Fashion and Motherhood

Since Littlest was born I’ve had conflicted feelings about dressing myself.

To be clear, especially since arriving in France, I’ve gone through phases of loving clothes shopping, like my year in Reims, when I even wore jewelry almost every day. I used to be fascinated with the way (fashionable) French women dressed. Shoes have become a burden for me because of my feet, but that’s another story. As for make-up, I subscribed to Birchbox for the past two years and enjoyed testing out and ordering new things, including curly hair products.

When Littlest was a newborn and I was on maternity leave, I made a point of taking a shower every day but I scaled lots of things way back. I only put on moisturizer and foundation. I often let my hair dry on its own. I was jealous of my husband and how it took him 30 seconds to get dressed after a shower. It seemed entirely unfair so I tried to reduce my routine to get as close to his as possible.

When I went back to work I did start putting on a little more make-up, but only for work days. Breastfeeding has limited my wardrobe a bit—no thigh-long tunics for example—and over the past years I’ve thrown out anything that has holes in it (a surprising amount of things). So overall I feel like my wardrobe choices have gotten pretty drab.

There’s also a financial element. Money has been tighter this year (a complicated issue with maternity leave and being taxed on last year’s much higher earnings) and so spending money on clothes means no savings for the month. I put my Birchbox subscription on hold several times this year and finally ended it (though they were also sending me too many things I couldn’t use on my sensitive skin).

I miss taking pleasure in dressing myself, I miss elegance and novelty, and yet I also still yearn for the simplicity of male fashion that my husband gets to enjoy. In men’s fashion, clothing and shoes are comfortable and long-lasting. Even dressy women’s shirts and skirts are made so that you’re tugging at them throughout the day and I have no patience for that now. I feel like my body did something amazing, and I’d like my natural beauty to dominate rather than poking, prodding, and spending time on it, and yet…

I guess I’m wondering, am I the only one who resents and still sort of misses dressing fashionably?


Wedding Shopping in Paris

When J’s vacation plans this week fell through, he decided he wanted to go to Paris and Fontainebleau with me. Although I was nervous about walking so much with my foot, we drove up to Paris Tuesday morning and parked at Antony, where we would spend the night at a friend’s place. Navigating the RER and the metro with a fragile foot that no one seemed to notice was a little stressful, and very tiring for my calf muscles. But all in all I think it was worth it. Once we were finally in Paris we headed to the Marais where I had decided we would go to Danyberd’s shop after poking around on the internet. Turns out this area of the Marais is almost entirely men’s shops (Parisians are probably already aware of this) but I was pretty confident with the choice of Danyberd, where J got fit for his suit including pants, jacket, and shirt. He got the tie across the street and got the pants hemmed in the same neighborhood. All we have left to find are the shoes, which, if he weren’t so picky, he could have gotten at Danyberd as well.

Wedding dress shopping was not the goal of the trip as I already have a prêt-a-porter dress that I’d be perfectly happy wearing for the wedding. Unfortunately we did walk past “Une fille à marier” in the Marais with the absolutely perfect short, lacy, stylish “made in France” dress for… 780 euros, or about twice my budget. Sigh.

Picture from

Picture from

But I did make one purchase for myself, since I had been eyeing some rings on Knowing they had a boutique in Paris, we went over to Place de la Madeleine to find it. It is well hidden, through a little archway and behind glass doors that you buzz to get in. We were gauche enough to wander in without an appointment at 6 pm (they close at 7) but I don’t think the saleswoman regretted helping us since we did order my ring, which I should be able to pick up when I go back to Paris for my certificat de coutume probably in February. Though of course I won’t be able to wear it till July! So things are coming together for the wedding, since we also booked our “traiteur” Thursday night. I’ll go back to work on November 3rd at which point I imagine the planning will slow down significantly, since I’ll be doing other things than sitting on the couch thinking about it.

The Love of My Life

I’ve become something of a clotheshorse, you may have noticed. (My mom pointed out that this usually only happens to rich people.) Anyway, I still have trouble finding dresses. I found this one at Zara the other day and it was love at first sight, but I veered away to look at less expensive things. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I went back this afternoon and tried it on. IT IS SO CUTE. But it’s all crinkly and bulgey and I hold Zara VERY ACCOUNTABLE for my ensuing heartbreak.

Here it is, so that you all can be heartbroken too… (okay I do realize that you are possibly not as dramatic about clothing as I am)

So I took the picture with my phone and it’s not so great. Oh and please ignore the stupid socks I was wearing. They were hidden under boots.

There is a

beauuuutiful dress at Zara right now. But 1) it is only in extra small (but it’s a dress… so in theory I only have to be skinny on top) and 2) it is 100 euros. At least I think it is. I’m not too sure because when I looked at it I wasn’t even dreaming of buying it, but now I am. It is a very, very dreamy dress. So dreamy. And it would be perfect for a dress-needing occasion next month. BUT I just paid loads for my orthotics, and I’m going on holiday next month, and I should probably soon buy my plane tickets to Morocco in July. Plus I should not forget that there are many fees awaiting me at the end of the summer, such as quite possibly needing to buy a ticket back to the U.S.. ARG. Dress, why do you have to be so dreamy?

I LOVE shopping in France.

And I went again today. I meant to just go look for scarves but I ended up buying completely different (and very cheap!) things. So now I’m going to post some sort of crummy pictures of them.

This is a strappy metal headband from H&M. I also bought bobby pins there but I suppose you know what those look like.

These are the gray shoes I love and that demonstrated to me once and for all that I need to get my feet looked at. Sigh. They are so cute. If I ever drive anywhere in my life ever again instead of walking endlessly on cobblestone streets they will be super useful.

This thing is kind of hard to explain and looks much better on. It’s from Promod. It’s a skirt, with straps that go up over the shoulders. I love it. The straps are a TINY bit too big, I think I am meant to have bigger boobs. Well screw that. Here is a closer picture:

It was 10 euros!

This was also 10 euros!

It’s from Mexx, a store I go into all the time without buying anything because it’s right across the street from Andre (where the shoes are from).

Sorry for the erratic picture sizes. I don’t know how I made that skirt so tiny. I would fix it but my server is being way slow.

In other news, I still need someone to come to Tegan & Sara with me in Paris. This is an open call… the ticket is up for grabs. If you live in France and you like Tegan & Sara (or indie rock in general) let me know if you’re free on March 19!


so far I bought CocoRosies La maison de mon rève and that pair of shoes I’ve been ogling since, well, the crush started in November.

It’s very sunny today. One nice thing about being on the 4th floor (that’s really the 5th) of a building is that the sun seems to stay out longer.

I managed to get up at 10:30 for the second time in a row this week even without anything planned. This is unusual for me but I like this pattern.

I think D and I are going to see The Kite Runner this evening which I’m excited about. All the good American movies are finally coming here. And since I have nothing else planned for this vacation, I think I’m going to go see a lot of them.

My speakers seem to be having problems. It’s sad. They go all crackly and stop working for about two seconds every once in a while. Also I dropped my iPod on the pavement this week so that bodes badly. Last time I did that (with my old iPod) it stopped working two weeks later. They’re tricksy bastards.