Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Scarves & La Femme Française

Mother and daughter.
When I first started this series I had no idea there were so many pictures in my files of women in scarves.




I suspect today you will not have any hesitations about finding the non-French in the group. It's interesting to see how one simple accessory blip can throw the whole look off. No one understands that better than the femme Française.

Mother and daughter.

It's interesting how she instinctively knows comfort and style need not be a contradiction.

Do tell. Who is not French?

61 comments:

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Love the mostly neutral focus of these looks...I always enjoy your street looks!

Anonymous said...

The sneakers, right? - Gail

Tabitha said...

I always think of scarves as very much a Californian look too, scarves are my bête noir, I'll wear them if it's snowing but that's it.. I suppose my hair is my built in scarf.

wendy said...

Must be the mother and daughter wearing trainers :)
Am enjoying reading your blog, I only came across it a couple of days ago.

Anonymous said...

tennis shoes.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was the tennis shoes as well but I've been wrong every time so far. Maybe the red purse? I do love the series tho'! Judy

Faun said...

I see nothing wrong with American style - we shouldn't always be so eager to deify another culture's style. If you're comfortable and happy, that's what matters - and I think that's one of the great benefits to being a "femme d'Un certain age" - being comfortable in one's own skin. We should be proud to be Americans. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and I have great pride in my heritage and am not so willing to automatically assume other countries are intrinsically better.

Anonymous said...

The ubiquitous training shoes..comfy yes... but chic? Non!

Anonymous said...

I think the women in the "trainers" look just as good and pulled together as everyone else. Perhaps they look sporty rather than chic? To me the woman dressed up in black with the blue scarf slung over her shoulder looks odd. The scarf interferes with her outfit. I always enjoy the photos ...!

Kristien62 said...

How odd that I did not even notice the sneakers! My vote was four #4, the blue scarf seemed out of place. Oh well---- The first mother-daughter pair is delightful.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it has to be the sneakers - but I do think the blue scarf in picture 4 is far too small for the way it's being worn. Woman in 3rd picture is tres chic.

Lost in Provence said...

I realized yesterday that I am wearing scarves much more often--and it is because of this series! I'm serious! Ah, the power of suggestion...

The enchanted home said...

My guess is the two gals sporting sneakers with the cut off jeans...not the most attractive look. If I were to guess thats who I pick! I love scarves, wear them all the time, year round...they can add so much to an outfit so easily.

Anonymous said...

I also think the women in the sneakers are American and agree the woman in the blue scarf looks odd.

Since I have been reading and enjoying your blog from 2009 I decided it was about time I signed up and became a follower.

Thank you for the time and effort you put into bringing us these street shots.

Coco

Linda C. said...

Well, my guess is, it's in the sneakers...but don't they look happy!.
The lady with the blue scarf looks to be the only one wearing a scarf...maybe it's her.
They all look great, and I think they are wonderful for letting the world look in on them, and learn.

Awakening my Wardrobe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Sutton said...

I would guess at the jogging shoes? I ADORE scarves. I wear them every day with everything - Winter or Summer. Not sure that I manage to look quite as chic as the French, but for my little spot of England, I like to think that it adds a little Gallic style! Paula x

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

I didn't read any comments because I wanted a "fresh" guess. I think the women in the second to last photo are not French. Now I'll go see what everybody else said!

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

I'm back. We agree! Funny, though, I don't think I even noticed the tennis shoes (unless it was subliminal). I just think the two women in that photo have a very American look to them. It's a sportier look even without the sneakers.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I think it's the two gals in athletic footwear....
the woman in black looks so chic but her pashmina does not look as chic as the rest of her the way she placed in on her shoulder. I think she would look better if it was carried or draped around her shoulders.

Anonymous said...

I think the young ladies in the tennis shoes are adorable.
The woman in the black is not chic, because of the blue scarf.....just doesn't hang right.

kathy peck said...

I want to say this in a kind way, but I'm a bit tired of the "let's guess who's the un-chic American game."
All of the women in the photos look good and happy to me.

Jane in SF said...

Personally I love these posts. I think they are a study in Parisian style rather than an attack on anyone else. The fact that we can guess the non French one makes me think more analytically about the different aspects of style and how to put outfits together. I find it fun and not remotely unkind. Please carry on what you and most of your readers enjoy.

Bonbonroz said...

I'd say the mother and daughter wearing sneakers, but I wouldn't actually assume anything about their nationality. Who says they have to be American anyway? The game is about finding the non-French person in the pictures, isn't it?
I really enjoy this little game, even if I'm always wrong, and find it very inspirational :) Thanks!

Tish Jett said...

In no way have I ever intended to be unkind in this series and if you have felt that is the case; I apologize.

And, you will note I said "the non-French." The mother and daughter in the sport shoes do look happy and they were and they both certainly know how to tie a scarf.

For me, most of the time there is something intangibly French in the pictures. Sometimes I can't really explain it, but I see it.

As an American living in France for more than 25 years my philosophy has always been -- take the best, leave the rest.

We're not in a contest of good, better, best.

M said...

I agree with Kathy. Time to move on. This doesn't feel right to me.

Murphy said...

