Is vintage the secret to French style?

I was very excited when I found out the #UnFrench theme today is all about vintage. In France, vintage isn't something we see much of. After all, the very fashionable Parisian ladies are hardly walking around in second hand pin up dresses.

I've yet to see many retro dresses in France

But when you look up "vintage" in the dictionary, it's defined as something high quality from the past. By this definition, vintage is everywhere in France! Just think of the classic Chanel suit. French women have a world-renowned sense of style. I know for a fact I'm not the only expat that struggles to recreate that effortless French look. So the theme of the day got me thinking. Is focusing on high quality classics the key to French style?

There's another benefit to vintage, whether it's fashion, home ware, shoes or bags. Vintage very often means second hand. I've written before about how important it is for me to minimise my impact on the environment which is why I try to get things second hand, or make them myself.

Some of the towns near me, like Annecy and Geneva, have some lovely (but expensive) vintage shops. However, this hasn't got as far as my more rural part of France. It makes me appreciate the numerous charity shops in the UK. I used to hate being dragged around them by my mum, but now I wish I could spend more time in them. Saving money, water and carbon, while reducing demand for potentially unethically-produced products seems like a win-win situation for me. (Bonus points for anyone who can say "potentially unethically-produced products" three times in quick succession).

My next challenge will be making my own clothes, and up-cycling old ones. I'm very excited to be getting a sewing machine for Christmas to help with this. Even more exciting is that the lovely #UnFrench community has lots of experience with this so I hope to have lots of help. I haven't made any clothes since school, so it will be a long time until I manage to make any pin up dresses, but watch this space.

Leah x

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