Paris in the Spring

As a Midwestern girl at heart and in spirit, it hasn't always been easy for me here in Paris... across the pond in general. Just about everything is different – despite what many newcomers may think! I may, after the fact, write a reflection post about all of these lifestyles differences, if that would interest anyone (let me know in the comments below, if so!!). But for now, I'm going to talk about a weird observation about fashion in the spring in the so-called fashion capital of the world. 

Today marks the beginning of my final month abroad. I've been asked a million and one times how it feels to be leaving, and frankly, I'm getting sick of talking about it. I can't really describe how it feels, to be honest. It feels a bit like my life is ending but beginning again, all at the same time. So I will leave it there, else I'll get in a bad mood.

Today also marks the first day I've worn open-toed shoes since last summer. The past week or so the temperature has hovered around the high 50s-low 60s, and this week is supposed to be sunny and mid-high 70s! Can you believe it? With the record-breaking snowstorm back home you'd think I was on a different planet. It's nuts; the Luxembourg Gardens are lush and overflowing with tulips, the fountains are starting to run again, and the trees are bursting pink near Metro Saint-Paul, at least. It's surreal. But with that, thousands of tourists have flooded in, every building becomes unbearably hot and I'm sweating a whole bunch. And what's more, the Parisians are still wearing coats and scarves.

I wish I had an answer for this. But I don't. I've been wanting to wear these bright blue mules since March, when it hit about 55ºF, but I feel judged, considering I still saw Canada Goose jackets on at this same time. Whatever is a Minnesotan to do?

To compensate, I've been wearing light linen-type jackets as a ruse. I actually quite like the light layered look, you may have seen one in my recent Instagram of the dark blue Marni cocoon coat over a cream denim jacket – loved it. But today it is 72º, the most beautiful weather you've ever laid your eyes on, and I went to the laundromat in a skirt, t-shirt and the aforementioned bright blue mules from J.Crew. Everyone around me was wearing jackets with jeans and sneakers. Why?! Literally NUTS. Faut profiter du soleil! But I decided that I didn't care anymore, and that I would dress the way I want because Parisians are seriously confused. 

But as for a quick life update, I've been enjoying myself as of late. Unfortunately all of my friends have either been out of town or working themselves to death finishing papers, so I've had a lot of free time to do as I please. Sunday I went to three museums and brunched alone, where I met a group of older people who took me to coffee. Like the extraordinarily irresponsible student that I am, I've played hooky a few times in order to visit more museums and and try to get ahead on work as well (like yesterday and today... oops). But I've been busy cooking as well – making cookies or Roquefort Wine sauce for chicken & gnocchi etc. I've been feeling a bit inspired since watching Julie and Julia. And I suppose I will continue to operate this way, since I can, and I strongly believe that I should. 

Ya know, a funny thing is happening to me. I'm starting to feel like myself again, being pulled out of a little funk and away from drama. If only my mind had always been this clear. I wish everyone's minds were this clear. 

Talk to you soon,


Fashion Capitals (Paris, Milan)

My experience abroad has been great for many things. Yet coming to one of the Big Four fashion capitals for a year has left me a bit disillusioned on the path to personal sartorial enlightenment. For one, the lifestyle here is surprisingly less accommodating to all types of dress, so I have found that my style has become slightly more masculine. Secondly, since everything is so expensive it is difficult to feel as adventurous when buying. So I naturally will only purchase either a more "investment"-type piece or something neutral that I'm certain I will wear often. Thirdly, though many students who go to my university dress in suits...etc (the hardo, future politician-types), I still feel like I have to be casual, but then sometimes being casual feels out of place on the Parisian streets, where most of my time is spent (if I'm not napping, of course, which is what I've spent this day doing). 

So essentially there's a lot at play here. How do I reconcile all of these? I haven't yet figured that out. And in a diverse metropolitan city such as this, the melting pot of style has left me both overwhelmingly inspired but also pulled in many directions. Am I going to commit to being a tomboy? The classic French mom look? The eclectic Man Repeller look? 

And then I visited Milan. While I only had about 2 days here, I tried my best to do at least some shopping. I find it hard to actually comment on this when I haven't seen nearly enough, but I'm gonna try anyway.

Most of what I saw in Milan was a string of very common high end or high street stores. Nothing to hoot-and-holler about, that's for sure. But I did start visiting some of the off-the-beaten-path boutiques and was PLEASANTLY surprised. The smaller boutiques, while difficult to find, boast some incredibly beautiful and well-made pieces (Brera neighborhood, specifically). And as for vintage and outlets, well, they did not disappoint either. I went to some warehouse outlet for high end clothing, hidden in the fashion district, and it was basically a pot of gold. I think I almost fainted. Though difficult to sort through, I did find some incredible things that I would have sold my limbs for, but the only issue is that they were STILL far overpriced.

I began to wonder, what non-normal/non-high end brands exist here? And what exactly do these Italian women wear? Do they all own the same Gucci purses? Do they all wear the same Marni pants with the same Miu Miu top? And do they all wear the same Balenciaga heels? From the selection in the department store, I gathered that Italian women wear many colors... bright colors, and sometimes even sequins and feathers. Maybe. Which I love.

And I come back to Paris and reflect on these questions. I've decided, I think, that I don't need to fit into one box. Some days I channel Diane Keaton, others Ulyana Sergeenko.