Whenever I travel, I try to fit in as much as possible. I don’t like to stand out like a sore thumb as a tourist. By definition I am a tourist, though I prefer to think of myself as a traveler. The easiest way to stand out as an American in Europe is to wear shorts and white Reebok’s in the summer. Oh, and getting drunk and rowdy in the streets isn’t going to help your cause either!
My first time in Paris, I noticed that most of the women wore scarves. Of all shapes, sizes and colors. The older, put together ladies, tend to wear smaller silk scarves, with classic patterns, tied in a knot around their necks or larger ones spread out loosely under the collars of their coat. Think Hermes. The younger crowd usually opt for longer styles with fringe. And the colder the weather gets, the thicker the scarf.
I was immediately taken by all the scarves. Paris is a fashion capital, so these scarves serve a stylish purpose, but also a practical one, since Paris can get windy and chilly…any time of year, especially with all that rain. Keeping in mind my desire to *blend in* in Paris, wearing scarves seemed like a great way to resemble a local. It is no wonder I found myself…quickly addicted to scarves.
It’s hard not to be really. You can find them anywhere and everywhere. Small ones, long ones, silk, cashmere, wool, viscose, pattern, no pattern, bold or muted colors. The list is endless. There are even kiosks set up in some of the metro stations, which is where I bought one of mine. I seek them out, no matter where I go. It is a goal of mine to buy a few new ones every visit. They are a perfect accessory…like shoes and handbags…you can never have too many!
One of my readers, Jill, picked up on something I said in a previous post about liking to collect scarves and bring them home from Paris. She asked me if I would share my favorite places to buy scarves with you.
I have purchased quite a few lovelies at various points in the city. A few of my favorites are from the very touristy area of Montmartre. A funky pink printed accordion-pleat style, called my name from a window display in the very chic St. Germain des Pres, and came home with me. But my favorite spot so far is a little gem is on the Ile Saint-Louis, one of my favorite places in all of Paris. It is called Bamyan. Not only do I love the quality of these scarves, but the service is what keeps me coming back. Every time I go in, I gently rummage through the neatly fanned out stacks to find what I like. Madam always nods that I can try one on. Inevitably, she wanders over to style me pretty. Apparently, I never pick my correct *color*. She, finds my color, and like a magician performing a disappearing trick with a magic cape, she twirls, poofs, fluffs, ties, wraps, adjusts… and voila! Yes, she actually says voila! She is always spot on. It never fails. I always love what she chooses. And more importantly, the gorgeous way she drapes and ties it on me.
Though my ego is a bit bruised because I obviously don’t know myself like any real Parisienne should, I am elated and grateful for Madam and her beautiful scarves, but more importantly for her gift of just knowing what looks best on you. It is a talent I have yet to acquire.
This past visit, I came away with this beautiful plum, fringed, raw silk scarf. I wore it all over Paris for the rest of my trip. With Madams help, and my new scarf….how could I not blend in?
How about you? Do you like to wear scarves? Where are your favorite places to shop for scarves? How else to you fit in when you travel?
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