Interesting recent discovery: apparently, when the French say you look or dress really “American”, what they really mean is that you look vulgar. It’s the nicest thing they can say without saying, “Hey, you look vulgar.” Hello to the French way of being polite! Although, they could just leave the Americans out of it…
Twice, I’ve received this remark and both times I was wearing a dress/skirt that stopped 8cm above the knee with heels to match. Just as I would have back in Taipei, except ten times more conservative so as to try and fit in. Evidently, that didn’t work at all.
I know this is a controversial topic so correct me if I’m wrong but I have done some research and asked a few locals and well… I’m just trying to understand.
Personally, a large part of going out is dressing up. Pre-game for girls is getting ready and doing each other’s make-up with a bottle of wine (or whatever alcoholic concoction of your choice). The other part is going out to town and taking in all the colourful, sometimes outrageous outfits of fellow party-goers. Then the rest of the night can commence in a flurry of social activity and more alcohol (wink*).
Paris…is a different ballgame. If you think that la ville de la mode will provide interesting eye candy to feast on when it’s time to venture out into the night and mingle, then you’re WRONG. If you want to see ridiculous outfits strutting down the cobbled streets of Paris, just wait for Fashion Week.
However, if you’re just going out, be prepared to look your most casual in jeans, a top and a pair of nice boots. Basically, what we’re going for here is “I tried but I didn’t try”. A casual chic vibe and sex hair with minimal (I REPEAT: MINIMAL) makeup always does the trick. The most you should ever put on your face is red lipstick. Can’t look more Parisian than that!
To be frank, I’ve toned it down immensely since arriving in Paris as I had previously lived in France for my exchange year so was already familiar with certain customs but it gets boring and every single time I’ve even attempted to dress slightly outside the norms, I’ve been met with judgmental stares and pursed lips which only leaves me feeling deeply constricted in terms of fashion choices.
All jokes aside, locals pointed out that dressing conservatively is also mainly for safety concerns which I can understand. You meet all sorts of hooligans who whistle and cat-call at women on the streets, even men who follow you from the metro station right to your doorstep!
Alors! In conclusion, when in Rome (Paris), do as the Romans (Parisians) do! You might learn some new things and while Paris does not always permit change, Parisians definitely do dress well! The men can pull off trousers of any colour, the women always emanate a natural beauty and everyone is always very put together. What are your thoughts?