Misty, blurred, bright. Feeling like your entire existence is on black and white film. Water hangs in the air, suspended indefinitely just above pavement and cobblestones. Angry Frenchmen pay me no attention as they scurry down sidewalks; places to go and baguettes to eat.
Romance is everywhere; it fills rooms and dominates energies. Romance for lovers, romance for adventure, romance for all the enlightening sights and sounds I’ve discovered. This city’s romance knows no bounds. It’s not just for the couples; Paris is for the romantics, paired or not.
When I think of you, Paris, I will think of delicate lace, wet cobblestones, and too much bread. I will wistfully remember the clicking of heels on streets at 4 am. Laughter over a bottle of wine and a rude waiter. Speechlessness when I want to say something, and moments when I didn’t feel the need at all – like that night we watched the Eiffel Tower light up in all of her splendor.
I will always remember the day you served me all of my idols on a silver platter, walking down the street following a fashion show I will one day attend. The empowerment I felt in that moment, it can only be felt in a city like you.
Getting lost in your city streets didn’t taste like panic like it usually does; it felt like freedom vibrating across my skin and the rain acted as my guide. I explored with an intensity, feverishly eager for all the knowledge and experiences you had to offer.
Paris, most importantly you taught me that my greatest love is and will always will be with myself. Me and only me. I and only I can teach myself what I am worth. And Paris, with you I am worth everything.” – Journal entry, March 4th, 2017.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I was in Paris this past weekend (yes, during Paris Fashion Week!). While I’m not yet cool enough to attend any shows, that doesn’t mean I didn’t partake in the fashion delirium taking place. The city was stylistically thriving (even more than usual) and this refreshing state of mind certainly guided my approach to dressing throughout the trip. The quintessential Parisian effortlessness that everybody talks about – it’s there, and it’s real.
I think there’s an element of trust between fashion and the French that the rest of us don’t experience; we spend precious minutes out of our day tucking and re-tucking shirts, re-tousling our hair, striving to achieve the perfect look. But the effortlessness of the French comes from them knowing that whatever garments they put on their back will indeed look more chic the less they are fussed with. They can’t afford to waste a moment double checking themselves – they have too many baguettes to eat and too little time.
I’m still trying to maintain that Paris state of mind when dressing back in Edinburgh and forever will, but there’s a spirit that exists in the city of style’s origin that’s hard to come by anywhere else. Until next time, I [wistfully] suppose.
Anyways, here’s what I wore. Let me know how I did.
Stepping into what used to be the Grand Hall; all that’s left is moss and broken stones. The energy of lives that once filled this room still vibrates in the air, though weakened after hundreds of years. Green and golden hues fill each and every crevice and crack. Spiral staircase towers and medieval architectural planning construct a playground. Curiosity all consuming, it pulls me to each new doorway. I skip down halls, dance through old bed chambers, giggle with an adolescent excitement as I climb my way up to the top, taking the steps two at a time.
The ceiling crumbled centuries ago, but I would wager that the princesses and princes who once lived here would have preferred it this way – natural light exposing every thoughtful detail, inscribed initials and family crests. Grand windows would have once let light kiss the floors, but now the sun’s rays flood every room without obstruction.
Window seats provide the same function they were once intended for; sitting, gazing, wondering. The journal comes out, the pen pours ink. What is it that’s making my heart burst here? I’m in love with this place. I’m in love with the way I feel here; enchanting, magnificent.
Something so grand that makes me feel so minute and humbled. People felt here, people loved here, people lived here. Their entire world reduced to rubble around me. Joys and sorrows long forgotten, but still present – the taste of abandoned ruins is so bittersweet. It’s a spiritual experience to truly recognize evidence of other worlds than your own; the palpability of knowing you make up less than one second in the clock of the world and its history.
All the wonders of the world don’t compare to what I’ve unearthed here. It’s a storybook, and coming here in solitude is allowing me to understand how I am in fact my own fairytale ending. I am a princess, twirling about in what used to be the King’s Throne Room. I record a mental movie of myself in this moment, later to be projected onto my dreams, and I continue on my way.
“Fast fashion.” You’ve heard the term; you get the gist. But did you know these facts about it?
Behind oil, fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry.
In 2013, the average American threw out 70 pounds of clothing.
Workers in factories which produce fast fashion are severely underpaid, making as little at $10 a month.
Trends are coming and going even faster than they did 5 years ago, a phenomenon which is made possible by the fast fashion industry, but also encourages the accelerated consumption of clothing.
It’s contributing to the demise of truly original style. (This is a personal opinion but I’m sure many others agree).
Fast fashion is the phenomenon occurring throughout the world of cheaply made clothing selling for cheap, then getting tossed into the trash after only a few wears. It’s propagated by stores like H&M, Zara, Forever 21, and others of the like. It’s effects on the earth are horrendous, and it’s only just now gaining notoriety as a world issue.
I’ll be the first to admit, I own pieces from each of the stores I’ve just named. As a student, those price points are near irresistible as well as the styles offered. But throughout the past year or so, the darker truths behind these stores have failed to escape my observation, and I can’t un-imagine what I now feel towards the industry.
With the widespread newfound negativity towards fast fashion, thrift shopping is becoming increasingly popular. It’s the cheaper alternative to small scale, locally sourced or sustainable brands, and it usually gives way to some very interesting pieces. Of all the encounters I’ve had in which I’ve complimented a piece of clothing, about 60% of responses I receive are, “Thanks! I got it in a thrift store,” or “It’s vintage!”
So the draw to thrifting in these trying times is obvious. But let me tell you, if thrifting was a sport, I would be picked last in gym class every time. While I’ve of course found some gems (it’s hard not to when you’ve lived in San Francisco), I would hardly call myself a thrift shopping connoisseur and am the last to give advice to others on the subject.
So instead, I’m taking you all along on the journey as I better acquaint myself with this world of ill-fitting jackets and 80’s shoulder pads, hopefully uncovering some stars along the way.