My first trip to Paris was an amazing experience. I remember the anticipation building as I read about the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre, and the famous Le Printemps department store. I imagined watching the runway shows and shopping racks and racks of beautiful designer clothes. I didn’t even consider that being plus size could put a damper on my shopping experience. After all, this was Paris, the fashion capital of the world.
What do I pack, when all I was looking forward to was shopping…in Paris? Packing has always felt restrictive to me. Some people can just wear whatever is clean, but that wasn’t me. What if I wanted to wear something I didn’t bring with me? I needed my accessories: the jewelry, shoes, bags, scarves and hats that make it all work. All that stuff can weigh so much. My strategy: pack less but keep my options open to mix and match pieces in a common color story. With all of my thinking about packing and shopping, I didn’t worry about my size, beyond if I could comfortably fasten my seatbelt on the plane.
Like Carrie in the final season of Sex & the City, I wore a cute Parisian inspired traveling ensemble and sipped French champagne on the flight. I spritzed with Evian facial mist often so as to arrive fresh and ready for the day. I checked into the hotel and entered the room. Something was a bit odd about this place. The tiny room was furnished with twin beds and a tiny little closet. It felt more like a cabin on a cruise ship than a hotel room. Later at a French brasserie, I felt self-conscious when the waiter pulled the table out allowing me to slide into my seat. (Now that I live in New York, I see it’s done for everyone in these tight little eateries) Nonetheless, I felt bigger than usual in Paris.
Les Grandes Tailles
When I entered Le Printemp department store for the first time, I was welcomed by the aroma of sweet perfumes and mesmerized by the vintage architecture. I déjeuné under the remarkable color of the stained glass cupola (dome) over the main restaurant. I bought beautiful silk scarves and gorgeous luxury leather handbags and then hit the shoe department. I found myself with so many boxes and bags around me that I felt like queen for a day.
While I searched for the plus size department, this skinny little French woman tapped me on the shoulder. She smiled sadly at me and said, “Quel Dommage! Vee don’t have notzing pour vous here. Les grande tailles!” She said this, as she held her hands out as if holding a big beach ball between her palms. The Translation, “What a pity! There is nothing to fit your big American butt here in Paris!” The fashion capital of the world had nothing fashionable for a curvy girl in Paris.
Indulge Your Passion
Fortunately, I am a curvy girl that knows how to make it work. I’ve been doing it all my life, long before the words plus size and fashion appeared in the same sentence. My personal style strategy has always been about creating the look I want by having the right accessories. I indulged myself in the most beautiful structured red leather brief by Lancel Paris, a 100 year old luxury leather brand. Nearly twenty years later it is a vintage piece that I recently started carrying again as an extra-large clutch that is perfectly on trend. Don’t be so worried about your so-called flaws that it hinders your shopping experience and prevents you from indulging your passion.
Actually, the word ‘printemps’ means ‘springtime’ in French, which is the inspiration for my collection in the ModCloth fashion challenge on Wanelo. The weather in Paris is much like New York. As the seasons change, we need a cute sweater, comfortable walking shoes, a great cross body bag and lots of style. Who says that a swimsuit can only be worn on the beach? Swimsuits are like shape wear worn on the outside. The fruity pattern on the fabric of the Ester Williams swimsuit paired with the polka dotted ankle pants by ModCloth.com is whimsical and hopeful like springtime. The vintage halter style harkens back to a time when women with curves were celebrated.
You can shop for all the pieces in my look including the Paris themed iPhone cover and journals on A Curvy Girl in Paris collection on The Curvy Stylist page on Wanelo, a new fun way to shop online. Au revoir!