When passing through an unfamiliar city, it’s hard not to make generalizations. When I’m at a 10-hour layover in Paris and decide to step outside the airport for some pastel macaroons and white wine, I might think — from my corner seat in the café — that all Parisian women are fashionable, elegant creatures, wearing nothing but trench coats and delicate perfume. When I visit New York for a short weekend, I might come to the conclusion that, based on NYC street style, that all the girls are impossibly cool with their black leather jackets and bright red lips, making me want to fidget slightly in my bumpkin-looking sweater. If I land in London, I might want to skip lunch and go to the first charity shop I see in order to buy some grungy plaid and platform boots, to fit in with the rest of the badass women riding the Underground with me.
When you only have a handful of time in one spot, it’s hard not to see a small sampling of amazing women and then assume that the rest of the city is like that. Especialy if it seems like their carbon copy just turned the corner and — oh! — there’s another entering the bar right now. And it becomes even more difficult to shake that feeling when you see editors and magazines push that same woman on you through their glossy pages. We’re supposed to be intimidatingly cool like a New Yorker, with our all-black outfit and hardware booties. Quietly elegant like a Parisian, with our bangs wonderfully messy and our shoulders wrapped in stripes. Maybe during the summer we should switch gears and be carefree like a San Franciscan, with our crochet dresses and daisies braided through our lob.
All these images are true to a certain extent, but it can become a little irksome if you’re actually from that city and aren’t anywhere near that image. And don’t want to be! And it can be a little irksome if you don’t live in that city but are still hella intimidated by the type of woman you think you should be portraying. It’s hard to look flawless and effortless when you’re trying to be yourself, let alone this ideal woman that’s 1000 miles away from you both literally and figuratively.
I mean, I’m sorry, but I have bangs and they never look like a Parisian’s when messy. They look like I just came out of one of those grab-as-much-money-as-you-can wind tunnels on game shows. I’m sure you have a story or two similar to that.
So to dispel the stereotype of these cities, here are several other different kinds of women that live in those same area codes. Notice how they’re all unique, but still as on-point and inspiring. After all, just because you’re outside of the mold, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It just means you’re real.
New Yorkers are cool, edgy, and with almost a prickly sense of style what with their blacks and greys and their charcoal-lined eyes and permanent sunglasses.
But they also wear vintage, go kitschy, bundle up for the cold, wear dresses, have bad ass tattoos, and go girly with pastels and curls.
LA babes are just that: total babes. They've got long blonde hair that somehow wraps itself into perfect curls, long legs, lip gloss on their pouts, and maxi dresses that like to billow dramatically behind them as they walk from their car to their mimosa brunches. They're completely gorgeous.
But you know what else is equally as gorgeous and equally as LA? Vintage power suits, fashion forward layering, plus-size beauties, and style that leans on the side of adorable and sweet rather than glamorous and expensive.
PNW girls love their plaids and their boots, keeping cozy all year long with their plethora of wooly rain clouds and their quirky coffee shops. They pull off the baggy grunge look flawlessly, somehow still looking impossibly feminine under the heavy, masculine layers. They've practically copyrighted the top knot, and each and every one of them have the bone structure for dark rimmed reading glasses.
But they also rock funky prints like the best New Yorker, go ladylike in all black, dress down in edgy leather jackets and cage heels, wear bohemian gowns if the mood strikes, and are polished and classic.
Oh, Paris. So chic that not even the Parisian women themselves can keep up with how they're "supposed" to look. (The high sales of the style guide La Parisienne by Inès de la Fressange is proof enough.) With their perfectly messy and air dried hair, their svelte figures in cigarette pants, and shoulders wrapped in a timeless trench, they're the epitome of quiet elegance and effortless style.
But they're also wonderfully quirky and not at all understated dressers, indulge in punk glam, dabble with color and prints, and support the gym shoe trend.
Whereas Paris is understated and elegant, London is full of vibrancy and a devil-may-care attitude when it comes to fashion. Many women seem to have embraced the punk trend, looking cool and intimidating in their black lipstick and ripped tights. You want to instantly grab the first leopard coat you find and pair it with some plaid pants to emulate just a quarter of that type of creativity and confidence.
But they're also feminine and vintage obsessed, able to rock a clean, minimalist look or an epically retro one. Plus, they're absolutely unique, and know how to mix menswear with womenswear effortlessly.
Images: Instagram/Courtesy Users