Paris: Spring means skirts

A quick post to say what you want to know!

A spike up into mid-20C/74F brought out legions of women in light skirts and those skirts, on all shapes and sizes of adult women-old enough to no longer carry schoolbooks- are from just below the knee to lower calf.

I have not seen a kneecap except on youths.

Oddly, dresses are a bit shorter but I do not see the short skirts Mme Macron is known for, at least not around the more relaxed neighbourhoods of the Left Bank.

The skirts of casually-dressed women riding bikes, grocery shopping, meeting a friend for lunch or going to work are soft, gently pleated, subtly gathered, or or a-lined. Gone are the extremes of tight tubes or those Lagenlook voluminous skirts that look like one is dressed in Russian blinds. This Bellerose "Suez" skirt is exactly the effect, down to the sneakers:

Here's s stunner from Sportmax, pricey but you should see it move:

Completely absent is a look that once was everywhere on this cohort: the tunic or short dress over leggings. Though useful for biking, somehow the combo has vanished except on a few tourists, possibly from Quebec, where it is embraced. If there's a tunic, it is worn over slim trousers now.

The Vanishing Legging is not due to weather; in 22C/70F heat, I was surprised to see women in sweaters, heavy coats and big scarves.

The knee-length skirt is worn with flat shoes, usually with laces; sneakers, substantial sandals, derbys. All very sensible yet pretty, in pale spring hues. And no stockings: legs au naturel, whatever the skin colour,  are clearly no problem.

A friendly boutique owner told me French women have definitely become larger in the 15 years she has been in business, so the easy-to-wear skirts may be related to that phenomenon- but I see them even on the classic échalotes. I will also veer into stereotyping again to note that their clothes fit.
A short woman can wear a slightly long skirt when her blouse and skirt fit.

No photos yet, jet lag has hit me terrifically hard this trip. I’ll see what I can do in a few days.


CK said…
After being away from Paris for 30 years and having the idea that all the women would be very, very thin drilled into me by the American press, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they look what I think of as "normal"--not fat, no, but with some flesh and blood on them. The really thin women almost always turned out to be Spanish, Italian or the extraordinarily tall and stick-thin Dutch. I myself am overweight and was sure I would be looked down upon, but everyone was lovely to me, and seemed not to notice or care about my appearance (I had not had the same experience a few years before in hyper-style conscious Italy). A skirt like the ones you are talking about would certainly be a choice of my own!
Beth said…
Going online immediately to look for a pattern like the lovely "Suez" skirt you linked to. I have fabric already!
I have a Steilmann skirt with jungle kitties in that Suez style; I will have to get it shortened a bit as I think it was one of those long midis from the 1980s. I'll have to try it on as I have the pleasant problem of several garments being too large, but I think I can just move a button on it. I dyed it forest green as I didn't want the felines to be front and centre, emerging from the forest they aren't so terminally catlady. Ste-Madeleine d'Outremont bazaar, of course.

The Sportmax skirt harkens back to Russian constructivist design. It is magnificent but not practical for most people. Would be splendid for making an entrance onstage.

The first skirt is fine for cycling; the second too long and voluminous unless one has a proper "coatguard" or "skirtguard" as found on classic Dutch cycles. Those were for early 20th century long overcoats and skirts.

CK, my women friends in Italy hate that type of superficiality. Oh, they all have the smart-dressing gene even if they are in jeans and pullovers, and even if they aren't sylphs, but they see it as deeply regressive. One of my friends is a GP in Perugia and she was furious about all the broken ankles she had to set as some women insisted on wearing boots with spike heels in that town, which is a classic hilltown (or small mountain). It never gets as cold as Montréal there, but they do get snow and especially ice, on horrible slopes.

Duchesse, enjoy a restful flâneuse holiday. These insights are so enjoyable and enlightening.
Leslie M said…
So sorry to hear of your jet lag. It takes so many precious holiday days. You have a great eye for beautiful clothes (and jewelry), but I will always remember you for a particular skirt. You posted a picture of a Lafayette NY skirt not long after I first discovered your blog. It was a black and white tweed with thick fringe on the bottom, sequins sprinkled throughout and long strings of black, white and silver bugle beads. I fell hard for it. It took me a couple of weeks to find it online and it has been one of my best ever clothing purchases. I wear it every year at least once, often more than once. It never gets old and has sublime movement and understated sparkle. Watching the model walk in the Sportmax video gave me the same “I have to have it” vibe. Alas, I have splurged on pearls this year. Perhaps next year you will be kind enough to find another lovely statement skirt for me. :-)
Duchesse said…
Leslie and lagatta: Here, that skirt will be worn with a simple black tee or blouse, not as an «  entrance » piece. ( Notice name of the line, a MaxMara subsidiary.) Yesterday, I saw a woman at the movies, a matinée, in a gorgeous silk skirt, probably same price point as the Sportmax., which tops $1,000. You see exceptional fabrics in a casual skirt here, but they fit in, and may not elsewhere.

Probably my #1 unwise consumption habit in past was buying some extravagant item and then saving it to wear « for good ». Fortunately stopping work dented my budget and instilled more sense, but I still have a few museum pieces to remind me to keep my head.

It’s great when a simple, successful alteration revives a loved but no longer cueernt garment, or when, like Beth, you can confidently DIY.
Jane said…
Am I the only one who doesn't "get" the sneakers with skirt look? It reminds me of a business woman commuting to work. I don't feel confident with bare legs either. It's a pass for me.
Bare legs aren't nearly as challenging with a longer skirt. One thing I'm fairly sure I'll never wear again is sheer stockings or pantyhose.
Duchesse said…
Jane: Smiling because I was that businesswoman in the early ‘80s, when we wore them with conservative suits, why, I am not sure but subway grates shredded leather-covered heels. If you do not like that sneakers, the skirts are also worn with soft leather derbys, chunkier oxfords, or flat walking shoes and sandals-but not ( another quirk) ballerinas. Ballerinas are reserved for trousers or dresses.

But stockings, no... they work against the carefree look. I have seen ankle socks, and low-cut « sneaker socks » in fine cotton, which look charming.
Susan said…
I consider myself to be a carefree person--especially when it comes to mode of dress. Unfortunately, I have to wear very heavy medical stockings with high compression for a chronic condition. I've worn them for over 15 years now. I can't tell you how many helpful saleswomen have seen me trying on one dress, skirt or outfit and said, "But, of course you will not wear those stockings with this outfit. " Always demoralizing, but I bounce back with a pithy response. LOVE the below the knee skirts. I hope you are having a fabulous trip.
materfamilias said…
Catching up here -- hadn't dared hope you'd be posting from Paris. As I begin packing for our trip, this is helpful and confirm my shoe choices (stream-lined metallic sneakers and white Arizona Birkenstocks). And I think you're pushing me toward including my favourite casual skirts. . . .
VeraL said…
Oh my I love the Suez skirt but then realized that Bellerose does not ship to Canada (yet). It also came in a plain caramel colour that I really covet. It's interesting that the American companies haven't picked up this trend yet. Still stuck with pencil skirts and/or too short or maxi right to the ground which I also dislike. With CETA I've started buying more stuff from Europe as it's mostly duty free now. The Europeans haven't outsourced everything outside of the EU yet.
Vera, I looked at LLBean and Land's End, and it is as you say; I was looking for a denim skirt but at least a bit a-line as it is for the bicycle. Nothing, except a few leftovers in very small or very large sizes.

There are some nice things at Simons.

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