Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"A jacket"

Inès de la Fressange (whom we've met before) is now offering five tips for how to be a chic Frenchwoman or just look like one. Fashion advice is often accused of being out-of-touch, or misogynistic in its demands to suffer for fashion. This, however, swings marvelously (comically?) in the other direction. To look the part of a Française, you will need the following:

1) "A denim shirt"

2) "Ballerina flats"

3) "Jeans"

4) "A jacket"

5) "A navy sweater"

In other words, there's an excellent chance that the ingredients for being a chic Frenchwoman are already in your wardrobe. You're a fifth of the way there if you own jeans! And note that four of the five items are as much menswear as women's, the remaining one being a relatively comfortable alternative to the usual.

Still, because this genre demands that The Frenchwoman chastise The Anglowoman, we get a bit about how you "look like a rat" (!) if you wear a black sweater rather than a navy one. Whatever that means. And she advises buying a shrunken blazer (fair enough), and doing so... at a children's department. That is the ultimate taboo - a woman who mentions shopping in a children's department is, according to the rules of this sort of thing, announcing that she's tiny. Which, maybe she is, maybe she isn't - she might just be short, and since "kids" effectively means petites in up to an 8 or 10, it's altogether possible to be not-so-tiny (if not-so-big, either) and shop kids'. But Fressange is twelve feet tall, a former model and Professional Thin Frenchwoman, so rest assured, that's her meaning.

Even so - even though Fressange calls the women she's advising rodent-like and makes them feel fat, even though there's nothing especially "French" about most of these items or combining them - this is probably the most appealing fashion advice I've seen in ages.

3 comments:

Petey said...

"And she advises buying a shrunken blazer (fair enough), and doing so... at a children's department. That is the ultimate taboo - a woman who mentions shopping in a children's department is, according to the rules of this sort of thing, announcing that she's tiny. Which, maybe she is, maybe she isn't - she might just be short, and since "kids" effectively means petites in up to an 8 or 10, it's altogether possible to be not-so-tiny (if not-so-big, either) and shop kids'."

But aren't kids' sizes just small and medium-small adult sizes from the 1970's?

Phoebe said...

Not sure how it lines up, if the largest kids' sizes are a small or medium in women's clothing today. But the relevant issue for what constitutes bragging about skinniness is where one falls relative to one's own contemporaries.

Petey said...

"Still, because this genre demands that The Frenchwoman chastise The Anglowoman, we get a bit about how you "look like a rat" (!) if you wear a black sweater rather than a navy one. Whatever that means."

But the English do look like rats, no matter what color sweater they wear. Here, I have proof.

It all goes back to the Thatcher-era when massive cross-breading experiments were done to help break the unions.