La Mode on Cote D’Azure

Having been in the South of France for three weeks, I have had the opportunity to observe some of the local fashion.  There are several trends that one sees frequently.

The Converse tennis shoes that are popular with the younger crown in the US are also a hit here.  These are the old fashioned tennis shoes that came in black with white soles some 50 years ago and laced up around the ankle.  Their purpose was primarily for use by team members in sporting events.  Now, they can be found in bright colors with various nuances.  Most of the wearers are young but I have observed a few older people.  In Cannes, I noted a 50ish, rather rotund gentleman, with grey hair down to his shoulders, dressed in all black with the exception of the bright red tennis shoes.  He was a site to behold.   Some wearers turn down the top to form a collar and I noticed one pair of shoes designed with a special collar in a contrasting plaid to compliment beige tennies.  By the way, I have seen only two pair of our traditional white tennis shoes that we so often use for walking shoes and pack for travel.  This is a bit like wearing a neon sign saying “American Tourist”!

Opaque tights can be seen everywhere.  Ladies wear them with everything – very short shorts and short skirts as well as moderate length skirts or dresses.  I have seen a few tights in dramatic prints.  These are really quite attractive as well as practical.  They offer an “autumn” look to the short shorts or skirts as well as warmth as the mild temperatures become a bit more like fall.  The tights also give a finished look by tying the skirt or shorts to shoes with complimentary colors.

Many of the tights are worn with boots.  Boots of all kinds are seen everywhere.   It is not unusual to see Western cowboy boots with a feminine dress or tight jeans tucked into boots.  I have rarely seen the dressy, slender-heeled boot here but the heavier heels and more sporty models are worn with everything.   I don’t think I have seen any boot/skirt combination that did not include the tights.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, jeans are very popular with both men and women.  They are a bit spiffier than our traditional Levis, often with some pocket design that gives an air of being just a cut above.   Having lunch in Monte Carlo one day, I noted that ninety percent of the men in the restaurant were wearing jeans with well pressed, striped dress shirts, and sport jackets.  Some of the younger men left the shirttail out if it was a design intended to be worn out.  The look here is definitely more casual (suits are rare) but usually well groomed and intentional in how it is put together.

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