Euro Trip Diaries: Evolving Fashion for each country
As my travels through Europe continue, my shopping habits evolve to adapt to what is appropriate for my current location. While the south of France brings the urge to buy designer rain boots and all things quick-dry, the northern mountain cities’ uniform standards call for knit layers and over the knee socks. Moving northeast into Luxembourg, trusty skinny jeans and a more casual, classic style is evident and sneakers are o-ok (which is good news for me after wearing boots and heels all through France; what a relief!) Despite an evidentially different approach to dress, each of these cities had one common ground: Accessories. Lucky for me, jewellery is as important as clothes are to me and I have had some amazing finds so far (except that Chanel pearl necklace from that vintage store in Paris; if only I had 600€!) Although there are many great jewellery stores in Europe, from the London based trendy shop Accessorize to one of a kind hand made jewellery boutiques such as Komplette, my favourite place to grab a necklace or two so far has been the famous Galeries Lafayette (aside from my friend Melissa’s private collection which actually rivals Lafayette’s collection).
The flagship store is in Paris, but the massive department store can also be found around France. Astonishingly, I happened to be in town at the right time to stop by Lafayette as they were having their once yearly sale. Score. After endless wandering through the eight levels of clothing, beauty and cosmetics and home furnishing sections (which I have never had even the most remote interest in until seeing the crazy nick-knacks sold at Lafayette and around Paris – heart-shaped sterling silver plateware, anyone?) I found myself on a whole floor dedicated just to accessories. Jewellery, handbags, belts, shoes, hosiery and outerwear accessories all harmoniously hung together in an accessory heaven.
Purses and bags, or ‘sacs’ en français, are categorized by brand. French favourites such as Longchamp and Chloé can be found among American classics like Guess and Ralph Lauren. The flagship store in Paris also has smaller salons within the handbag section and boasts private rooms with names like Prada, Versace and Balenciaga. The shoe section is also one organized by brand and mini sections of mostly French designers I have never heard make me wish I was born in Paris so I could be familiar with Serafini booties instead of Aldo’s version. International favourites like Marc Jacobs and even Uggs are evidentially popular globally as I witness two women snatch up each pair, respectively.
Hosiery is a whole wonderland in itself at Lafayette and for good reason; they are a staple in the French’s wardrobes. Brand name tights like Wolford and leggings by Joe’s Jeans line incredibly long aisles filled with fashion-forward legwear ranging from wool thigh-high socks to rose-printed tights. Sheers, patterned, tye-dyed, dip-dyed, ombré, ribbed and embellished tights and leggings helped me understand why the French hardly ever wear pants and opt for one of these many fashionable choices instead. The only small problem is how often they tear from getting snagged on that dazzling bracelet you found in the next section over… the jewellery section.
The jewellery section at Lafayette is possibly the most fabulous array of sparkle I have ever seen in my life. The collections range from vintage-inspired to modern twinkles to trendy baubles. Lafayette’s private brand just gets it right and creates pieces that are on-trend yet seem seasonless. Other brand name jewellery collections can also be found and you may even find yourself having the confidence to don a headband with a 40’s inspired feather headpiece attached to it. After all, if it’s at Galeries Lafayette, it must be part of that elusive, effortless chic style those Parisians seem to have accomplished so easily.
- Aimee Brothman
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