Fashion Faceoff: Philadelphia vs. Paris

Living Fashion columnists Melonee Rembert and Maura Lieberman discuss summer fashion trends at home and overseas.

Melonee Rembert: “Temple Students Stay Cool in the Heat”

Philadelphia’s fickle weather plays a big part in campus style. One July morning, the morning showed promise of a pleasant and cloudless day, but that dream was diminished around 3 p.m. when the sky turned grey and a twenty minute rainstorm ensued. Just as the rain subsided, the sky went back to normal and the sun continued to shine.

Dressing for unpredictable weather like this can be hard. Wearing heels is disastrous in a rainstorm, but sneakers can be hot. Girls at Temple have mastered the perfect wardrobe by wearing ballet flats with basic sundresses that are easy enough to strut in, but also reliable enough to run for cover.

First year sociology major Aleana Polk said fall is her favorite season, but she loves that dressing in the summertime is carefree and effortless.

“Simple and cool,” Polk said when asked to describe her summer style. She said that she puts less effort into her wardrobe by wearing pieces to beat the heat, but still look trendy and cute.

Walking around campus, it appears that most people think like Aleana with light tees and shorts, accessorized with bright necklaces and shoes. The 90’s are making a comeback in both women’s and men’s fashion. With many new dominating trends, it’s easy to become carbon copies without much originality. But Temple students are giving these styles their own unique spin.

Girls are sporting thin fabrics of loosely flowing bottoms, patterned maxi skirts and 70’s style bell bottoms. These airy pants are comfortable and fashionable with a bohemian vibe. Showing skin is in with cropped tee shirts and high-waisted shorts, while guys are embracing more crazy prints. Who would have thought Hawaiian print shirts could look so good?

However, some trends are better left in the coffin of generations past, not to be resurrected or even born in the first place. Polk said one she could do without is the “cross style”.

“It’s everywhere,” Polk said. “People don’t [seem to know] that they’re representing a religion.”

Some people pay attention to the latest happenings in fashion, while others just dress to keep cool, but as a general rule, Temple students know that comfort is key to summertime style.

Aleana Polk wears a casual outfit from her summer wardrobe.
Aleana Polk wears a casual outfit from her summer wardrobe.

Maura Lieberman: “Timeless in Paris”

As an American studying French in Paris for six weeks, I wanted to put forth as much effort as possible to blend in with the crowd and dress as a Parisian. Even though my French is rudimentary, I can at least try and play the part and not scream “tourist” while perusing the fashionable streets.

The popular trends in America this summer, as Melonee mentioned, are maxi dresses, crop tops with high waisted shorts and skirts. After all, summertime is about comfort and versatility! So as I sifted through my closet trying to find the perfect Parisian outfits for my strolls along the Seine, I became overwhelmed and panicked in regards to picking out my tres chic outfits.

My first day in Paris, I noticed that Parisians tend to dress more on the conservative side in the summertime. Of course, they still look beyond fashionable at all times of day, including the casual Sunday morning errand runs.  As opposed to Americans, you won’t see any bare midriffs, skin-tight skirts or short-shorts in this city. Stepping outside of your house, even just to grab some brie at the market, is enough to dress for the occasion.

Unless taking part in some kind of physical activity, Parisians do not wear running shoes of any kind. This was unfortunate for me since my feet now hurt from wearing sandals everywhere.

Women wear more dresses and pants and stray away from wearing shorts, unless Bermuda length, worn with a fashionable top and scarf. Women adorn many neutral colors like black, white and grey. However, they do include several pops of colors, such as a pair of red flats or a multi-colored neck wrap. In terms of footwear, many women wear flats or sandals. They usually pair high heel wedge-style boots with dresses, skirts or long pants. Parisians manage to make lazy Sundays look polished and proper.

Men in Paris tend to dress in clothing that actually fits instead of three sizes too big like the American trend that can’t die fast enough. They stray away from athletic wear, tennis shoes and basketball shorts. Parisian men do wear jeans, but usually in the summertime they are capri-length and lightweight. Men wear clothing for style and proper fit.

I have noticed that the French tend to spend more on items that are timeless, such as a black blazer, a pair of everyday black heels and a chic day-to-night handbag. Parisians aren’t quick to jump on any short-lived trends, but stick to basic pieces that will never go out of style a la Audrey Hepburn. I hate to admit it, but I can easily tell who is a tourist and who is a local.

When in doubt, even if you’re on a college budget, you can still carry yourself well and present yourself in a fashionable manner at all times. Less is always more! Stick to neutral makeup and minimal jewelry. Basic black and white works for both casual and formal and has helped me fit in with the locals. C’est la vie!

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