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French Chic: Decoding the Secrets of Paris Fashion

French Chic, fervent-adepte-de-la-mode, Flickr 16

French chic.

Those two simple words have taken on such mythical proportions that they’re practically their own literary genre. Take a stroll through any big bookshop and you’ll inevitably come across a how-to section devoted entirely to helping us hopelessly style-challenged North Americans attain the elusive je ne sais quoi that our sisters across the pond seem to possess by birthright.

French Chic, fervent-adepte-de-la-mode, Flickr 12

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Posted in Fashion, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Women In Food & Wine: Ladies Of the Paris Dining Scene, Part I

Ladies in Food, Holybelly, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Holybelly, Kim Laidlaw 2

Lise Kvan and Sarah Mouchot at Holybelly (Holybelly & Kim Laidlaw)

As we know well, the promise of gastronomic delights is enough to inspire travelers to explore the world, seeking out hard-fought reservations and off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the name of really good food.

Ladies in Food, Yamtcha, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau

Adeline Grattard of Yam’tcha (Didier Gauducheau)

It’s easy to forget that behind these curated culinary experiences there is a team of dedicated professionals committed to using their talents and passions to improve and diversify the general landscape of food and dining. Certain events, TV shows, publications, and guidebooks spotlight some of these talented and resolute food professionals.

Ladies in Food, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by La Buvette

La Buvette

While these “foodie guides” are becoming more and more ubiquitous, they are unfortunately not always comprehensive as they far too often exclude women from their lineup. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Parisian Beauty: Where To Find Iconic French Skincare Products Online

 Parisian Beauty, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Making Magique

Making Magique

It has long been a generally accepted fact that French women don’t get fat. It is now also increasingly accepted that they don’t succumb to spots and wrinkles either.

Parisian Beauty, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Matt Trostl

Matt Trostl

A glance at the beauty pages of my favourite glossy magazines reveals a veritable fascination with the rules of French skincare. The consensus on what those rules are however is far from clear. There is the minimalist, soap-and-water camp embodied by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who swears by Embryolisse, a simple, French pharmacy classic.

Parisian Beauty, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Oh My Cream

Juliette Lévy (The founder of Oh My Cream !)

That icon of Parisian chic, Ines de la Fressange, espouses an even more minimalistic approach: to eradicate wrinkles, a smile will suffice! On the other side of the fence, we have the French facialist camp. They book their appointments with Parisian skincare gurus months in advance and apply complex sounding creams with scientific precision. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 2 Comments »

Paris Summer Fashion: Keeping Cool, Comfortable and Chic In the City Heat

HiP Paris Blog, Aisling Greally, Keeping Cool in the Summer

Keeping cool, comfortable and chic during the Summer in Paris, can be quite the sartorial challenge. You feel like dressing for the beach but stepping out in a sarong and flip-flops in this city is not the way to go. When temperatures soar, I’m hit with the Parisian hot weather conundrum: what to wear in Paris when it sizzles?

HiP Paris Blog, Aisling Greally, Keeping Cool in the Summer

In search of some answers, I hit the streets to capture some looks and see how les Parisiennes are playing it. What follows are some suggestions and inspirations on the art of trying to keep cool and chic in Paris this summer.

HiP Paris Blog, Aisling Greally, Keeping Cool in the Summer

Right now, around town, the vibe is relaxed and the style is understated. Loose fitting clothes made with soft elegant fabrics, such as lightweight linens and silks, are a breeze to wear. Nothing is over done. Keep makeup minimal, plenty of SPF!  Don’t worry about hair as this is the time for your trusty friend to make an appearance… Continue Reading »

Posted in Fashion | 14 Comments »

Le Parfum: Decoding the Allure of French Scent

Blentley

I’ll never forget the first time I was “perfumed” in Paris. After spritzing and sniffing numerous scents at a parfumerie in the Marais, I settled on L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, a citrusy floral just right for warmer weather. The chic saleswoman held the tester aloft angled in my direction. “Je vous parfume, mademoiselle?” she asked, dousing me head to toe in a scented shower of Issey.

Snailsareslimy

Not since have I worn quite so much scent but will admit to feeling quite glam that afternoon as I trailed its sweet essence through the streets of Paris. It was an early lesson in the seductive power of fragrance.

That was more than ten years ago and I’ve tried many perfumes since. While I love the idea of a signature scent, I can’t seem to commit to just one. With so much wonderful choice and temptation, why settle? But whether true to one fragrance or scent schizophrenics like me, French women are united in a deep devotion to perfume.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

How To Be a Parisienne: 10 Golden Rules

DaveBloomGirlBridgeBigDave Bloom

I can already tell I’m going to get into trouble with this post, but I’ve never been afraid to ruffle a few feathers (especially of the French variety), so here goes. As a female ex-pat, living in Paris is no guarantee that you’ll automatically become a local. If you’re not a Parisienne and you want to be, these are the rules.*

1. Cultivate austere beauty. Today’s Parisienne has natural beauty down to an art: very little make-up and a fresh-faced complexion. Hair should be un-“done” (bonus points for bangs and / or a careless ballerina-inspired bun) and brown. With a few rare exceptions, blond hair is a red flag that screams foreign and/or fake. Beware! You want your look to seem unstudied—even though we know it’s not. For inspiration, look no further than Jane Birkin and Jane Birkin 2.0 (her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg).

2. Don’t smile much. You might be surprised to learn that smiles are, in fact, a limited resource in Paris. They’re not to be wasted on the undeserving, and they play no part in most daily interactions. When deployed, a well-timed smile is a Parisienne’s deadliest weapon, but your default expression should always be set somewhere between deadpan and “subtle scowl.”

3. Nail the “I don’t think so, but I guess if you do…” look. When someone says something you find wrong / distasteful, don’t openly object. Passive judgment is much more effective. Just raise your eyebrows, and look down / sideways to see if anyone else is noticing how absurd the statement was. Note: This is also a good way to establish solidarity with other true Parisiennes in the group, who will undoubtedly be giving the same look.

Lisa WeatherbeeLisa Weatherbee

4. Be thin. But not just thin, a particular kind of thin that I like to call “healthy frail.” Other than a few moments spent standing on a mysterious vibrating plate from time to time, Parisiennes don’t really exercise. As a result, they don’t really have muscles, so they’re diminutive but vibrant, waifish but not gaunt. Damn them. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 51 Comments »