My favorite is the scarf in picture #2, but then I think I have admired that same lady's style before!
I've enjoyed this series but at this point I think that I am also feeling defensive about being seen as a frumpy American. Don't know why, since I am constantly trying to acquire more French style, and I adore all things French. But it seems exhausting, and today it is raining and the dog needs to be walked, and I find myself looking for a jacket and thinking "don't French women EVER wear fleece? What's so bad about fleece anyway?"

Anonymous said...

My spouse begs me not to wear scarves and cover what he regards as a beautiful neck.

BigLittleWolf said...

Not even going to hazard a guess! But judging by the number of comments, I'm not the only one who enjoys this mischievous game - not to mention - a closet full of versatile scarves!

Villette said...

I agree with Jane in SF. I don't think anyone is attacking American style, but American style (and British style and Irish style) are all different from French style, and it is fun to spot the little nuances that tell us one woman is French and the other -- though possibly stylish -- is clearly not French. I've spend years of my life in London, and I could as well play this game with my English friends on the line of 'spot which one is the Brit.' (Clue: the Brit is the one who hasn't got it pulled together in the city, but gets it absolutely right in the country.)This isn't being mean, this is social anthropology. PS I don't care what nationality those women in trainers are, it is a horrible look.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is something weird about "spot the mistake". I learn better by seeing and reading about what is "right" (as in styled appropriately). I was hoping this would be an instructive series.

That said, the 'trainers' photo does show a woman who knows how to rock the 'rolled trousers' look!! The first photo is a 'rolled trousers' disaster--even if her scarf is tied 'stylishly' which, imo, looks very similar to the 'trainer' photo. The one that sticks out (not stands out) is the woman with the black dress, shocking blue scarf, excessive jewely, and cap flats....egads, that's a busy look. Just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

this lovely series has nothing to do with one being better than the other. it is all about the nuances of
dressing. i traveled for business all over europe and often sat in airports looking at shoes and guessing what country the wearer was from. i have to add that as a guest in another country i would always try to look my best .... working or not. sport shoes and sport clothing should be limited to workouts or jogs in the park. why not try to look your best? i think that is what this is all about. thanks tish....carry on! this is fun.

Virginia said...

I"m guessing this round. I think it's #4, certainly not the last one. Lord have mercy she's French from head to toe. I love these!
V

Hi, I’m Elizabeth said...

Please don't ever stop posting these--they allow me to return to France vicariously any time I want. The running shoes were low hanging fruit since it's my experience that the only time French women run is when they are being chased. The denim capris and the daughter's double t-shirt look are also dead giveaways. Yes, they look happy, and good for them, but they don't look chic.

Lorrie said...

I love these posts. They force me to look at details and to define how I want to look. Sporting a non-French style does not mean one is unstylish, but for those of us wishing to develop more of that je ne sais quoi in our wardrobe and presentation, these posts help immensely.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Tish,
I would never want you to think that we don't appreciate your pictures. Here's my take on it. I'm American and I don't want to be isolated as one of the clueless(fashion wise). On the other hand, quite honestly, I come here, in part, to get some adivce, whether in words or pictures. The most joyful picture is the one of the mother and daughter in the white sneakers. They look so happy! That's really our goal isn't it?
If we can be happy walking in Paris with our daughers in sneakers, why not? Thank you Tish.
At this age it's "as you wish" isn't it?

xoxo Jeannie

Anonymous said...

I have really been enjoying this series. Please don't stop! I, too, enjoy learning little touches that make up styles of women in different countries. Such fun! I'm American and love it!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so my first guess is the lady with the blue scarf draped kind of awkwardly over her shoulder, but then I saw the second mum and daughter set and they're both wearing sneakers, which I've heard French women never do, so now I'm just confused.

Nicole from NZ.

Piece du jour said...

The woman with blue shawl on her shoulder. She looks like Italian.

Linda C, said...

I'm adding another comment...I do not see these posts as a criticism of anyone's or any nationality's dressing. More,it is what can we learn from the chic-est of them all ,the French women.
I am always willing to learn from the best.
I think the women shown are always lovely & brave, and as their student, I thank them

Anonymous said...

Which one? Please don't stop this series.

sara ryan said...

Just my .02 that I never thought we were trying to spot a mistake, or point fingers at the unchic -- I always thought we were finetuning our French style spotting skills! And as long as no one attaches inferior standings to the non-French women, it's all in good fun.

Plus, if I'm interested in developing a better sense of "French" style for myself (an American), how valuable it is to see and discuss some visuals!

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this time that the Americans are the 2nd mother and daughter pair. Of course, the white sneakers are much more typically American than French (which leads me to ask how old/current this photo is), and there is also their bigger smiles (the American smiles and openness were mentioned another day.)

mytwocentsworth said...

The black lace dress calls for something long and silky which drapes well, something with a bit of red in it, maybe an Oriental pattern. Also, it would need a bit more effort than just throwing it across the shoulder.

Splenderosa said...

