Simple French Travel Style

Parisian summer twilight, 2006

Everyone, I am so excited! Today I depart for mon voyage des reves to France for two and a half weeks! My trip is taking me to Paris and Provence, as well as Gent (in Belgium), Metz and Lille. I’m impatient to see new and old friends, eat lots of wonderful food, and spend my time walking around and taking in the sights I love and discovering new places that I will return to in the future. This blog will be pretty quiet during that time, though you can expect another Creative Money Maker and a few other posts. When I’m able to find Wi-fi I will updates Twitter and Instagram, and I will try to post some of those shots here as well.

Those of you who travel know that preparation and anticipation is part of the journey. I spent months planning the outfits that I would take to France. I knew I would need layers, because I’m going to be in both the north and south, and the summer weather there either seems to feel like November or a canicule. I also know I will be walking a lot, so I’ve left all my four inch platforms at home. When I travel I favor clothing made out of basic fibers like cotton with solid, neutral colors over anything too fancy. In addition, I never check a bag, so all of my clothes have to be adaptable and easily washable. Here’s a sneak peek at my travel style:

Pour Paris

Paris from the Tour Eiffel, taken in 2006

J Crew tank top, American Apparel skirt, Sam Edelman sandals (this outfit is being optimistic for summer weather in Paris)

Simple, big city style is what I have in mind. Casual and elegant – a look that can go from morning to evening.

Pour Provence

Roussillon, in Vaucluse region of Provence, taken in 2008

Jennifer Glasgow blouse, American Apparel shorts, Saludos espadrilles

Warm tones, bright sun, old stone houses and the mistral were in mind when I picked out this outfit.

Pour la plage et la piscine

Pool at the Provence vacation rental, 2008

Esther Williams swimwear bathing suits, Nine West sandals

Flattering, retro-styled swimwear to while away the sunny days in style.

Pour l’avion

Departing Keflavik

I’ll be flying Iceland Air and get to pass through a place I want to return!

Mavi slim jeans, J crew shirt, Converse sneakers, and a generic linen scarf

I always freeze on the airplane. I always wonder about those who are able to wear flip-flops while flying – every appendage of mine feels like an ice cub when in the air, so I have to layer up. In addition, this time I have to change planes in Reykjavik, so I know I’ll need to be able to walk quickly, as well as wear an outfit comfortable enough to try to nap.

Pour partout


Photo taken with the Digital Harinezumi

Nola bag by Les Composantes, Moleskine notebook, Muji pen, Plan de Paris par arrondisement, Matt & Nat wallet, Jimmy Fairly sunglasses, Origins “Silkscreen” pressed powder, Benefit “Nice Melons” eye shadow, Dior mascara, Staniac lip stain, digital Harinezumi camera by Power Shovel, Weleda lip blam and my favorite necklace. Not shown: my Canon DSLR, an essential!

I’m bringing very few extras. I only packed two books in English because my favorite activity in France is buying the newspaper, magazines and novels. aI like to keep my makeup and accessories even more minimal than usual when I travel. I’m not packing nail polish or lipstick because I hope to acquire some of the French Essie nail polish while I’m there as well as Bourjois lip and eye makeup. Nothing fancy, just basic French things that I love.

What do you pack when you travel?

Pants, Pants, Pants, Pants, Everybody!

Spring greens and leopard accents!

Blouse from H&M (forever ago), Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Matt Bernson heels, Squasht headband

Apparently fashion’s new bright, spring colors are helping revive the US economy and sales in retail are up. Though I am on a self-imposed shopping diet (it’s not going very well, does anyone know of a Weight Watcher’s like program to curb conspicuous consumption?) I could not help but succumb to the continued rage for color blocking, helped in part by some bright numbers from Old Navy (of all places!).

A little Frenchie, a little Rock

Zara jacket, Ann Taylor shirt (from Beacon's Closet), Brooklyn Industries Pans, Ana Alamedia heels, Leila Rowe necklace

Perhaps it is the transition between seasons, but I’ve also been enjoying new versions of my classic favorites – slim black pants and jeans – and have gotten my new favorite slims from Mavi, a classic pair of straight legs from Built by Wendy and slim black pants (with zippers on the ankles) from Brooklyn Industries. I’ve even wearing pants of all colors to work (gasp, Killerfemme, really?).

Have you succumbed to the bright spring colors? How do your outfits transition from weekdays to weekends?

Bright and bold

J Crew shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Miista boots

Bold for spring! Yellow pants and stripes!

Outfit details

Spring Accents Part II

Zara jacket, Vanilla and Lace shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Squasht headband, necklace bought at Cog and Pearl

Spring accents and lunch time record shopping

Details, with vintage LL Bean tote and newly purchased Grimes record

So yesterday after work I did some shopping. Bye bye clothing diet.

Chicago wrecked my shopping diet

Fluo accents + leopard shoes, ça va?

Mirror in Chicago hostel: Built by Wendy jeans, American Apparel shirt, Old Navy cardigan (with matching fluo chair behind me!), Matt Bernson slippers

Today I am in love with my new Built by Wendy jeans

Details of my Built by Wendy jeans

Falling for the Color Block

J Crew shirt, Zara jeans, Ben Simon Sneakers, Cachemire et Soie for Jimmy Fairly sunglasses, and my mom's vintage leather tote from LL Bean

When I first saw colored denim appear on the fashion blogs earlier this year I thought to myself, “Ooh, noo, the 90’s really are back with a vengeance.” The last time I wore colored denim (dark green to be exact) was in 1992. It was the year I bought Nirvana’s Nevermind album on cassette and felt really cool about that. I also got my first pair of Converse All Stars, which I quickly found out you cannot wear in the Maine winter and expect to have dry feet at the end of the day. I bought a pair of Airwalk shoes too (before they were made by Payless), but claimed I was “not a poser” even though I didn’t skate. Not being a poser was very important in the early 1990’s.

I never stopped wearing Converse and still proudly sport an American made pair I acquired at a clothing swap in Portland, Oregon in 2001 (may they buck the trend of Converse and never wear out!). However, I quickly abandoned colored denim and have stuck with straight leg, dark wash jeans since the mid-1990’s.

A Flate White from Cafe Grumpy to match my color block

Well, Nirvana’s albums are being re-released as fancy re -issues (I still have my battered cassette), Converse are now being made by Nike in Asia and are all the rage with the high fashion set, and colored denim is back. I really held out. No way was I going to be running around like some poser in skinny, bright pink jeans this spring. But I kept seeing them on the blogs and on the street. And they looked good!

Essie "Braziliant" and "Super Bossa Nova" to extend the color block to the tips of my fingers and toes

I think I finally cracked when I was offered a pair of dusky rose jeans at a clothing swap. They were a way to ease my way back into colored denim. Finally, I decided that one of my two major purchases for the fall would be pink or red jeans. I looked at J Brand. So nice. So out of my budget. I ordered a pair of knock-off red denim from Asos. They didn’t fit and felt too much like jeggings. Finally, I took a late-evening wander through SoHo and tried on every pair of pink, orange or red pants that Zara had to offer. I found them. Skinny. Denim. Bright, dark pink. And on sale! My Ben Simon’s may win out over my Converse as a shoe pairing, but I guess the dream of the 1990’s is still alive in my adult fashion choices.