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Paris: Fall 2010 cheapo fashion report

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Porte de Vanves
The Porte de Vanves flea market. Photos by Theadora Brack

By Theadora Brack in Paris—

Here’s my fall fashion news report from Paris. After studying countless window displays and people on the street, I’ve spotted a few trends. Outerwear is everywhere in the form of soft cotton t-shirts, faux sheared sheepskin (la peau lainée) vests, and faux fur waistcoats. Rugged, sexy, and unisex—layering just got easier in the City of Tights.

Soldes by Paris!

Paris Printempts

Printemps "iced" vitrine

Les soldes d’hiver 2011 (winter sales) kick off Wednesday, January 12, 2011. Cha-ching! The big sale is just around the corner, so it’s never too early to start strategizing and planning your post-holiday purchases. Window-shop now—or flip through a French magazine—and save precious time and money later.

Shear fun at Sympa

Tripping to Paris before or after the big sale? Don’t fret. My favorite bargain bin shopping spot is Sympa in Montmartre, at the foot of Sacré-Coeur (Amélie’s old ’hood). Inventory rotates. This fall you’ll often find Best Mountain, Etam, Naf-Naf, and Undiz Lingerie Planet but for a fraction of their original cost!

Recently I scored a pair of plaid flannel shorts, a black woolen vest and an armful of long sleeved tee shirts—all by Best Mountain, and all for just €5 a pop! Pinch yourself for the love of 100 percent cotton and mother-of-pearl buttons. C’est vrai!

I also bought a rather hefty selection of Etam lingerie for €2 each in orange solids and outrageous patterns. When it comes to unmentionables, these days pumpkin orange and shocking pink reign. Goes well with the rugged lumberjack look, I say. It’s all about balance.

Shopping in the Marais Paris

Sitting pretty in the Marais

FURocious on rue de Rennes

Faux fur is back. That’s news? That’s news! The short unisex waistcoat, never smarter, straight or full but never flared. The belted cardigan vest with its décolleté neckline is an unbeatable formula for sexy casual sophistication. Some blame Johnny Weir for the faux fur comeback, but I don’t. I thank him!

Under last week’s full moon, I finally succumbed to the power of suggestion and purchased an affordable one at Zara on rue des Rennes. Paired with my new cotton tees and woolen shorts, I’m good to go from day to night.

Secondhand (la vie en) rose at Les Puces

Fashionistas, I’ve recently noticed more vintage clothing booths popping up at the Porte de Vanves flea market. The flea market opens at 7 a.m., and the dealers start packing up to leave around noon, so don’t sleep in! Throughout the flea market, you’ll find tables, racks and boxes of vintage clothes, along with accessories like costume jewelry, bags, belts, hats, sunglasses, and shoes. Look for the bargain tables. These are usually marked with handwritten signs.

King Kong at Printemps

King Kong by Mr. Brainwash

Also, keep your eyes peeled for haute couture labels—Dior, Lanvin, and Schiaparelli turn up from time to time! My latest Porte de Vanves finds include a faux leather vest by Printemps for €5 and two pairs of Ted Lapidus hexagonal sunglasses for even less! Back in the day, Lapidus (Brigitte Bardot’s favorite designer) introduced unisex dressing, coolly meshing military and safari-inspired outfits with jazzin’ blue jeans. Ooh, la la.

Empire State of Mind on Haussmann

And speaking of Printemps and faux fur, do Fay Wray it over to Printemps and get an eyeful of King Kong! Created by Franco-American street pop artist Mr. Brainwash as a love note to New York City, the original Wild Ape Thang is made of recycled tires and two stories tall. Don’t miss it. (By the way, the artist is currently in vogue with Madonna, so strike a pose and FB post it! There’s nothing to it.)

As the lady outside Printemps said to me as I was attempting to photograph King Kong in his glory, “Keep moving, Cheapos, keep moving!”

About the author

Theadora Brack

About the author: Theadora Brack is a writer working in Paris. Her fiction has appeared in more than 30 literary publications, including 3AM International, The Smoking Poet, Beloit Fiction Journal, Mid-American Review, and the Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal.

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2 thoughts on “Paris: Fall 2010 cheapo fashion report”

  1. Looks great, Theadora. I usually have two springtime trips running to Paris. But everyone seems freaked out about the strikes and the “terrorist” threats. Hopefully people will change their minds and will want to go back to Paris after reading your terrific blog posts.

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