This may come as a shocker for a few, but dressing in College Station during the winter time, does not prepare you for the real world of France. On the first day of classes I -being an amateur to French culture- assumed that I could get away with a bright Columbia jacket, only to be consumed by disapproving looks from locals. My flashy pink jacket perhaps struck a nerve to the natives, whom were all covered in black from head to toe, making me stick out like a literal highlighter. I- even to this day- am appalled how I had missed the memo of the sleek Parisienne style, because everyone else in my program was aware of this unspoken phenomenon.
I forever wish I had at least the smallest bit of insight about what not to wear, which apparently composed of every color in the rainbow except black. It was then brought to my attention that this undocumented rule was not only important to blend in, but also to keep from pick-pockets targeting you. I had to take the metro back in shame, avoiding eye contact with the plethora of disapproving stares- which the french were masters of- and maintain sight on all my items. The very next day I went in an all black shopping spree, buying everything that made me at least blend in a little better than the previous day.
Let this be a lesson to all of those whom want to travel, for having your own style is not a bad thing, but keep in mind individualism is a very AMERICAN concept as well. You must take american ideals with a grain of salt while traveling, because being flashy only results in rejection of culture-common occurrence for me- and a target for the greedy. Of course having your own style is hard to completely give up, and you have the choice to refrain from doing so. BUT if you want to truly be immersed in a culture and not be a disturbance to the public, adapting to their sense of style is highly recommended.