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Dress in the Moment

I've always maintained that one could make a million dollars by opening a store that sold gloves in January and bathing suits in July. But it wasn't until last weekend that I realized the fantasy store's potential to help fulfill the quintessential American girl's dream: to dress like a French girl.

A delightful thing happened on my dash to the department store restroom last Saturday. Without that detour (long story) I would never have come face-to-face with what I've accepted as the impossible: Gloves for sale in January.

If you're American or in the US at the moment, I double dare you to find winter accessories for sale (messy bargain bins aside). A store stocked with coats and scarves is what happens in July, not January. Right?

So we're smack in the middle of winter and:

1) You can't replace cold weather clothing or accessories that are worn, torn, or tattered. This violates the "always be impeccably dressed" rule touted by literally every "foster your inner French girl" how-to.

2) You're more likely to spend more time dreaming about sunny yellow shift dresses, straw bags and sandals, than dressing impeccably in your winter attire. You get sloppy, you don't care, you let things go.

3) You're robbed of the pleasure of embracing the moment. You're reaching for the dangling carrot (wearing a pretty dress) and are routinely disappointed. After all, it's the middle of the winter.

The entire American sales/marketing cycle is seemingly set up so that you hate the season you're in, and lust after the one that's next. So in effect, you're never "dressing in the moment." You're buying the fantasy, not living the reality.

But the Parisian girl in my neighborhood is. Very much so.

After I saw the gloves, I started taking notes. The overwhelming majority were buying new scarves, checking prices on gloves or trying on new boots (and boy do they look fantastic when sporting all three). This evidence is admittedly anecdotal and based on very limited observations, but it's such a stark contrast to what happens in America that it got me thinking.

Want to dress like a French girl? Here's my theory: Embrace your scarf. Love your gloves. Clean your boots. Repair that little tear in the coat. Don't write off the season while waiting for the next.

In short: Dress in the moment. It dovetails nicely with that whole "living in the moment" thing don't you think?

PS. Guess what? Small business owners still sell winter gear. I selected these items because they're the types of gorgeous accessories I see on the streets here.

Merino Wool Cowl
Flurries Cowl
Tubeway Arm Warmers
Embellished Tubeway Arm Warmers
Twist of Fate Cowl


Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Bridget Eubank

So true! It snowed here today, so I’d like to get my five year old some boots and snow pants so that he can stay warm and dry while rolling around in the snow (which only happens about two times a year here.) Of course, the only apparel available this time of year is spring sandals and shorts!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Friago

I love love love the winter accessories you picked out. They are so romantic. I would wear all of them :)

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Mean Mommy

I love this post. Nothing frustrates me more than finding only bathing suits on the racks in January.

Love your blog and Little Brown Pen!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Courtney Heath

I just love this post. I am an obsessive scarf wearer and really really want to be an arm warmer wearer. This has inspired me to knit some for myself.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Michelle

sunny yellow shift dresses are exactly what i’m dreaming about right now. so far this year i’ve been able to resist the urge to buy anything springy. Previous years I would buy new things and have them sit in my drawer until march when it is still to cold to wear spring cloths but i did anyway. I’ve made it to February perhaps I will actually make it to spring this year before i buy spring cloths.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by waysideviolet

amen. i love your gorgeous picks!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nichole

I think the bigger picture is that when you don’t love your clothes/aren’t excited about them/hate them, you can’t possibly look good in them.

We rob ourselves of the pleasure of indulging in the little seasonal details because we loathe the season.

Or worse, we wear springy clothes too early and freeze or look ridiculous.

I am really trying to wrap this all around my head because I think it plays a big part in how well put together we can look (the shallow end of it all).

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Kotori

These picks are all so gorgeous – I especially love that Twist of Fate Cowl. You are so right – I’m already dreaming of sundresses while bundling up in sweaters.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by the b-line

Ooh, this is a tough one for me. I’m constantly ready for the next season. I always pegged it on the desire for something new where the weather was concerned, but now you have me thinking. Perhaps the whole American retail system has pulled the wool over my eyes (whilst filling the racks with new spring fashions). I shall do my best to embrace the next few months of cold and dreary weather, my dear!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by karen m.

It’s like you were with me while I was digging through children’s stores looking for a replacement jacket for my daughter this weekend. Fruitless scavenger hunt. I love the springy clothes, but it’s still snowing. Oh, those embellished arm warmers…too, too good. Swoon!

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