I have not bought a single item of clothing in 2010. No, I'm lying, I bought a two-pack of black tights sometime in mid-January but funnily enough the thrill's worn off a little bit now... Gotta say, I'm beginning to get just a bit antsy. There are lots of reasons for this, the most obvious being that, having booked trips to Marrakech, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Malmö(!), I'm not exactly feeling flush at the moment. Although irrelevant details like having no money have hardly stopped me in the past.
What's really made the difference, to be honest, is that the French 'high street', well... doesn't really exist as such, certainly not in the same sense as in Britain. Oh, there's H&M, of course (where is there NOT? Although my local one is particularly poor, seeing as it doesn't even stock my beloved Trend department. Sob sob). But as far as homegrown high street brands go, Pimkie and Etam are about it really... And a quick look at their typical offerings and you'll see that they're not exactly at the cutting edge of fashion... Topshop it ain't.
There's no doubt that there really is a different attitude to fashion here. As evidenced by the fact that people generally start conversations with me with, "...Are you French?" i.e. "It's pretty obvious you're not." I guess it must be the lack of: effortless perfectly mussed long hair, well-fitting jeans, beautifully-cut blazers, good quality biker boots, bronzed complexion and expensive sunglasses. To name but a few. Yeah, I know, jealousy isn't attractive. Anyway, my point is that, clichéd as it might sound, the whole 'fast fashion' thing just never really caught on. The current popularity of 'high end' high street stores like Reiss or Whistles is definitely more than just a trend here... Even for teenage girls it's pretty much standard procedure, so there's really no shortage of places to shop as long as you're willing to pay what feels to me like that bit extra.
One of my favourites is The Kooples, whose particular quirk is showcasing a selected few couples in their ads and on their website (looking sickeningly beautiful/stylish/hip/French, and professing their love for one another, naturally). The website (at least the online shop) is a little lacklustre to be honest but the clothes are pretty much everything I envy about the girls here... Well cut in great quality fabrics, beautifully tailored and classic, but still with a nod to trends keeping the whole thing youthful, and giving it that little hint of an edgy undercurrent.
The problem with all this, obviously, is that brands like this are supposed to be an affordable alternative to high fashion. And what with my splashing the cash on the sheer luxury that is Ryanair flights (such a jet-setter), even this is pretttty out of my reach at the moment... But hey, y'know. If I was at home I'd probably just be wasting my remaining pennies in Primark for the sake of it, so swings and roundabouts eh?