Stealthy Street Style: Why I Want To Dress Like A Fat Old French Man

My fashion muse this summer is over 65, gray-haired and male.
Publish date:
June 10, 2011
street style, Stealthy Street Style

I was in southern France this spring, and while I expected to be inspired by the women's fashion, it's actually the men's style I haven't been able to get out of my head.

Case Study #1

This guy is my #1 Muse. Every day around 3:00 he appeared on the beach yelling "POP POP!" while selling candied peanuts and distributing free samples to every single beachgoer. I personally can't imagine a better job.

But I also can't stop being obsessed with his style. I'm not sure I'd be able to pull of the long khaki cargo shorts myself, but it looks and feels right on him. As for the pale pink button-down, I have to say I love the formality. Just because you walk around in the hot sun and sand all day doesn't mean you should dress like a slob. This man keeps it together! And I respect that. But what really kills me is the straw hat.

Case Study #2

There's definitely a trend here. I'm personally a hatoholic. I also like Panama hats paired with white linen shirts. I sat behind this guy at a cafe in Cannes. Is he not a vision of leisure and charm? He makes me want to retire early and drink a mojito. Different country, I know, but that's the truth.

Case Study #3

Now I realize this marionettist is looking way more Fall 2009 than Summer 2011, but I love the utilitarian vest. Just imagine: You'd never have to carry a purse again. I once dated a boy whose father was a big shot law school professor. He always wore these fishermen's vests. So I asked him one day what he carried in those pockets and was mesmorized as he revealed spectacles (not glasses, spectacles!), snacks, a hair brush ... even a miniature copy of the Consitution. This guy was brilliant for a reason, and it started with his fashion sense.

I'm also smitten with the marionettist's hat -- which I happened upon on a separate trip to Paris a few years ago. This hat is what every single Parisian man wears to protect himself from the horrible elements of their winters. Nevermind that I bought it in the wrong size because the salesman managed to convince me that it did fit when it absolutely did not.

But I digress. There are a few real takeaways from these French men: Wear hats, possess pockets and enjoy dressing up.