Friday, October 05, 2012

C comme Couches

 Everyone wants to dress like the French. There are scads of how-to books out there. But few address the issue of layering or rather 'undressing'. The French dress much like a sandwich, with lots of layering/les couches.

 Basically the weather is big factor in French style. Be prepared to shed your clothes throughout the day as temperatures rise. Naturally in the morning you'll want to be warmly dressed with many layers.

 Mid-morning reduce to merely a jacket + shirt + scarf + T-shirt + skirt/pants.

 Close to noon more bits come off. Shirt tails showing is de rigueur/A-OK.

 At absolute noon it would be best not to strip down to your skivvies but almost is OK.

 Don't forget it can rain at the drop of a hat in Paris. Be prepared with umbrella, rainboots and raincoat to throw back on.

 Latching a bebe onto your front as an accessory is fine in any weather plus an ice creme cone. The more layers the better.

 French children learn to layer from day 1.

 French food has always been known for it's complexity of layers and flavors . Perhaps they invented it?

 The macaron makes the perfect layered sandwich. You can put whatever you want between the two cookies. Is it any wonder the French have embraced this dessert whole-heartedly. It appeals to their deepest instincts.

 Again the famous, but very simple tarte fine, made up of thin layerings of fruit with a lashing of apricot glaze, perfectly reflects how layers exists in every part of French culture.

 How have I come to these conclusions you ask? Layering is an integral part of watercolor painting. Placing thin layers of color on top of color creates entirely new colors. Any watercolorists worth his or her salt is bound to have special insight into the French. It's a given. C'est comme ca. 
French tea time, etsy, 9" x 11"
Do you know the French word for 'layering'?
Jill does - Les Couches.

24 comments:

  1. I just wish I was as skinny as the French so I could wear those stripes!

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    Replies
    1. Don't we all Bill?
      that's a universal wish...

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    2. Anonymous11:38 AM

      It is not a universal wish to be as skinny as the French when that state is accompanied by cruelty which is often the case. Be care of what you wish for, Bill...

      Delete
  2. You could say "superposés"

    as in 3 sweaters.. Je portais 3 chandails superposés..but it's quite obvious if you say you were wearing 3 sweaters:)

    Another word for layers is couche..not like a diaper..couche..but une couche..layer..layering..I've never used..hope someone tells us:)
    They dress like we do:)

    On good days.Except the white pants..not pretty on me that tight..not even close.

    I am so impatient w watercolors..I have to learn to let them dry:)After I learn how to paint.
    Lovely lovely watercolor Carol.

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    Replies
    1. Watercolors are all about letting paint dry
      AND WATCHING IT!
      Stuff happens if you don't watch it with aquarelle
      You have to let the paint play it's part.

      Delete
  3. I've always had to do what I call "Le Metro Strip-Tease" when I'm in Paris.

    Get bundled up in the morning, rush to catch your train, get crammed in with Parisians, get too warm, take off your scarf, take off your coat, take off your sweater in front of them...

    Then put it all back on when you emerge from the tunnels!

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  4. What is the French word for layering ? Now that's a good question! Not that google translations are always correct, but it shows 'stratification' Oh NO ! that word could certainly NOT be used in your description for how chic the French ladies look wearing their clothes in lots of layers.

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  5. thank heaven we have you to peel back the layers of French complexity!

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  6. Ah, those white pants :)
    Great watercolors, Carol!

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  7. "Peeling back the layers of French complexity..." I like Jeanette's comment, Carol! Here in Seattle, this French Girl has had to duplicate one of her old Parisian habits: S'habiller avec plusieurs épaisseurs! Fun post. Bon weekend. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle) PS: Have you ever met a macaron you did not like?! :-)

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    Replies
    1. épaisseurs is the word for layers?

      I've met far too many macarons I didn't like..usually too sweet, too dry, too too : )

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  8. That veggie sandwich, really a salade on grainy bread was to die for...

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  9. It's all about layering..."S'habiller avec plusieurs épaisseurs..." Peindre avec des épaisseurs...I'm loving the épaisseurs in my new original PB paintings.

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  10. Yes, we would say 'les couches'. We're also used to wearing layers in the summer in Scotland! I suppose you could say that I dress like a macaron here in Paris, Carol, after seeing your fun post!

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  11. The PRIZE if there was one, goes to Jill @ MadAbout Macarons
    Les COUCHES = layers as in:
    Etaler la crème au beurre en une couche fine et régulière.
    EPAISSEUR refers to 'THICKNESS" as in:
    spatule métallique sur une épaisseur de 2 à 3 mm. in making an Opera cake full of layers of varying thicknesses.
    http://www.meilleurduchef.com/cgi/mdc/l/fr/recette/opera.html

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    Replies
    1. Yep, "couche" is the right word for layer, yet, on your article you can also talk about "superposition" which means having several layers, and sounds better.
      Louise

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  12. You have to be skinny to wear all the layers. Here, in Buenos Aires, where styles are much like Paris .. by the time you have the shirt, then the sweater , then the jacket/coat and scarf wrapped just so.. you can look like a snowman !
    We are finally coming out of winter and I am so happy to be walking around in my light shirt, light sweater, light scarf and light jacket :)
    I guess I am a macaron en Español ~

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  13. This was a HILARIOUS post!!! I loved it!! :)

    x Milsters

    (http://littlepiecesoflight.blogspot.fr/)

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  14. Oh to be that chicly all-black Parisian strolling past a cafe with her umbrella...stop it!

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  15. Hey Carol! I've been invited by the Abu Dhabi government's investment fund for an interview, so that was a photo of Dubai Marina. :) They flew me over here all the way from Vancouver with 1 week's notice for 2 long days of interviews. I'm heading into my second one today. It's a bit hectic! I've lived in the region before as a child (7 years in Saudi Arabia) but it would definitely be a huge change from anything I've known in my adult life: Vancouver, New York, London, Paris... Well, let's see first if I would even get an offer, but it's kind of exciting to go through this process!!

    x Milsters

    (http://littlepiecesoflight.blogspot.fr/)

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    Replies
    1. At least Dubai has Pierre Herme macarons!
      That's all I know about it.
      Bon Chance :)

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  16. No wonder French Women carry HUGE purses..They need it to put all those layers in at the end of the day. :) Lovely painting.

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  17. French style & foods, you got me by those. Always at its finiest, love the tartine fine. Got my eye on your next posts.

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