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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Dress in Provence in the Winter

Having dropped a small fortune (thankfully very small) at les soldes (the sales) last week, I got to observe some of the best, and certainly a bit of the worst (think: blue leg warmers) of winter fashion in Provence.

And although it's a little tough to write a fashion post (at any time of the year), here's a small round-up of what the kids are wearing (some of us older folk as well) in the South of France when the temperatures turn to burrrrr.

1. Lay-on the layers
Along with Italians, the French seem to be masters of Le Layer - putting together artful outfits which begin with leggings, add tunics or light blouses, and then top with sweaters or cropped coats.  And don't forget to include the ubiquitous scarf.  Puffy, long, short, or even sheer, the scarf is the definite must-have fashion accessory of l'hiver.

2. Have boots will style
As with fall fashion, boots are all over the sidewalks & cobblestoned streets of Provence.  I'd have to say that now owning several pairs of boots (and actually wearing them) has been one of the funniest fashion changes for me from life in the US.  Sure I had a few pairs back in California, but the variety (I almost bought a blue-suede, calf-length pair on my sales outings) available in France (or in Italy for that matter) gets me a tad more excited about dressing-up in the winter. Sure it's chick-thing, but sometimes it's the small things that get us through these icy months.  Small things like those furry-wonders in the above photos. I'd take those on a test drive to the markets any day.

3. Bask in the sunshine...but don't forget your overcoat 
The last several days have been filled with blue skies, bright sunshine, and high temps of 5 degrees (Celsius).  As much as we are all jumping for joy (some higher than others), we're also wrapped up to our eyeballs.  I actually made the mistake this morning of going out without a scarf (outside our window it looked like summer...& outside our home, it felt like Alaska), and I'm still trying to defrost the tips of my ears. Well, not exactly, but let's just say it was way, super cold. Like totally. One word here: Bundle.

4. Pack your shades
You may be bundled up to tomorrow, but when you want to do as the French do and enjoy a tres chaud cafe (very hot coffee) port-side, don't forget to slip your sunglasses in your chic winter tote.  If we haven't said it enough, it's sunny here (yay) and it's important to cover your baby blues, or browns, with a pair of shades. 

5. Window shop...& then really shop
If you forget anything at home, don't worry! There are a lot of cheap(er) clothing stores in Provence like Zara, Eurodif, & Camaieu - not to mention my recent discovery, Cache Cache.  I'm definitely not suggesting you buy a wedding gown or anything...unless you love the one pictured below as much as I do. Don't think it really has anything to do with winter fashion in Provence, but I saw it this morning and think it's just beautiful!

And if you read reports of a certain lady combing the Wednesday market at Sanary in blue suede boots & a wedding dress, you'll know I've finally cracked. Or maybe...just really getting into the Provencal spirit.


  1. Love it! I can't wait to leave Verdun and do some shopping this weekend ;) YAY!

  2. OOO, I'm living for those little Oxford shoes!

  3. Love it. It's been hard for me too adjusting to wearing boots for more than a few days a year, aside from my pointy-toe cowboy boots that is....
    a x

  4. Tuula, I didn't think you'll share the wedding dress on this blog (j/k) i still cant make sense of it...too weird. :)

  5. Tuula, very cute post! Stay warm while you are out there doing your shopping!

  6. Tuula - Loved the post and the photos. Very good tips for someone traveling to France (and Italy) in the winter/early spring! I'll remember to pack my scarves, layers, boots & sunglasses. Although, I think mastering the art of layering is even harder than mastering the art of scarf tying, no?

  7. Because I'm super French now, I'm getting a new pair of boots for my birthday!
    And that wedding dress is super fun! x

  8. These fashion posts are so fun - thanks for all the great comments.

    Happy shopping Brenna, I know there's still some good deals out there..heck, I might make one last run this weekend myself..

    Aiden, I know about the boots - luckily I found some "low-riders" that are actually quite comfortable. (& a pair from Target that I hauled back from the States)

    Yes, Kathy, mastering the art of layering is even harder than the art of scarf tying...think I've got a few more years of practice to go :)

    Happy early b-day Sara, hope we get to see some pics of your new boots!

    Kenya, guess the wedding dress is either love or hate sure is eye-catching tho!

  9. OK... now I want to go shopping with you then enjoy a cafe tres chaud!