Sandy Kay

    I hate the plaid dress; it makes the blogger look dumpy. I’m also not a fan of the dark top the saleswoman Yvette is wearing, especially not with that skirt. It seems too long for the flowy skirt and it’s boringly drab in color. The scarf she’s wearing is lovely.

  • Jo Ann

    I like the look of the style but wish that they would pull it off with a little more polish. The denim skirt/white blouse/ leather jacket is wonderful but her hair and make up are awful!

    The eggplant rain coat is gorgeous, the dress under it not so much. It makes the wearer look like (as my mother would say) “a sack of potatoes”. Not at all complimentary look.

    The saleslady looks very polished and pulled together and sensible with her comfortable shoes.

    I see so many people in high heels all the time and I don’t know how you do it when traveling. Walking long distances on slick, hard airport floors does not lend itself to high heels in my book. I would either slip and fall, miss my plane or have feet screaming in pain. I try to find other attractive but more practical alternatives. (I never wear tennis/running shoes except to work out so that is not an alternative for me.)

  • Rockyred

    ‘I just rolled out of bed, I’m late and this is all I could find to throw on’. Except the baby, the baby is adorable. With all that said, I don’t always look like I just stepped out of Vogue either….and dressing for comfort is the name of the game. But if this is what I’m supposed to aspire to look like, I’ll keep my ‘LL Bean/Ralph Lauren style. It suits me much better. Viva la France!

  • mxkh

    I DO like the casual and sophisticated flair with which the French assemble their clothes. I would love to know how Yvette (with the grey jacket) has formed that silk wave of a scarf. So effortless. So beautiful. In general the clothes seem skim over the body. I did think the author’s plaid(?) dress was too light in color for the size of her body. What if the ground color was a dark grey?I Would it still look as voluminous? I do think that by angling the crossing fabric it does cut the body visually.

  • JAN

    O-O-LA-LA….UGH!!!
    I TOO FAVOR “MORE TAILORED FASHION…NOT THE SLOPPY, MISMATCH LOOK.

  • merrittinmartinez

    Sorry, Geri, you missed the mark on this one. A scarf around the neck doesn’t improve too-large clothing nor does adding disparate layers make an outfit if the jeans don’t fit. For your outfit, if everything is voluminous then nothing is defined therefore there is no focal point. You might as well wear a Bhurka or a caftan.

  • Judy

    Not terribly impressed.

  • Teri

    They all look like bag ladies. The only thing I buy that comes from France is my perfume and Boursin cheese. Slouchy, baggy and ill-fitting clothes are not stylish. Every “outfit” screams “I don’t care what I look like because I’m old and no one notices me anyway, so why try?”
    If that’s French fashion, I’ll keep my pencil dresses, tailored suits, silk blouses, Italian leather pumps and co-ordinating Dooney bag for the timeless elegance. I wouldn’t wear any of those “French style” outfits for anything but cleaning out the garage.

  • SharShar65

    Sloppy in my estimation. There’s such a thing as too laid back in your dress.

  • Loesje Shema

    The outfits do not look flattering; they look like mismatched stuff in the wrong size.

  • Roxyd

    Hmmm…. It looks like comfy/slouchy may be back. I think all the outfits look a little too comfy except the lady with the denim skirt and jacket… but even her jacket looks too big which makes her look sloppy. I guess I preferred a little more tailored “fashion”. I was recently in Spain with my daughter and we have vowed to go back and do some serious shopping there! You should check it out. Ladies of all ages know how to rock the fashion on their bodies, no matter what shape or size… and they certainly don’t look sloppy! Just my 2 cents, to each, her own, right?

  • The Most Selfish Woman in America

    I love shopping in Paris and feeling like a million bucks afterwards! And I love that shop being across from Cecile et Jeanne, one of my favorite artisan jewelry stores in Paris. Voila!
    Christia Sale
    Women’s Life-After-Divorce Expert