My family is comprised of francophiles. Indeed, I think I was in part interested in Mr. FS when we met because he had lived in France not once, when his father had a teaching Fulbright in 1968, but twice, when he returned post-college for two years. Hence he is fluent in French, while I am not, a source of frustration and, I'm afraid, some jealousy (of our son, who is there now).
The myth of French frugality is widespread. We get a glimpse of it in Babette's Feast, when we see Babette wrangling with the fishmonger and then cooking so as to wring the most flavor out of humble ingredients. (Of course, at the end she blows her lottery windfall on a fabulous feast out of artistry and love for the women who took her in . . . well, you should see the film).
I'm talking about French shopping frugality. This involves having a few basic items of excellent fit to be varied with au courant accessories. Including, of course, the scarf. I have never really managed this. My family sport involved getting as much as possible for as little as possible. My mother always spoke of French fashion frugality as a goal. She called it New York City-No Closet shopping. But her closets reveal that she has never achieved this ideal, and, in fact, has strayed from it more and more over the years as money became less an issue.
I have a French friend here and, by and large, she exemplifies the cliche. She buys very little, spends more on individual items than I do, and doesn't think about it again. This last is key. Once you have what you need, you STOP LOOKING.
Well, it's hard to stop looking with the internet. But I am aiming for a more French way of doing things this year. I know my readers were fascinated (hope the irony is evident) by my tale of two Eileen Fisher pants, bought on sale, but still expensive for me, the princess of the $3.00 thrift find.
The EF pants were an acknowledgment of my misery at the waistband. Then, in a further journey to the Dark Side, I went to Chico's where I bought a pair of pants that look kind of like leggings. Other people must have my problem, because these pants are now sold out in many sizes including mine.
Anyway, I have 3 new pairs of pants. I am going to try to STOP LOOKING for a while. I am going to try to embrace the ethic of French fashion frugality. It's soooooo hard for a thrift store girl like me.