I had the great honor, pleasure, delight to live in Paris my junior year of college. It was fairly spectacular on many levels. I always say I learned to love my own company in Paris. This is not to say that at 21 I was totally together by any means. Nor does it mean that I was comfortable in my own skin. The phrase in French is "Bien Dans Sa Peau" which just sounds like something you want to aspire to, doesn't it? Getting there took me another 15 to 20, I'd say. But, before my boyfriend at the time moved to Paris from Florence (where he was studying) I spent a lot of days wandering Paris, and learning the city, by myself.
I had tons of really dear friends studying in Paris at the same time. But, I was the only one that lived in the Marais. More than that, though, somehow we were all just instantly busy with our studies and setting up our lives. We all lived in apartments spread all over the city. I remember feeling lonely for the very first time in my life one of my first days in Paris. I was thinking "What is this feeling? I've never felt this before...." I was very lonely, the pain of which was accentuated by dearly missing my boyfriend. There were no cellphones then, of course, just painfully short international calls made at the local post office in cramped smokey booths.
One of my first days there I got home after a long day, and realized that I had spent my entire adventure alone, and hadn't spoken to one friend. I was shocked by how much I had enjoyed myself. Thus began my year of learning to love my own company. Even when Tom, said Italian-studying boyfriend, arrived in Paris to live with me half-way through the year, I still had many a long day alone, and I really learned to love these times. I learned to be more "bien dans ma peau" than ever before.
The other thing I learned about in Paris, of course, was fashion. How can you not when in Paris, right? And, while I have never been, nor will I ever be, a fashionista, I really was blown away by the exquisite style of women of every age, and wanted to imbibe it, make it my own.
I found my soul's store: Agnes B. which is particularly lovely when uttered in French. It's AHN-YES-BAY. Lovely, elegant, just to say the name. I look at photos of myself upon my arrival in Paris and then toward the end of my year, and I see that my sense of style truly did evolve, and that I have kept some of what I learned. I need a refresher course, though, that's for sure.
I was reminded of this today when I visited a blog my friend Salle Redfield recommended a while back. Today's entry sent me right back to the streets of Paris. You simply must check out the link I posted if you have any fascination with the simple elegance of women's fashion in Paris.
As I read the blog I remembered that my Parisian women friends really were pretty Lazy about their fashion. They did the minimum, and they didn't, in general, fret about it at all. They simply did the minimum with a Lazy touch of genius. The blog has some great Lazy Parisian Woman tips.
Bonne Chance Mes Amies!