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April in Paris: Tory’s 10 Spring Fashion Essentials

HiP Paris fave and globe-trotter extraordinaire Tory Hoen is finally back in Paris. In the next few weeks she’ll be doing the rounds of Paris’ latest hotspots, but first she shares her top Paris spring fashion picks with us here… Enjoy! -Geneviève

Carin Olsson

When I decided to spend this April in Paris, my euphoria was tainted by just one gnawing concern—what am I going to wear? We all know the Parisian spring is knock-your-socks off beautiful, but it’s a tricky season, sartorially-speaking. It can be cool and rainy one minute, balmy the next. It can feel like full-on summer on one side of the street, and winter once you cross into the shade. I’m constantly shedding and donning layers, and my normal fear of color is supplanted by an impulse to integrate bolder hues.

Although my highly unhelpful inner voice said, “Just pack everything!,” I’ve managed to narrow things down. Below is a list of 10 spring essentials that I know will serve me well this season.

1. When boots start to feel too clunky but it’s not yet sandal season, I live in my Repettos. They come in a variety of fun colors, but you can wear the classic black with just about anything.

2. While I’m not always the savviest of shoppers, I regularly high-five myself for having bought this beige trench from Comptoir des Cotonniers. I wear it constantly—open, closed, buttoned, belted—and always feel put-together, even when I’m wearing nothing underneath. Just kidding.

3. I am generally an extremist when it comes to lip color: either very sheer gloss or devil-may-care matte red. But for spring, a more carefree coral (like Nars satin lipstick in Niagara) feels like the way to go.

4. Made in their atelier in the Marais, Monsieur’s delicate gold and silver rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings add a perfectly simple accent to springtime garb. (53 Rue Charlot, 3ème arrondissement).

5. While my winter handbag is generally overflowing with unnecessary bulk—old receipts, dozens of pens, a single glove, matchbooks pilfered from various restaurants—I like to lighten up for spring. A saddle bag in a bright color, like this one from A.P.C., fits the bill perfectly. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 14 Comments »

Parisian Fashion: French Women Remain Timeless, Chic and Elegant

Chic and Elegant Paris fashion – Paris in Pink

What is it about Parisian women that always leaves me staring as they ever so briskly pass by, thinking, how do they always manage to look so (for lack of a better word), chic? They appear to be dressed with a casual confidence, never looking out of place and drawing just enough attention. Each detail and accessory is carefully chosen, creating a color palette of distinctive greys, blacks and neutrals, with just a touch of color. Timeless. Elegant. And always classy. This ‘dress-code’ is most creatively displayed in the ‘bobo’ parts of Paris where ‘bourgeois’ meets ‘boheme’. The result is a never-ending fashion show on the streets of the Marais, Saint Germain, and often in between.

Longing for Paris summer fashion – Paris in Pink

What’s their secret? I have a few theories.

Timeless. Parisians are avid shoppers but not necessarily considered consumers. They choose quality over quantity and when the Soldes hit Paris, they spend the time necessary to find that one signature piece to add to their collection, which will naturally work with all the other pieces. Shopping becomes a curatorial experience. Thus, there is no end to the possibilities and no need to follow the latest trends. Rather than mimic a mannequin, a Parisian woman will simply use this model for inspiration. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 20 Comments »

The Ten Never-Ending Trends of Parisian Shoppers

Ballet flats (Paris in Pink)

Casual shoppers, beware. The French sales are just around the corner and many a French fashionista is getting ready to pounce on items she has secretly coveted all Fall. In all honesty, though, the soldes are often the one moment of fashion folly many Parisiennes allow themselves. For decades, one market has proven remarkably resistant to passing trends: Paris. Despite jumping at the occasional fad (the Balmain-inspired shoulder pad, the hardware-adorned gladiator sandal), Parisian shoppers — both young and old — follow certain cardinal rules in their shopping habits, year-in and year-out.

The key to this eternal French chic may lie in a natural sense of restraint and discernment. In considering her past wardrobe choices, a French woman is less inclined to wonder, “What was I thinking?” because (most likely) it’s what she’s still thinking: invest in high-quality staples and err on the side of understated elegance.

An Hermes scarf, guaranteed to never go out of style (Paris in Pink)

Here are the most time-tested items that can aid your journey towards impeccable Parisian dressing. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 22 Comments »

New York or Paris: Une Bonne Question

Amy Thomas, the sweets queen behind the God I Love Paris blog and one of our very favorite contributors, can’t seem to decide whether she prefers Paris or New York. Hard life? But really, we can’t blame her… because  we can’t choose either. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

New York or Paris? (Kat . . .)

Quick: do you prefer hopping in a taxi or on a Velib? Would you rather wear Manolos or Repettos? Oversized sunglasses, or an oversized scarf?

These are difficult questions. Ones that I’ve personally been trying to answer for a year and a half as I’ve also tried cracking the bigger dilemma: Which is the better city in which to live? I know, cue the teeny-tiny pity violins. Whenever I lament feeling torn between New York and Paris, I get the “poor you” rolling of the eyes. But truly, it’s not easy choosing between the two best cities in the world. Let’s see you do it.

Beauty or Energy?

