How Not to Dress Like a Bozo

cartoon: bozos not bozos

'In' and 'Out' of Fashion In Light City

Paris:- Wednesday, 16. December 1998:- When contemplating a visit to Paris, a number of people wonder what they should wear to the fashion capital of the world. A few people really worry a lot about it.

Be reassured. Just because Paris is the fashion capital of the whole world, doesn't mean anybody here cancartoon: fashion model afford these fancy duds. They are not only expensive, they are also so outlandish, that nobody would have the nerve to wear them on the street. Not in daytime at least.

On television is probably the only place you'll see Paris' designer clothing; either mid- or 'haute couture.' Looking in shop windows here, you will be able to see clothing with big price stickers - but this will look like clothing you would actually like to wear - except it is a bit pricey; even for Parisians.

The only ones who like 'fashion' are skinny, rich people.

After 'haute couture' and really slick stuff, the rest is what people wear daily. Ordinary clothes, in other words. The world is... has gotten... small. TV-series made everywhere are exported everywhere and the clothes you see in these look just about like 'anywhere' and this is pretty much like what you'll see Parisians wearing.

As boring as this sounds, it really makes deciding what to wear during a visit to Paris quite easy. You just throw your own ordinary clothes in a bag and hop on the plane and come as you are.

At one time, not so long ago, wearing jogging suits as everyday street-wear was not uncommon. This is no longer common, even if you can still see some fanatics still running around in the Bois de Boulogne dressed like this. It is because they are joggers.

Some few people are dressed like they've stepped out of the TV-series 'Star Trek,' which I believe is currently being shown oncartoon: tuxedo gent TV here. However, these are not really 'Trekkies;' most of them are likely to be the more serious bicycle types. Do not worry if you are not dressed like these people, and try not to stare at them.

It seems as if the burning fashion question of the day is whether tennis shoes colored white are in fashion or not for ordinary street wear.

After an extensive survey I can say this: if you come from a country where the 'Jerry Seinfeld' TV-series is being shown and you see he is wearing white tennis-like shoes, then you are seeing a four-year-old version of the series. On late model 'Jerry Seinfeld' TV-shows, he wears some dark-colored nondescript type of sturdy city shoes.

In a letter to one of her Newsletter readers, Linda Thalman categorically stated that white tennis shoes are out. On reflection, she softened her stance by saying it's okay to wear white tennis shoes if you are going to see the tennis championships at the Roland Garros stadium. And, she adds, you are playing in the semi-finals.

For this time of year, this is no help at all because the tennis championships are in late spring. And, it is like saying it's okay to wear a jogging outfit because there really are some joggers in the Bois de Boulogne.

I am not any sort of fashion freak. Mine were black when Jerry Seinfeld's were white. By the time they wore out and I got white ones, Jerry had switched to some nondescript style.

One thing though, they are not 'tennis' shoes. I don't know what they're called in English, but their uppers are leather and not canvas.

I walk around Paris a lot in all seasons and in all weather, and I prefer lightweight but sturdy shoes over heavyweight shoes. In a city where there are a lot of slippery cobblestone surfaces when it is wet, I like super-non-skid soles.

These are absolutely essential. Like Parisians, I don't waste much of my life waiting for the 'green man' to light up before crossing streets and I've had to run for it more than once. Non-skid grip can be a lifesaver. Parisians also like to stop for chats in métro exits and at the tops of up-escalators, and dodgy shoes are useful for getting around them without causing a pileup.

But to tell the truth, I've gone off white 'tennis-shoes' too. After a couple of street-years - no - 18 months, they get out of shape regardless of their color, so I got myself some nifty cream-colored ones. Although made by the same brand as the earlier black ones and the white ones, they are not as well-made - they are not as comfortable and they won't last the regulation 75 Metropole-issues-worth.

What else did Linda say? Um, apparently it is 'out' to wear a 'fanny bag.' I think these are the thingscartoon: backpacker which are called 'bananas' in France. Men wearing bags on shoulder straps went out decades ago, but you still see some men using them. Very few.