No, Tish, do not stop this series. It is very interesting to see what you see. The lace skirt with the blue pashmina fringe is hideous, it would be hideous no matter who had it on.
Great style is truly effortless. But when one has great style one can wear anything and look splendid. The place to begin is with great hair, excellent grooming, beautiful nails & toes, and a beautiful smile. Without these no one can be stylish or pretty. Now that's my 2cents.

CHRIS said...

I don't like the blue not wearing a scarf look.

Braveheart said...

For heaven's sake, ladies - lighten up. This is just fun and helps sharpen our style sense. And whoever said that non-French automatically meant American? It's a big world mes amies.

Anonymous said...

Actually the lovely women wearing the sneakers could even be Aussie or German or Swedish as Ie seen a lot of those nationalities wearing similar clothes. And I still think its them that are not French.

Coco

Joni said...

I always look forward to these pictures and I'd love to see this series continue. it's all in good fun and certainly not meant to bash anyone.

The two women wearing athletic shoes look so un-chic. Why in the world would they choose those shoes to wear in Paris? But what's the deal with the woman in the dress with the scarf just hanging over her shoulder? That doesn't look so good either.

Jules said...

Obviously the second Mother and Daughter they are the tourists having a wonderful time in their comfy walking shoes!!!!!

Class factotum said...


The two women wearing athletic shoes look so un-chic. Why in the world would they choose those shoes to wear in Paris?


Because it is so hard to find comfortable walking shoes - for hours and hours of walking on sidewalk - that are also cute! I am getting to the point where my comfort comes first when I travel. Not that I look like a slob, but I am not going to be hobbling after walking a few blocks. If that means shoes that aren't as cute as I would like, so be it.

Anonymous said...

The woman with the blue scarf was probably hot. It looks like this photo was taken outside. Her black ensemble looks very nice, and she probably had her scarf arranged differently earlier in the evening. As it got warmer, she took the scarf off, folded it neatly, and casually threw it over her shoulder.

Anonymous said...

I cast my vote for the woman dressed in black wearing the light blue scarf as not being French. Another person (or persons) thought she looked Italian, and I agree.

If people are not happy or do not enjoy this guessing game (which was not "guess the un-chic American), then feel free to click off of the page. FYI to the person who was critical, there was another post in which the person was not American, but was from Belgium.

CS

sisty said...

I also guessed that the mother and the red-haired daughter smiling happily at each other were not French. It's not only the sneakers, but the capri-length jeans on the mother and the short sleeved t-shirts, that mark them as different from the rest.

I'm American, but I'm not a chauvinist, so my general approach is that I can learn something good from other cultures. I don't take any of this personally.

Anonymous said...

I agree with class factotum re the difficulty in finding truly supportive walking shoes that are chic. Forget ballet flats - they lack arch support.

I'm off to Italy & France next month and am still struggling to find the perfect shoes. I wore my new blue Ecco lace-ups yesterday and have a blister now. My new Ecco Clay mary janes synthetic lining calls out for socks (unchic!!!!)

Duchesse had a great post on chic walking shoes but none were quite my style. If I get desparate I may pack my black Nikes with purple swoosh yet.

A-Dubs said...

Love your street photos and am really enjoying these looks through your backfiles.

I also loved today's (so-very-easy guessing game).

Anonymous said...

no 4 does not have "je ne sait quoit"

Anonymous said...

Missing you don't know what - "Pretentiousness" perhaps?

Vicki Lee Johnston said...

Have just returned from a month in the French Alps, Provence and Paris. I packed some beautiful clothes - assisted well by this blog ... and included some cute and not so high heels ... however ... if you want to see Paris - you have to walk Paris day and night! The women wearing heels are those that may already know Paris and exactly where they are going that day. When you are an international traveller and have come a very long way to experience this beautiful city you soon favour comfort over fashion.
I walked on average 4-5 hours a day - wore my Skechers which I had broken in at home and the only discomfort was from basically aching tired legs and feet - had I been in heels I would not have lasted an hour or seen many of the stunning places I visited.
And while I ate many beautiful meals and drank wine and indulged in patisserie goods - I lost one kilo rather than gaining any weight because of all that walking.
Wore a different scarf every day... I think they make the best souvenirs ..
But why do so many French women and girls smoke ... not tres chic unfortunately!

Lesley said...

I guess the mother and daughter with trainers on too, though they do look smart to me.
I can recommend "Hotter" shoes for walking around in - the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. i've just spent a week walking around the lake district and wore these all the time. No sore feet at all.

Anonymous said...

It's true, it's hard to walk for hours and hours in Paris. Much better to get un Velo! For a few euro one can see the sights AND comfortably where one's comfy ballerinas (Vera Wang makes some cushion-y ones. Ditto Lanvin).

I used to live in Miami and my best friend was Cuban. We used to sit in an upscale mall in Coral Gables and she could spot the Americans from long, long ways off. They were usually heavy, wearing khaki capris and trainers. But the latinas. Ay Caramba!

I love this series very much and I think many American women are afraid to be too pulled together, afraid to be the focus of attention, afraid to invest in themselves, something...maybe it's the Puritanism, the Protestantism, I don't know.

Lovely blog, though!

Brandon Henry said...

My first thought was the tennis shoes as well but I've been wrong every time so far. Maybe the red purse? I do love the series tho'! Judy

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