Making a good impression when you first meet someone is important. I cringe at the memory of how I met the French capital on a winter morning of 2013, mostly because of my outfit. A mustard coloured sweater, a pair of washed out jeans, and neon purple sneakers. Ouch. I moved to Paris for love, but this city gave me so much more. The French capital is like an open-air runway, whose stylish models of all ages inspire you to look your best. Everybody talks of the Parisian style, but what does it really mean to dress like a Parisian? 10 simple lessons I learnt while recreating my own style.
A CLASSIC IS ALWAYS IN VOGUE
…is the first thing to keep in mind when setting out to recreate a wardrobe a la Parisienne. Coco Chanel made this task very easy to achieve when she popularised the little black dress – a versatile basic, which takes you from the office to the opera (or apero). Scared of not standing out in the crowd? Play on materials, cut and length.
COMFORT IS BEAUTIFUL
…and should top every fashion equation. Alert: this is not an excuse to wear a gym outfit outside the actual gym. Think trousers (and thank Coco for our right to wear them). Parisian girls love trousers mixed in with failure-proof items such as a mariniere and a trench coat. Comfort also doesn’t have to be boring: play on accessories. My latest obsession: turbans.
Turban — Paloma Germain
Crossbody bag — ZARA
Trench coat — Vintage
50 SHADES OF BLACK
…you heard me. Pale black, bright black, patterned black – everybody in Paris loves black. If a genie granted you three wishes and you could only have them in black, go for a pair of cropped jeans, a black shirt, and a black jacket (or coat). A total look in black is very much Parisian. For a dash of colour, splurge on a red lipstick, some patterned boots, and you’re an instant street style star.
BOYFRIEND’S CLOTHES ARE SEXY
…on him (we hope so), but also on you. All my Parisian girlfriends borrow items from their boyfriends‘ cupboards, and I do too! My top picks are his large shirts, pullovers, and oversize jackets. Be careful to a total look and instead work out ways to wear those pieces separately, to make sure you don’t lose your feminine silhouette. Try it the next time you feel like you’ve got no new outfit to broadcast. Pair your cropped black jeans (point 3) with your boyfriend’s shirt, perch up on some low heeled boots, and rock a played down look, which men find irresistible.
VINTAGE IS THE NEW BLACK
…and the major advantage of Parisian style. When looking at someone’s outfit on the streets of Paris, it is often hard to guess where individual items were bought from. No big front logos at all and this distinguishes a french look from an italian one, for example. A real argument for shopping in vintage stores is their endless supplies of fashion treasures like a fancy fur, a leopard coat or a real leather jacket, which cost you almost nada. To avoid looking like a time machine, dress vintage around good basics. “Boho Chic” made easy.
Hat and coat — Vintage
…because keeping things classy is a mastered art. It is no secret that Parisian girls love going out, and sometimes girls can get bored of their little black dress. That’s when she turns to her other best partners in party crime: chiffon blouses and dresses, silk tops, and lace draped skirts. These do not have to be in black, it’s up to you to decide on the colour. But don’t forget the Parisian preference for neutral palettes.
Dress, coat — Zara,
Shoes — San Marina.
WHO RUNS THE WORLD?
…accessories! A non-negotiable wardrobe element. Coco Chanel said you can never have enough of them, and who are we not to listen? Accessories can refresh any look and add value to your style credentials. When selecting the basics – a hand bag, a pair of glasses, and a watch – make sure you’ll be able to use them for a long time. Then there are items you can have more fun with like scarves. These are my own guilty little pleasure and I buy them in ridiculous quantities. Monotone and with prints, silk and woollen, square cut and wrap-around. So if you don’t know what to gift me on my birthday, a scarf or a bijou is a safe bet to make my heart beat faster.
Necklace — Les cleias
Those are top lines, but it sums up a lot of personal experiences in learning to dress like a Parisienne. If I had to choose just one word to sum it all up, I would go for “moderation”. Remember, unless you’re jumping cabs between fashion week shows, in day to day Paris, less is better.
Your Anastasia @lapina_colada
Photos by Aliona @torgonskayaa