The 'camper'-look inthe city is non-'U.'

So, whatever people put in these bags and 'fanny bags,' they seem to have replaced them with little backpacks, and a lot of these are seen around the city. To look at them, they do not seem to be handy for carrying money, plastic cards or sunglasses, or anything else you might want on the spur of a moment. Some of them are so small that a bottle of wine wouldn't fit in them. Maybe they're for carrying knitting stuff.

Linda, who is a lot more conscious of what Americans worry about, thinks they should come to Paris wearing nothing and buy all their clothes here. But she's just joking; she says - from experience - that it is okay to look like a Greek if you are on holiday in Egypt - because it is the cash or plastic you bring that really counts.

She also thinks it is very handy to learn about 20 common words. This is very good advice and it is not impossible to do. It is amazing the amount of goodwill saying 'Bonjour Monsieur' or 'Bonsoir Madame' will generate. If, at the end, you say 'Merci' too, then you really only have 15 more words to learn.

At the end of the exchange between Linda and her correspondent, it was decided that dark-colored 'walking-hiking' boots would do the trick for the feet; ordinary blue jeans would do for legs, and a leather jacket would take care of the top.

This is about what everybody from TV personalities to taxi drivers wears in Paris, so it is right on the mark. Suits are only worn by the poor unfortunates who work in offices or ministries, and you are unlikely to see any of these unless they are sneaking in an afternoon movie, under the subterfuge of 'dentist appointment.'

At the beginning, I should have said the weather is exceptionally brilliant today and not many people are wearing parkas. The dark colors for clothing have been popular for some years now and I am a bit surprised at seeing so much black around; it is having a multi-year run.

Let's say, most people are somewhat somberly dressed. Wearing any kind of bright color will make you stand out sharply. On this day of looking at what people on the street are wearing in Paris, I wish I was in Rio.

Paris:- Friday, 18. December 1998:- The clouds are sitting on the rooftops and some drizzle is drifting down from them. At midday on the rue de Rivoli, it looks like five in the afternoon in winter, a long way north of the Mediterranean.

New Year's Eve is coming up too and from the letters I've been getting, it seems like a fair number of Metropole readers intend to pass into 1999 in Paris. Some are bringing their own occasions with them, such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and they are really looking forward to having a good time.

For this sort of thing street boots, jeans and leather jackets, will not be especially appropriate - but I'mcartoon: college trenchcoat sure this is obvious. For the one night you'll have to pack an extra suit, shirt and tie, but it will be worth it.

At least one Metropole reader intends to do a 'classy' number and wanted to know whether he had to bring his tuxedo or whether it would be possible to rent one here.

The answer is he can rent one here. In a town full of diplomatic functions, full of movie production, full of theatres and operas; there are a large number of firms renting costumes and a tuxedo is just another form of costume.

The all-purpose 'Trench' is a No-No in summer, but practical in winter.

In this case, the 'one-night-stand' will be covered by rental clothing, and the suitcase will be that much lighter. If this is your plan, try to get a firm booking as early as possible.

Other New Year's Eve functions are less formal. I don't think there is any rule about overdressing for this night. If you want to wear a tux - a 'Smoking' in French - for a 'Latin Night in Brazil' gala, I don't think the bouncers will refuse you entry.

On the other hand, if this is your intention, and you want to wear your favorite El Gato featherweight 'Aloha' shirt - I think you should bring your own. I'm sure these can be rented too, but your own won't take up much luggage space and you'll be more at ease knowing it's handy.

On the rue de Rivoli, where I can't see what people are wearing because it is so dim and they are so huddled against the drizzle, and if it wasn't for the neons of the cafés it would seem like Hamlet's Denmark, thinking about an 'Aloha' shirt is somewhat cheering.

The whole idea of coming to Paris for New Year's Eve is a cheerful idea and I hope that everybody who does it has the good time I think they are going to have. No matter what you wear, it's your party!

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