Fashionless in the fashion capital

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's crunch time and with only two full days left before we start vacationing, I'm scrambling to tie up some loose ends, organize our apartment and get everything packed in time for our Wednesday flight. In the midst of all this sorting and packing, I'm noticing a trend with my packing rationale, and I'm starting to realize how segregated my wardrobe is. Living in two different yet equally dashing cities has caused a multiple-personality disorder in my closet. It's interesting to see how how many articles of clothing I have hanging or folded that have never seen the light of a Paris day. And, it's crystal clear to me that my fashion sense is split up into two very distinct wardrobes.

My Paris wardrobe is so much younger, edgier and totally trendy. Black flats, low-heeled boots, tapered-leg jeans, tunics, and layering sweaters in monochromatic tones. Practical streetwear for my city-girl lifestyle. And my rain boots and umbrella are always within arms' reach in the likely event that the rain clouds roll through after a perfectly sun-drenched morning. Ah, Paris.

Contrastingly, my non-Paris wardrobe (or I suppose my Austin wardrobe) consists of flip-flops, multicolored tank-tops, strappy stilettos, pumps and sandals, tube-tops and patterned dresses. Anything that I can get an even tan in while running around during the day or be comfortable walking in from the parking garage to happy hour in the evening. Rarely is there a need for sweaters or boots, umbrellas or coats, yet a week's worth of swimsuits are always on hand should a spontaneous trip to the pool or lake be required.

Sifting through my "take" and "don't take" piles, it's pretty clear to see the lines that divide my two-faced wardrobe - comfort and color. Paris is a walking city, and that's pretty evident by the amount of flats and low-heels that I'm planning to leave behind while I'm vacationing in Austin. I thought I'd wean myself back into wearing longer talons by sporting a pair while out on the town last night, and man did I remember quickly why heels and Paris just don't mix! It's just as well, though because I seem to fit in well enough with the flat-shoe-sportin' boho crowd that I frequently find myself surrounded by. And, as funky as I consider my Parisian-leaning wardrobe to be, I find it's far less colorful than its American counterpart. I don't know why exactly, but I've somehow managed to steer far away from the festive hues while running through the rues. I'd like to think that it's a side-effect of the less-than-festive attitude I've adopted since becoming a resident of the "least friendly European city," but I'm pretty sure it's simply a case of wanting to fit in. Bright colors can get big stares here and I'm of the kind that favor blending in more than sticking out, so I tend to keep it neutral.

I'm excited about stepping back into my heels without the added worry of how far the walk will be to the metro, and I'm looking forward to going strapless once again without the added self-consciousness that comes from gawking, sleeve-wearing pedestrians. Paris may be the best-dressed city in Europe, but although I'd like to think that I contributed to that title, I'm pretty sure I stayed at home when they took that survey. So, I'm enthusiastically leaving comfy and drab behind for these next few weeks to remind myself what it feels like to be part of a fashionable world without paying mind to the typical concerns of a foot-traveler. Which, coincidentally, gives me another excuse to do some shoe-shopping.


Eileen said...

Hey, I'm a new reader of your blog but I wanted to poke my head in and say that I think it is so true that fashion in Austin and fashion in Paris are really different. It's been tricky living in Austin when I know I'm moving back to France in the fall, especially with all of these beautiful strapless dresses that no Frenchwoman would ever wear.

Candy said...

love this post!! sounds like a show idea for style network!! I prefer the latter wardrobe, myself though! :)

megan said...

Lucky for me, my Austin and Aix en Provence wardrobes are just about the same. At least in the summertime!
Hope you have a great trip back!

Tony said...

This comment has nothing to do on your comment pages :-) But I didn't know how I could send you a mail via your blog. Delete it once you'll have read it. You can reply me by at


// sorry if my english isn't very good, I'm french....


I'm contacting you because I've discover your blog on whith who I'm already in partnership.

I've been working for 10 years in a company that create websites for hotels in Paris. During this years, we've seen that most of the times, hotels put lower rates on their own sites than on other major hotels reservation system (such as Expedia for example). This is due to the fact that hotels do not pay any commitions when a booking is made on their own site (on the major hotels reservation system, the commissions get sometime get up to 30%). So they can offer a better prices to their customers.

Based on this, we've created a directory of hotels in Paris that link to all our hotels sites, so net surfers won't have to loose their times searching for each one of our hotels site. It is called and you can discover it's paris page here :

My site is offering a new way to search hotels in Paris, with most of the time a better rates, so it can be very intersting for your net surfers.
And as I you're blog is concerning Paris and I'm sure you have foreigner visiting it, I was wondering how could we also become partners ?

What would you want in exchange to write an article on my site or putting a visible link on your blog ?

Best regards

Zhu said...

Same here... I dress very differently in France.

I used to wear makeup every single day - I rarely do in Canada. In Canada, I think "practical" and "warm" in winter. In France, I never ever watched the weather channel to prepare my clothes for the next day! :D

sarah said...

I just found your blog, but as someone who is from Texas and was recently in Paris it is amazing to see the difference. I tended to dress much different in Paris than I do in Houston. Weird.

Deidre said...

I'm an American living in Australia - and the fashion is so different in Melbourne than where I grew up in New Hampshire. I wear tons of skirts and dresses here whereas at home (well, I still wear a lot of skirts and dresses) but mostly its clothes I could get dirty while out in the farm. Carharts were a must!

Sapphire said...

i always thought paris girls love their stilettos, even though it sucks to walk on the cobble stone streets

Eileen said...

that was so freaky, to see the first comment from Eileen. I'm Eileen!

Anyway, Santiago (my adopted city) is drab in dress as well, and impossible to walk in heels in (cobblestones anyone?), but I just have one wardrobe. If I ever live in a larger place and have enough room, maybe I'll consider expanding to a second one!

Fun blog. I'll be back!

TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.