In France there is no national dress, but many traditional dresses that were inspired by the dress that people from the countryside were wearing during holidays and religious celebration. France has many regions (22), each with their own traditional dress.
Those costumes can be very different from one region to another, especially in the women’s hats, which go from small straw hats to a huge starched lace veil very similar to that one wear today by some brides. However, the main pieces of all French women costumes are: a long and simple white dress, a wide overdress in a bright colour often heavily decorated a lacy apron, a shall that can be wear over the shoulder or cross on the chest, and a very complicated hair up do. Men´s costume is much more simple, and it is made by trouser, shirt, jacket and an hat similar to that one used by the local farmers during market day. The shirt is always white (made of silk or cotton depending on the person status) and the main colour of the whole costume is a dark one such as blue, brown or black.
As the 20th century brought on a lot of change, very quickly the traditional dress fell out of use, only to be worn for special occasions such as performances, historical recreations or traditional music and dance shows..
Nowadays, everybody dress much more casual. French fashion and style (together with the Italians) are famous all around the world and the names and address of the most important shopping center in Paris (such as the Primtemps or Galerie Lafayette) are listed in all the city guides.
Still today, French fashion is a synonym of elegance and high lifestyle and French brand (maison de mode) and designer (coutourier) such as Chanel, Yves St. Lauren and Lavin still dress royal families all around Europe.
Among these designers, one of the most famous is Coco Chanel, who, born in a small village in the country side in 1883 created the brand Chanel, which, still today, is a synonym of elegance and style. With her creation, she made women feeling beautiful and comfortable, and she invented one of the world most famous perfume: Chanel n 5.
But fashion is not just a hobby for wealthy people and many goods piece of clothing can be bought also in the second hand markets (called Marché de pusses or Brick brack or Brocantes) organised weekly or monthly in every city.
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