Thursday, February 18, 2016

After living in Paris for nearly two years I’m still amazed at how well European women dress. It is rare to see anyone that isn’t well-dressed — even if they’re just buying some milk from the grocery store. We lived down the block form an elementary school and everyday we’d see moms with high heels and skirts pushing their strollers down the street. I thought I would share some of my women’s European fashion observations from living in Paris and from my travels throughout Europe. Hopefully these fashion tips will help you choose which clothes to bring on your travels and give you an idea of how to dress like an European.
Note: Most of my observations are from Paris since this is where I’ve lived the most, but Parisians are considered some of the best dressed people in Europe so they are a good group to take fashion advice from.

The Golden Rule for Women’s European Fashion

Honestly, there are no rules and there really isn’t a true “European” fashion. You’ve probably heard that Parisians only wear black, but if you walk around the streets of Paris you’ll see fashionable people wearing all kinds of colors. This guide will highlight the general fashion trends that I’ve observed, but I urge you to add your own personal style into your clothing choices. My main goal is to give you a taste of European fashion and to provide you with some ideas of what you might want to wear when you visit.

It’s All About The Fit

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People assume Europeans look great because they have closets full of designer clothes, but this isn’t completely true. They may have a few higher-end items, but they shop at H&M, Zara, Mango, Gap, Topshop and other multinational shops just like the rest of us. The secret is that they purchase clothes that fit well — and if the fit isn’t quite right, then they’ll get their clothes tailored. I feel that it’s much more common to have small alterations done in Europe and those little changes make the clothes fit better.

Keep it Simple

European women keep their wardrobes simple and classic. They choose timeless pieces that don’t scream for attention. Then they’ll add a bright accessory (scarf, shoes, jewelry, etc) to bring the outfit together. I also saw a lot of contrasting pieces used together — like pairing a slightly oversized, chunky sweater with a tight skirt or skinny jean.

Skinny Jeans

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Jeans are a staple of any European wardrobe. Most women I saw wore skinny or slim jeans. In general they mostly wore dark jeans without a wash or with minimal wash (i.e., only a small amount of pre-distressing). Grey jeans are also a popular choice. But Europeans don’t just wear black and grey, so don’t be afraid to wear a pair of bright red jeans/trousers.

Effortless Hair

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European women have an amazing ability to have great looking hair that looks effortlessly natural. I have no idea how they do it, but it seems like they don’t fuss with it too much — it wouldn’t surprise me if they roll out of bed and just tousled it with their hands. Long hair is definitely in-style, so start growing! So when you’re visiting just throw your hair into a sleek high ponytail or a messy bun and be on your way. Need some tips on how to create the perfect messy bun? Check out this post by Hair on the Brain.
Photos from intotheglass.com and haironthebrain.com

It’s All About The Shoes

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Europeans live in shoebox-size apartments, but they still manage to have an amazing collection of great shoes.
European women, especially city-dwellers, live in high heels. But beware… these fashionistas have years of practice navigating cobblestone streets and tricky city sidewalks, so you might find yourself really struggling if you choose to wear a pair of sexy stilettos. Wedges are also a very popular and a bit more practical option since they offer extra walking surface.
No shoe collection is complete without a few pairs of boots. During the winter you’ll see tall leather boots everywhere, but cute ankle boots are a popular choice during the rest of the year.
When the weather gets warm it’s time to break out the lightweight shoes. Strappy leather sandals, flats, loafers, and casual sneakers are all great choices.
If you’re going to be traveling to Europe, I suggest leaving the uncomfortable shoes at home. But that doesn’t mean you need to bring ugly running shoes. I suggest a pair of cute sneakers, flat boots, and a pair of comfortable sandals. If you do bring a pair of impractical shoes for going out, make sure they’re not going to kill your feet. Also remember that a quality set of insoles can make shoes more comfortable.
Photo courtesy of Chictopia

Show Off Some Leg

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European women love to show off their legs. Tights, stockings, and pantyhose are year-round wardrobe staples. Even in the winter you’ll see plenty of women wearing above-the-knee skirts and stockings.
Photos from Fashionista World and The Sartorialist

Scarfs

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Nothing is more European than a scarf and they are the perfect way to pull an outfit together. A warm and cozy scarf is perfect for the winter and a light silk or cotton scarf is great for the summer. Want to know how to wear your scarf… check out this guide from Scarves.net
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Photos from HIP Paris and Toronto Girl West

Trench Coats

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A classic trench coat is a chic way to look amazing during those cold and rainy European winters.

It’s In The Bag 

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Whether it’s a tote, messenger bag, or purse, you can’t leave the house without a cute bag. A bag is a great accessory for adding a little extra color or style to an outfit.
Photos from Kayture and Vanessa Jackman

Get In-touch With Your Feminine Side  

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European women are not afraid of embracing their femininity. They wear silk, lace, and other fine fabrics. So break out those feminine, flowy dresses on a sunny summer day.

