Style steals

As much as I love to shop in Paris, it can be an expensive venture. I couldn’t stifle my longing sighs as I perused, should I say coveted, the items on soldes from the sites I mentioned last week. My frustration at my limited budget got me to thinking about how a wise friend once pinpointed the difference between fashion – a usually negative connotation for me, often an overly expensive and not-unique venture, and style – positive connotation, creating your own unique look with what you have while wisely adding some new pieces when you can. Here’s what I’ve done with style inspired by some of my favorite French stores:

This retro polka dot dress from Comptoir des cotonniers, is on sale for 80 euros.

I picked up this equally retro alternative from my non-guilt trend splurge store, Target, for $20.

This cheeky ruffle skirt from Zadig and Voltaire, on sale for 80 euros, got me thinking about ruffles in general. Not just for the 80s anymore, they can be fun and add just the right je ne sais quoi to any ensemble.

Instead of spending all my extra sous on the skirt, I opted for this ruffle-enhanced romper, also courtesy of Target, also on sale for $20.

I love this gorgeous  and feminine mint dress from Tara Jarmon, on sale for 266 euros. Realizing how much I’m loving mint this season, I decided to pick up multiple pops of this color rather than letting it dictate my whole look.

I’m still waiting on this super cute gummy mint watch from Anthropologie, very reasonably priced at $60.

I found this cute vintage necklace on Pinterest from an Etsy shop. It was a steal at $14 and came all the way from Finland. Love that!

I can’t stop painting my nails mint! I’ve been using Revlon Minted, only $4.99 and which I’ve purchased from, you guessed it, Target. What’s inspiring your style this summer?


Le lèche-vitrine

I love this photo of a woman “qui fait du lèche-vitrine” (literally “window licking”, but figuratively window shopping) from the Sartorialist ~


Everything about this woman, from her leopard flats, to her elegant handbag (maybe a Kelly? I can’t tell from that angle?), to her neat and low ponytail, just screams elegant. French. woman. My style is *far* from this put together at this point in my life. I’m still seduced by the sequins, bold prints and trendy tees of these, some of favorite stores in Paris , if not to lick their windows, then at least to shop them when I have a couple of extra sous 😉

Go to Zadig & Voltaire for overpriced tees and funky cashmere sweaters. Z&V always delivers just the right amount of sequin and sparkle. For those on smaller budgets, wait for the soldes in the summer or beginning of each year. I always enjoyed popping in the location right next to Saint Sulpice, accessible from the same metro stop on the Line 4.

I love Tara Jarmon for feminine dresses and ensembles. My favorite location is, bien sûr, on the rue du Four, a quick walk from the Mabillon metro stop on the Line 10.

Comptoir des cotonniers is definitely one of my faves as well, with its laid back and Euro-prepster style. I favor the Marais location at 33 rue des Francs bourgeois, easily accessible from metro Saint Paul on the Line 1.

Go to Fauchon for gourmet food items, located at 26 place de la Madeleine, easy to access from the Madeleine metro stop on Line 14. It’s always a fun place for Christmas gifts. One year I did gourmet hot chocolate baskets for friends and family.

When I was working in Paris several years ago, my favorite long walk was from my shoebox studio (12 meters squared worth) in the Haut Marais over to the Bon Marché, in the chi-chi 6th arrondissement. There’s only the one location in Paris at 24 rue de Sèvres. It’s a quick walk from the rue du Four or you could get off at the Sèvres Babylone metro stop on the Line 12. I skated past the Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton on my way to buy gourmet groceries and lunches at the Grande epicerie. Such a treat!

Here are a couple more typical lèche-vitrine pics from my various Parisian séjours.

This cute store is located right on my little rue de Picardie in the Marais (3rd arrondissement). Definitely reminiscent of 10,000 Villages if you’re familiar with that store. A quick walk from metro République on the Line 10, among others.

I always love some freshly-cut flowers from the ubiquitous Parisian flower market. These are right down the street from my old office in the 17 arrondissement, actually quite close to the étoile, where the Arc de triomphe sits. What are some of your favorite stores for window shopping? Paris or elsewhere?

Les soldes a paris

Writing about my sale purchases in the States last week inspired me to write about my two most favorite moments in the French calendar year – les soldes. So, in France (and most Western European countries), retailers only actually put on “real” sales twice a year – in January and July. Stores are beginning to skirt this government mandated policy by offering Promotions the rest of the year, but really true sales only occur in January and July. And these sales are sales, ladies. Each week, every retailer from H&M to Longchamp to Hermes slash the prices even lower, hitting up to 80% off in the last week of the month-long festival (that’s how it feels to me at least, festive!). Women line up outside stores and elbow their way past imposing security guards hired to keep the peace. It’s quite the scene!

Some of my favorite finds from those long past days (or it seems like eons ago, really it was only about three years) include this adorable pair of red pumps from Zara and these cute black wooden-heeled ladies also from Zara.



Another favorite is this hand-stitched Antik Batik coat, 

and this cozy ecru cotton and satin sweater coat from Le Diabl’ess .




I also love this Paddington-like coat from Comptoir des cotonniers.




So, should you be planning a trip to Paris in the next year or so, I highly recommend you try to hit the sales times – starting in mid-January and mid-July and lasting about a month each. Following is a list of stores I don’t think you should miss. Let me know what you think is missing, I’m ready to discover new boutiques on my next visit to Paree!


Comptoir des cotonniers, 12 place Saint Sulpice ~
trendy and Euro-preppy women’s clothing
Le diabl’ess, 64 boulevard Haussmann ~
whimsical women’s clothing
Tara jarmon, 75 rue des Saints peres ~
feminine and flirty
Bensimon, 12 rue des Francs bourgeois ~
hippy/preppy women’s, men’s, kids and house items too!
Ted baker, 47 rue Bonaparte ~
euro chic men and women’s
Le bon marche, 24 rue de Sevres ~
high end department store and gourmet groceries
Pylones, 13 rue Sainte-croix de la bretonnerie ~
fun and funky housewares