Parisian style is harder to define than you might think.
Sure, we all grew up with that idea of the “Parisian” in our heads –the red-lipped, ultra-thin beauty who effortlessly threw together the perfect outfit from a closet full of designer clothing.
But does the Chanel tweed jacket-wearing Parisian really exist?
I’ve lived in Paris for several years and I’m going to share what I know about the Parisian style so you can see for yourself.
Find Your Parisian Style
Often, the cliché Parisian style is what first comes to mind: a polka-dot dress, a beret, patent leather shoes, a silk scarf, etc.
However, I live in Paris and the truth is there are so many different Parisian styles to choose from nowadays.
Parisians have a diverse sense of style today, even if there are some classics that never went out of fashion.
Here are the most popular styles of Parisian dressing.
Classic Parisian Style
The classic Parisian style is exactly as it sounds – rooted in the old-world Parisian style we all know and love. Does it exist? Yes! Even though it tends to be older women who dress in the ‘classic’ style, trust me I see it on the streets all the time!
The classic Parisian style consists of slim black pants, a silk polka top, simple wool coats, patent leather heels, an Hermès or Céline handbag, and maybe a beautiful silk scarf.
Modern Parisian Style
The modern Parisian style is a step up from the classic style if you ask me. It’s full of international brands, and some contemporary trends you might see in fashionable cities like London or New York. It’s très chic, but without trying too hard.
Parisian Athleisure Style
The casual Parisian style is having its moment! Lots of young and hip Parisians are wearing converse, Veja sneakers, hoodies, and more athleisure clothing.
Vintage Parisian Style
Parisians still adore their vintage clothing and you can often spot this type of Parisian style in the eastern part of Paris like in the neighborhoods of Le Marais, Belleville, and Bastille.
Parisian Style Rules
There are a few style rules you must keep in mind to dress like a Parisian.
Start with the Basics
Parisians build up a closet full of wardrobe basics first and foremost. They use these basics to build classic outfits that aren’t too attention-grabbing. Each piece is the right size and form to flatter their body type. Parisians typically prefer to buy high-quality clothing made of natural fabrics.
Shop Timeless Pieces
Parisians mostly ignore fashion trends and opt for timeless clothing instead. They want to acquire pieces that are durable and can be passed down to their children. They tend to go for timeless designs that won’t go out of style anytime soon.
The Parisian style of dressing is often based on neutral tones like beige, white, brown, and black. When curating your Parisian wardrobe, stick to neutral colors like cream, beige, ivory, and brown as you build your closet. Parisians wear these colors most often and add a touch of color when they feel like it.
Printed clothing is kept to a minimum. Floral prints, striped clothing, gingham print, and houndstooth prints are all popular Parisian prints for clothing. The French marinière shirt is a classic striped t-shirt or sweater that many Parisians own.
Parisians avoid wearing big logos on their clothing or handbags at all costs. They don’t understand the Asian and American fascination with flashy logos on handbags or shoes. I think this stems from the French people’s natural aversion to showing off one’s wealth in French culture.
Even though many French luxury brands plaster their logos over the items they make, trust me, those products are only purchased by foreigners –not real Parisians!
Wear a Size Up
Parisians don’t wear skin-tight clothing like Americans. Parisian women prefer to size up in most of their clothing to have a relaxed fit that feels more loose and casual. You’ll never see a Parisian woman wearing a short skin-tight dress. instead, the oversized look is much preferred.
Keep Outfits Simple
Parisians keep their outfits very simple. They don’t add several flashy pieces to one look. Instead, they wear only one statement piece per outfit. It could be a brightly colored scarf or a printed skirt. The rest of the outfit is composed of basic wardrobe items or neutral-colored clothing.
Parisians love the casual-chic way of dressing. Décontracté is the French word for casual and some of the first Parisians I met in Paris loved to describe their style of dress with this word.
