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Life and Style

How to dress like a Parisian?

By franceinlondon franceinlondon

Slim, classic and natural, Parisian women are well-known for having a style of their own. With slender figures, everything fits them like a glove or at least that is what other women think. With their classic taste and, contrary to Londoners who enjoy experimenting with colours and fabric, their strict abiding to the: “less is more” rule makes them go for sober and sophisticated outfits. Parisians like to look effortless and combine casual items with branded details. Are they naturally more elegant? That is what they would like you to think. It takes effort to achieve that effortless look. But one is not born a Parisian, one becomes a Parisian. Here are a few tips to dress like these Mademoiselles who keep all their beauty and style secrets under wrap.

There will always be someone to say that THE Parisian girl no longer exists. And in a way, it is utterly true. Some foreign inspiring fashion icons such as Diane Kruger, Olivia Palermo or Nathalie Portman embody much more that delicate elegance than most French women. However, Paris remains a limitless source of inspiration style-wise. THE Parisian woman is not myth. Otherwise, why would Yves-Saint-Laurent have called his perfume “La Parisienne”?

The ultra slim look is “de rigueur” in Paris

This statement is in itself extremely politically incorrect these days, but being slim is the first step to obtaining the Parisian look. Most Brits would not understand how slimness can sometimes be more important than health on the other side of the Channel, but weight is well and truly an issue in the French capital. Smoking like a chimney and not eating is acceptable if it means getting into your size 6 or 8. Of course, not all Parisians are like that and nice curves are far from being a crime, but the ideal look tends to be more the trend. Kiraz’s drawings are a proof of this obsession for thin waists and how far they will go to achieve it. This might be the reason why their goal can become an obsession and a point of comparison when they see other women around them. They cannot help being critical and making disparaging comments. 

Opt for quality rather than quantity

You have always wondered why they look so perfectly turned out with a simple t-shirt and a pair of jeans? Look no further: it all has to do with the quality of their daily basics. If you prefer putting your money into a nice fashionable item and get the cheapest basic you can find (What’s the difference between a 40 pounds and 10 pounds white t-shirt anyway?), well stop this right now. To get that Parisian look, opt for gorgeous fabrics and nice cuts. Cotton, wool, silk and cashmere are the best and you should pay special attention to the stitching and the cut. For Parisian women, basics (understand: t-shirt, jean, trench, leather jacket, low boots and ballerinas), are an investment, something you will wear over and over again. You’ ll see, your dazzling chic and sophisticated looks will not go unnoticed.


Pay attention to small details and accessories

Now you have all these fabulous basics in your wardrobe, and, at a glance, this might seem a bit boring. Black, cream, white, grey and navy blue T-shirts and a pair of jeans, really? Is there nothing more to being a Parisian fashionista? Of course there is. Accessories are the key to the perfect outfit, and the French know it very well they are also very good at marrying them with their basics. Combine a beautiful bag with a very neutral look. Enhance an all-in-black outfit with a gorgeous pair of stilettos. Give a bit of brightness to your dull daily unifrom of white t-shit and blue jeans with a lovely scarf. Jewellery and scarves also play an important part in the dressing-process. Parisian women are especially fond of fine bracelets and necklaces and beautiful silk scarves. As for shoes, they adore low boots, ballerinas and stilettos if they can walk with them.  Another detail that many Parisians like using: let your ankle show with a small hem on your trousers.

Keep it classic

While the Brits show off extravagant and quirky styles, the French usually chose the classic look. There is no print mixing, daring fabrics or flashy colours. Parisian fashion is not a huge fan of the British oddity. So, go for light make-up, classical colours and fits, to maintain this minimalist elegant style. The key to success is carelessness. Try to look as if you just woke up and looked gorgeous without having to even brush your hair. Avoid the totally branded look which would make you look over the top. Try to blend a very posh item with a more natural look. This apparent and yet elegant nonchalance has been best described as “sprezzatura” by the Italian writer Baldassare Castiglione in his Book of the Courtier (1528): “Practise in everything a certain nonchalance that shall conceal design and show that what is done and said is done without effort and almost without thought”.


22/01/2014 - sonyasafia said :

j adore le style francais est ce possible d avoir plus de manneqins

29/09/2013 - generalshadi8 said :

everything a certain nonchalance that shall conceal design and show that what is done and said is done without effort and almost without thought”.

12/09/2013 - dresslikeaparisian said :

As a parisian, I think you captured what makes french style. However, even if it's true that the parisian love neutral colors, those last year she's been mixing prints, bright and pastel colors (trendy right now) the parisian way.
If you want to know more about how to dress like a parisian, have a look at my last blog post about how to wear heels:

08/07/2013 - helenalive said :

All very true except I still prefer our use of colour which we change depending on our moods. To be in black, white, grey, in summer and winter is de trop!


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