Some people are born with style. I am not one of those people. Sure, I
can buy it and sometimes, I can fake it but it’s not in my DNA. French
people, however? Oh, their DNA is saturated with style. Particularly
I noticed this last year when I went to Paris and it hit me like a
slap. The first time I ventured onto the street, I suddenly felt like
I’d stepped into a parallel universe. Planet Chic. The Land Tracksuit
Pants Forgot. It became immediately apparent that if I wanted to blend
in, I’d have to lift my game. Possibly with a cherry picker.
My idea of casual daytime attire is a lot like something a French
homeless person might wear. Actually, many of the homeless people I saw
were better dressed that me. Some even had laptops.
Of course, the first lady of French style and politics right now is Carla Sarkozy, formerly Carla Bruni*. She has the world buzzing about her supreme chic in a way no other world leader’s wife has managed since Jackie O.
And it’s not only because she used to be a supermodel and just had naked pictures of herself sold by auction house Christie’s. That’s just the icing. The cake is simply that she’s French. Well, she’s actually Italian but she’s lived in France since she was 6.
Sarkozy’s first wife was just as stylish. In fact I think you could pluck pretty much any French women out of a supermarket queue and she’d run fashionable rings around the most try-hard fashionista from any other country for that exact reason; French women never look like they’re trying. Me? I always look like I’m trying when I dress up, probably because I am. I’m forever aiming for “Effortless Cool” or “Nonchalant Chic” or even “Casual Eclectic”. But I never pull it off.
I think this is perhaps because I am innately lazy when it comes to clothes and now that I’m not working in an office along side Australia’s army of fashion elite every day, I’ve embraced my laziness. Temporarily free from the relentless scrutiny of my outfits by talented women who consider fashion an extreme sport, I’m letting it all hang out.
I’ve stopped buying fashion magazines and I’ve stopped obsessively trying to emulate whatever look is in this microsecond. The result? I have more money, more time and I’ve almost forgotten how to walk in high heels. I’ve also become one of those people who flip through a fashion magazine at the hairdresser, note that this season’s trends are “Military! Playsuits! Purple! Corsets! Tartan! Cowgirl” and exclaim out loud “Are you people on frigging crack?” Except I don’t say frigging.