That’s Newfounese for ‘My, my she’s looking well put together indeed’. Now I’ve shared my fascinating perspective on French style before. But I’ve been studying les femmes for over a year now and much like the language I still have no inkling whatsoever how it works, that effortless chic that 99% of the women here display on a regular basis. I remain the poster girl for the other 1%. But then a golden opportunity arose.

France has a unique retail practice. Twice a year everything on French soil goes on sale and I mean SALE. Les Soldes are serious business, 50-80 % off is common and not just the ugly crap that’s been gathering dust. The really good stuff is priced to move. Anyway, Mademoiselle Elodie invited me to Dijon (aka the big city) with her for a day of shopping. Mais oui mon amie! 

I was beyond excited with this prospect. Okay, I haven’t totally lost it yet. I’m well aware that the line next to ’2011 income’ on my tax return will look like this: $0.00 but the thrill for me was the chance to watch a French woman shop. I knew at long last all secrets would be revealed. I would carefully observe her, taking note of every twist and turn. What colors? What fabrics? What stores? Oh yes, IT IS ON. I would come home sans boxes and bags but with a PhD in chic.

Ah well, the best laid plans. Sadly by the time the day rolled around I was a tad under the weather, nothing serious but enough to prevent a day of power shopping. Oh how disappointing. The next round of sales isn’t until June. I spent the day watching Downton Abbey marveling at the costumes and jewelry while cursing my fate. As the moon rose I ambled out of bed and traded flannel pajamas for trusty sweats. And just as I’d accepted my fate as the dowdy mistress of my little manor, the doorbell rang.

There was Mademoiselle loaded down with bags. In she came and laid all her treasures before me. Black ankle boots, a supple grey handbag du jour, blouses, dresses, sweaters, Chanel perfume (of course) and finally the staple of the French woman, les foulards- scarves. It is indeed the scarf that separates the women from the girls in France (and the men from the boys for that matter). It had been my plan to buy one thing and one thing only on this excursion, a scarf.

Naturally I’d have Elodie teach me that dark art of how to make it seem as if a breeze had tossed it around my neck. As I was admiring her clever purchases she handed me this …

And inside was this …

I hadn’t even told her of my foulard master plan. That’s how good they are, they just know exactly what to buy. She said it was the perfect colour for my hair and that if I couldn’t go to the sales then the sales would just have to come to me. Now that’s style.

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