Don't wear makeup. As reported in Elaine Sciolino's NYT article, the standard American look involves noticeable makeup; Michèle Fitoussi, a French social commentator and Elle magazine columnist, describes this look as "vulgaire." Mais oui! What's all the rage in France these days is "le bare face," "le no makeup."
To Frenchwomen, a woman who sports the made-up look is trying too hard, hopes to attract men, or is just plain old. Quelle horreur! There's a classic quotation from Yves Saint Laurent in the article: "The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy."
Between my minimal use of makeup and having just one child, I feel very European. Now, those of us who don't wear makeup seldom take an interest in following trends in cosmetics, but I can absolutely get on board with "le bare face." Who's with me?
The article mentioned mirrored sunglasses as part of a California look mocked in Elle. This reminds me of a foursome of young women I saw at the bus stop last weekend. (If only I'd had my camera!) One was sporting a pair of giant Dior sunglasses with a big, shiny "D" at each temple. Two were wearing nearly identical shades, but with a big, shiny "C." The fourth had on sunglasses with a strikingly similar design. Mind you, this was no Beverly Hills bus stop. These were casually dressed girls in the Midwest, looking patently ridiculous with their combined $1,000+ of oversized shades.
Usually I have to go a little farther south, to the Lincoln Park neighborhood, to find clusters of people slavishly following the same trend. Last spring, I spotted three young women wearing short, pastel-colored trenchcoats. Gee, you girls go shopping together? Sometimes, the trendmonkeys are young men. Three guys walking to the Cubs game, wearing similar sandals, shorts all of the same length, and the same type of shirt. It's as if they'll be drummed out of their social circle if they don't wear the uniform.
I used to make fun of the young couples you'd see at amusement parks wearing matching personalized t-shirts. But you know what? At least they're not wearing exactly what all their friends are wearing. They're motivated by affection, not adherence to, say, the Abercrombie aesthetic or the Coco Chanel code.