Parisian women don’t wear jewelry. They wear scarves. They wear them with panache. Over dresses, with sweaters, under raincoats. The luxurious swathes of cloth might be cotton or silk or wool. Age is never a factor: toddlers barely out of the stroller through elderly women in wheelchairs proudly sport them. And everyone can tie a chic knot or toss carefully enough to appear careless. At Hermes, the gold standard of scarves, customers take lessons in elegant drapery, the better to show off the product.
Why a scarf? Is it practical? The weather has been inordinately cool this spring and a scarf adds an extra layer of warmth. Besides, Paris rain is not an urban legend: a scarf keeps droplets from straying down the collar. Is it esthetics? Jewelry, from street vendors to museum shops to the security guard flanked shops, is unremarkable. Nothing that Jewelry Television (JTV) doesn’t do better. Is it style? The daily uniform consists of a well-cut black dress, or skinny black slacks or dark wash jeans with stylish boots, under a short black belted trench. An assortment of scarves keeps it fresh.
Anyway, a woman here without a scarf is like a salad without a proper vinaigrette. And I’ve just learned a trick for vinaigrette – a dash of licorice-flavored liqueur added to the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. A bit of Dijon mustard and coarse sea salt doesn’t hurt either.
PASTIS VINAIGRETTE Toss this with any type of salad from crisp fresh greens to steamed green beans – or haricot vert, those skinny green beans, if you can get them.
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pastis (or sambuca or anisette)
1 teaspoon Dijon of Dijon-style mustard
1/3 cup best quality olive oil
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste