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To hell with the notion we should all aspire to look French anyway

(144 Posts)
madforgreentea Mon 02-Jun-14 22:32:23

Ok ladies, this is part venting, part seeking views on appropriate attire for our regular summer visit to 'France to visit my French husband's family.

This thread has been sparked by an off hand comment my husband made the other day when he saw me trying on Brora's botanical skirt in bougainvillea.

I have coveted this skirt since seeing it gorgeously modelled in brora's 2014 spring summer catalogue. How do you like it? I asked him. "Very British" came the response, which, when uttered by the french, usually means frumpy, gaudy, unflattering and lacking in sartorial judgment.

I was incensed. Not because he didn't like it but because what belies this comment is a rigid dictatorial view that if you're not dressed a la francaise it must be because you don't know how and lack taste (according to my mother in law). The fact is, I am just ever so fed up of the suffocating way in which left right and centre we are told we are supposed to dress as the French, look like the French, behave like the French etc etc. I love my French husband and his family and they have lots of wonderful qualities. But I cannot for the life of me understand why adopting aloofness, feigning nonchalance and working so hard at being casual whilst looking down on others who don't meet that standard at the expense of improving one's character should be attributes to which I must aspire.

So your views please ladies. Should I return said skirt and limit the 'faute de gout' mutterings from my french family and wear the usual typical French uniform or should I don the 'frump' defiantly and subversively?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 02-Jun-14 22:35:24

Keep the skirt

Wear it with the nonchalance and a British middle finger


PacificDogwood Mon 02-Jun-14 22:37:16

Wear it with black DocMartens grin

The French and their sense of style and 'chique' scare me witless

dexter73 Mon 02-Jun-14 22:46:23

The French uniform is Dull. Keep the skirt.

VioletGoesVintage Mon 02-Jun-14 22:46:35

Yep, embrace the "frump". If you like it, wear it. You'll glow and if they can't see that then more's the pity!

I do sympathise. I sometimes have to adapt my preferred style of dressing so as not to offend my (lovely) in-laws' religious sensibilities. However, as the years have gone on, I've got better at saying, 'no, hang on, this really doesn't suit me/feel right. I'll try this instead....' I do appreciate, though, that the rigidity of French style - which I rather like, in moderation - doesn't perhaps allow for as much variation as Asian dress.

Allalonenow Mon 02-Jun-14 22:47:35

Keep the skirt.

When in France wear the French costume of old and saggy black skirt and jumper covered with a battered well washed floral wrapper, to complete the look you need a pair of large wellies roughly chopped off just above the ankle, and possibly a head scarf.

rosierelala Mon 02-Jun-14 22:50:08

Follow your own unique style. Ignore IL comments. until recently I was working and living in france and I can confirm that not all french women are thin, dress immaculately or have fabulous hair.
If I had been a better friend and colleague I should have introduced some to the healing powers of frizz ease.

JuanPotatoTwo Mon 02-Jun-14 22:52:13

If you like it, and think you can wear it comfortably in the event of any supercilious french sniffy looks, then go for it. What sort of attire would your dh and family consider more "french"?

NormHonal Mon 02-Jun-14 22:52:30

French style is so.....monochrome ok that's in fashion but not the point. And standing around looking moody and sad, and critiquing.

Life is not about that. Life is about COLOUR and being HAPPY.

Keep the skirt. It makes you happy. End of story.

EyelinerQueen Mon 02-Jun-14 22:53:20

I agree with you about not aspiring to looking French. While I can appreciate a chicly (is that even a word?) dressed woman I find that groomed and understated look incredibly boring and much prefer people who express their own individuality and personality through their clothes.

That said, I just googled the skirt and it might as well have Per Una on the label. It's rotten!

StandsOnGoldenSands Mon 02-Jun-14 22:55:51

Sod the French.
Be gloriously, bonkersly British. Laura Ashley and tweed a go-go.
If he doesn't like it, remind him that he chose to marry a British woman.

NoArmaniNoPunani Mon 02-Jun-14 22:56:10

Is it this one?

EyelinerQueen Mon 02-Jun-14 22:57:50

This one I think Armani.

iK8 Mon 02-Jun-14 23:01:17

<mumbles> having seen the link I think your husband might be right...

NoArmaniNoPunani Mon 02-Jun-14 23:01:59

Oh. I know nothing about French style but that skirt is fugly. I'm rather disappointed that your husband thinks that skirt epitomises British style. Maybe for the over 80s it does

BoffinMum Mon 02-Jun-14 23:02:41

Tell him if he doesn't behave you will start dressing like a German.

whereisshe Mon 02-Jun-14 23:02:53

I'd quite like to look Parisienne, I like monochrome... But not being British I don't really see this as a comment on Anglo-French relations. I can see how the French superciliousness towards things English would get very tiring!

And you should wear the skirt since you like it - vast swathes of France are not "French" in the stereotypical style sense anyway so your DH doesn't really have the facts on his side.

naicesex Mon 02-Jun-14 23:03:52

Sorry OP, I want to agree with you but that skirt is baaaaadddddd.

BoffinMum Mon 02-Jun-14 23:04:17

Brora and Boden sell some truly dire stuff, so be careful though.

iK8 Mon 02-Jun-14 23:04:56

As fugly as that skirt is, you do need a good rebuttal: "you want me to dress like your mother??!" and then a good eyeballing should do it.

madforgreentea Mon 02-Jun-14 23:05:46

Dh family dress very classically. And it really suits them too. So I'd be fine wearing an a line cotton twill skirt ending just on the knee or just below but a swishy swirly skirt would be far too 'fantaisie' for their tastes. The thing is, it's just not me. I was raised by an artist mother and a father who wore all his favourite clothes at once even if they clashed. I was raised to be spirited and authentic and not care about what people think of my looks but care about shaping my character. So I don't want to selfishly embarrass or cause offense to my MIL. She is a very generous and good woman. But there's just this cheeky streak in me that wants to challenge the status quo, especially when it involves prejudice.

BeeBlanket Mon 02-Jun-14 23:06:08

I heard an interview with a French woman about being overweight in France and how she thought it was actually a lot harder to get a job if you don't look right (though she was OK because self-employed). I actually don't envy your ILs, that attitude has given them this narrow-minded view and they've ended up with an incredibly limited idea of what you can wear and how you must look. You can actually wear what the hell you like. That is quite a British attitude and one I'm proud of. Leading British designers are the most creative, original and individual of all. If you're British, why wouldn't you wear a very British skirt? smile

I would wear it or indeed something even brighter/more flowery if you fabcy. Carry off your style with confidence. They are probably jealous of you deep down.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Mon 02-Jun-14 23:06:43

I would have said "don the 'frump' defiantly and subversively" until I saw the skirt. It's not a good skirt and I don't think anyone could pull off defiant and subversive while wearing it. Even the model can't pull it off. But maybe you are that one person in a billion who can?

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Mon 02-Jun-14 23:07:58

In principle, everyone is right and you should dress the way you like, and ignore the French. But that is a god awful skirt OP!!

dreamingbohemian Mon 02-Jun-14 23:08:52

Wellll.... yes, French style can be boring. I'm not sure that skirt is the best antidote though.

But you're on holiday, who cares what anyone thinks of you? Are you really supposed to get a special wardrobe just for your week in France?

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