E&M‘s Lisa O’ Leary takes a satirical look at Frances most recent attempt to violate women’s human rights & freedom of religion by asking: Is it all for fashion? 

As we all know, ‘France’ is French for ‘fashion’. It is to the French we look whenever we are in need of true fashion advice and/or someone to scoff at our poor outfit choices. Before we learned the true meaning of fashion we were all wearing our trousers on our heads, our jumpers as underwear and our shoes as handbags! How ignorant and blind we all were. How ridiculous we must have looked. Praise be “la police de la mode” for showing us all the way!

As we all slowly crawl our way out of this almost two-year hibernation, some of us will hear the French holiday horn call. While the promise of sun and bread fills us with glee the pressure of what to pack is enough to trigger anyone’s travel IBS!

And hark! Another fashion faux-pas has been added to the already-very-long-list of “things you’re not allowed wear in France because we said so”. This is too stressful. Whatever could it be now?

For those of you not currently “in vogue” (shame on you) France is once again clamping down on the Islamic headscarf for anyone (women) under the age of 18. And for all you beachgoers – the burkini is out too. Muslim women volunteering on children’s school trips wearing hijab will also no longer be allowed to attend. There are rumours these strict new rules are due to Frances claim to secularism but ….let’s be honest.

It’s because of fashion.

If it were truly due to secularism wouldn’t everyone just be getting on with their own business instead of actively opposing a religion and women’s bodies that has nothing to do with them? If it were truly about secularism wouldn’t they be admitting they have literally no role whatsoever in religious life because… well… they’re not religious? Or maybe we’ve had it wrong this whole time. Maybe secularism is the most extreme religion of them all disguised as a neutral belief system with a secret agenda where everyone abides to one strict version of life. How ironic it would be to find that the belief system that believes in nothing is the biggest believer of them all! (…my head hurts).

But FEAR NOT holiday reader, for I have done a thorough review on what is still within the realms of acceptable clothing in the land of cheese and wine. Below, find my guide to this year’s Summer French Fashion. Print it out, memorise it and then wear ONLY THESE things!

You have been warned.

Head wear

Photo courtesy by Canva Pro

Yes, I know, the difference is UNCANNY. Pack your basic festival boho or your Thelma & Louise Hermès but DON’T YOU DARE cover your whole head!

Swim wear

Photo courtesy by Canva Pro

Again, some undeniably obvious distinctions to be made here. Note the model in image two is in fact male and therefore can wear whatever the hell he wants. What a rock star.

Skirt length

Photo courtesy by Canva Pro

Okay, the jury is still out on how long/short our skirt lengths are allowed to be so I refer you to Camille Rainville’s spoken word poem “Be a lady, they said”; “Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin….Don’t be a temptress. Cover up… You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down.” REMEMBER: #Secularism

When in doubt

Photo courtesy by Canva Pro

If fashions not your ‘thing’ or you simply prefer not to expose your skin to UV rays then never fear! You can still cover yourself to your own level of comfort and not get arrested – this is perfectly acceptable in France. If you’re a Nun (…are you a Nun?). If you’re not a Nun then may I interest you in becoming a mime? Again, very popular en France. You might say an “all year round” style. The last one is not a Nun. Yeesh, secularism has a lot of rules!

Voliá! And that is your French Summer wardrobe sorted! I think I’ll start a fashion blog.

Cover photo: Canva Pro

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    Lisa O' Leary is a freelance video producer and writer originally from Ireland, now living in Hamburg. She studied Multimedia Communications in Ireland and Human Rights Law & Film abroad.  She has a passion for impact storytelling and mostly produces video content for NGOs or documentaries.

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