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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Teachers required for Cambridge Primary positions Jan 2015

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in Cambridge...

    British Sign Language Teaching Assistant

    £60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education are lookin...

    English Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - Saffron ...

    Primary Supply Teacher - Northants

    £90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Primary School Supply Teache...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain