I recently spent a morning at the great equalizer of humanity – the DVM. With time on my hands waiting for B035 to be called, and not being a fan of playing games on my phone, I engaged in the great Parisian pastime of people-watching.
Why are Parisians so engaged in people-watching? Probably for the same reason we sit in front of a large rectangle watching made-up stories about made-up people – it’s entertaining – but with a lot more art and culture. In addition to virtually every street being a picture postcard, Parisians live more embellished lives. Like taking the extra moment to put flowers in the window or candles on the table, Parisians take the time to make an art out of living.
On any given day, you can seat yourself at a little street café or bench in the park, and watch the world perform …
A young, attractive couple engaged in conversation and the occasional kiss.
An elderly man donning hat and coat, walking his dog.
Excited school children out for a trip to the museum to acquire an innate sense of the culture around them without even noticing.
A refined, mature – OUCH! – What the hell was that? Oh that was just reality biting me in the ass and I’m back at the DMV – a parade of rubber flippity-flops, un-groomed hair, and clothing that must have been chosen while blindfolded in the dark (harsh, I know).
Ok, I get it, it’s the DMV. But let’s just say the DMV is a metaphor for stepping out into the world. At any moment you could run into an acquaintance or receive an invitation to go somewhere awesome … you never know. And don’t you want to just feel good about yourself all of the time? So I got to thinking – how hard is it really to elevate your look any day for any activity, so that you’re Paris street-ready?
I put together a few simple do’s and don’t’s, based on observations from my little excursion. I realize I’m indulging in a little hyper-criticalness, but looking it over it really adds almost no time at all to your routine to step out of the house Paris street-ready, providing you’ve covered a few of the basics.
Do take 5 minutes to put on a little tinted moisturizer or concealer where needed, a little blush, a little lipstick. From Violet Grey, here’s one of the best tutorials I’ve seen for a fresh, natural face that literally takes only minutes from start to finish.
Don’t wear clothes that don’t look good on you. Ever. Just don’t do it. The easiest way to make sure your clothes will always look great on you is to not own any clothes that don’t look great on you. Don’t buy them, and if they’ve crept their nasty little way into your wardrobe, get rid of them so you’ll never be tempted to wear them.
Do keep your nails manicured. There’s nothing wrong with natural nails, but they should be nicely trimmed and shaped and without remnants of by-gone polish.
Don’t go out with sandals if you have rough, crusty heels. Better yet, just don’t let your heels get rough and crusty. Keep your feet soft and sexy with regular pedicures and a good moisturizer – you will enjoy the pampering and your bed partner will thank you.
Do wear clothes that make you feel good. Every day. Out running errands is a great time to indulge in wearing some of the fun things you don’t get to wear on a daily basis. There’s nothing wrong with fun, casual T-shirts, sweat shirts, etc., but they should be stylish and flattering and not look like you bought them off the boy’s rack.
Don’t wear clothing in public that is intended for a specific purpose elsewhere, i.e. pajamas, bathing suit parts or underwear outside of maybe the slightest peek-a-boo from a beautiful lace bra. And don’t wear gym clothes or gym shoes (unless you just happen to be making a stop on the way home from the gym).
Do keep your hair cut well, so it looks good at a moment’s notice. French hair is generally slightly messy in sort of a perfectly imperfect way. To do this without being just plain messy requires a good, well-maintained cut. And if you color your hair, keep the roots maintained and keep a good root cover-up handy in a pinch.
Yep, that covers it. Head to foot. Nothing here is time consuming and the return in how you feel is well worth the extra few minutes. Let me know what you think the next time you’re running errands or having lunch, or find yourself at the DMV!
Bonjour! Je suis Kelley
Hi, I’m Kelley – thrower of parties, drinker of wine, and lover of all things French. I hope you enjoy my Lessons in Becoming French!