Holiday Wear (part deux)

On holiday, as I have mentioned before, one makes comparisons. And now I put to you this comparison to consider.
French vs American Style
As an American who has lived overseas now for over 10 years, I feel I can make an objective assessment on this issue. Further, I felt it would be a lively discussion as I can see the merits and potential shortcomings in both camps. To begin, I am a HUGE admirer of French fashion, not just the fashion houses, but the way the average women put it all together and the attitude they use to carry it off. I am always impressed when I’m in France and walking amongst these amazing women and seeing first hand how uniquely clever they are at putting things together, they are emotionally adept in their approach to fashion. The day-to-day women are practical yet achingly stylish in their daily wardrobe. I can’t say this enough – it always inspires me. Most French women have this rock-chick quasi-minimalist vibe to their ensemble that looks so relaxed and chic at the same time. French women look very natural, they aren’t overly made up save for some red lips here and there and hair that is loose and sexy. If their hair is tied up its not overly done. Yes, there are soe older women who put their hair up in chignons and the like but it still seems very relaxed in some way. By far, the older portion of the population of French women are indeed stylish in their wardrobes and presentation I have seen anywhere bar none. It sounds as though I’m on team-France but I have reservations as sometimes they look too dishevelled and unkempt to some’s liking. And for these same women their approach to style is an acquired taste.
By comparison, the Americans are a definitely a different kettle of fish. There is more order to their approach to dressing. There seems to be more rules. Their styles are more sleek, more mutated. There is more exactness and tailoring. And there is a lack of general edginess. Not that that’s a bad thing. Overall, I think America’s great contribution to fashion has been the advent of preppie-chic from designers like Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch. Think of the highly coveted (and soon to arrive in the UK) J Crew, it is preppie-chic to the highest of which I am a frequent buyer (thank you J Crew online). Even the vintage-boho look so often associated with the West Coast is still formulaic in its approach. Again, not a bad thing. But, even then its done with a bit of, dare I say it, reserve as well. All I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Everything is so perfectly put together that American fashion seems to have a sort of perfect symmetry to it. And, I succumb to that quite easily myself as I like everything just so from time to time – all hairs in place, make-up fresh and strong and so on. However, one can take it too far, be too prim. At which time, when I find myself this too neatly tied, I want to bend over and ruffle my hands through my hair to mess it up and undo myself a bit. And, I think that’s the point, taking a bit from each camp.
There are advantages to being a bit of both. Yes, its down to personal choice, how you do like to see yourself. Personally, how I think I look can dictate my mood and style and is quite important to me. So if I’m in the need to feel quite together, I lean towards preppie-chic. But, if I’m feeling the need to be aggressive and strong, French-rock-minimalism (is that even a phrase??) suits me. Wherever your tastes lie, be open to trying a different mode, as style can be evocative and a further expression of who you are or might become, wherever you hail from!

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