Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a The Wandering Parisian
France is famous for its fabrics. Lyon has been making printed silks since before the French Revolution. Hermes sells one of its printed silk scarves every second every day somewhere in the world. Pierre Frey, Braquenie, Tassinari & Chatel are all exceptional creators and purveyors of an enormous range of fabrics of the most beautiful colours and patterns imaginable.
And none of them make clothing.
French women love colour and pattern. But pattern tends to be for curtains. Upholstery. Wallpaper.
While small French girls are often dressed in ultra-charming smocked Liberty fabric dresses – a trip to a local park in Paris finds girls up to age 8 dressed in the most adorable, traditional printed dresses and outfits and they are irresistibly cute.
French women tend to steer clear of prints
On the other hand, adult French women, a part from a summer frock, tend to steer clear of prints.
There are several possible reasons for this: it may be because after age 8 or 10 such prints may look either childish, or god forbid, matronly or because it simply is less flexible to work with prints in your functional wardrobe.
And prints are tough, if the motif is too small a normal size woman may suddenly look like an armchair.
If the pattern is too large, she may be confused with the wallpaper…
Separates in solids or discreet stripes are easier to mix and match
Separates in solids or even discreet stripes are much easier to mix and match with other pieces in your wardrobe. Furthermore, floral prints tend to limit your season. While nothing says summer like a floral print, you may want a dress or blouse that you can wear throughout the year. With climate change giving us unseasonably warm winters or cold, rainy summers you want your wardrobe to work with the weather as it is, rather than as you would like it to be. (No one looks sparkling and sexy when they are shivering!)
Why not a wardrobe of scarves? I have lots of prints and florals for spring and summer that I retire for fall and winter in favor of different colors, weights and weaves for those seasons.
If you love florals and Liberty prints – which I adore – indulge. But choose a wallet, a scarf, umbrella or notebook. You are not your furniture.
And a word on polka dots – no. Or at least not yet, post-75 why not, but post-50 those dots just serve as a reminder of how close you are to post-75…