Melanie & Doreen – Style md – are Toronto-based wardrobe consultants and personal stylists.

By Melanie Jennings

I was recently in Paris with my daughter for a short holiday. It was the first time I had been there in about twenty years. Before arriving, I wondered how different it would be from when I was there earlier.

I remember a city of beauty, with fashionably dressed women everywhere.  It was so great to be back. It was exactly as I remembered it. Nothing had really changed. The French know: When you get something right, leave it alone, and let it be.

As we wandered the streets and looked in shops, I saw that everything we have here, they also have. But the big difference is what they have is infused with so much more creativity, beauty and style in addition to choice. Inside Bon Marche, an upscale department store near our hotel, we were upstairs admiring the gorgeous bedding in exquisite colours and the softest cotton imaginable. Then we came to the notions department. It was the most beautiful notions department I have ever seen. There were buttons galore in every colour, texture and shape imaginable, beautiful wools and ribbons in exquisite colors, and soft weaves, millinery supplies of all types – such an abundance of choice that was almost overwhelming.

The same can be said about the fashion. All of my favourite designers have free standing stores in Paris, and usually more than one. That kind of selection is mind boggling. I’m a recent fan of Manoush, a whimsical, fun label from Paris that was at the downtown Bay in The Room.  They carried a capsule collection last fall. When I came upon a Manoush store in the groovy Marais district, I immediately went in to investigate. The store was gorgeous, done in pinks, golds and cream, and was full of beautiful garments. I carefully looked at each exquisite garment and ended up purchasing something I absolutely love. And being July, everything is on sale in Paris. What a bonus!

From Galleries Lafayette with a whole floor devoted to shoes, to Monoprix, the Paris version of Target, to the flea markets where I found the best linen dress ever for next to nothing, Paris is still one of my favourite cities. The fashion is inspiring and the city is truly beautiful. I’ve been away for a long time, but it was great to be back and see it again. It’s like an old friend that you may lose touch with, but once you’re together again it’s like no time has gone by at all.


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