By Isabelle Lepine, French and Politics
The Croft Magazine // Reflecting on her time in Paris, Isabelle Lepine shares her experience of the value of sentimental clothing.
There were six of us altogether. All au pairs for Parisian families, sipping wine on the balcony of a stunning apartment in the 15th arrondissement, as though we were wealthy homeowners ourselves. The living room was large and lavished with ornaments the host family had collected from their worldly travels, and the furniture looked like it had been staged by professionals for a magazine.
They had gone away for the weekend, leaving their home under the watchful and responsible eye of their au pair and her friends. The theme of our dinner party was simple: come wearing something in your style and then swap with someone else.
I had chosen some faded black skinny jeans and a silk camisole top, with lace trim, in khaki green. I’d like to be able to say I made it slightly better with an oversized blazer or some jewellery, but sadly that was the lot. Whilst not the most fashionable outfit going by the official trends, it gave off a somewhat ‘put together’ look on me and it was a truthful representation of what I felt comfortable in at the time.
I’m around 5ft 6 and would comfortably describe myself as a healthy midsize. I handed my clothes over to the smallest, most petite member of the group and watched as they drowned her slight frame. She looked – and this comes from her – as though she had “raided mummy’s wardrobe”.
Whilst our chef for the night cooked, I changed into my outfit. A tiger print, collared, maxi dress from ASOS. It has a V- neck plunge and has been sewn to create built-in cups for your boobs. It’s a flattering dress, to say the least and I completely fell in love with it. As someone who had actively avoided wearing anything too loud for fear of not being able to pull it off, it felt empowering to suddenly be in such a bold pattern… and like it.
We spent the rest of the night doing fashion shows, galivanting around the place sporting our new outfits and guzzling countless glasses of wine with the stunning dinner that was prepared for us. These girls, eclectic in both their style and personalities, became some of my best friends. Despite now being scattered across the world, pursuing our own individual things, we regularly see each other and stay in touch. We survived and thrived in a foreign country together, in the midst of a global pandemic and that night of hilarity is just one example of that.
The girl whose dress I was wearing that evening kindly gifted it to me at the end of the night, and it has become a staple item in my wardrobe. I love how easy it is to style and how it instantly elevates my mood with its fun print. But more than anything, I love that it reminds me of a group of people, and a place that has become so intrinsic to who I am today. Its laughter and memories are woven into the fabric, and I get the privilege of keeping it close.
Featured Image: Coby Travis Lazaroo
Are there any pieces of clothing that hold fond memories for you? Let us know!