There’s no doubt that fashion has played a big role in my life – and not just my self-image. I started this business (AmericanConcierge.com) over a pair of boots. I was in Paris with a gal pal, shopping in the Marais with Rich (now our Head Concierge who lives in Paris) when I spotted a pair of gray boots in the window at Ann Tuil. We went in so I could try them on… they had the same pair in black suede so I tried on both. My friends talked me into buying the black suede.
When I got back to New York and wore them, they were so comfortable, I started dreaming about the gray ones. I got on line, found the shop – but they wouldn’t take my order over the phone or ship them overseas, no one spoke English, blah blah blah: I was at a dead end. Or was I…?
I Skyped my buddy Rich. Not only did he purchase them for me but he set it up so I could get the VAT back when I picked them up from France a couple of months later: such a deal! We had so much fun going back to the Marais that day, I looked at him at the end of it and declared: There’s a business in this – there are other independent women like me, who speak enough French to get by, but who would enjoy Paris that much more with someone like him taking them here, showing them that and helping them with whatsits…
Ok, so never mind the business angle, those boots were the ‘look’ that began to define the most recent shift in my style –
Decades ago, when I went from theater major to Wall Street, I got rid of the purple elephant pants I defiantly wore with a bright orange t-shirt, ditched my jeans for leggings and up scaled to Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman for the office… 18 years later, when I launched my own company and worked from home, my everyday dress for success was a giant t-shirt with a pair of socks (that was before Skype). I put on another 15 years, and I was back in theater, producing for Broadway and donning jeans with blazers and funky boots (computer literacy made it easy to be an early adaptor to the on-line shopping craze… I joyfully surfed freepeople.com for ‘style’ and Rue-La-La for accessories).
Then came those boots. From Paris. In black suede and in gray.
There’s something about Paris… c’est simpliment extraordinaire … even in winter with cloudy skies the women there just seem to know how to use color… silhouettes in black on gray with a bright red scarf double wrapped around their necks… spiked heels, bracelets that clank, earrings that dangle, necklaces in triplicate – hair. It’s style. It’s sexy. It’s fun. It’s enchanting.
Another shift. I’m in my 60s. It’s time to stop hiding my gray and get real about ageing gracefully… hey, I’m in Paris. Where Coco “gave women freedom” and Yves “gave women power” … and I have a company that specializes in privately guided unique tours for leisure travelers to explore Paris.
So I’m doing it and we’re doing it. We formed a partnership with Frenchway Travel and put together a “Paris Makeover” package, launching during Fashion Week (March 2-9). It’s a s’wonderful mix of pleasure and treasure: 4 days in Paris that are all about you and all about fashion. Paris couture and American friendly.
So is it really true that what we wear, is who we are? Well, each time I’ve shifted, I’ve felt it.
I left home for college in a pair of tie-dyed jeans and 45 years later, I started a business in Paris over a pair of black suede boots. Last month in Paris, I bought a bright red scarf and went in for a new coif… my earrings are longer now than my hair. I don’t know if it’s sexy but it certainly is fun.
Written by our Co-Founder, Sharon Carr
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