Last week, I almost moved to Paris, France. My husband is finishing his doctorate degree and currently searching for postdoctoral work, which led him to an interview for a position at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History).
Knowing these positions are incredibly competitive, I tried not get too excited at the prospect of walking Parisian streets admiring detailed architecture, begging couture houses to take me on as an apprentice, and soaking in the inspiring, intangible “French woman” style. I made my best effort not to picture the sun breaking through grey skies in the late afternoon, when we’d sit out on our balcony sipping wine, breaking off pieces of baguette to go with a variety of hard and soft cheeses, smelling a fresh bouquet of spring flowers, and practicing our French with each other. I only briefly envisioned the evenings when I’d sew and he’d cook and we’d listen to old French music at a volume that filled the house. And just once did I picture the late dinners we’d have with friends out at dark restaurants, laughing endlessly and walking back through windy streets. Yes, perhaps I got a little carried away.
On Friday we got the news; we are not moving to Paris. He was not offered the position. With this information, the rational (defensive) part of my brain kicked it. It’s alright, we’ve got other exciting possibilities moving forward. Paris isn’t going anywhere. And yet, I’m just not ready to let go of these visions of cafe stops and boutique shops. And so, please indulge me as I take a moment to fixate on the ever elusive “French style” for a moment. I’ve pulled together a collection of some items that define French style to me. They’re solid, well-made pieces that flatter without trying (think menswear). They’re sexy without being overt (think perfectly fit tee). They’re comfortable, they’re confident (cue modern, stylish flats). They’re wardrobe staples worn a million different ways (fitted black cigarette pants, silk button up shirt).
You must start with black J.Crew Pixie pants. Every woman should own a pair. They are the best fitting leggings/pants you will ever own. Wear them now with boots and change to flats come spring. Throw on some heels and a blazer with a crisp, soft Helmut Lang white tee for an evening out. Sézane is one of my favorite French companies, and you’ll find yourself grabbing for this nude “jumper” year round. The San Francisco based clothing company Everlane may be far from France, but they’ve surely captured the je nais sais quoi of it all. Their gorgeous (and nicely priced) silk shirts, like this one, are instant classics for occasions of work and play. Of course, we can’t forget Mr. Louboutin. I’m in love with these shoes for spring. And at the end of the day, throw off all your clothes and traipse around your flat in nothing but your gorgeous L’Agent Provocatouer lingerie (works for Valentine’s Day too) and Chloe Sevigny designed sunglasses.
I may not be moving to Paris, but at least my wardrobe can look like it.