Privilege Blog

Shopping And Style-Spotting On the Rive Droite. Including What To Wear When You Wash Your Car.

It appears, after all, that chic in Paris isn’t all that different from chic in New York City. If my limited-data observations are correct, globalization is upon us. The fashionable crews of of Manhattan have their Parisienne doppelgangers. Or the other way around.

Dishevelment rules the hipster crowd, which I experienced, granted, only in the Marais, but still. Girls wear mini-skirts with volume, or tunics and leggings. Color. Stripes in unexpected places. The mariniere makes a statement, with puffed sleeves for that required hipster touch of irony. In the non-artsy crowd, young, beautiful, and tall women wear black and shiny everything, with white for accent. Impeccable shoes, either fiercely high-heeled or completely flat. Dignified well-to-do middle-aged women are well-turned out, curated even, with the hair, jewelry, and jacket just so. No more, no less, than needed. Dignified. That part the French do better than we Americans.

If you go to Paris soon, I can only say, wear what you would wear in a large, coastal, American city. Either black and white, or a tone-on-tone color range that suits you perfectly. If you accent, accent across the color wheel. Burnt orange against your aubergine. Bring cash. And the first day you arrive, buy yourself the 2-3 accessories that call out your name. For localization, as we call it in the software industry. That will suffice for even the most fit-in-with-the-natives amongst us.

For example, the one day we actually shopped on this recent trip, (as opposed to wandering the streets thinking, “My god, it’s Paris. It’s actually Paris again,” or laughing hysterically about the kinds of moments long friendships create) I wore 7 For All Mankind “Ginger” jeans, the pale blue patterned NaraCamicie shirt, black quilted Manolo ballet flats, and a black trench. Diamond studs. After about an hour and a half I was suddenly possessed by the desire to wear a bracelet like this.

Why, I cannot tell you. I never wear accessories beyond the required shoes and bag. Some signal from the passing crowd told me to up my fripperies. But I couldn’t have heard the call from here, on my sofa in Northern California. Hence my recommendation to bring cash and buy locally. Which wouldn’t be a hardship, now would it?

My friend and I began our day of shopping on Rue St. Honore. This woman was washing her car. I always dress in purple boucle to wash my car. You?

As Tish has told us, everyone is wearing Repetto ballet flats. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. Here’s what the Repetto store looks like. Why purple is making a repeat appearance below I cannot tell you. I believe we should call it plum and pronounce a trend.

And, from Repetto’s website, the objets de desir themselves.

I liked the turquoise two-tone quite a lot.

But abstained. Paris requires no purchases to enjoy. The day was beautiful, sun shining and window after window sparkling. Gaudy looks dignified, in enough light.

We walked quite happily, past the Place Vendome, the Opera, and some boulevards, until finally we committed the Great Faux Pas. The big false step. Tish warned me. I knew. And still, like those movies where undersea monsters nab unsuspecting scientists, we fell into the Galeries Lafayette.

I planned to show my friend the ceiling, above, and exit right away. We found ourselves, huddled in a corner hours later, sweating and trying on trench coats. Luckily some vestige of sense remained. A benefit of middle age. “I’m ready to go.” “Yes, let’s get out of here. Now.” We skedaddled as fast as we could. Stopped by Moda de Andrea, as per Tish’s recommendation, to look at what was discounted. Lovely stuff, nothing for us. That was it for shopping. Time to eat.

If a day passes when your only challenge is how to get out of a cavernous and maze-like department store with faculties intact, that’s a lot of luck and a lot to be thankful for. If all you lack is a bow-tied pearl bracelet, hallelujah. If the sun shines, even better. Merci beaucoup aux esprits de Paris. And to everyone else for forgiving me my fading French.

Me. Except Repetto shoes from here and the bracelet from here.

32 Responses

  1. Oh, this day sounds incredibly wonderful! Love the bracelet. And the flats. My daughter would be in heaven.
    Sage advice for traveling. I will remember.

  2. Gorgeous! I would have to indulge in that bracelet. Alas, I will never look that chic washing my car. ;)

  3. I don't wear jewelry beyond my wedding ring, but the shoes? OH. THE SHOES.

    Have I mentioned my love of shoes?

    As for washing the car? That's what men are for. I can tell you what to wear while you're bringing them a beer…

  4. I am obsessed with Repettos. I had one pair that I wore into the ground and I haven't gotten a replacement. It makes me sad every day. What fun pictures!

  5. hi lpc,

    what a wonderful recount of your day. i love the car washing get-up. only in paris!


    ps ~ and loved that bracelet

  6. Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Paris, I am beyond envious, haven't been to Paris in decades! :)
    Lovely the car-washing outfit (only in France, they must roll out of bed like that!)
    That bracelet is just beautiful!!

