Note: Dress Like a Parisienne, or 9 Principles of the Paris Style

Note: Dress Like a Parisienne, or 9 Principles of the Paris Style

Parisiennes are known for their exquisite taste. To look like a true femme fatale in Paris, you really don’t have to throw on a little black dress, tie a neck-scarf and smoke languidly, clutching a splendid Proust tome. A Breton frock, red beret, drain-pipes and freshly-baked baguette instead of a handbag is another caricature that you will only find on the pages of Charlie Hebdo, and definitely not in real life.

Although you can find all of these elements individually in the wardrobe of Parisiennes, you will never see them together in a single image – the key rule of Paris ladies is never to overdo things. Moderation in everything is the key to the refined Parisian style. We present to you here the other rules that are worth sticking to if you want to pass for a local in the French capital.

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Scarf, scarf, scarf

Even in the tiniest eight-square meter apartment (yes, they do exist), a real Parisienne will have her own altar of scarves. Remember this: a scarf isn’t about “it’s cold outside, listen to mom and wrap up warm”; scarves, headscarves and shawls are the defining details of your style: they can be luxurious, Bohemian or even sexy.

 

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Публикация от Camille Charriere (@camillecharriere)

The 250 different ways in which Parisiennes tie their scarves can be used to round off any image you like, give your look some volume or beloved French nonchalance, dilute the color range or add a shade to the color of your face. A scarf is perhaps the only element of the myth of fashion that resembles reality.

 

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Публикация от Camille Charriere (@camillecharriere)

Basic tops

Every Parisienne’s wardrobe contains a full range of basic long sleeves and polo necks, simple T-shirts with calm shades, monotone sweaters and, above all, white blouses and shirts.

You need several of the latter: a white shirt with a man’s shoulder, a slim-fit shirt, a blouse with lace or muslin, slightly transparent, a blouse with English embroidery or tassels sporting the look of the 1970s — while a white (or cream) top is a must-have in any wardrobe.

 

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Публикация от Diamanda (@therealdiamanda)

Moreover, you will often encounter “basic” prints on Parisiennes: striped, spotted or floral. The main rule when choosing a basic top is the quality of the material—natural fibers only. When choosing a sweater or a jumper, go for superior materials only — most especially cashmere, wool or angora fiber (and definitely not acrylic).

Jackets, tunics and blazers

A jacket in Paris doesn’t in any way signify a tribute to formal style: it’s a necessity in a woman’s wardrobe. You’ll often see Parisiennes spotting dark-blue, black, grey or brown jackets (tunics) with dark jeans, a basic blouse, loafers or flat boat shoes with a big multi-layer scarf or, on the contrary, a neckerchief.

 

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Публикация от Aria Di Bari (@ariadibari)

Skinnies and flares

While the entire world chases the latest fashion in jeans trims, only two models continue to exist for Parisiennes: skinnies (or slim fit) and flares. They choose simple silhouettes that highlight their slender legs, so you’re unlikely to see mom jeans or boyfriend jeans in the French capital.

Please note that slim or skinny jeans must be in a dark shade (black is best): jeans must visually stretch your legs, rather than highlight all of their deficiencies thanks to a light or bright color. To be honest, I’ve never seen unattractive legs in Paris, and I think the secret to this isn’t that every single Parisienne got lucky with their figure; rather it all boils down to local know-how of choosing the right jeans model and right length of dresses and skirts.

 

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Публикация от Marine & Flora ¦ 👯‍♀️ (@lestiroirsdemarinetflora)

Mid length

If you see a mini-skirt worn by a girl in Paris, she is most likely also putting on a polo-neck in the classical look of the 60s. Parisiennes will never show an excess of skin and they will cover slender legs with a dress below the knee.

 

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Публикация от Visual Content Creator (@paris.with.me)

Popular dress models — wrap, straight cut or oversize — are almost always mid length. Generally, the rule is either moderate length or a figure-hugging silhouette. Take note that a Parisienne’s small black dress will never highlight her shape.

 

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Публикация от Aria Di Bari (@ariadibari)

Vintage and second hand

Even if your style is far from retro, make sure to get hold of a couple of dresses from vintage shops. Paris has vintage outlets to match any taste: from high-end semi-antique shops with dresses from the 1940s to boutiques with old premium-brand collections. You also have hipster stalls with clothing elements selected for the season to true “dumps” where you will have to seek your happiness in rubber gloves.

The secret of many Parisiennes is to choose high-quality branded clothes from second-hand shops, rather than new mass-market togs. In doing so, you don’t risk coming across that very same item being worn by a passer-by, and, secondly, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the material (given that it has served more than one owner and continues to look great).

Vintage will let you look unique and fresh; combining it with fashion clothes, you can create a truly unique image that face hunters would want to photograph for their blog after catching you on the street.

Vintage shops

  • Mamie Blue — fairly expensive, for fans of true retro and collectors.
  • RETRO CHIC — for those seeking branded vintage clothes.
  • Chine Machine Vintage — my favorite chain, which has both second-hand clothes of expensive brands and rare vintage.
  • Guerrisol — a chain of cheap second-hand clothes where you will always find a jewel if you look hard enough.
  • Vintagekauppa Coiffeur — an ideal small and cheap second-hand/vintage shop on one of Paris’s loveliest streets.
  • Urban Vintage — high-quality vintage and always a good selection of footwears.

And don’t forget about spontaneous flea markets. Check their location here.

Comfortable footwear

The classic footwear of a typical Parisienne consists of derbies, loafers, trainers, dress shoes or ankle boots with a modest or average heel. French ladies, including those from Paris, often prefer a slightly unusual tone in their shoe, for example, brandy-colored, Bordeaux or beige.

 

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Публикация от Visual Content Creator (@paris.with.me)

The fashion for big trainers passed Paris by: local girls instead prefer classical models from New Balance or Adidas. Here’s a little life-hack: Parisiennes don’t wear white socks with white trainers (the tone won’t match perfectly, and secondly, this would change the shape of the trainers, “extending” them to the ankle).

 

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Публикация от Visual Content Creator (@paris.with.me)

Bright lips

It’s not a must to wash or brush your hair or to get a manicure, but no self-respecting Parisienne can live without a couple of bright lipsticks. Red or Bordeaux lipstick adds a stroke of elegance to your insouciant image, or adds a welcome dash of color to your monotone look.

 

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Публикация от Jeanne (@jeannedamas)

Oh, and to follow up, here are a few unspoken rules that refined ladies of the French capital follow.

  • Focus on quality not quantity.
  • Choose classical over super-fashionable models (Parisiennes of course also have trendy clothes, but whenever they wear them, they surely combine them with classical and basic models so as to avoid looking like they’re on the catwalk).
  • Combine clothes from diverse styles (a classic coat with “rocker’s” jeans, or office trousers with a T-shirt sporting a print).
  • Say “No” to a mixture of bright tones in your wardrobe, and “Yes” to dark shades.
  • Combine close shades (such as different shades of blue or grey).
  • Include unisex clothes.
  • Don’t “overdress”.
  • Don’t show too much of your body: your aim is to be sexy, but not vulgar.

Obviously, not all Parisiennes dress the same way. In the neighborhood of Le Marais you will find streetwear queens near a queue to Supreme and retro-divas at the entrance to vintage shops. On rue Saint-Honoré, you’ll meet ladies on super-high heels, carrying Chanel or Birkin handbags and in some banlieues you’ll encounter ladettes spotting tracksuits and chunky trainers. That said, a “Paris style” definitely exists, but don’t forget to read up on what the latest style looks like before buying berets ahead of your trip.

Time to show off that outfit!

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