Published on November 7th, 2010 | by thevyne


Finding the Right Conversation Piece

By Allison Brooke Gordon

I like to think I have an appreciative eye for fashion-and so kindly let me tell you, there is something beautiful happening in London and Paris. I recently returned from a jaunt there with two stylish friends. We were determined to take in as much of the culture, cuisine and atmosphere as we could-and yes, fashion being a large part of it. I had high hopes to be the first to spot a fashion trend. And even higher hopes to return to the U.S. with a vogue tip or two to share with others.

What are the French women wearing this fall? Do the English ladies carry handbags or clutches? Shall it be ruffled or pleated? Vintage or avant-garde?

Well, I am happy to report that in my brief time there I noticed a common thread -more beautiful than that found in a delicate chiffon scarf or polished silk neck-tie. Among all of the smart trimmings seen in London, and the effortless statement pieces in Paris, the most becoming item for the mesdames et messieurs and the ladies and gentlemen I observed, is their social grace.

The beauty and uniqueness of London and Paris -and all its style in fashion, cuisine, architecture and landscape -is brilliant and emphasized by a lovely backdrop of pleasant courtesies.  There is nothing more cosmopolitan and fashion forward than this. For example, I found expressions like “Pardonnez-moi” ” S’il vous plait” “Merci beaucoup” “Have a good afternoon” and “You are very welcome” pull an outfit together just beautifully. We have access to these same words however don’t adorn our requests or comments with them nearly as often as those in London or Paris.

Another observation, Paris and London are just as technologically advanced as the United States, however, it appears not as dependent on it. The Parisians and British don’t chatter on their cellphone while they stroll down Regent Street or Rue de Saint Germain; nor do they constantly text while at the pub or café. To do so would seem a fashion faux pas. It seems they walk with mindfulness or wait calmly and patiently rather than passing time on a handheld device.

In my humble opinion, an outfit stands out so much more sans the distraction of an incoming tweet at every moment and the need to respond to it. I believe it was fashion icon Coco Chanel that suggested, “take one thing off” after getting dressed. Well, it seems that to “turn something off” in the presence of others is just as fashionable in Europe. Not a trend-but a timeless, classic courtesy.

So, might we here in the States, do as the Parisians and English do? That is, take on a style and look that says,” I respect you” “You have my undivided attention” and “I care.” After all, isn’t that was fashion is? A non-verbal reflection of who we are and a visual cue of what we value? Cheers to gentle manners and technology-free moments – the most chic and elegant vision of all.


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2 Responses to Finding the Right Conversation Piece

  1. Jacqueline says:

    Great article!

  2. Daniela Mello says:

    Pleasantly surprising and so right!

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