A shopping spree…

What are you thinking? Designer handbags, fabulous French fashion, perfume…

These suggestions couldn’t be further from reality!

a-shopping-spreeThese are the first purchases for the new home.

You may spot rubber gloves, toilet paper, kitchen towels, a toilet brush – to name but a few items – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not complaining, however. I’m delighted!

Is my obsession getting out of hand?

…..With stripes, that is?

One of my earliest posts was about: La Marinière; Breton or striped T shirts.

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/la-mariniere-breton-top-or-striped-t-shirt/

I’ve always been a fan of the striped top. When I used to teach French, some of my pupils thought that my love for a Breton top, indicated that I actually was French!!!

However, when trying to declutter my wardrobe, recently, I began to wonder if my love of stripes is getting out of hand.

These are just some of my striped tops and jumpers. Yes, there are more – in the wash and waiting to be ironed! I even have one that arrived in the post this week that I haven’t worn, yet..

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I am not a fashion blogger, as you may be able to tell from the quality of this photo!

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This isn’t my photo. It’s far too good! Perhaps I should have put my tops on hangers…

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This was my next effort. Artfully arranged in a pile!

In truth, only one of these tops is an authentic French top:

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Here is the label to prove it:

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Here’s another one of their tops being modelled by a French man, possibly?!

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Purely for your viewing pleasure!

Are you a fan of striped, Breton tops? I’d love to know….

 

Chez le coiffeur!

When the whole world appears to be going mad, it can be the simple things that bring pleasure – like going to the hairdressers.

Call me shallow but I do love the pampering and sheer indulgence of relaxing and having my hair done by someone else! In the village where I live, we are lucky enough to have a brilliant hairdressers run by an amazing, young, husband and wife couple.

My nineteen year old son also goes there, although obviously not with me! From massage chairs, to endless cups of coffee, to glossy magazines, not to mention brilliant hair cutting and styling, I always leave the salon feeling like a new woman!

So, I decided to get my hair washed (un shampoing!)  and blow dried (un brushing!) during my recent month long stay in France. I’m afraid I wasn’t brave enough to have my hair cut – apart from my fringe – which if you know me – is very daring indeed!

But which hairdresser to choose? For a small town, Castelnaudary is highly populated with hair salons. Luckily, my friendly local estate agent, whose hair always looks fantastic, was able to recommend her hairdresser. The salon was tiny with two members of staff; the owner and her apprentice. The owner did the wash and blow dry   and here’s the result:  image

French women don’t have Facelifts – Beauty Standards Around the World

Two things have inspired this post: a visit to the library and the French conversation class I attend.

I use our local library a lot. I live in a village and our library is not the biggest but I really like it! I was surprised when I walked in recently and this book was prominently on display!

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The title intrigued me … However, I can’t say the same for the content and I have failed to get to the finish, after dipping into one or two sections. I guess one reason is because I don’t really care whether French women get facelifts or not and, equally, I’m pretty convinced that some do anyway!

It seemed that some research might be a good idea and here’s what I found.

According to uk.businessinsider.comimage

this table shows the vainest countries in the world!

The book is written by Mireille Guiliano who also wrote ‘ French women don’t get fat’. I’m afraid I haven’t read this book either and based on the ‘facelift’ book, I don’t think I’m likely too in the future!

If people wish to have facelifts, I don’t have any objections but I know I wouldn’t be able to put myself under the knife for something that wasn’t a medical necessity. I’m equally frightened by the idea of Botox, so I’ll just have to age (dis)gracefully!!

Curiously, ‘Parlons de la beauté’ was the topic of our conversation class this week. We discussed the idea of universal beauty and cultural differences. Our teacher showed us a YouTube clip to stimulate discussion. I have to say that Marion is a fantastic teacher who always gets us talking! https://mdemontfort.com

Anyway, the clip we were shown is about ‘Beauty Standards Around The World’ & I found it compelling watching. There’s no voiceover so it’s easy to follow:

I guess some of you might have seen this before but I found this fascinating and a great topic for discussion in any language. What do you think? The featured woman is called Esther Honig.

Les femmes françaises – FRENCH STYLE

Parisian chicMy first visit to Paris, aged 16, influenced me in so many ways. I remember looking in the wardrobe of my exchange partner and being surprised by how few clothes there were inside. I think that, in general, French women do own fewer clothes but that the ones they do have are classic and classy! I agree with Frédéric (the founder of Talk in French https://www.talkinfrench.com/) when he says that it’s impossible to talk about French culture without discussing fashion.

I’ve always loved black clothes and I would say that most French women prefer neutral shades – black, grey, white, camel, khaki and navy blue. The image of a chic French woman suggests, to me, a crisp white shirt, a plain navy cashmere jumper, jeans or well-fitting trousers, a jacket and, of course, signature accessories– jewellery, scarves, shoes, bags and belts – including glasses and sunglasses. I love scarves https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/scarves-french-women-do-it-better-because-they-wear-scarves/ and silver bracelets!

There are countless magazine articles, blogs and books about French style. In fact, this post came about when I spotted, in a local shop, a book by French icon Ines de la Fressange called ‘Parisian Chic’.

On the other hand, you may prefer the way women dress elsewhere. I’d love to know what you think and also do you have a favourite accessory?

Scarves…..(French women do it better because they wear scarves!)

ScarvesI love scarves! Here is some of my collection. A hamper isn’t necessarily the best way to store scarves but it works for me. I’ve worn scarves as long as I can remember. I think this may be linked to my first visit to Paris, aged sixteen.

Having carried out a little research, I have found countless articles about French women and scarves. E.g. ‘How to Tie a Scarf Like a French Girl’ — Vogue.

Pinterest has a board entitled ‘French women do it better because they wear scarves’.

https://uk.pinterest.com/ericarsk8/french-women-do-it-better-because-they-wear-scarve/

If you follow the link you will find pictures and ideas on how to wear scarves, how to tie them, how to incorporate them into your wardrobe …

As for YouTube, I can’t believe how many clips there are demonstrating various ways to tie and wear a scarf. If you want to find out ‘25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!’ have a look here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LYAEz777AU

What is it about the French and accessories? They do have a certain something. A sense of style, a flair for fashion, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi…’ What do you think?

Do you love scarves? I’d like to know…

La marinière, Breton top or striped T shirt!

What is it about this style of top that is so appealing? And not just to me. As well as reading blogs relating to France, I also enjoy the occasional fashion blog. I can’t guess how many times striped tops are featured. Perhaps it is because they suit all ages, shapes and types of people. I think they represent an iconic staple of French chic, as personified by Coco Chanel. It was Coco Chanel who introduced the Breton stripe into female fashion.

The original Breton top was created as part of the uniform for the French navy. It was designed to have twenty one stripes, each one representing a victory for Napoleon. Over time, Breton shirts were worn by many well-known icons including Picasso, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. And many more besides.

Since I started buying my own clothes, I have always been in possession of at least one Breton or striped top, usually more than one! They are so versatile and can be worn with jeans for a casual look or ‘dressed up’ for a more professional look. They can be worn by men, women and children. They can be different shapes, different lengths and different colours. Here are three examples I currently have in my wardrobe.

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What about you? Are you a lover of the Breton or striped shirt?

Must dash off. I feel the need to do some internet shopping for another striped top…!