European Women Don’t Wear Flip Flops!


Three things European women don’t do in the summer!

– wear pants
– wear flat shoes
– wear flip flops

After just a week in Paris, working and observing women of many different industries, I began to notice glaring differences in the European vs. the visitors’ dress.   It’s my job to pick up on trends, so I am always aware, but this one was amazingly obvious.

Everywhere I looked, tourist, shuffled along in shorts – often way too short – and flip flops, athletic t-shirts and utilitarian cross body bags.  But there was no “wack” “wack” noise coming from any European shoes and I truly never saw one pair of inappropriate shorts on a European woman or teen. Skirts and cool sundresses with hand bags and totes and always  shoes with a slight heel, was what every Parisian woman chose to brave the sticky Paris weather and air conditioner-less subway in.  No matter their size, Parisian women prefer skirts, dresses, heeled sandals and elegant bags.

So while at a nail salon where many women spoke English, I mentioned my observation, and each of them agreed that Parisian women don’t wear flip flops because of the sound they make when you walk and the fact that flats are very tough on your body. They believe that a small heeled shoe is better for posture, pain management and improving the muscle tone in your legs. One women called flip flops duck shoes, because of the “quack” “quack” sound they make.

This lovely group of a half dozen Parisians also declared skirts far more comfortable and cool in the extreme summer heat, enjoying the breezy ventilation of a flowy skirt or dress over the stifle of shorts or pants. The term “elegant” was bantered about like a ping pong ball, and everyone seemed to make it a priority in presentation.

So is there anything to learn or be gained here?  I think so.

We can be much cooler, exude more confidence, have better posture and immediately look more polished, by following the ways of the European women. Opt for a flowing skirt over shorts, small heeled sandals over flip-flops and a tote or handbag over a sloppy bag worn at your hip.

These small, yet substantial shifts can completely modernize and polish your look in seconds flats. Even if you’re pairing the whole thing with a basic tank top.

We can do this!  Looking great doesn’t have to be hard. It’s about choices. So make a couple of shifts and enjoy the new “oooo la la’s!”