Monday, October 17, 2016

Toto, I Think We’re in Paris!

I have a special treat for you today – an interview with a young American in Paris. 

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

In an era in which most young American women don’t even own a dress or a pair of high heels, a Kansan transplant to Paris has given me some much-needed hope.  Let’s just say that the future of style and class is in very capable, tiny hands. 

When Petite in Paris signed on to follow my Blog through Twitter, I immediately took notice.  Those are two of my favorite words – Petite and Paris.  I am 5’1” tall and weigh 97 lbs. fully dressed (95 lbs. in my shimmy).  Diane, the creator of Petite in Paris is a tiny package with a big sense of style, so I absolutely had to get to know this young lady better.  

M-T:  Let’s start with some basics, Diane.  Originally from the state of Kansas, you moved to Paris just a few months ago for a job as Director of Client Relations for an IT Company (RoomChecking).  How exciting!  (“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”)  What young lady of 28 would NOT want to have a Parisian adventure?  But, beyond the obvious language difference, there are cultural differences that can also be challenging, particularly getting past the famous Parisian reserve.  How are you settling in? 

Diane:  Moving to Paris has been such an exciting adventure! I never imagined I would end up living in this beautiful city. When this job opportunity presented itself, I could NOT pass up this once in a lifetime moment.  I can speak very minimal French, but am improving daily.  As time passes and I gain more confidence, I’m finding it easier and easier to communicate. 

I’ve had such a positive experience so far. Being from the Midwest, I was always taught to be kind and friendly to everyone, and I honestly believe this has helped me get past the famous Parisian reserve and meet many wonderful people whom I now consider very good friends.  

M-T:  At some point, over a glass of wine with a friend, you decided to launch your blog, Petite in Paris.  Sharing your wonderful Paris adventure with your readers was one goal, but you had other goals in mind, as well.  Tell us about them? 

Diane:  Initially, I decided to create “Petite in Paris” in order to allow my friends and family to follow my adventures abroad. I also knew that being a petite woman presented its own set of challenges. I wanted to empower other petite women to be fashionable and explore trends that they see on the runway.  Finally, I wanted to ensure that I am always challenging myself to learn new skills, and by creating and designing a blog I accomplished this goal.

M-T:  One of the things that attracted me to your Blog was the fact that we are both petite.  Petite women face certain wardrobe challenges not faced by their taller sisters.  There are a different set of rules for us….or are there?  I’ve always been a rule breaker, and I love the fact that you break the rules, too (i.e., avoid cropped pants, layering, etc.).  Proportion and balance are key to making any outfit work whether or not you are petite.  Don’t you agree? 

What are your thoughts on how to dress the petite woman? 

Diane:  I believe that petite women, like all women, need to highlight, focus colors, and accessorize positive body features. If you have a tiny waist, wear a bright belt.  If you have broad shoulders, highlight them and your hips will look smaller.  If you have lovely hair, make sure you have a great cut and wear tops that allow your hair to fall nicely and not compete with your outfit.

M-T:  For me, fashion has always been a place to start, not an end in itself.  You take your cues from fashion, and from there you develop your individual sense of style which evolves with you.  Even at your young age, I sense you have a strong sense of your own style. 

How would you characterize your style?  How has living in Paris influenced it?  
Diane:  At a very young age I played “dress up” with my Mother’s clothing and jewelry. She always inspired me to be creative and allowed me to express myself. I believe this had a direct correlation in how I dress today. I’m not afraid to mix and match, wear bright clothing and take risks with what I wear.  Not only do I find inspiration in Paris through architecture, but the women here inspire me as well. They are always pushing fashion limits and dressing chic. It really inspires me to continue to be creative in the outfits I put together.

M-T:  When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do?  Favorite places to go with friends?  Favorite restaurants? 

Diane:  When I’m not working, my favorite thing to do is go explore the city. I love discovering new places and monuments. Moving to Paris, I discovered my love for crêpes, there is an area in the 6th (arrondissement) that I believe has the best crêpes in the entire city.  Of all the Crêperies, Crêperie de Saint Malo is my favorite.  Whenever I have friends or family visiting from out of town, we go there and everybody loves it.

M-T:  Of course, there’s no point in being a fashionista in Paris if you don’t spend at least some of your time shopping, n’est-ce pas?   Where are your favorite places to shop?   What great shopping tips can you share with us? 

Diane:  My favorite place to shop is Le Bon Marché; I can never go wrong shopping there. My biggest piece of shopping advice is -- if you are at the store and you’re not in love with it, don’t get it. Also, invest in staple pieces. These are the items you can always pull out and mix and match. My two favorite staple pieces are my leather jacket and my trench coat.

M-T:  Merci beaucoup, Diane, for this delightful cyberchat.  Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with my readers? 

Diane:  My biggest piece of advice is to take chances, try something new.  You never know where life can take you and keep smiling along the way! 

A friend recently asked me if I had any regrets in life, and I said “Yes.  Not taking more chances.”  Diane has it exactly right.  Take chances and keep smiling. 

To follow the adventures of a stylish, young American in Paris, click on Petite in Paris.  


  1. What a great adventure for her!! Oh to be young again, and in Paris no less!

    1. I'd settle for just being young again.....although, if you throw in Paris that definitely sweetens the deal.

      Cheers, my friend,


  2. Great interview, Marie-Thérèse! Very sage and practical advice. Love the fashion too! I enjoyed hearing some of the considerations a petite woman might have when selecting her wardrobe. Much of the advice can benefit everyone. Has it been your observation that petite women wear high heels more often than flats? I see lots of high heels in the beautiful photos, including the knee high boots. I do the footwear!

    1. Yes, we do love our high heels, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, I'm at the point in my life where I can't where my 4" heels two days in a row any more. My 1 1/2" heels are what I usually run around in lately. Boots that fall below the knees can cut you off and visibly shorten your torso, which doesn't mean we shouldn't wear them, it just means that we have to rebalance the outfit. Rules are there as a guide, but can be broken successfully.

      Balance and proportion are important to every woman when putting herself together; however, we petites are (or should be) especially aware of it.

      Glad you enjoyed the interview. Diane is lovely, isn't she?

      Cheers, M-T

    2. Yes, very lovely and stylish! In my first comment, I see I left out the word "like" --" I do like the footwear" in Diane's photos.

  3. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Diane certainly looks quite happy, posing in Paris in her lovely outfits.
    Being young and adventurous sure has an advantage and the new language will be managed soon!
    The last three photos are my favorites; the yellow dress looks fabulous on her. So do the boots and again the feminine dress in the last photo. Excellent photography as well.
    Sending you hugs,

    1. Dearest Mariette,

      It really is wonderful to be young and in Paris. I remember both with great fondness. I applaud your choice of photos, although, as you say, she has a really excellent photographer.

      Always love it when you stop.

      Cheers, M-T


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