Whenever I come home from Paris, I pretty much want to set fire to all my clothes. The endless parade of casually coordinated French girls makes a mockery of my carefully conceived but tragically bourgeois travel wardrobe. It's easy to feel out of your element in Paris. Dressing too matchy-matchy? Loser. Logo'd It Bag? Only for tourists, never locals.
The goal is to look like you rolled out of bed (Whose bed? Not my business.) and pulled on the first things you saw, that magically go together because -- well, you're French.
And because Parisian girls are way too freaking cool to ever be trend slaves, you can be sure that if they've given an item their seal of approval, an item that may very well have started as a trend but has stuck around for more than a season or three, it will eventually become a classic.
So even though the shrunken leather jacket (le perfecto) has been around for a few years, it still rules the Marais, that achingly hip Paris quartier where sitting outdoors at cafés and judging the passing fashion parade seems to be everyone's main job.
Worn over everything, leather jackets give the perfect hit of badass to any outfit and are best when beaten up (again with the pulled-off-the-floor aesthetic) and worn with scuffed, equally beaten-up boots.
Or you can go to your local Danier and pick one up and not have to worry about sneaking it back through customs. Five hundred Canadian dollars gets you melty-soft lamb leather, a close fit, narrow arms, and just enough biker detailing to look cool, not parodic. And the shearling trim ensures that you'll be wearing it further into the season than you thought possible.
This chocolate leather one from the Gap rings in at $328 and the plush, cushy leather is reminiscent of a Jerome Dreyfuss purse (another Paris-girl staple).
And the oh-so-essential ankle boots? That would be the never-available-online Isabel Marant "Dicker" boots, beloved by both Marais habituées and fashion-aware stars like Kate Bosworth. A great Canadian substitute, the Qualheim from Aldo ($100, in stores in August) has the same modified cowboy boot lines and stacked medium height heel.
But just make sure you wear them through say, a dusty parking lot or better yet a gravel pit a few times before you wear them to your favourite café (ok, Starbucks.).
Because you should never ever look like you've made an effort, even if you have. Fatal.
You know Danier and Aldo are Canadian companies, right? Top images borrowed from easyfashion.blogspot.com; second image borrowed from lookbook.nu; product images courtesy of Danier, Gap, Isabel Marant and Aldo. Aside: Staff is impressed that we've not mentioned that Kate Bosworth is dating used to date Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Eric Northman on "True Blood."