Paris Fashion Week is wrapping up and, although I wasn’t able to go this year, I’ve been glued to the reports coming in. But, if I’m honest, it’s not what happens on the catwalk that grips me the most, it’s what’s going on outside on the everyday runway. Sometimes I think you can tell what’s going on in the fashion industry by the street style shots coming through from fashion weeks. There’s nothing I find more inspiring than the Pinterest, Instagram and Vogue shots of both fashion insiders and average Joes (and Janes!) styling up their outfit in their own way. Parisian girls know how to do this better than anyone. Their style is so distinctive it’s inspired designer collections, been the subject of best selling books and has websites dedicated to just that. So, what’s so great about Parisian style? In short, it’s achingly cool with a laid-back bohemian feel – think Bridget Bardot, Julia Restoin Roitfeld and Clemence Poesy.
I always find myself leaning a little more to the Parisian way of styling as the weather warms up and I start gravitating towards a more undone look. But, you don’t have to speak the language of love and be a stones throw away from the Eiffel Tower to rock the Parisian look. Here’s how you can style it up from good old Blighty!
THE COLOUR PALETTE
Parisian style is all about the neutrals which is just one of the reasons I love it so much. Black, white, navy, nude and tonal colours make up their entire wardrobe with perhaps a rare hint of a subtle print. Simple, versatile and oh so chic. Not only do you look more put together, this muted colour palette will take you from day-to-night every time.
FOCUS ON THE FIT
If there’s one thing that makes Parisian style is the fit of the clothes. There’s no bodycon or anything obviously sexy about a French girls wardrobe. The obsess over the cut of clothes. It’s mysterious and provocative by what it doesn’t give away more than what it does. They dress for their body type and make sure everything fits in all the right areas. A simple black jumper may sound boring but when it’s the perfect neckline, length, material it turns into something different entirely. You may not have Parisian ateliers on your doorstep but try to find a local tailor to amend your clothes. Retailers sizes don’t fit all and especially not every body part so have them custom tweaked and I promise you will never look back.
NEW VS. OLD
Like most fashionista’s, the French style is knowing how to put things together. They don’t buy an entire outfit from one place and wear it all together. They put vintage finds with high end separates and create a look that can’t be found anywhere else. This might be a pair of vintage Levi jeans, a new season Chloe shirt and a pair of slingbacks their mum used to own and what you end up with the epitome of Parisian style. Don’t be afraid of vintage shopping – you may have to put a little more effort in and sift through the crap but when you find something you love, it’s totally worth it.
LESS IS MORE
This is my favourite element of Parisian style. I find that as I get older, I’m becoming a lot more simplistic in my style. I’m starting to appreciate the fabric, cut and style of clothes more than what’s on-trend or cheap. Coco Chanel once said, “before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Don’t over accessorize, opt for delicate bracelets, dainty rings or a thin chain around your neck to hint at femininity without being OTT.
It’s not just the clothes on your back which emulate Parisian style, it’s also what you do with your hair and make-up. Having a cool, laid-back style teamed with a beehive do and lipliner just wouldn’t look right. French girls own the term ‘I woke up like this’ with their bed head tousled mane and glowing skin sans make-up. But, like all of us, they don’t want to look like shit and although they want to give the impression they don’t care, they actually spend just as long getting ready. The key is to highlight your natural beauty, not hide it. Embrace your hair’s natural state – simply muss it up with some texturising spray, scrunch and go. Resist the urge to reach for the straighteners, if it’s unruly, great! Just twist it into a bun, blast it with the hairdryer, let it cool and let it down for tousled waves. Parisian girls don’t go for a full face of make-up – tinted moisturiser, groomed brows, a hint of mascara and lip balm finishes off their everyday look. For the evening, go for a paired-down eye and red lip or smudge kohl eyeliner into your lash line for a typically Parisian smoulder.
DON’T FORGET THE ATTITUDE
French women know they are some of the best dressed on the planet so their confidence speaks volumes. It’s what finishes off their outfit. They don’t do hoodies, joggers or Ugg boots, they don’t ask anyone for their opinion on what they’re wearing or have self-doubt. They own it. They dress for themselves, to feel good and it shows through in their attitude. What better style lesson is that?!
THE BEST BRANDS FOR PARISIAN STYLE