Ready To Wear: Natives of every country have a signature sense of style
Ah, Paris in the spring.
I find myself strolling down Rue de Rivoli taking in IM Pei's glass pyramid in the sunshine, past tourists peering into Angelina – where, whatever the weather, little white china cups full of thick, sweet, hot chocolate are served – and on to Place de la Concorde, where traffic never sleeps.
I would be more footloose and fancy-free were I not carrying the tools of my trade – laptop, notebooks, travel documents and, inevitably, a glossy coffee-table tome the size of a coffee table. Still, I have half an hour to kill before a lunch appointment so I wander into Tuileries Garden, where shoes are invariably wrecked. Only look at the street-style pictures snapped during the ready-to-wear shows and note the film of stone-coloured grit embedded into even the most upscale footwear and you'll see what I mean.
If ever proof were needed that the natives of each country have a signature style, then it may be seen here. Despite temperatures in the 20s, the Italians are wearing heavy leather biker jackets, snake-hipped, dark denim jeans, leather shoulder bags and boots, immaculately applied make-up and, of course, big, dark glasses. For these fashion-loving souls, taking one's clothes off any time before August is uncouth. Then come the Americans, in plaid shirts, more denim – not snake-hipped, not dark – and oversized flyweight jackets covered in pockets. It's so much more practical to fill these with personal belongings, after all, although the odd rucksack is also on display.
The French, meanwhile, apparently oblivious to the descent of many, many visitors, eat their lunches on benches strategically placed all around and smoke. They're in the kind of "normal" denim – straight-cut, snug, but never too snug, and vaguely ethnic shirts (current Isabel Marant-style) that they sport so effortlessly. Let anyone else try this at their peril. It represents the type of vaguely louche, but somehow still smart, appearance that is difficult to pull off.
And, finally, there's me. Having left the house at 6am mindful of the chill London air I'm wearing a black wool coat, cashmere sweater, skinnies and sneakers; I am hiding in the shade and feel like... a nosferatu – le style anglais indeed.
Life & Style blogs
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Living with Google Glass: what are they actually like to wear?
Microsoft's Xbox One: Have the price (£399) and release date (30 November) been leaked by online retailer Zavvi?
Splint made by 3D printer used to save baby’s life
The 10 Best road-trip gadgets
Google Glass: First images taken on Google's new glasses appear on Twitter
- 1 Breaking: Soldier killed in Woolwich machete attack named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.