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An American living in Paris says the French can easily sniff out tourists by what they wear and it's caused a 'fashion crisis' for her

Geoff Weiss   

An American living in Paris says the French can easily sniff out tourists by what they wear — and it's caused a 'fashion crisis' for her
  • Two months ago, Sarah Pascarella moved to Paris from LA to start a new life as an au pair.
  • But Parisians kept sniffing her out as an American, which precipitated a "fashion crisis," she said.

A 22-year-old American au pair living in Paris is undergoing a "fashion crisis," she told Insider, after being repeatedly greeted in English entering local shops. Sarah Pascarella has been making changes to her personal style to pass as French while still staying true to her own aesthetics.

On TikTok, Pascarella — who moved to Paris from Los Angeles two months ago seeking a change from her 9-to-5 after finding an au pair gig online — recounted to 286,000 viewers on October 23 what she believed were her biggest giveaways.

She wears backpacks rather than purses, she said, and sports giant blue Beats headphones. Her wardrobe also comprises high-top platform Doc Martens ( "100% an LA thing," she said), crop tops, and a "touristy-looking" newsboy cap.

Finally, Pascarella said she occasionally wears "plastic-looking clothing" procured from fast-fashion retailers like Urban Outfitters that stand in stark contrast to the quality denims and leathers readily available at Parisian flea markets and vintage stores.

@sasscarella Studying the people around me #aupair #french #fashion #hacks #europeanstyle #inspiration #solotravel #culture #fyp #foryoupage #parisapartment #livingabroad #americanfashion #dayinmylife #eurosummer #france ♬ Her - eery

"That is going to be super see how my wardrobe changes," said Pascarella.

Commenters surmised beyond her clothing choices why she kept being sniffed out as a tourist, with some suggesting it might be her nose ring or stack of earrings.

"It's the glimmer of hope in your eyes," one joked. "Appear dead inside they will see you as French." Another offered: "It's looks but also energy - I know sounds funny and don't be offended[:] voice volume."

Pascarella wants to stay true to herself while letting her new environment shape her

The newly established au pair told Insider she's never been to Europe before and doesn't speak French, which initially caused a bit of a culture shock, though she's since acclimated to her new life.

Over the last two months, Pascarella said she got rid of nearly 70% of her clothes, including many of the cheaper plastic items, adding that her style evolution has been somewhat bumpy. Rather than attempting to cosplay as a "chic" French person (like donning long trench coats), she said, she describes her current style as "experimental," including wearing a denim skirt over baggy jeans.

"I'm still trying to be authentic and stay true to myself, but also letting this new experience move me," she said.

Living in a new city has inspired her to abandon the fashion and beauty standards she'd unwittingly adopted in LA. And as an avid thrifter at the likes of Plato's Closet, a US-based retail chain that buys and sells used clothing, she's eager to try her hand with local purveyors.

@sasscarella I feel kinda freeeee, we’re still the kids we used to beeeee #aupair #paris #france #beautystandards #culture #differences #europe #eurosummer #studyabroad #twenties #fyp #pourtoi #travel #explore ♬ original sound - Sarah

She's also considering smaller brand tweaks, like switching out her North Face backpack for an Eastpak (which she heard is a more popular brand with French locals) or using her wired Apple headphones from time to time.

In a separate video with 550,000 views, Pascarella added that her beauty standards have also done a 180 since moving to Paris, noting that in LA, she was considering lip fillers, a breast augmentation, eyelash extensions, and botox.

But not anymore. In Paris, she said, she sees more people with natural-hued hair and makeup that's more "skincare-based."

"It's just a lot more frowned upon to be someone so altered here," she said, "and I respect that so much."

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