Neutral Like Switzerland

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While it isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, many Europeans tend to dress is dark and neutral colors. Of course you’ll see plenty of color, so don’t feel like you need to dress like you’re at a funeral — but when in doubt, choose neutral colors.

Easy On The Makeup

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I find that European women prefer a natural look when it comes to applying cosmetics. They’ll just use the basics and they don’t overdo it. But the one thing they seem to love is lipstick — especially the Parisians. Bright red lipstick is a favorite and you’ll see women wearing it all around the city.

Cool Glasses

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I was always amazed at the eyewear that Parisians were sporting— And they almost always wore designer frames. Thick 70s style frames were the most popular choice.

Never Sweats or Running Shoes

In Paris I never saw Parisians wearing sweats and running shoes in public, unless they were actually exercising. It was only the tourists who ever wore them around. Just don’t do it.

 Where To Find Fashion Inspiration

I’ve found that the best way to see European style is by browsing popular European fashion retailers.
H&M – This popular Swedish retailer has locations all across the world. Their clothes aren’t great quality, but they are cheap.
APC – A trendy French brand that has high-quality, classic items. They have great jeans. They are expensive.
Zadig & Voltaire – Another high-end trendy French brand.
The Kooples – Have money to burn? The Kooples is one of the hottest designer boutiques.
Mango – A Spanish company that has trendy and fairly inexpensive items.
Zara – Another popular fashion retailer from Spain. They are known for being affordable and keeping up with the trends.
ASOS – This UK retailer is popular with European teens and twenty somethings.
Kookai – This French fashion label is popular in the 20 to 40-year-old demographic.
Galeries Lafayette – The Galeries Lafayette is the most fabulous department store in Paris. They carry almost every luxury and high-end fashion brand. Their website is all in French, but they have a huge selection of the latest fashions — everything from $8000 Dior bags to $50 Levis jeans.

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Category: articles

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kiratiana Freelon, author of the book "Kiratiana's Travel Guide to Black Paris: Get Lost and Get Found" wants your help to publish her new book "Kiratiana's Travel Guide to Multicultural London".

"This past January and February I explored London for five weeks with one goal – to discover its multiculturalism and write a Travel Guide to Multicultural London. 2012 is a fitting year to highlight the city’s multiculturalism. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring the world to London. But how many visitors know that the world is already in London? And what resources are there to help visitors explore this side of London?"

Get more information about her Campaign here
Category: articles
Photo: Lucid
Brixton Town centre: Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Effra Road, Electric Avenue, Electric Lane, Rushcroft Road, Saltoun Road, St Matthew’s Peace Gardens, Windrush Square

As London becomes the destination for the summer of 2012 Brixton Splash returns bigger and better than ever.

On the day that we expect to see Usain Bolt take on the world in the Olympic 100m final alongside the artists, music, sound systems and fabulous food we always bring to Splash we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence during the festival.

There will be a number of activities throughout the day reflecting Jamaican cultural contributions to London life, which include highlighting the historic civic, business, sporting and cultural contributions of Windrush Jamaicans who have come to Lambeth over the last 50 years.

Brixton Splash will again feature 4 sound systems on Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane with a main stage on Windrush Square. The main stage will continue to support local talent and will include the musical history of Jamaica in Britain ranging from Soul, Pop, Ska and Reggae through to dancehall and roots music.

The stage will also provide a platform for narration and sketches from a local young peoples dramatic dance society as well as incorporating poetry and dance performers who will represent a musical journey through the high points of Jamaican history and British popular music genres.

The Peace Gardens will be further developed with an emphasis on the Arts and families.

Brixton Splash will also set up a live broadcast via YouTube to celebrate the event with a series of interviews with the public and celebrities to find out what Jamaican Independence means to them.

Website: http://www.brixtonsplash.org/

Video: The black UK newspaper THE VOICE were taken on a guided tour of Brixton by veteran race campaigner Lee Jasper.
Category: articles

H/T Shadow and Act. The French time travel/slavery comedy titled Case Départ (Back To Square One) has been released on YouTube. The entire film.

"The French time travel/slavery comedy titled Case Départ, which translates as Back To Square One, opened in France last summer, and was quite a hit in that country, causing a bit of a stir outside of France, particularly here in the USA, where many didn't quite take to the idea of slavery as comedy," wrote Shadow and Act

I must admit, I was quit neutral about the film, but after watching parts of the film I began to remember the historical context of it. I read the book of Stedman, “The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796)” and while watching the video everything came to life.

Although the idea of travelling back to the days of slavery is original, I do have my reservations. Slavery has dramatically changed the way black are perceived and how we perceive ourselves, I think that needs reflection, it's shouldn't be the scene of a comedy.

Category: articles
Will.i.am released a new music video off his upcoming solo album #willpower. It features Dutch Singer Eva Simons. The video was released a few days ago, so it's brand new.
Category: articles
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