Why is it that so many people are drawn to the identity of the Parisienne? Men so often want to be involved with her, women so often aspire to be like her. But why? Maybe because, regardless of her imperfections, the Parisienne knows how to enjoy life, and she does it with endless levels of sophistication. She sees the world as it should be seen – through frames of optimism – and therefore lives each hour as though she is the protagonist of her own little novel or movie. She’s different to British girls, American girls, even Italian girls, because on some level, she’ll always remain a mystery. She’s the only person who fully knows herself, as she should be. Her very being is an art form, and I think that’s why she’s so idealised. I, myself, aspire to be like her. I never fully will be, quite simply because I’m British, but I find it refreshing to adopt her outlooks on life.
I think that a lot of these stereotypes associated with the Parisienne derive from how she presents herself, deeming fashion as key. For the Parisienne, the most applicable claim when it comes to fashion is that less is more. Have those few signature items that transcend fashion and remain timeless. Own a lot of black, because contrary to the negative assumption that it is easy and convenient, nothing will ever replace it. It’s the colour which adorns the elegance of the female figure, the colour which parallels an intellectual persona, so long as an aura of charm facilitates it. The Parisienne sees nothing dramatically wrong with showing cleavage or a lot of skin, but what does that leave to the imagination? This links to that idea of mystery again, and it really is key. No one will ever truly know you as well as you know yourself, so dress in a way that aligns with this idea. Let people wonder what your story is, let a man try his very best to read beneath the ungiving enigma of your identity and consequently drive himself crazy because he’ll never truly know who you are, unless he’s the one you want to find out. This is what the Parisienne would say. People have grown so accustomed to me wearing understated pieces on a day-to-day basis, something which I am content with, because it suggests that maybe my identity is somewhat Parisienne. Not enough people adhere to the claim of less being more, meaning that not enough people adhere to the ability of the mind to wonder.
I sometimes think that I should have been born in the past, because I think today, society has become too focused on materialism – it’s hard to find people who are not driven by it. People strive for a life and relationship of more money as they think this equates to a life of more quality. But it only erodes it. Search for people who instead find time to enjoy the luxury of solitude. People who drink coffee alone in a café with no reason of waiting for or meeting someone – but instead just enjoying their own freedom from conformity. People like the Parisienne, who doesn’t follow the clockwork organisation of life that everyone else expects, just for the sake of saying that she’s ‘happy’. She’d rather dream up a life of complete emotional fulfilment which becomes her personal form of madness the longer it’s not achieved, but that’s fine. Her life is her movie, and so like her, immerse yourself in a fantasy and smile at the spectators. In honest truth, this outlook has the potential to reduce you to utter heartbreak as you constantly await a man like Serge Gainsbourg or Jacques Dutronc to walk into your life and fall for your enigma, but never mind. Unlike most people, the Parisienne is more in love with the idea of love anyway. She’s drawn to idealisation and strives for perfection, without ever worrying that it can’t be achieved. Having an empowered sense of both masculinity and femininity at the same time means that she will endlessly await this aspiration, and settle for nothing less.
Thinking about this approach to life is quite intimidating if you’re surrounded by people who don’t follow it. But I really think it’s a healthy way to view life, because if you’re not constantly seeking something further, your life will lack excitement, and you’ll be bored till death by ritual. So tomorrow, try viewing life like the Parisienne – it won’t disappoint.
Photographs by Eve Parsons: Instagram