I ♥ PARIS – Les filles Parisienne
In her second letter from Paris, writer Kassy Hayden unpicks exactly what it is that gives French girls their ‘je ne sais quoi’ – or should that be ‘je sais quoi’?
I was warned when coming to Paris to watch out for the men. It was said that they would huddle together in packs like pigeons to coo over the ladies as they walked by. And, yes, this was no joke.
On arriving, I donned a light summer dress to take full advantage of the delicious warmth (a startling contrast to the sideways sleet I gladly left behind in Wellington the week before). But one quickly learns not to wear to short a skirt in this town, particularly when the summer breeze takes hold of it. My Marilyn Monroe moment was met with cheers, much to my embarrassment.
It doesn’t take much to feel like Miss Universe in this town. Be assured, however, this feeling wears off pretty quickly before being replaced with extreme irritation. You have to develop a steely glare to put the ‘mecs’ (guys) in their place.
One sees why the French filles (girls) dress as they do, in layer upon layer in neutral shades that show not a sausage of their svelte figures – a risible comparison to my brightly patterned dress, violet ankle socks and towering platforms.
The quintessential Parisienne girl is also most likely to be wearing flat shoes (usually ballet pumps), a trenchcoat (inevitably in beige), and a scarf coiled twice around the neck. The scarf, in fact, seems to be the surest sign that the girl is from Paris.
As for make-up – what makeup? If anything it’s just a smudge of kohl around the eyes, and the hair is simply washed and dumped. Altogether this look is simple, stylish and surprisingly boho.
I was expecting a lot more contrivance, but that seems more prevalent amongst the tourists desperate to keep up with the infamously stylish Parisians. Oh dear, do I count?
French girls also seem to share the most beautiful bone structure and lips that are poised for a kiss (and often they are). There is no shame in being locked in a deep embrace on the street or in the metro for all to enjoy. Yes, this is the city to fall in love.
Illustrations and title image crafted by Hanna Lee