France’s capital, the world’s fashion capital, and one of the most visited destinations in history notable for its art and culture. The home of the original cool-girl style, Paris is more than berets and croissants — but is always a lesson on how to attain that effortless look and minimal lifestyle.
People watching in the fashion capital could be a full time occupation from any cafe, sipping an espresso (black, straight up always) and wondering just quite how Parisians look so effortlessly chic. It’s a look which has been home to some of the biggest style icons and brands of all time, from Dior to Hermès to Isabel Marant — of course there must be something in the air.
As Coco Chanel, the queen of fashion and sass, said: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” The less-is-more approach is key to the Parisian look, avoiding big logos and looking for subtle details instead. There is a real focus on buying investment pieces and streamlining your wardrobe. Disposable fashion and a throwaway culture has thrived with the internet offering fast delivery, cheaper prices and a quick returns option.
We all do it. It’s just so easy to buy a dress to use once, think maybe, then stick it at the back of the wardrobe never to resurface until the next charity shop drop-off run, when you can’t quite remember why you bought it in the first place. Not to mention the environmental consequences, with 10 percent of global carbon emissions coming from the apparel industry!
So while it might seem daunting to consider buying pricy investment pieces, you’ll likely be helping your wallet in the long term and certainly helping the planet. Aside from this, it’s important to note you rarely catch a Parisian in intense vibrant colour clothing. Think plain and elegant — classic colours such as navy, white, black, beige, and at the very least the following essentials:
1) The Oversized Blazer. Super versatile and perfect with jeans, skirts or dresses. See the below picture of influencer and designed Jeanne Damas for inspiration. Tailoring is key, so make sure you invest in a great quality piece.
2) The Trench Coat. Easy to throw over any outfit and always stylish.
3) The Plain White T. In classic cotton or silk, it works for all body shapes and is beautifully simple to pair with any outfit or shoe.
4) Denim. Jeans are a classic staple in the Parisian closet. Colour is negotiable but fit is not! Aim to find the perfect high-quality jeans to fit your shape in a style that you know you’ll be comfortable wearing for years.
5) The Flats, or Kitten heels. Put those seven-inch heels away and go with simple high-quality flats or mules as a treat to your feet and a nod towards understated elegance.
While this minimalism is alluring in itself, style is really all about expressing identity and unashamedly having your own is key to pulling off the Parisian look. The French have a more relaxed attitude to life and beauty which focuses on confidence rather than perfection. Imperfections are encouraged and embraced, think Vanessa Paradis and her wonderful tooth gap as case and point. Imperfections make you unique and being unapologetically self-assured is the first step towards that!
While Parisian style can be replicated, this attitude can be the harder part. Enjoy life, have that extra glass of wine or take a longer bath, ditch the straighteners and go out with messy hair and by focussing on what you have (not what you’re lacking) the rest will follow. Emmanuelle Alt, editor of French Vogue, summed it all up perfectly when she said: “First, I think a good attitude for a woman is to be confident, and to be confident is to be natural.”