Invest When You Can
At the same time, Parisians love investing in designer pieces when they can afford to. Paris is home to the world’s best fashion designers so Parisians love to get their hands on the chicest designer fashions when something timeless comes out. The Parisian way of dressing is definitely more sophisticated than the typical French girl style so don’t be scared to spend a bit more money on select pieces of your wardrobe.
Master the Undone Look
Parisians never go outside looking too perfect and put together. Think the opposite of Emily from Emily in Paris or Blair from Gossip Girl. Don’t wear any outfits that are too matchy-matchy or color-coordinated. Instead, Parisians like to look a bit disheveled. Good Parisian style might be more similar to Camille and Serena in the aforementioned TV series.
Parisians absolutely adore vintage style. Whether they got a piece of clothing passed down from their grandmother or they thrifted it at the local vintage shop, Parisians often wear vintage mixed with contemporary pieces. It’s just part of the old-school charm so many Parisian women exude!
Know Your Body Type
Parisian women know that not every designer piece – no matter how high-end – will work on their body type. While certain pieces of clothing are universally flattering, like the wrap dress, for example, not every design will work for every body. Parisians are experts at finding the styles that flatter their body type and repeating what works.
Discover Parisian Brands
Shopping local is very Parisian! Parisian consumers have become very interested in shopping made in France fashion brands to support the local economy and French artisans.
They are also looking for more sustainable clothing to add to their wardrobes to ensure their fashion addiction isn’t hurting the planet!
Parisians love to use accessories to complement their outfits, but again, they use them sparingly! A French leather belt to highlight the waist and give the body a nice shape is acceptable. Brightly colored bangles are not. Parisian women love wearing silk scarves and they’re the perfect accessory to a simple outfit of a white button-up shirt and straight-leg jeans.
Parisians keep their jewelry quite simple in design. The basic Parisian jewelry essentials include:
- A gold pendant necklace
- Simple gold rings
- Gold hoop earrings
- Diamond stud earrings
Parisian Wardrobe Essentials
If you want to build a Parisian wardrobe, then you’ll need these Parisian style essentials.
- White, black, and navy blue cotton t-shirts
- A Breton striped shirt or marinière
- A white and blue cotton button-up shirt
- A silk pussy-bow shirt
- Sweaters in cashmere or wool
- A little black dress
- Straight-leg Jeans
- Corduroy pants
- Black wool pants
- A black jacket
- A beige trench coat
- A plaid blazer
- A winter coat
As for your shoes, Parisians typically own the following types of footwear.
- Ballet flats –Repetto makes beautiful Parisian flats.
- Slingbacks – Chanel beige cap-toed slingbacks are in style in Paris.
- Leather ankle boots – Jonak is great for affordable French shoes.
- Knee-high boots –Bobbies makes lovely patent leather knee-high boots.
- Evening shoes –Roger Vivier is the Parisian evening pumps brand of choice.
As for handbags, Parisians typically own the following bags at a minimum.
- Crossbody bag
- Tote bag
Fashion Brands Parisians Love
Although there are dozens of amazing French clothing brands, there are a few brands that Parisians love in particular.
That Je ne sais quoi
The cliché phrase is true – Parisian women have a je ne sais quoi quality about them. But what is it exactly?
Well, I believe that the Parisian allure comes from mystery. You’ll never see a Parisian woman who is too exposed –literally or figuratively. In dress, she’s never wearing a super low-cut skimpy top, and in conversation, she never reveals too much about herself too soon.
Her makeup is understated. A typical Parisian makeup look might include concealer, a lightweight tinted moisturizer, mascara, and red lipstick. If her makeup smudges during the day, it’s no big deal.
Parisian hair is never too brushed and coiffed. Instead, Parisians leave their hair as it naturally is. It might be tossed up into a messy bun, or hung loosely down below their shoulders. If your hair is flat, try sleeping with your wet hair pulled up overnight to give it some volume for the next day.
Seasonal Parisian Style
Parisian style is about dressing appropriately for each season. Here are my style guides for each season in Paris:
- Parisian spring style
- Parisian summer style
- Parisian fall style
- Parisian winter style
Parisian Style Books
Study the masters. These Parisian style books will give you style tips straight from the experts themselves!
