Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Parisian Style: Fashion Imitating Architecture

One thing I realized as my husband and I were planning our recent trip to Paris is that a lot of people have been to “the city of lights.” I assume, therefore, that a lot of Flattering50 readers have been there, too. For that reason, I would love to share a little theory I formulated about French style while I was on vacation. I'd like to know if readers who’ve been to Paris think it makes any sense. Maybe my theory is ridiculous, maybe it’s too obvious, maybe it’s unoriginal—I really don’t know. My theory is this: Parisian fashion imitates Parisian architecture. Click ‘read on,’ if you’d like to see a few examples of this.

In my last post, Style over 50: Dress Like a Parisian, I suggested that French style is all about simple sophistication—well-made dresses and separates in neutral-colored solids, like cream, olive, golden brown, white and black. Take, for instance, the Frenchwoman in the photo above. As I strolled the Paris streets, I couldn't help but notice that the same was true for the city's architecture. By and large, the former palaces and mansions, now municipal buildings and museums, the churches and apartment buildings all have creamy stone facades.

Below is  a Frenchwoman dressed in cream from shoulder to ankle.

The buildings often have decorative accents in neutral colors, like the grey and white tile floor above. Frenchwomen will layer their white or cream separates with a different neutral color, like the grey cotton lace vest below.

Here's a wonderful awning with putty-colored metal work in the front of another creamy facade.

If a Frenchwoman adds a little color to her neutral-colored outfit, it’s often the same colors—muted blues, greens, and rose, for instance—used to paint window shutters and sashes on the old buildings.

This next Frenchwoman is wearing a grey top with a white sweater and pants. Her pale pink handbag matches the pink paint of the building above.

Sometimes, doors are painted a bolder color. Scarves, handbag and shoes are often brighter, too.

To keep an outfit from looking too sedate, Frenchwomen will often add a simple piece of gold jewelry, like the medallion on the woman below.

I saw a lot of metal work on French architecture as well.