Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dressed for Success

I think everyone has that image of how Parisians dress -- always just so, heels and lipstick for ladies, crisply ironed shirts for men. And while there are plenty of folks who dress to the nines, come rain or shine, it's probably more accurate to say not that everyone's dressed up but that no one's ever dressed down. You just don't see people doing their errands in their gym clothes and come summer, you really don't see much of anyone in town (except the tourists) in shorts. Well, unless you're 22 and you like to wear really short shorts with tights underneath.

All this is a long way of saying, I've totally bought in. Yesterday, I spent most of the day at home, cooking and prepping for the belated Thanksgiving dinner we're having tonight with French friends. (And some of you will probably be relieved to know that there will not be any marshmallows on my sweet potatoes.) Midway through chopping, stirring, and washing dishes, I needed to go out to pick up a few last minute things. So what did I do? I changed out of my sweat pants and sneakers into cords and loafers, knotted a big scarf around my neck to hide my somewhat questionable top, brushed my hair and yes, even put on earrings. I'm hoping the florist and the vegetable guy appreciated the effort.

But you have to draw the line somewhere: I still don't change to take out the garbage, even daring to go down with my apron on and glasses perched on top of my head. But then, at least one gentlemen in my building thinks I'm my kids' nanny and if that means I don't have to reapply lipstick, so much the better.

7 comments:

Starman said...

What about all the men I've seen wearing their shirt outside their pants, even when wearing a jacket?

Anonymous said...

Ok Anne, I read your entry about dress (loved it) and walked into our living room where Gregg waved our local newspaper at me in disbelief. On the front page was a couple IN THEIR PAJAMAS exiting a Best But at 4 AM with their new flat screen TV. The man had a bathrobe on! Maureen

Anonymous said...

That would be Best Buy..

Sigrid said...

To be honest - in the beginning I put makeup on just to step out on the balcony. I've loosened up a bit in the meantime.

But I'm sure that now the people working en face are thinking that my husband can afford an every-day-cleaning lady ...

Michelle said...

I started doing that when I studied in Spain. Before I left I was all about the sweats, sneakers, etc. I think I've wore sneakers 3? times to the university since I've been home and rarely if ever do I go sans make up and nice clothes.

jonnifer said...

Your comment that people might not be dressed up, but are never dressed down, hits the nail on the head. I always have trouble conveying this in-between dressiness to visitors. "Yes, the restaurant is casual - but not that casual!"

Anonymous said...

Loved your blog. In my limited experience, you are so right about Parisiennes never dressing down. Fortunately I was warned before our first trip there: if you want to blend in and not look like a tourist, wear a nice trench coat, take scarves to dress up your outfits, and DO NOT wear athletic shoes. Worked so well that a young woman came up to me in the Gare St. Lazare and asked me in French for directions.
But may I also point out that it might not be an American thing not to "dress up" as much as a regional thing. Growing up in the South I learned you NEVER leave the house without makeup, fragrance and appropriate jewelry on, even if you're going to the gym (you can change there) or the hardware store. After 14 years away from New Orleans, I still can't go to SuperFresh (1/2 block from home) before I've "put on my face." After all, we have our public to think of... Just call me Scarlet.

Related Posts with Thumbnails