That Time I Went To Paris


It was the late 1990's. I was in Paris. And I thought it would be a fantastic idea to wear purple pants and tweeze most of my Cara Delevigne-like eyebrows (They were extremely thick.) off.

You might be wondering - 'What was she thinking?' (I've wondered that exact same thing myself many times.)

Well, the pants were from the sale rack at The Gap (the scene of many style disasters and a few triumphs), but the brows, they were inspired by the late great Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 90's It Girl and wife of the late John Kennedy Jr, only the most sought after and obsessed over bachelor of the late 20th century. (He was, in fact, exponentially more popular and lusted after than even the man, the myth George Clooney is now.)

Carolyn was tall (6' to be exact) with almost white blonde hair (Rumor was that every A List colorist in NYC wanted to take credit for her particular shade of pale blonde.) and ultra thin eyebrows. Fairly certain that I wasn't the only girl who tweezed off most of her brows during the late 90's, trying to mimic the CBK look. Truthfully, copying her brows was a lot more accessible to us non-socialites and non-Kennedy's than, say, copying her hair color (A light shade like that is pricey and difficult to maintain as well as extremely damaging to hair.) or her Barney's wardrobe. Part of being an adult and getting your act together beauty wise though is knowing when to put down the Tweezerman tweezers (awesome if used conservatively) and when to pick up the Lancome brow groomer, by far the easiest way to make anyone's brows look instantly BETTER. (I use the taupe, but there are a bunch of other options for just about every hair color and skin tone.)

If you do find yourself traveling in Paris with purple pants (or the sartorial equivalent) and no brows, you can still have a good time.

First of all, the coffee is pretty amazing. I think I lived on Cafe Au Lait - and bread - while I was there. This was all before I rediscovered fruits and veggies, before organic went mainstream and before Whole Foods came to RI. (And yes, I definitely do still drink coffee. We all have our vices, right?)

A good place to drink Cafe Au Lait, but not Coca Cola? Brasserie Lipp. Again, they don't serve Coca Cola. Got that? I was told this repeatedly by our waiter who took way too much joy in his dragged out and disdainful pronunciation of Coca Cola. He also refused to translate any of the menu. How do you say jerk in French?

Furthermore, if you happen to walk in to Brasserie Lipp with your brother who happens to be good looking, have white hair and wear Ray-bans and Diane Von Furstenberg is there (seated on the first floor because the 2nd floor is Social Siberia) , she may smile and wave in his direction, most likely because she has mistaken him for a) Ralph Lauren b) Giorgio Armani or c) the white haired actor from Cinema Paradiso. Unfortunately, this will not keep you, your brother and your mom from all being seated on 2nd floor. That's right - Social Siberia.

Maybe you'll make it to Sephora on the Champs Élysées - Bragging rights for that, but now can we talk about Parisian Salons? No, not the intellectual ones, I'm talking about hair salons. One thing you may not be able to do while you're in Paris is get your hair blown out CBK straight. Despite having taken 3 torturous years of high school French (a big chunk of it spent translating the original version of Les Miz, only to find out - SPOILER ALERT - that Jean Valjean went to jail for something like 100 years for stealing a loaf of bleeping bread!), I was unable to make myself understood to anyone in the salon. That's how I ended up walking around Paris with decidedly poufy instead of pin straight CBK hair.

Oh well. There are worse things than walking around Paris with poufy hair, purple pants and no brows - the pictures of me walking around Paris with poufy hair, purple pants and no brows. Those are definitely worse.