- La Parisienne by Ines de la Fressange
- How to Be Parisian Wherever you Are by Caroline de Maigret
- In Paris: 20 Women on Life in the City of Light by Jeanne Damas
What is Parisian style attire? ›
How do you define Parisian style? “Casual Chic. Mixing classic timeless pieces with trendy accessories but always looking like the clothes fit comfortably. That's the secret to never over dressing!”How to act like a Parisian? ›
- Less in more.
- Don't smile too much.
- Comment the last exhibition as the “must be seen” now!
- Smoke, or at least pretend to!
- Knowing all the best addresses in Paris.
- Being able to speak for 30 minutes about your cheese shop or your food market.
Skip the baseball caps, white socks, sneakers, large colorful backpacks, and fanny packs. Instead, opt for dark skinny jeans, plain shirts without logos, and leather shoes.What colors are Parisian style? ›
Parisian style is very discreet. That's why Parisians do not take any risks and don't wear too many colors at the same time in an outfit and too bright colors. Instead, they stick with neutral tones such as black, cognac, burgundy, white, navy blue, grey, brown, or beige.What do Paris locals wear? ›
You'll see a red dress or yellow top, but not plaid on plaid or a full pink look. During the day, you can't go wrong with stylish jeans, nice sun dresses and classic jackets. French women love a blazer day or night. Same with a button down shirt, pretty and simple blouses and cozy, chic sweaters.How do you dress effortlessly chic like a Parisian? ›
So, if you wish to dress like a Parisian, always remember to keep your look simple and minimal. You won't find any Parisian women overdone or overdressed. They believe in wearing just one statement piece like a scarf, a hat, or a great pair of shoes, minimal accessories and simple jewelry.Do Parisians still wear skinny jeans? ›
French women tend to shy away from skinny jeans, and prefer a high waist dark denim pair. Scroll below to see the French style of dressing jeans. From oversized, floaty blouses to striped sweaters, find inspo on how to style jeans like Parisian women.What kind of pants to wear in Paris? ›
French women know good jeans – look for straight-leg, in classic denim blue. To be paired with smart blazers or casual knits, flats or heels. Denim should be one colour, not faded, and with no fraying or rips.What is the French girl look? ›
What is the French girl look? The “French girl look” is a popular style trend that is often characterized by effortless, natural beauty. French girls are known for their classic style and simple elegance. They tend to dress in neutral colors and seem to always look put-together, even when they're not trying too hard.Do they wear leggings in Paris? ›
Most Parisians do wear sort of business casual clothing when going to work, and more casual, relaxed clothes on the weekends. However they don't sacrifice style to comfort. It's not typical to wear yoga pants or running style leggings to walk in Paris.
Do tourists wear shorts in Paris? ›
Consider Location and Weather
Unless you're at the beach, a standard pair of jean or khaki shorts won't fit in with Paris fashion. Even when it's warmer out, you may instead want to wear a skirt or pair of capris instead of shorts. One reader adds, “shorts are the first major giveaway that you're a tourist.
A recent survey found out that blue is the favorite color of French people.What is the most French color? ›
Bleu de France (Blue of France) is a colour traditionally used to represent France. Blue has been used in the heraldry of the French monarchy since at least the 12th century, with the golden fleurs-de-lis of the kings always set on a blue (heraldic "azure") background.What color symbolizes Paris? ›
It had its origins in the union, at the time of the French Revolution, of the colours of the King (white) and the City of Paris (blue and red).How do you dress to blend in Paris? ›
Parisians have a very specific style that can be difficult to emulate if you're not familiar with it. However, one of the easiest ways to blend in is to simply dress like the locals do. Avoid wearing brightly colored clothes or anything that screams “tourist!” and instead opt for muted colors and simple designs.Do people wear white jeans in Paris? ›
White jeans are one of the ultimate French wardrobe staples stylish Parisians mainly wear in the spring/summer and fall seasons. It's the French must-have piece in the mid-season wardrobe that can elevate any classic staples like striped blouses, white button-down shirts, or basic tees.Can I use US dollars in Paris? ›
U.S. dollars are not accepted in most establishments, though some hotels, shops, and restaurants may accept U.S. dollars at an agreed upon exchange rate. Coins: 2€/1€/50 cents/20c/10c/5c/2c/1c The Euro is divided into 100 cents, or centimes.How do you make an outfit look French? ›
- Wear a scarf around your neck. No, I don't mean a big wool scarf for the winter. I'm talking about an accessory scarf that just pulls your outfit together. Silk, linen, whatever. ...
