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November 26, 2006 2:54 PM   Subscribe

How do people dress in the summertime in the South of France?

When I was in college I spent a semester in Paris and quickly realized that my colorful, American hipster clothes made me stick out like a sore thumb amongst the perenially black-clad Parisians.

Call me insecure, but I'd like to avoid that feeling of being la laide americaine again when I spend a month in Provence next summer. I haven't spent much time in the southern part of France and would like to know what kind of clothes I should bring. I imagine the style of dress down there is a bit different from that in Paris considering the milder, sunnier climate, but is it that different?

I'll be doing all the normal touristy things in addition to taking some classes and hopefully a trip or two to the beach.

Merci pour votre assistance!
posted by Jess the Mess to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The dress sense down there is a cacophany of luridity - sometimes in the extreme, but maybe that's just the Americans amongst the locals ... I've never properly investigated.

In Summer in the South of France (the MOST heavily touristed area in Europe - especially for that time of year), there are so many influences, there's not one particular cultural style that you would want to reference.

Wear what YOU feel comfortable in - take the bare essentials (beach, bar and dinner) then go shopping once you get there. You could visit my Beau-frere's boutique in Tourrettes-sur-Loup - and he could fit you out most appropriately (don't ask him to build you a website, though!).
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:07 PM on November 26, 2006

The no-nos seem to be T-shirts with printing (though the gay male contingent in Montpéllier wear D&G T-shirts) and jeans - though lots of students wear jeans. Women wear skirts or pants, not shorts unless they are trying to attract business. Lots of people wear sandals - if you do, please don't wear socks with them!

It will likely rain on you; it will likely be quite hot for a few days. A light water-resistant shell would be a good thing to have.

Sunglasses are indispensable but the fashions change unpredictably.

If you will be there in late July you'll see big markdowns on the local clothing as the August vacations approach.
posted by jet_silver at 4:13 PM on November 26, 2006

I am confused by this part:

my colorful, American hipster clothes made me stick out like a sore thumb amongst the perenially black-clad

American hipsters wear colors other than black?

Aside from that, what capacity will you be traveling? Is this stricktly pleasure? Also, not to commit the ultimate faux pas, but what is your age group, or at least what age group do you want to project? I mean, if you want to dress the part of the young professional on vacation, that's going to be a little different than the bohemian student or the foxy grandma, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 4:43 PM on November 26, 2006

Think Florida in the mid-1980's, and you've captured the french summer fashion.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:48 PM on November 26, 2006

Breezy summer skirts, sandals, and nicer t-shirts will do you fine. Not so much on the super-casual very clunky shoes with skirts, though.
posted by desuetude at 5:04 PM on November 26, 2006

Have you seen the movie A Good Year with Russel Crowe? The movie is based on the Peter Mayle book of the same name. I saw the movie last week, and it was pretty entertaining, and it may good for fashion tips. The lead female had that beautiful, breezy look.

I agree with above posters. Fitted t-shirts, cotton or linen skirts, pretty sandals, maybe a pair of linen pants, a nice swimsuit in a sophisticated color. Maybe a dress or two. Check out Trinny and Susannah's book, What Not to Wear for Every Occassion. They have a great holiday section.
posted by LoriFLA at 5:44 PM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've found that even students in the south of France consider their appearence a lot more than their American counterparts. Safe bets would include breezy, moveable skirts that aren't too short with nice(r) shoes. They also tend to dress up outfits more with accessories, like a belt or fancy earrings.

Agreed with not wearing a printed t-shirt, however. It just looks out of place on girls here. And try to avoid tops that over-expose.
posted by amicamentis at 10:49 PM on November 26, 2006

Response by poster: Very good advice. Thanks everybody and a big HA! to blue_beetle.

For what it's worth I'm 30, so I pretty much want to look young but not slutty. The flowy skirts and t-shirts sound perfect and very do-able.

Also, I don't know where you live Pollomacho but the hipsters here (Chicago) dress closer to circus clowns than beatniks. They seem to wear whatever happens to be on their floor that day and the results are often tragic.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:31 AM on November 27, 2006

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