Six years ago I showed up in Paris, fresh off the plane from India, with a suitcase containing a box of books and research papers, a sari, 3 salwaar kameez, and a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt. Fortunately, it was summer, because I had thrown out my coat in the airport on the way over, along with another small stack of clothing, after having calculated that its worth was lower than the cost of the overweight bag fee.
I had moved to Paris on a whim, to take a job as an English teaching assistant in a fancy high school, but was really more interested in backpacking around Europe than in my job. My students were ten times more fashionable than I was, having grown up in one of the poshest Paris suburbs, where swan-filled lakes with arched stone bridges were the norm, and Mama took them shopping at Dior for back-to-school clothes.
When a close friend mine from high school came for a short visit and showed up with one of the largest suitcases on wheels I had seen, I made fun of her. She looked at me with a deadpan expression and said, “it’s Paris.” The first time we went out together in the city of lights I insisted on wearing my plaid shirt and jeans. I was so above fashion.
Fast forward 6 years: I am still in Paris, I have married a frenchman, and I am panicking because I have a new job in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there is absolutely no way I can pack all of my french designer clothes into the four massive suitcases I have allotted myself.
Over the course of the last 6 years, french high fashion went from being something I thought was a fantastic waste of money to my raison d’être.
And then I had to ruin it all by going and moving.
So here I am, back in Palo Alto, home of my alma mater, dreaming of croissants and the Eiffel tower, but mostly of Celine and Chloe and Isabelle Marant and the endless vintage stores and dépôt ventes that I so loved.
So the punchline is that I now work for an IT infrastructure company that sells datacenter hardware and software (hence the title of this blog), which is about as far from the fashion industry as you can get. But I diligently show up every morning in my Prada heels with my Fendi bag and Miu Miu coat, or whatever it is I’ve pulled out of my closet, and prance around amid the pen-protector-wearing geeks of the Silicon Valley tech world. Now and then I get an occasional “nice shoes,” but for the most part it’s just questioning looks or total oblivion.
So as an outlet for my love of clothes, and perhaps in an effort to bring a little bit of Paris here to Palo Alto, I have decided to start this blog. The focus will be fashion, but fashion will also be an excuse to talk about my new life here, reverse culture shock, and all the joys and struggles of being a fashionista in a hardware/software world.