Guest Post: Paris Changed Everything

You’re in for a real treat today. Longtime reader and spunky commenter, Elaine, is guest blogging today for Buckle Button Zip, about how one trip changed her whole perspective on fashion and style. Read on and give her a hearty welcome to the world of blogging (it’s her first-ever post!)


Charlene Wittstock at Monaco Masters (photo: Getty)

Last summer I made my first trip to Paris! Fashion magazines, films, books and now the internet have plenty to say about how French women look and dress, but what was I going to wear? I was concerned about my small travel wardrobe. The only advice I was given was to never wear “big American white shoes”. The French consider them funny-looking and have a good laugh at the wearer’s expense. Great, what to pack for Paris…?

As I’ve gotten older, looking good and feeling comfortable about my clothes choices had suddenly become an issue. I’d happily go shopping to try on new styles only to find clothes that were too old-looking, too young-looking, too short or too edgy. I loved the styles, but I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) wear them. How did this happen? I’ve always been confident about putting thing together until now. I decided to take the minimum on my trip: black slacks, black jeans, black sweaters, a LBD, white and magenta tops, and black shoes. A couple of scarves finished off the meager collection, which I hoped would keep me quietly in the background.

photo: Getty

photo: Huffington Post

What I saw on the streets of Paris changed everything in fashion for me. Clothes were neutral colors from top to bottom. One piece of jewelry was worn. Boots and ballet slippers were paired with everything for day and killer strappy heels came out at night. Color appeared in their marvelous scarves and handbags. Jackets, sweaters and blouses fit tightly and beautifully. Hair was worn long and loose, not shorter and shorter as women aged.  It was a style that was so classy and simple, and so very beautiful. You could immediately spot a tourist in a crown of Parisians. They looked like clowns! It was a fashion epiphany.

Carla Bruni, photo:

Carla Bruni, photo:

When I returned, within the week, I was going through closets and drawers tossing, donating and giving clothes away. My wardrobe is now half the size it was. Wearing my new look, I now hear: “I like your hair longer,” That’s a nice outfit,” “Pretty scarf,” “Great shoes!” I just smile and reply, “Thank you (Paris).”


About Elaine: I teach piano, which has been augmented by HR work to keep body and soul together at different times in my life.  I watercolor, dabble in sewing and read nonstop.  I’m married, have three daughters, three grandchildren and two dogs. 

2 responses to “Guest Post: Paris Changed Everything

  1. Enjoyed the post. Found that neutrals being their basic mode was interesting. Never noticed before. It certainly makes for easier traveling! I am basically a neutral dressing person but enjoy the exuberance of color on others.

  2. This was a great post because the author was able to articulate why it is Parisian women look so chic. Insightful.

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