I feel like there’s a general sense in the US that European fashion, and especially French fashion, is just “better”, or somehow more effortless. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen posts by American creators on social media somehow trying to recreate this European fashion aesthetic. Besides that, even before coming to France I was aware that people would dress a little nicer in public. While I was ever one of those Americans who would wear pajamas to the grocery store, I definitely wore leggings and t-shirts to class most days. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this casual culture (and I will definitely be pulling my leggings out again once I’m back home next month), but I was interested in seeing whether what I had heard about French fashion was really true. For the most part, it is.
First of all, French students do not wear t-shirts and shorts or leggings to class. In fact, I rarely see anyone wearing athletic or athleisure style clothing unless they are actually in the process of working out. I have seen a few people wearing sweatpants on the bus, but I have not even once seen a person wearing the shorts and t-shirt style outfits that many students at my college and I would regularly wear. To wear something like pajamas in public in France would be extreme strange.
I heard a quote once that went something like, “whatever style is popular in Europe will be popular in America two years later.” I’ve been thinking about this statement over my time in France. Back at home in South Carolina, tight leather leggings were just starting to become popular. Of course I haven’t been shopping in America recently, but I know that leather style bathing suits are also coming into style. Sure enough, I have seen numerous people here in France wearing clothes, and especially pants, made of this faux-shiny leather.
One thing that I frequently see here is Velcro sneakers for adults. Many of us may have had velcro shoes as a toddler, but it’s very rare to see adults wearing them in the US. But in France, they’re popular! I see an adult wearing Velcro shoes nearly every day… and they’re surprisingly fashionable. Based on the statement I heard regarding the exporting of Fashion trends to the US, I’m predicting that Velcro sneakers will be popular for adults in America at the end of 2022 or in 2023. We’ll have to wait and see whether I’m right!
While I am by no means an expert in fashion, I have always enjoyed clothes and accessorizing, and it has been so fun to see what people in France are wearing. I have definitely taken some style inspiration from people I have seen here that I will carry with me even after I’m home.