“The smaller the dress size, the larger the apartment,” was the notorious quote from this New York Times article on why Manhattan is the thinnest county in the State. French street-style photographer Garance Doré quoted the disconcerting shibboleth on her blog today to illustrate the stark difference between Parisians and New Yorkers when it comes to weight. Doré, a French expat now living in Manhattan, explains that women in Paris know how to relax and enjoy a big lunch with good wine, while women in New York – specifically in the fashion industry – well, don’t. No surprise there, but read on for some of her interesting reasons why.
The typical Parisian lunch consists of “a glass a wine, one or two desserts that everyone shares, no need for an appetizer but stuffing your face full of half the bread on the table is kind of totally ok,” notes Doré. Of course, the meal is almost always topped off with loads of coffee, cigarettes, and smiles. She doesn’t specifically breakdown what New Yorkers eat because, as she notes, they’re normally just watching her grub. “So it was cute to be the only Parisian at a table of New Yorkers. They would watch me rip another piece of bread off, order a glass of wine and a dessert and ask me what was the secret of those Parisians who stay thin despite such a devastating diet.”
The secret? Nonchalance. “I don’t work out at all cause I have so many other fascinating things to do in my life. Like smoking a few cigarettes, just to name one. And I’m perfectly fine with my little muffin top, thank you.”
While Parisians may be svelte, they’re not necessarily toned – and they don’t mind it one bit. “But the women in fashion in New York, they’re not just skinny. They’re New York skinny,” Doré explains. “New York skinny means thin to the brink, yet muscly from Pilates because it gives you those super long lean muscles.” How many fashion girls do you know that have a season pass to Physique 57, Soul Cycle, or Bikram Yoga? Most of them. And while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I’m a Physique 57-er myself), it’s just interesting that today’s desired body type is less Kate Moss and more Kelly Ripa. Doré also points at the hormones and chemicals so rampant in American food, versus European produce generally, as another possible reason for her New York “welcome present” of 10 pounds.
Perhaps one day we can find a balance between thin-because-I’m-obsessed NY and thin-because-I-don’t-care Paris.