Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recessionista Part Deux

You know what I miss about the States?

Cheap stuff!

TJ Maxx, Target, Marshalls – oh, the thrill of getting more for less.

On the other hand, I’ve never been better-dressed than in Paris. Since even reasonably-priced stores like the Gap cost an arm and a leg over here, I splash out on just one or two items that makes me feel like a million bucks (make that euros, given the current exchange rate.)

Maman hammers it into French girls’ heads since birth:

Always buy quality.

Magazine articles tell women to buy a classic Chanel jacket and wear it for the rest of their lives. OK, I’m down with that – as soon as I find an extra 3000 euros in change behind the couch cushions.

Real-life chic Frenchwomen shop at upmarket stores like Gerard Darel and Comptoir des Cotonniers. (And make sure they’re on their mailing lists for private sale invitations.) Their designs have an interesting twist every season but are classic enough to last a few years. Tara Jarmon is a personal fave with their 60’s-inspired dresses and ultra-feminine suits. I’ve trotted out the same hot-pink satin Tara Jarmon cocktail dress for countless weddings and get compliments every time. Now that’s return on investment.

A faire: Always look at materials. Wool, cotton, and cashmere will probably stand the test of time – polyester, not so much.

A ne pas faire à tout prix: Wear something that doesn’t fit just because it’s trendy.

Here’s what you really need:

A fantastic spring and winter coat
A tailored leather jacket
A crisp white shirt with feminine details
Throw-on basics like washable cashmere T’s

Fantastic Frenchy Fashion:

Zadig & Voltaire
Gerard Darel
American Vintage (yep, it’s French)
Comptoir des Cotonniers
Tara Jarmon

What are your favorite French brands? registered & protected

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh, Paris!

The French are notorious navel-gazers. They love anything about how outsiders (i.e. anyone outside of France) sees them. Moi-moi-moi...they eat it up!

As a result, a lot of random stuff that goes under the radar in America gets picked up by the French media. Take this guy, for example. Dent May is from Oxford (Mississippi, not England) and rocks the ukulele. Now he's got a whole new Frog fan base thanks to a spot on Le Grand Journal on Canal Plus.

I admit that I've totally fallen for his nerdy cosmopolitan charm. As the French say, "Il a quelque chose."

Check out his video for "Oh, Paris!":

Look me up when your tour hits Paris, Dent -- the Kir Royale is on me!

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

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