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How To Dress Like a Parisian Every Day

Fashion, General, Style | December 24th, 2008 2 Comments

Fashion in Paris is everywhere… although maybe not in the way you may expect. Paris is the famous home of haute couture fashion houses and famous names like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and while these names are still omnipresent on the famous Champs Elysées, I was much more accustomed to seeing these super-expensive items in my old city of New York: here in Paris, people tend to make fashion their own, and, especially with the younger generation, this has nothing to do with items that cost more than fifty euros.

Parisians create fashion every day when they get dressed: I’ve never seen a Parisian going out in pajamas or grungy sweats like so many Americans tend to do. It seems effortless, and I often wonder how they do it, but after observing for several months, I’ve finally learned something from them. Parisians are big on two basic themes that make them exude fashionable qualities: layering and accessorizing.

How The Parisians Build Their Fashion Sense

Layering may seem old hat in the States, but the Parisians have been throwing dresses over jeans for much longer than the trend has been present in American fashion magazines. Throwing on a little sweater turns a great dress into an amazing outfit. The Parisians seem to have an innate ability for layering, and somehow they turn a closet full of basic staples into a new and amazing outfit every day.

Of course, you can’t just get by with layering: that’s why they invented hats, sunglasses, bags, shoes… And the Parisians have many of each. Every Parisian (boys included) seems to have at least one great hat that they throw on to make an ensemble special. Belts are never just for holding up your jeans: every fashion choice is carefully calculated every day.

Fashion sense like this isn’t something you can teach: the French seem to do it naturally, and Americans who live here for long enough slowly learn to adapt and make Paris fashion a part of their lives as well. Soon enough, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart, but there’s still always something about true Parisians who were born with an incredible fashion sense that distinguishes them from anyone else.

Top Five Ways to Look Like a Parisian

5. Scarves. A well-placed scarf, either around the neck, worn as a belt over a dress, or simply tied around the handle of a bag draws attention to your ability to accessorize.

4. Sunglasses. No need to spend money on designer clothes when you have designer (or good knockoff) sunglasses.

3. When in doubt, match. Parisian women usually have an excellent sense of style and what goes well together, but if you’re wary of making decisions that may clash, match your shoes, bag and pants: pick one neutral color and wear these three items in that color. I wouldn’t go as far as some women here do, wearing purple from head to toe, but falling back on rules of matching is never a bad idea.

2. Minimal fabulous jewelry. There’s no reason to pull out a bunch of “bling,” but one well chosen brooch, necklace, pair of earrings or tennis bracelet can help you exude that Parisian “je ne sais quoi.”

1. Attitude. No matter what you’re wearing, it’s how you wear it that makes the difference. Even if you’re in inexpensive clothes, wear them well and hold your head high: you might just be mistaken for a parisienne.

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