Monday, February 16, 2009


It’s panic on the streets of Paris. Expats are getting sent home, layoffs left, right, and center – and somehow there’s still pressure to look like La Parisienne Parfaite!

La Mom has learned a thing or two from Frenchwomen over the years. Now is the perfect time to put their secrets to work for you.

Here are a few tricks for looking fab even when the economy is staler than a day-old baguette:


Frenchwomen have a knack for putting together supremely chic outfits from just a few basic pieces. There’s a practical reason for this – closets don’t exist in France. No kidding. If you’re really lucky or have megabucks, you might have a pseudo-closet called a “dressing”. Otherwise, it’s a plain old-fashioned wardrobe.

Here’s the chance to go through your stuff and ditch what you don’t wear. If it hasn’t touched your body in one year or more, trash it. Sell it on eBay, give it to your babysitter – but get rid of it.

A faire: Ditch anything you wore in college. Trust me, you don’t want to wear it again – especially not in Paris!

A ne pas faire à tout prix: Hang on to clothes you might wear “one day”.

Here’s what you really need:

5 pairs of kick-ass jeans or pants in dark blue, faded wash, white, black, corduroy, or velvet.

Be prepared to shell out for a great-looking, sexy cut, but it’s worth the investment. Darker washes can be teamed with a jacket and heels for the office and a fine-knit T-shirt on the weekends.

(Moms of young children are allowed to have a couple more pairs. Practically no one in Paris has a clothes dryer, so you don’t want to come up pantless when all of your Sevens are drying on the radiator and your toddler has just smeared Nutella on your last pair of clean jeans.)

More Recessionista tips to come this week… registered & protected


Under the Influence said...

I definitely need to clean out my closet. I have stuff in there I have seen or worn in years and it's shoved to the back!

Alix said...

Hi La Mom!
I'm a french woman living in the US and you're right we only have basic closet in France. When I first visited the apartment here, I fall in love with the walking closet...
I love your tips, so french!
A bientôt

Scandalous Housewife said...

Hi La Mom!
Just taking a break during what appears to be a southern Cal hurricane today. I wondered if during the "Recessionista", do some French women sell their beautiful handbags and shoes at designer re-sale shops? The Dallas shops are chock full of beautiful little babies...

Kasey said...

Guess I must be spoiled then>
Because I don't know what I would do without my dryer :)

Fiona said...

YIKES! I can't toss anything yet, I'm keeping all my sizes in case I actually ever lose the 5-10 pounds of winter warmth! ;)

Kelli said...

Love it! Thank you for encouraging women to clean out their closets! We really can do with so much less than we are used to and still look put-together. My wardrobe {closet} in Paris was miniscule yet I still had plenty of options for great outfits!

Mommy In Pink said...

loved the post!

however, i can't live without my dryer and walk in closet. i just can't part with my shoe collection...i just cant!

SuZ said...

Oh dear... I have stuff in my closet I haven't worn for two years. Maybe I should get my butt in gear and clean???

The Antiques Diva™ said...

Hi La Mom,

Great tips! And so true about what we really need being so little. What always amazes me about my best french friends is how they can wear the same outfit 4 days in a row and still look chic every day! I'm convinced that the typical French thin body adds to the elegance and that somehow my rounded curves will never look as elegant as they do!

I've just moved into an apartment in Berlin, and like France, Germany doesn't do closets. I've been lucky these last 9 years living in Europe and have always had ample storage... but no more! I'm joking that I'm going to bypass having a guest bedroom and convert that room into a WALK IN CLOSET! Our frequent guests might complain, but wouldn't it be lovely?

Toma, aka The Antiques Diva

DolceDreams said...

You crack me up! I love your humour...thank you for the needed smiles :).
You nail Paris so well!

Gigi said...

Great tips La Mom. I have been trying to have one of those carefully edited French closets. Now if I could only figure out how to make my Botox last a little longer! Any tips????

PunkyBean said...

OMG! Paris is JUST like NE Minneapolis (probably minus the Polish and the 2,000 bars.) We don't have closets or dryers! Actually, the closets are super tiny - you have to tilt your hangers to get them into the closet. People used to be smaller!

Le Nord'east Minneapolis anyone?

Beth said...

If you throw away college jeans you lose the perfect rebuttal. Case in point:

Annoying women in your building who knows everyone's business looks at you and demands: Are you pregnant? It seems you've gained weight...

You proudly deflect her obnoxious prying: These suckers got me through sophomore year. Can you believe they still fit?

Think it's OK to keep just one pair? :)

La Mom said...

Ooooh, Beth, you've got a good point there. Keep one pair of college jeans for emergencies!

La Mom

Paula Mathias Fryer said...

Love the tips. French women always look so put together. I'm going to Paris in April. Any suggestions for a family hotel where 4 people can stay comfortably? Thanks!


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