Paris Fashion Week – Jag
The air in Paris is getting cooler and the metro a little busier with Parisians restored from summer vacation, which signifies la rentrée is in full steam. September marks the unofficial start of a new year where to-do lists are acknowledged again and event calendars fill up. And if you are in a major city, September also marks Fashion Week.
Ah, Fashion Week, the time of year when walking through certain neighborhoods surrounding the “tents” makes you feel a little out-of-touch, as if you accidentally walked onto the set of a music video of some band you’ve never heard of. Having experience working Fashion Weeks in LA, New York and Paris, I look back on those days with a hint of nostalgia. Not so much for the long days, unflattering work clothes and hysterical bosses, but rather, nostalgia for the stamina I used to have. Armed with a sense of humor, I used to bluster through the self-importance and sample garments with patience and endurance sustained from my love for the work, but these days I just don’t think I have it in me and wonder if I would even want to.
Over the many years I worked in fashion, female coworkers and bosses would come and go, their exit from the industry usually marked by giving birth. Their departure was not to stay home with the baby but to pursue a career they would tell me they found more fulfilling. As a single 24-year-old I, of course, didn’t get it. How could you give up all of this? I would think, completely disoriented from what I was hearing. What could be more meaningful than this? Oh, mid-twenties-me, how annoying you were.
Paris Mom Fashion – Antoine K
Now I get it. My approach to fashion today —or rather lack thereof—would certainly not fly in a showroom or even the streets of Paris. While I was hardly on the forefront of cutting edge trends, I knew my enthusiasm had waned when my neighborhood’s chatty coiffeur volunteered how he really felt about my post-natal style. “I remember back when you were chic,” he said nodding his head in agreement with himself. “You know before the baby when you used to get dressed. You looked nice then. Qu’est qui s’est passé?”
What happened? I looked back at him with wide eyes. So much. So much has happened.
Sassy French hairstylists aside, there is this expectation, mostly fueled by gossip magazines, that women should “snap back” to their pre-baby size shortly after giving birth and for the everyday woman I ask, what for? We’re not rubber bands, we’re human beings!
Paris Mom Fashion – Arslan
Once I did get back to as close to my pre-baby size my hips would allow (a whole two years later, mind you) I was forced to have an honest conversation with my closet. Could what I wore in my 20s pass on my postpartum body? For instance, my collection of Marc by Marc Jacobs baby doll dresses; a mid-90s throwback or Betty Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Trying them on and stuffing my arm through the teeny-tiny cap sleeve, I got my answer: I was one smeared lipstick stain away from looking tragic. So, in the donate pile they went. Forgive me, Marc.
Today my fashion choices are dictated by material. Do the pants have a stretch in them so I can play a competitive game of hide-and-seek with my toddler? Is the fabric delicate like chiffon or silk? If so, don’t bother because kids have a way of hanging on you, which is guaranteed to destroy delicate fabric. If it’s a skirt, does it go past the knee? I ask because if I had to define motherhood in one word, I would say it’s “reaching.” You are always bending over and reaching for something, whether it is your child or something they dropped- making a short skirt impractical. This also goes with a neckline. Is it too low? I can’t count how many times my son has pulled down my shirt to reveal my nursing bra I really should stop wearing. And then there are the shoes. While this certainly does not apply to all moms, as I imagine there are moms effortlessly scooting after their little ones in Monolos and mini skirts but, not unlike a Yeti, these mythical moms will be folklore until I spot one. As for me, I’ve gone basic and bought a pair of —wait for it— knock-off crocs (not even real ones!) I have been known to pair with socks.
Forget the latest cross-designer collaboration marked by an X and sipping wine at Fashion Week after parties and vive the mornings I remember to brush my teeth and wash the acne spot medication off my face before dropping my son off at la crèche. While I am experimenting with pants that actually button and dresses that zip, I don’t think I can ever detox from stretch pants because I simply refuse to. In the meantime I’ll just make sure to get to my son to school looking as pulled together as possible in spandex because, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, leggings are the new wine.
Written by Lisa Czarina Michaud for HiP Paris. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, Tuscany, Umbria or Liguria? Check out Haven In.