I have spent an inordinate amount of my precious time trying to prove French women lie. How can it possibly be true that the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning — after doing what all mortal women do first thing — they fix their hair, put on a little makeup and get completely dressed?
I’m not talking about women who then get in their cars and speed off to work — one can understand why they need to get up and get going. I’m talking about weekends; stay-at-home mothers; women who work from home; those merely setting out to buy the family baguette for breakfast.
But after much research, it seems they’re not lying. All my friends, my friends’ friends, acquaintances and women I see buying croissants and baguettes could just as easily be on their way to lunch in Paris. French women, on the outside at least, always seem dressed and ready to face whatever the world might throw their way. It’s amazing.
I teach two Friday morning English conversation classes, one for beginners, one advanced thus giving me a scientific sample of the species and a perfect opportunity to pose my questions — I make them tell me in English so we’re all learning something at the same time. . . Françoise told me last week she hadn’t had time to finish her hair and “pull myself together” so she refused to open the door to the water meter guy(!) The other women in the class nodded their heads in complete comprehension. Even the men thought this was absolutely normal in spite of the fact Françoise was then obliged to call the water company and re-schedule another rendez-vous to have her meter read. No problem. Next time she’ll be ready and waiting, smile on her face and gloss on her lips.
Being the sloth that I am I thought surely there is a better solution to presenting a flawless facade to our audiences — both inside and outside our maisons. And sure enough, flipping through a few of my zillions of French fashion magazines I found just the solution. It’s called Lounge Lover — move over Juicy Couture, you’ve got competition.
Lounge Lover is a collection of sumptuous stay-at-home coordinated pieces, lots in cashmere or cashmere/cotton blends, that are so divinely sensuous you may not not only never leave home, but you might consider never getting properly dressed again.
If you don’t know the line, it was created by Sylvie Gabriel, a young Belgian, who started her company in London about four years ago.
Don’t tell me that with a pair of ballerinas, a swipe of lip gloss (and in my case a squeeze of an eyelash curler and a whoosh of mascara) you couldn’t at least buy your daily bread and let the water meter man get on with his work even if you are French. Hair not working? There is always every French woman’s bad hair day solution, the headband, and for us perhaps a rubber band (coated of course).
I admit one probably wouldn’t necessarily answer the door to the postman, the water meter reader or the Fed Ex guy in the little ensemble at the top, but I could definitely see situations where one might actually throw open the door in greeting to a certain someone while wearing that little number.
Furthermore, the drapey cardigan could be worn any place, any time. One must always be open-minded when it comes to possibilities for dressing with ease and elegance.