Immediately after I got back from a trip to England and France (like 2 months ago), I had this idea for a post and am only getting to it now. Where does the time go?
As with the previous trip, there were noticeable differences in fashion in London versus Paris. In London, the look is relatively uniform. The majority of women (like 95-98%?) had a skinny silhouette for the legs – nylons or tights with a short skirt, leggings or skinny fit trousers. I saw a couple of women in a wider trouser, which struck me as unstylish in the context. (Too bad for me that that was my look too!) In Paris it was much harder to generalize because everyone seems to be doing their own thing, but the skinny silhouette was apparent there too.
Our base of operations in Paris was in the Sentier, which is the garment district. You’d think it would be great for shopping and perhaps it is, but between the language issues and the sheer number of shops, plus a healthy dose of “my proportions are odd so that nothing’s likely to fit me anyway”, I found it all completely overwhelming and didn’t do much more than peer into windows.
On weekdays, there was a constant bustle in the area – little vans dropping off bundles of fresh boxes, men rolling carts laden with massive bolts of fabric over cobblestones, rolling racks filled with multiples of a single style and colour of garment being trundled out of mysterious doorways and towards waiting vans. I’m pretty sure there was a manufacturer just down the block from us but nothing looks like a factory so I couldn’t be sure. Half of the clothing shops in the area indicate that they don’t sell retail. Stationers sell clothing-industry-specific items such as big paper bags and tissue paper, mannequins, tape measures, chalk, stiletto wheels, pattern drafting books, etc. There are trim shops, button shops, thread shops, fabric shops – all for the industry. I took photos on a Sunday when all was closed and quiet. The first three photos below are within a block of where we stayed.
These are the goodies I came home with. Yes, the purchase of books on trips is quite normal for us.