Thursday, July 02, 2009

GETTING DRESSED...



I've been thinking about how inspired I get by just looking at people in Paris. Not just young people; almost everyone really has it together. It came to me that in Paris 85% of people are interesting to look at,  they appreciate both style and craftsmanship. It makes for an inspiring whole if you're in a place where beauty is attended to and nurtured in everything. It's as if care has been taken to bring out the best of each individual and it's taken very seriously.

In London, this percentage is reversed, with a small core of people - in almost all cases young except for a few older eccentrics, who express themselves through how they look. So let's say there's a hardcore of about 5% who are really doing this and another 10% who are really just making an attempt to look nice. In general, in London it's perfectly acceptable to lurch around looking like a total pile of shite wearing holey cut off track pants with your flab hanging out and your gnarly yellow jagged toenails on display.

The irony isn't lost on me that I go to Paris, get all inspired and buy beautiful clothes (which in itself makes me happy) only to have absolutely no reason to wear them once I'm home. This week I've been trying to make more of an effort - it's so easy here to slip into slobdom because seriously, no one cares. And unfortunately when it comes to dressing up the contemporary English idea of what's attractive in a woman is Jordan, not Lou Doillon (above) anyway.

So at first I found this all rather depressing, as I gazed at my unworn lovelies from the Paris sales, unlikely to be appreciated by anyone but me, back in the country where to be interested in such things is considered silly and superficial. But then yesterday I got up and decided to go swimming so pulled on my swimming costume, gardening shorts, the day before's top and ancient fluoro pink havaina flip flops and set off for the pool. After my swim I thought it would probably be cleaner to shower at home so just rinsed off the chlorine a bit. Then I got a text from a friend about meeting in the park (it's really hot here). On the way I stopped off at a Waitrose in a fairly smart area and got some crayfish sandwiches and strawberries to have for lunch in the park. In addition to my slobby outfit I had crazy half dry, uncombed, still chlorinated hair. No one batted an eyelid. After a pleasant diversion in the park I went home, showered, put on a dress and heels and went out to a film screening where I felt totally overdressed.

But I suppose what I'm saying is that I couldn't have had the above day in Paris. I think they have it right though. Sure, there's a leeeetle bit of pressure, but not as much as in Italy where you get withering looks if you're not perfectly groomed to pop out to buy some bread. In London you have total freedom, it's true, and I know lots of people love that about London. But I think a little bit of pressure might not be a bad thing.

{photos: Lou Doillon by Mark Borthwick for Vanessa Bruno s/s 09}

6 comments:

Bombay Beauty said...

NYC is on the London equilibrium, for better or worse. Here you can go most places wearing almost anything. Then there's a few stylish people around...

If only we could have the best of both worlds... A bit of carefree insouciance in and near the home and then look nice when we head out...

But I do agree with you though, Paris is special and really forces me to be on my game...

BB

If Jane said...

oh.
sadly i do know what you mean.
here, either you are dressed like you are ready to go hiking at any moment or american apparel/urban outitters rule your wardrobe.
every once and a while, you encounter someone who has made an effort or has true style, and they essentially make your day...

with that said....wear the lovely that you bought...and just be lovely everyday...

Sneaky Magpie said...

I think London has got it just right. I like the fact that people are laid back, it makes them more spontaneous and the streets look more interesting. However I love looking at women in Paris, it's very refreshing seeing all the classy outfits . On the other hand there are places like Amsterdam where the laid back look goes to extreme, short denim jacket (I do realise these are back however the Dutch never stopped wearing them and are back in fashion by accident), white linen trousers and Palladium trainers.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Enjoying sandwiches in the park with swimming-pool hair and a friend makes looking soignee later even more satisfying .Sounds like the perfect day .

erica said...

for me, i don't really care what people want to wear, as long as it fits well. i've seen so many outfits ruined by a roomy shoulder or sloppy waist.

it really annoys me to see people in ill-fitting jeans and an oversized tee. and those families that wear matching tees on vacation?? does that happen anywhere besides america? i like casual clothing, but we've taken the idea and run it into the ground. ugh.

Iheartfashion said...

Completely agree. It's easy to slip into slobdom when no one else is making an effort. A little pressure is useful.