“The French are full of flattery for themselves”, Coco Chanel once said.
You don’t need to be born in Paris to have Parisian style. Parisian style is an attitude, a state of mind.
You will find that, when in Paris, the French care a great deal about the way they dress. The streets are full of sophisticated people looking «confortable» in their skin.
To dress well in Paris reflects taste and class. BCBG (Bon Chic, Bon Genre) is a term that the French use for what is stylish. The French don’t slouch. You may find that the young might like to imitate the relaxed American look, but everyone likes to look “put together”. Parisian women know how to walk with confidence, turn with style, then sit and cross their legs
provocatively. The men turn smoking a cigarette into a tantalizing gesture. Most of the people who come to live in Paris pick up this fashion-and-style consciousness. You can never have enough of admiring this endless fashion spectacle on the streets of Paris while trying to emulate it.
Paris is a large, cosmopolitan city so you’ll see people on the street
wearing all ranges of clothing – from men in power suits, women who have mastered the art of walking in stilettos and short skirts, to both wearing jeans and cowboy boots.
However, Parisians are renowned for their style and fashion forwardness. After all, this is the city that founded «haute couture» and supports a vibrant designer «knock-off» industry.
Remember that even though you may be just a tourist, Paris is an
exceptionally stylish city, where both men and women pride themselves a lot on what they are wearing and how they look. Casual in Paris is not the same as elsewhere.
Choose dresses, suits, skirts and blouses or well-fitted pants in dark or
neutral colors. Limit whites and bright colors to one or two items: a scarf or a sweater. Wear dress shoes or boots, preferably dark, that are confortable for walking. Carry a purse big enough for your essentials, which closes
firmly against pickpockets. Carry a second fold-away bag for parcels. Make sure your hair is well groomed and don’t overdo it with makeup.
Many of the same basic rules that apply to women also apply to men in Paris. Remember, you are in a fashion capital where everyone takes what they wear and their clothing pretty seriously. Wear good wool or corduroy trousers in winter, well–cut, with a belt. Having a wool sweater under your wool or leather jacket will help keep you warm. Men rarely wear ties in Paris unless they are at work or doing business dealings. If you plan on going out to some nice restaurants in Paris, you’ll definitely want a blazer/suit jacket with you to dress up your outfit, but you won’t need a tie. You’ll also need to have one pair of nice dress shoes. Just because you are a man it doesn’t mean it’s ok to wear your trainers out to the Paris clubs or to a nice meal.
Looking for more secrets of the chic Parisian? You can get some
inspiration from Ines de la Fressange’s style guide about how to have Parisian DNA! (Parisian Chic, A style Guide by Ines de la Fressange with Sophie Gachet). C’est facile!