Thursday, June 01, 2006

Observations on French Fashionistas

While I was in France I made several observations on the French women and how they do fashion and personal appearance. I don't want to make sweeping generalizations since I realize every woman is different, but here are some things I noticed:

Coif didn't seem to be quite the priority it is in the US. Even in Paris I saw few or no highlight jobs, and lots of natural browns, brunettes, and dark blondes. In addtion, the women don't wash their hair every day, and it shows. They often style it in braids or ponytails. Some of them wore scarves on their heads.

Skin care Conversely, skin care is a huge priority! My cousins and all their friends take immaculate care of their skin. They don't wear as much makeup as is common here, and their skin just glows. They are careful to wash and moisturize.

Staying Active The French lifestyle naturally incorporates far more walking. Since so many people take public transportation as a way of life, they are frequently required to walk several blocks to get to the metro and several blocks to get to their destination. For this and other reasons I observed NO overweight women in Paris and very few in Lille, the city I visited to see my cousins. In Paris especially, I'm sure this fact is partially influenced by thenumber of smokers. The whole idea that "Smoking Kills" doesn't seem to have caught on over there yet, but nicotine suppresses appetite.

Water Heard of the cliche French woman walking down the street with a baguette? Add a bottle of water to that picture and you'll just about be right. They seem to constantly be guzzling the rock juice, which plays no small role in their ability to keep their weight down and their skin fresh. Head to the water coolers, gals!

Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life) The French are serious about their food. They are even more serious about enjoying their food. Forget grabbing a quick bite in 30 minutes or less--it's considered rude for a waiter to be constantly bugging you the way they do in the States. Lunch often took us almost 2 hours, and dinner 3 hours. Always the exception are the crepe and sandwich stands, but who wants to eat on the run when you can enjoy yourself?

This principle is enforced in the home, too. There's no hurrying through the four or five-course meals. This is something I'm really trying to enforce in my own life now. Less rush means less overeating! Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that your stomach is full. If in doubt, eat less!

Color French women aren't afraid of lots of color. They wear black but rarely alone. They accessorize with scarves, hats, and shoes. They aren't as particular about matching as we are, either. They don't shy away from wearing black with brown, for example.