Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I was going to blog about Tunisia, but decided to share this funny story instead:

I start walking home after lunch today, having met a co-worker and his wife who were in Paris for the weekend on their honeymoon. I decide to stop in at a lingerie store that was going out of business, and after looking around, I find a few things I want to buy, so I head up to the counter to pay. The sales woman starts taking things off the hangers and whatnot, until she gets to one bra and says "Madame, I cannot let you buy this". I say "Why not?" and she says "With the poitrine you have, it will give you boobs up to here (points to her neck), so with all good conscious, I cannot let you purchase this!" I'm a little unsure how to respond for a second - I mean, who is this lady to tell me which bras I can and cannot buy?? - but then I laugh, give her a good ol' Sarah Palin wink and say "Mais Madame, c'est parfois l'effet recherché !!"

It made me stop and think though about how you never really see French women showing any cleavage, whereas so many Americans have their boobs hanging out on a daily basis. I'm not sure whether it's cultural and they prefer to keep men guessing, or if it's just because they don't have anything to show!

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Blogger Fned said...

You're so right!! I hadn't thought about it but you YOU ARE SO RIGHT!! French women seldom show any boobs (unless they're at the beach where they sometimes show MORE than I need to see).

I hadn't realized this until you mentioned it even though it was the first thing I noticed when I was in Japan. Japanese girls have no qualms about showing leg (I'm convinced I saw headbands being used as skirts while I was there!) but when it came to cleavage... not a peep. I was told it was because Asian women are so self conscious about their "small chest sizes"... maybe it's the same with French women?

So, did you buy the bra after all or not? ;)


November 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I love that you told her that! What was her reaction?

November 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

My take is that french women don't have boobs... I can't really think of any I know who do, or in any case, it seems rare.

That is hilarious that woman told you that though! :)

November 15, 2008 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Fned -no, I decided not to get it in the end. It was kind of expensive anyways.

Sara- She kind of blanched for a second and then said "Well, I can see how one might want such a bra pour une petite soirée coquine". LOL

November 15, 2008 at 9:03 PM  
OpenID americaninparis42 said...

Hi Sam! I came across your blog and I've really enjoyed reading it! You've written about a lot of experiences that I am going through now, so it's been nice to know that someone has survived what I am experiencing...Anyways, that story is hysterical! I don't know what it is with French bras, I haven't been able to find something I would be happy buying and always stock up on Victoria's Secret when I am in the States. As much as I try to blend into the fashion here, I don't want to wear boring French bras. Again, thanks for the laugh!

November 15, 2008 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

GUILTY in America--- But not in France... I doesn't have the same effect... Plus, I'm married now... Before I was single!!! : )
Funny story, Sam!!!

November 16, 2008 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Rochelle said...

Yeah I think breast sizes here are generally on the smallish size which leads to a less busty fashion so to speak. Clothes aren't usually made to accentuate the breasts here.

November 16, 2008 at 1:47 AM  
Blogger eastcoastsnob said...

Great story. But I have to ask, why do we as American women advertise so much?

November 16, 2008 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger purejuice said...

oh, translate for the poor frenchless orphans! we want to make fun of the frenchies too!

November 16, 2008 at 4:05 AM  
Blogger La Framéricaine said...

That's a great, cute story!

November 16, 2008 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger wcs said...

TMI! TMI! I'm still drinking my morning tea. ;)

November 16, 2008 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger PAULINE said...

Don't you think it's weird though that women then go topless at the beach here in France, but in the US that would be next to impossible .

Very strange.

November 16, 2008 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger PAULINE said...

@ don't want to wear boring French bras - sorry but we can't be going ti the same shops


November 16, 2008 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Interesting. was she joking?
Cleavage, hmm. Well, I think in the summer they do.

November 16, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger The Bold Soul said...

Actually I always felt it was the opposite, that French women tend to wear lower cut tops than American women. But the difference is that most French women don't have large breasts, most of them are smaller-breasted so maybe it's less obvious.

November 16, 2008 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger David said...

You don't see cleavage in Paris (or Bretagne) because it's so freaking damn cold, any woman showing cleavage north of Angoulême has a death wish.

In the South, there are plenty of cleavages everywhere...

That and French people are not as obsessed with boobs as Americans are.

November 16, 2008 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

Dude, this explains why I can never buy a button up shirt in this country without the gaping in the front. And I'm not even that busty. Argh.

November 17, 2008 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Gads ! I am so glad that am checking back in !

Living in Brest currently with my fiance (the grand experiment ... to see if I can hang here, you know, use up the 90 day visa limit.) and you are so right about this and your other, earlier comments about french women !

Thank God maman "tutoyers" me now and we get along great. It is Jordane's youngest sister that looks at me with an eyebrow raised - all of the time.

I am not a large gal (5'6", size 6-8 US, 40 EU and only a 36B bra size US.) but ouah, when I wear my usual Victoria's Secret bras I feel a little over-the-top. Jordane loves this but I really and worried about the females around me. *grogne*

Actually, it was nice that the sales girl tried to help you ! I usually get the cold stare .....

November 17, 2008 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger parisiannewyorker said...

Well, as a bra designer, I suppose the saleslady (and most bra salespeople are specially trained for bra fit and sizing) was worried that if your boobs were up to there, your clothes wouldn't fit properly? This is v important, wearing the correct bra and with the correct size - i.e. you don't want to wear some crazy push up with a tight shirt; you would want to wear a T-shirt bra, or something that provides some light padding if you are very busty)

In any case, everyone probably already knows this, but market research states that the French buy more underwear/lingerie than anyone else in the world. I'd also say that most French women tend to be in the B/C cup range (as opposed to Asia which has mostly A/B cups). (I believe Americans also tend to be on average a B/C cup as well, but there is also a much bigger market here for D, DD, and DDD sizes). The other huge difference is that American women tend to want more coverage from their bras (meaning bras in non see through fabrics, so your nipples don't show through your tight T-shirt) whereas the French tend to prefer lace only or transparent fabric bras - these kinds sell like hotcakes in Europe but are very hard to sell in the US, and provide less push up (and other effects). And in the US we tend to apply a lot more in terms of technology to the bras to achieve special effects - i.e. customized gel pads, removable foam pads, seamless technology, etc. Also in terms of fit (in bras as well as panties), EU fit is ALWAYS cut tighter and smaller than a US fit.

Sorry, I probably bored everyone with my comment, but felt I should add my two cents.

November 18, 2008 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Cécy said...

The above comment is really interesting and I have to agree with it.
I think Americans are attached to their padded bras and French are attached to the lacy sheer fabrics. To me Victoria Secret might have some nice push ups, but I'm still happier shopping for undies in France.
And yes American bra sizes go far uper than the French ones. I'm also surprised to see skinny girls with big boobs here. It seems a bit more proportionate in France.

December 3, 2008 at 7:07 PM  

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