The Politics of Fashion: An American Girl in Paris, Part 1

The Politics of Fashion

Wow. It is almost here. In two more days, I will board my first flight ever and embark upon an unforgettable adventure. As I prepare to leave for Paris later this week, I am reminded of how much I despise packing. I was forewarned to not shop before leaving for Paris, but I could not resist consistently stalking Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel throughout the summer in hopes of turning my college-girl wardrobe, i.e. the typical t-shirts and jeans combo, into Parisian chic. Apparently, French fashion is a big deal (duh?!), so let’s just say I had to make some new additions to my already overbearing wardrobe. Outside of worrying about my hair (don’t judge me; I hear France has hard water!), one of my biggest concerns is looking fashionably cute. Vain, right? I know. But I can’t help it – I am going to the fashion capital of the world.

Packing for Paris is kind of stressful, if you ask me. As I sit on top of my bags (yes, plural) in hopes of squshing them enough so that I can zip them shut, I continue to wonder if I have enough dresses and comfortable shoes or if I should bring less jeans. I also wonder if I will fit in, or if one random day, a Parisian lady will laugh at one of my outfits while she prances around the city in Chanel. A bit much, huh? Of course, I am primarily there to study, but I mean, it’s Paris. When I think of Paris, I don’t think of the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre – I think of fashion.

It is extremely comforting to know that if I just so happen to forget something or want another excuse to spend money, or if a lady DOES laugh at my attire, that I am going to the fashion capital of the world during their – get this – summer sale! How fitting is that? I am studying abroad in Paris during the highly coveted sale that women drool and even fight over (I’ve already been warned to watch out for the older ladies – they are on a mission!). I get excited just thinking about the silk scarves that will be at the tip of my fingertips or the vintage finds awaiting me in the shopping centers. Yes, it is that serious. But in order for me to have the best shopping experience EVER, I decided to do a little research, and thanks to Prissy Mag, I already have a list of stores that I aim to visit before I leave. Of course, I will visit France’s H&M and probably other American stores there, but I really want to shop at stores that you can’t find in the States. Only makes sense, right? For clothing, so far, I have found two amazing stores – check them out below:

  • Zara –After browsing the store’s website for hours, I am beyond excited to visit. I have already fallen in love with 95% of what I saw and that was just on the website. Just imagine what will happen once I am actually in the store! This store is trendy, sophisticated, and pretty affordable – how can you beat that?
  • Mango – “Fashion for the young, urban woman.” As you can see, their motto says it all! Similar to Zara, Mango is another adorable store that is also affordable (actually, less expensive than Zara), but still Parisian chic, of course! The store gives me an H&M vibe, especially with its prices, and there is nothing wrong with that!

For shoes:

  • Eden Shoes – Oh my. If their website is as chic as their shoes then I don’t know what I will do with myself! Unfortunately for us sitting behind our computers in the States, we can’t really check out the shoes (tear), but judging by the gallery photos, the store and its shoes are absolutely fabulous.
  • Printemps – To be quite honest, if you never hear from me again, it’s probably because I’m still lost in this fashion wonderland. Seriously – this department store is huge! Even though this is a department store, I was told that their shoes tend to be their speciality. So, I am wondering: will this store be shoe heaven?

The last shopping destination cannot be categorized, because it is considered the holy grail of shopping in Paris: Lafayette. I was told that if I want to find vintage, one-of-a-kind items, whether that be clothing, shoes, or jewelry, that shopping at Lafayette is a must. If something horrible happens, i.e. I can’t make it to the other stores or they are closed for renovations, I will find a way to shop at Lafayette. Trust me.

Now, if a hint of jealousy is beginning to creep upon your shoulders, don’t worry. I won’t be the only one experiencing the wonder of fashion in Paris – you’ll be along for the ride, too. Throughout my five-week stay in Paris, I will make sure to report on my fashion finds, how good these summer sales really are, if these stores are actually heaven on earth, what people are wearing, and any bizarre purchases I have made.

So, are you ready? I am! Fashion capital of the world, here we come!


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