  7. Great shopping report. I would love some of those repetto ballet flats…like a pair in every color.

  8. Thank you for covering your shopping tour in a fun way! The bracelet is just enough pop to your outfit. Did you buy anything else? I know, that this was not a shopping trip, but it would need extreme discipline ( at least for me ) not to buy anything.

  9. Sounds like a day for the memory book…paris shopping with a friend and all the delights to behold. Sounds like a fabulous day.

    Purple boucle to wash the car? I wonder what she might wear if she were to garden?

  10. Love the flats and love the bracelet. Really love it! Another friend also blogged about purple/plum/aubergine… must be the color of the day!

  11. Maureen – Is your daughter perchance a fashionista?

    JMW – Alas the bracelet was in my mind and I could not find one.

    Jan – I think the Repetto shoes are actually something you might do. Nor I am surprised that you know what men are for:).

    Ms. Mindless – replacement time.. thanks.

    janet – thank you!

  12. Ash's mum – Thank you:)

    Lily – I know, I think those were her pyjamas…

    Patsy – Wait, don't you make bracelets like that? Let me go look. If the answer is yes I will post a link.

    Belle – They are out there. I think LA would love them, no?

    Metta – You are more than welcome. I only made one purchase – not even clothing. I will show you all soon.

  13. Oh, how I wish that picture of all those Repettos was the inside of my closet.
    Great tip. Go with great basics and add local touches. Brilliant!

  14. EntertainingMom – Aubergine…..

    Patsy – perfect – would you do a tied bracelet ever?

    WendyB – Thank you! From the queen of stylish…

    La Belette – Thank you. I'm still thinking about the turquoise ones.

    Town and Country – Thank you. You are very welcome.

  15. Oh what a wonderful post – I was going to say I devoured it with greed but no, actually I savoured it slowly like a delectable Parisienne pastry and I may go back again to enjoy some more – re-reading it a second or third time today. Thank you so much for transporting us to Paris with you.

  16. we will not even get into what I wear to wash cars, but it's a hit with all of the dudes in the "'hood"

    the bracelets are darling btw. hope the jetlag is working its way out of your system. I remember coming back from Spain one time to discover that Mary Poppins was played on NBC on Tuesday AMs at like 3….



  17. And big plus, those Repettos would hardly take up any room in the carry-on coming home, right?
    being able to enjoy looking without buying (not that it happens terriblly often) always makes me feel good — affirms at least that moment's recognition that my life is good, that I want what I have and it is sufficient, even as I enjoy the aesthetic pleasures of licking those windows!

  18. How odd was that?? As I was reading your blog, your comment on my hats post popped up in my email.

    Off to google Repetto's at Saks….

  19. The woman in purple looks Fab. I have found a WASP par excellence for you. Our former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. He has the best voice. You'd really like him. Photo of my blog x

  20. I love your blog and your writing.
    I've perused through the best of priviledge and i couldn't stop, but i had to go.
    so nice to have discovered you for myself.
    now following. feel free to pay us a visit.

  21. What a delightful day ranging through Paris! Your advice is good, neutrals. Shoes in new condition.

    GL is scary though, if you have to deal with the lines in their detaxe dept.

  22. What a divine day, and your description of it is delicious. The Repettos are always so wonderful and the picture of them all lined up is bliss in a photo!

    But it is the purple coat that made. the. morning. perfect. Thank you.

    Bigs smiles,

  23. Popping over on a very long overdue catch-up. If only I looked that divine washing my car. It sounds like you had a stunning day. I just love Paris this time of year, everything is bright, fresh and alive with the delights of spring. I will dearly miss it when we leave Europe.

  24. Patsy – perfect – would you do a tied bracelet ever?

    I do for retail! Alas, it's not on the website yet, due to my reeeeeaaaallllly steep website learning curve.

  25. Semi – It was my pleasure!

    Queen Bee – I am recovered, although imagining you washing your car is making me laugh really hard.

    Mater – I didn't know the French called it licking windows until really recently.

    Loretta – Synchronicity:).

    Faux Fuchsia – I am looking forward to your post on the High WASP equivalent, Station Owners in Australia. Perhaps we should host it here….

  26. Nyanzi – Thank you very much.

    Duchesse – Have added it into the post note above. Thanks.

    TPP – I can imagine an entire line in various pinks and greens.

    Housewife – Hello! I do hope your move is going well. I do not believe people in Arizona will be wearing purple boucle to wash their cars.

    Patsy – Good luck with that curve:).

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