For about a year before moving to France, I was using a clothing rental service in the US because I didn’t want to continue buying clothing in different sizes. I’ve learned from past experience that when I keep my “skinny clothes” or “fat clothes,” I usually don’t still like those styles still if I’m ever that size again! Once I stayed in the same weight range and knew I was headed to France for a few months, I started purchasing the items that I liked the best and were most flattering; however, patterned clothing is very common in the US. Most of the items the clothing service carried were patterned!
As a result, when I arrived in France, I certainly was not dressed like the French (in my region)! In my experience, they tend to dress in mostly neutrals for the base (or solid colors at least), then add more color and patterns in their accessories. Due to my clothing being mostly patterned, I was instead buying solid-colored scarves (my blue one gets the most use) and accessories. Contrary to what many may think, the majority of the French that I see are NOT dressed in the latest “high fashion” items, although they do tend to buy high quality accessories (for example, hand bags). They have a nice rotation of quality basics, which they pair with different accessories to make many different outfits.
I keep about 50 items in my personal rotation, although some of those are only worn in warm or cold seasons. Every month, I replace roughly one item – have I mentioned that I pretty much hate shopping? But, whereas I used to just throw on whatever was comfortable, a few years ago I started to care about whether I personally felt good about my clothing and how I looked in it. I developed a “style;” however, it is constantly evolving!
Specifically, I noticed this week that HALF of my closet is now solid colors that are more neutral (aka not bright red) or some variation of black, white, cream, gray or combinations of those four colors. The rest are primarily jewel tones, which I prefer and look best on me. Slowly, all of the loud patterned items are being replaced.
It is ironic to go from avoidance of solid-colored, “boring” clothes on the rental site to shopping at the designer sales in Biarritz, passing a few stalls and thinking, “Wow, what a pattern! Look at all of those wild colors! It’s beautiful, but so BUSY. Nope, pass.” And this was after I insisted, upon arrival, that I would keep wearing my American clothes and just have a unique style because “I’m not French, so I don’t need to dress French.” It appears that certain aspects of French culture are absorbed by osmosis, even when you’re convinced that it won’t change!