How to Dress Comme Une Française

When planning my spring semester, I was very sad to miss out on the European Christmas market galore and essentially resigned myself to spend gloomy January in anticipation of Mardi Gras. As it turns out, there was another exciting and incredibly dangerous winter event in store for me in France – les soldes d’hiver. Les soldes d’hiver are the annual French winter sales that begin in early January and continue for six (!!!) weeks until the end of February. Think Black Friday but for six consecutive weeks (without the stampede, mostly). These sales are actually regulated by the government, which sets the dates when French stores are legally allowed to have sales — twice a year, in the winter and summer.

This year, the soldes began on January 10, which I discovered on January 9 after I attempted to purchase a sweater at Zara where I was informed that I could not actually buy anything since the sales would begin the next day and it would be pretty stupid to pay full price now. It turns out many French people use the preceding few days to strategically scout their favorite stores and pre-select items they wish to buy, so they wouldn’t have to wait in massive fitting room lines when the sales began.

Lacking self control as I do, I decided to use this opportunity to upgrade and Frenchify my wardrobe (and acquire two additional sweaters because the French do not heat the buildings nearly enough, and wearing my coat to class got annoying quickly). So, in no particular order below, you will find my trendy purchases:

Yes, I bought additional golden laces because I am that extra.

Shoes. I will not lie, I used to judge the #basic girls wearing white Adidas all the time. Now, I am become one (although I boughts Pumas, because wearing Adidas shoes is one step too close to true Slavdom than I’m willing to take). In any case, the French take this trend to a whole new level. I once counted 20 pairs of white/light colored sneakers in my tram car. And they don’t seem to care at all for the impact of the incessant rain on the quality of their shoes. So embracing the trend, I shelled out 55€ (marked down from nearly 90€, which was a victory!) for these shiny new sneakers. Bonus points for the lacquered exterior to prevent soaking my feet and facilitate easy cleaning when I inevitably land in a puddle while running across tram tracks. Also check out the incredibly extra golden laces that match the buttons on my very French coat (acquired prior to departure). Continue reading