During the summer holidays when I was getting ready to move to France, I was very excited as it meant that I had the opportunity to buy some new clothes and change my fashion a bit. I love fashion as I think it allows you to express your personality and highlight your individuality. I would describe my style as very simple and classic. I love wearing black and white outfits and simple dresses with knee-high boots. Now it is easy to think of French fashion as stripy Breton T-shirts and berets, however when I arrived in France I realized that this was not the case. When thinking about what I would wear in my role as language assistant, I thought I would have to dress quite smartly and formally. So I packed smart dresses, trousers and blouses.
In English schools teachers are expected to look very smart. Jeans and trainers are not allowed, and both men and women normally wear suits. However, when I arrived at the schools in France I quickly learnt that it is not the same in France. First of all the pupils do not wear uniforms and the teachers' clothing is much more relaxed and comfortable. Most of the teachers in the schools I work in wear jeans, trainers and jumpers. This is great as it means you are not worried about getting your clothes dirty and it is much more comfortable than wearing a smart skirt and shirt.
As for young people in France I have noticed that they also dress very casually. Skinny jeans, ankle boots and jumpers is a typical outfit for a teenage girl. They also wear a lot of black, which of course matches with everything. At first I felt a little out of place in France with my fashion sense but I have learnt to wear what I like to wear, regardless of what every one else is wearing.
There are so many great shops in France and I am trying very hard not to buy too many clothes as I will have to fit it all in my luggage when I return to England. I particularly love the department store 'Les Galléries La Fayette' which sells everything from make-up to dressing gowns. I have just returned from a short trip to Tours and I treated myself to a new skirt ... oops!
So my vision of French fashion changed once I arrived in France and it shows how much you can learn about a country from living in it. I envy the French business women who look effortlessly sophisticated and chic. Maybe I will dress like them one day! For now I will stick with my own style. Fashion in France is so eclectic and different from what most of us imagine.