- Easy on the heavy foundation. Sure, French women wear makeup, but the focus is more on the eyes or lips. Less is more.
Classic and basic
You can style and re-style a classic piece with a trendy accessory for that up-to-date look. A Parisian woman will always have basic denim pants, crispy shirts, structured blazers, Breton tops, leather jacket, trenchcoat, tweed jacket, strappy sandals, and ankle boots.
- Keep it simple. The first rule of French inspired looks is to keep it elegant and simple. ...
- A neutral palette. The French, especially Parisians, tend to avoid outrageous bursts of colour. ...
- Quality over quantity. ...
- The art of accessorizing. ...
- Outwear. ...
- Wardrobe staples.
Do you wear sneakers in Paris? ›
Indeed, since Paris is a city where the locals walk everywhere, sneakers are probably the most stylish and comfortable shoes to wear every day. It's impossible to not see several pairs of white sneakers topping off chic outfits in the street of Paris.Is it okay to wear leggings in France? ›
Along with short shorts, leggings are equally banished to the back of a French closet. There is a reason that Lululemons are not big in France. Leggings are and should only be worn at the gym. And I mean at the gym, not on the way to the gym!Can you wear jeans to dinner in Paris? ›
So, the good news is you can wear your jeans in Paris, but make sure you uphold the Paris Insiders Ideal by only wearing jeans that are stylish and well-fitted.What is French girl hair? ›
“French-girl hair” has become an idea in and of itself, describing an artfully rumpled head of hair that appears to have magically air-dried to a soft, wavy mass—no texture spray required.Do French girls wear skinny jeans? ›
Skinny jeans are not in style in France but the exception to this rule is a simple solid black pair of black skinny jeans which are exclusively worn under knee-high boots (the cut must be skinny so they don't bunch up around the knee). The Anine Bing Jagger jean is perfect for this.How can I make my house look more French? ›
- Mix Old and New. ...
- Celebrate Architectural Details. ...
- Decorate with Subdued Colors. ...
- Add a Touch of Glamour. ...
- Embrace the Beauty of Aging. ...
- Create a Lived-In Space. ...
- Don't Over-Decorate.
- Embrace color. While shades of grey can come across as matronly, bright and bold color will rev up your look and perk up your skin tone. ...
- Free your neckline. Swap the deep plunge in favor of a universally flattering boatneck. ...
- Upgrade your knits. ...
- Play up your waistline. ...
- Find your fit.
French women dress with a casual chic style day to day, with looks centered around jeans, a simple t-shirt or blouse, oversized sunglasses and a well cut jacket. She may add a beautiful scarf or a hat.Do people wear bras in Paris? ›
Lingerie is an integral part of a French woman's fashion wardrobe. Yes, a great bra also plays a practical role in her life - French women covet comfort and support in their bras like everyone else.Do they wear maxi dresses in Paris? ›
Remember that Parisians tend to dress conservatively, even in the summer. What is this? Avoid anything too short – knee-length is best, although midi and maxi dresses are also trendy these days – or low cut.
