Sunday, July 4, 2010

Parisian Fashion Observations...Men, Pay Attention!

What a treat to be in Paris earlier this June.  Forget the gardens, monuments and Fete de la Musique!  Yes, they were all fabulous.   But perhaps even better than the wine, strolling along the Seine and the soccer was the people watching.  It was just as much of a sport as was exploring the city.

Let me tell you: I've been all over the world and haven't had as much fun checking out the visual eye candy as I did in Paris.  It was fascinating discovering what the Parisians wore.

Surprisingly, the women weren't as uber-chic as I thought they would be.  Many of them wore suits to work or a simple dress.  I did see one young lady dressed entirely in vintage 80's fashions who put together a look that, in concept, might not be so hot but, on her, was amazing.  She had on sort of MC Hammer gypsy pants, a polka dot short-sleeved shirt with an olive-colored vest.  She carried a vintage alligator clutch and looked spectacular.  I know it sounds kind of goofy but it was very now.

What I did notice is that big statements rings were adorning the hands of many women.  Everywhere I looked they were sporting a big, honking cocktail or stone ring.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a statement ring.  My always impeccably dressed colleague, Mr. Laufenberg, constantly gives me crap for wearing big rings.  Big ring wearers are on trend right now but it's one I've always subscribed to and one I don't think I'll ever give up.

What knocked my socks off was how impeccably dressed the men were!  They wore everything from slim, European-cut suits my stylish colleague Steve Pickett wears to colorful and perfectly blended resort shorts and casual looks.  It was the visual equivalent of a good, natural gelato: cool, elegant and something that I could take in all day long.  The men knew how to dress for their bodies and worked it like nothing I've seen in the States.

What really blew me away were the scarves.  French ladies are known for having a flair to wear a scarf that complements and completes a look.  But who knew the French men had such a knack for perfecting them?

I saw a number of men wearing scarves in place of a tie with their jacket-and-pant work ensemble but one man really epitomized Parisian chic.  He was having lunch two tables away from me at Cafe Balzac  in the 8th Arrondissement.  He was probably in his 60's with a full head of white hair and was having lunch with a gorgeous woman on an even more beautiful summer day.  He wore a camel-colored jacket with a slate-blue shirt and an elegant burgundy scarf knotted under his shirt collar.  I should have snapped a picture but I didn't want to look anymore like an American tourist than I already did but WOW.  He wasn't particularly handsome just incredibly put together and that made him stunningly attractive.  And let me say this: every woman who walked by the cafe noticed him.

It was proof that style has no gender rules or age limit.  Anyone can work it and it's amazing how far a little effort and fashion sense can go.

Here's a great link to some shots that GQ photographer Tommy Ton took of real European men on the street.  They may be a little "out there" for many Texans' tastes but they could be a springboard for experimenting with different looks.

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