Notre Dame in Paris or Snow in Manhattan? (Karigee)

Paris is dazzling. All you need to do is watch a Godard film or see a Doisneau poster to know that. But to actually walk the streets—with the Plane trees and cobblestones; the rose-tinted street lamps, green bookstalls and golden limestone facades—well, the French know a little something about seduction, don’t they.

But in New York, you’re swept away by everything and everyone around you: pedestrians, taxis, buses, street vendors, blinking neon signs, little dogs, big dogs, and, oh the freaks everywhere! To walk the streets of New York is to know what it means to feel alive. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 34 Comments »

A Day in the Life: Paris vs. New York

I’m recently back in New York from Paris and am suffering a particularly acute bout of withdrawal. I think part of the problem is that the structure of my days changes completely when I cross the ocean. On the European side, time expands and flows and I rarely even know (or care) what day it is. Here, on the rational side of the Atlantic, I’m over-scheduled from morning until night. It goes something like this.

Janelle Mentesana - Paris streetJanelle Mentesana

New York Day
• Wake up when my alarm goes off (or when my upstairs neighbor’s alarm goes off—the perils of living in a poorly insulated industrial loft).
• Go running, as need to expend all energy for the day before settling into a chair for the next ten hours.
• Eat cereal. Healthy, practical cereal.
• If have time, stop for an espresso at Euro-favorite Cafe Gitane. Pretend to be Parisian. It’s not the same.
• Brave the Canal Street crush, which involves dodging aggressive pashmina vendors and dozens of dawdling tourists.
• During overcrowded subway ride, contemplate moving back to Paris for the thousandth time. Listen to Serge Gainsbourg to twist the knife in my heart even more.
• Get to work. In essence, I like my job, but I have such restlessness and A.D.D. that it kills me to think I have to spend a day in a chair, when I could otherwise be spending it roaming quiet Parisian streets.
• Post-work, sprint to event / drinks / dinner. Inevitably show up late. Friends annoyed, because they won’t give you a table in New York until all party members arrive. Friends even more annoyed when I accidentally double air kiss them.
• Then stay out too late.
• Then go to bed, way too late.

Dave Bloom New YorkDave Bloom

Paris Day

• Go wandering. On my last trip, I loved heading south from Belleville, crossing the Canal St. Martin, and conveniently finding myself at Du Pain et Des Idées, one of Paris’ best rustic boulangeries.
• Decadent pain au chocolat in hand, I begin my loitering for the day by lounging on the edge of the canal.
• Get restless, so wander through the Marais, stopping at Cafeotheque for a café du jour, before strolling across the Pont Louis-Philippe to the Ile St. Louis, where I install myself at the western tip of the island and gaze off into space for a while.
• When restless again, meander to the Left Bank, stopping to take in the Institut du Monde Arabe, and then strolling over to my old neighborhood, where I stop in at the market at Place Monge and the traiteurs along rue Mouffetard. One shop owner still refers to me as “la plus belle” whenever I see him (I’m always up for some good French-style ego-stroking).
• Inevitably end up lounging by the Fontaine des Médicis, stopping in for macarons at Pierre Hermé, poking around Repetto, and making a pit-stop at Deyrolle (to fuel my inexplicable taxidermy obsession).
• Before you know it, it’s time for an apéro. Convene with friends at Le Baron Rouge for wine. Everyone will be late; no one will care.
Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 15 Comments »

Retail Therapy: Killing Time in Paris’ Hottest Shops

We know, we know… enough about the volcano already. But for those stranded in Paris, it’s still the issue of the moment. From my current position in New York, I refuse to pity you, and I’m secretly hoping that when I return to Paris in May, the tectonic plates will shift in a way that will force me to stay there forever. Fingers crossed!

But for now, why not kill a few hours by picking up some unique Parisian items while you still have the chance? We’ve written at length about particular shops and goods in Paris. Here are a few favorites that are well worth checking out while you wait for the ash to settle.

frannieinmerciMerci Store – Photo by Erica Berman

Merci. This spacious concept store has everything from home goods to vintage clothes and fresh flowers. You could literally spend a whole day inside, stopping for lunch at the restaurant in the basement or fueling up on coffee in the library’s cozy cafe. The best part? A large part of the proceeds are used to support a young women’s co-op in Madagascar. Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 1 Comment »

France’s Foot Fetish: The Cult of Repetto French Ballet Slippers

repetto-parisatelier.blogspot.comparisatelier.blogspot.com

When it comes to footwear, there is one word that sends fashionistas around the globe swooning: Repetto. The brand is a well-kept secret that Parisians have known about since the first pair was created in 1947, but (as usual) the rest of us are just catching on. Frankly, I’m not the type to squeal over a pair of shoes—or so I thought, until I had a Repetto-related epiphany that made me realize what all the fuss was about.

Repettorepetto.com

The brand’s cult status dates back to the 1950s, when Rosa Repetto created an iconic ballet flat for sultry French actress Brigitte Bardot. In the 1970s, Serge Gainsbourg got on board, and the rest was history. Though the company still creates actual dance shoes, many of their styles have been co-opted by those who simply want to prance around the streets in them (myself included). Today, most self-respecting Parisiennes have at least one pair in their closets. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 8 Comments »