Do people wear flip flops in Paris? ›
You might think that sandals are acceptable since heels are not but, you're dead wrong! Most Parisians do not wear sandals on the streets! Instead, you'll see most of them wearing sneakers or boots. So depending, on the weather, carry either a pair of sneakers or boots for roaming around the city.Is it OK to not wear a bra in France? ›
The no-bra movement has been predominant among French women, who seem to be more conscious about freedom from traditional clothing norms. In 2020, 18% of French women aged between 18 and 24 years said they never or seldom wore bras.Are there dress codes in Paris? ›
Men must not wear extremely short shorts, chunky sports shoes, sweatpants, graphic tees, and clothes with bright and bold words on them when in Paris. Women should avoid wearing stilettos, brightly colored dresses, clunky accessories, and beachwear when in Paris.Are jeans worn in France? ›
Jeans are definitely one of the staples of the French wardrobe. It's that kind of basic that flatters most body types, can be worn all year long, pared down or dressed up, and can be worn for every occasion while offering maximum comfort.Are leggings OK in Europe? ›
They are not a huge part of European fashion and are normally only used for exercise or going to the gym. So If you want to wear leggings during your trip, I would say it totally depends. If you are planning to walk or do something active, they are perfectly acceptable.How do Europeans look chic? ›
- Stick to classic clothing, you can also dare to be trendy with some pieces because it is Europe after all.
- Wear neutral colors.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes that look elevated.
- Leave the athleisure wear and logos at home.
A typical Parisian-style apartment would have white walls, floor-to-ceiling wall paneling, old herringbone parquet floor, tall windows, sometimes double windows with iron balcony, moldings, and marble mantels both in the living room and the bedrooms.What does a Parisian mean? ›
Meaning of Parisian in English
from, belonging to, or relating to the city of Paris in France: She has Parisian chic.
Restaurants. For most restaurants and bars, the dress code is dressed-up casual. So, if you do decide to go with a cocktail dress, the norm is for it to be accompanied by tights and a sweater/light jacket. This isn't because Parisians are against showing skin; it's just not typical for this type of setting.How do you dress like a Parisian in the summer? ›
You want to wear breathable fabrics and linen is perfect for the season. Linen shorts worn with an oversized button-down is a very très chic look. Add sandals and a small straw bag for a timeless summer look. If you don't love shorts, then look for linen pants or even skirts.
How can I look more Parisian? ›
So, if you wish to dress like a Parisian, always remember to keep your look simple and minimal. You won't find any Parisian women overdone or overdressed. They believe in wearing just one statement piece like a scarf, a hat, or a great pair of shoes, minimal accessories and simple jewelry.What colors do Parisians use for interior design? ›
There are always exceptions, but Parisians generally don't decorate with bold colors. You're much more likely to find a room dressed in cream, gold, ivory, and gray. Bring in the colors you love but in softer, subdued tones, such as dusty lavender, powder blue, buttery yellow, and blush pink.What does a Paris bedroom look like? ›
The Parisian decor style is minimalist, modern, contemporary but warm. The overall palette is neutral, and white is an all-time favorite color of Parisians. The decor and furniture are polished, sleek but kept simple.What does Boujee mean in France? ›
So bougie, boujee, bourgie all stem from bourgeoisie, a French word that simply means "of middle class status."What do Parisians call Paris? ›
You've probably heard of Paris being referred to as the City of Light (Ville Lumière), but another popular nickname for the French capital is Paname.How is Parisian French different? ›
Parisian French is different from other types of French in that speakers tend to absorb English words as part of their dialogue (e.g. le deadline – translates to 'the deadline') and also tends to be spoken a bit faster than French in other parts of the world.
Sorry, we are full tonight." But generally speaking, no restaurant will refuse to seat you because you wear sneakers. The right question is therefore not, "Will they allow me in?" but, "Will I feel comfortable entering a dressy place in sneakers?" I daresay probably not.Do people wear jeans in Paris? ›
Parisians do wear jeans and t-shirts, but only in appropriate situations, and you'll notice their jeans and t-shirts are a lot more design-y and cut a lot slimmer. When you're going out to eat in a restaurant, think of how you'd dress for that same level of restaurant back home, and then dress nicer than that.