A friend once introduced me to a very specific term used for a certain breed of artsy French girls - les coquettes sales. His definition was - ''well, you know, like the girls who would change their stockings but not their underwear''. Such a French thing to do!
As much as this may apply to les filles de Beaux Arts, I think that just having a term which literally means dirty chic chicks says a lot about French culture.
I'm not trying to make this into a bad thing - I actually enjoy the generally accepted sloppiness. I still am shocked by the mix of Vuitton bags and runs in stockings, dirty fingernails and a little bit of too much BO coming from the guys, but it feels a little bit more real than the plastic perfect American/English norm.
I have to admit I feel somewhat less out of place here than in Romania, who seems to conform to the Anglo-Saxon canon of beauty and style; I mean, you can't go out to take the trash without wearing make up, are you crazy or something?!
Even when I go back to visit now, most of the time I do feel like the poorest/worst dressed person in most hip places. I don't think that has anything to do with my style or clothes choice as much as with the often excessive make up/hair styling embraced by the majority of the female population (that's another reason why discovering Daria's blog was such a refreshing change).
Besides their eternal cigarette in hand (thank God they banned smoking in bars here! when is it going to happen for public places too? Finland style anyone? hint hint ), the French girl's statement accessory are her red lips.
I barely wear any make up for year now, although I have to admit that I started wearing dramatic red lips since I moved here. When it comes down to it, a touch of red lipstick can elevate any outfit and excuse any bad hair or wrinkly dress. Sure, I need to check my pocket mirror every 5 minutes and look at my teeth and if I have to eat something I just wipe it off and rarely apply it again, but for the time it stays on it feels great.
But their ultimate accessory is probably the attitude - the smutty pout, the superiority, the whole je n'en fou. As terribly annoying as it may be, it's a large part of what makes the French so attractive and stylish and, ultimately, lets them get away with pretty much any sartorial faux pas.