How To Dress With Parisian Style

9 March 2015

With the catwalks heating up at Paris Fashion Week, we thought it a fitting moment to look at Parisian style and how to acquire it. The Parisians are known for being effortlessly chic, so what's their secret? How can we get that feeling of strolling down the Champs-Élysées when we're just on our way to the local fish 'n' chip shop?

 Famous Parisian style (credit: Pret-a-Paige)

'Monochromatique'

Firstly, when it comes to colour, there isn't a lot of it. The typical Parisian employs the design rule of 'less is more' in a subdued palette of black, navy, white and beige. It sounds a little unimaginative but this monochromatic combination works well when the pieces are all perfectly fitting and elegant in their design. You'll see sleeves that daintily end at the wrist-bone, t-shirts with the perfect amount of stretch and ever-so-slightly oversized jackets that glide gracefully with every move.

If adopting these shades feels a little limiting, you can explore beyond them with accessories. Dab a little fire-engine red on your lips, pop on a pair of leopard-print flats or slide a bangle in an eye-popping hue onto one of those naked wrists. Even easier, you could simply adopt the French passion for wine and hold a glass of red in your hand.

 The trusty French trench (credit: Parisian Chic)

The tailored trench

For its practicality, versatility and flexibility, the  trench coat has become an integral piece of the Parisian ensemble. The longer, looser and languid the better. You might like to choose from the range at Carven or A.P.C. (a French favourite).

 Boots that are made for strolling Parisian streets (credit: Vogue.com.au)

The ankle boots

Cobblestones are not kind to spindly stilettos, so Parisians opt for more practical footwear on the streets. Ankle boots (in suede or soft nappa leather with a cuban heel) are kind on the feet and still street-style worthy.

 Famous actress, Brigitte Bardot, exhibits the French 'messy do' (credit: ohsofrench.com)

The unkempt hair

It’s a well-known fact that the typical Frenchwoman doesn't pay much attention to her hair, in fact she doesn't even brush it, or need to. To achieve the Parisian tousled mane, you need to do very little. Pay more attention to grooming your brows than your tresses, throw out your heat styler and hair conditioner, wash your hair every other day and you’re well on your way.

 Editor of Paris Vogue, Emmanuelle Alt, knows a well-cut jacket (credit: Trendycrew)

The tailored jacket

When there's a little breeze, you might like to adorn a tailored jacket. Look for one that skims the top of the hips, with structured shoulders and a generous lapel. Embellishments, such as gold buttons add interest and a little spice to the look.

 A staple shoe for any Parisian (Credit: Vogue.com.au)

The chic black flat

A smart and sophisticated black pair of flats can be found in many a Parisian's wardrobe. This enduringly chic shoe is well paired with an evening dress or blue jeans.

 A black fedora can top off the Parisian look (credit: lamodellamafia.com)

The black fedora

The black fedora can be that accessory that takes an outfit from average to amazing. Look for a brim that points downwards and isn't too narrow or floppy. The greatest thing about it? It covers the unkempt hair you didn’t brush (or wash).

 Victoria Beckham nails Parisian chic in a well-cut white shirt (credit: Splash)

The crisp white shirt

The white buttoned shirt should be a standard piece in anyone’s closet. For a Parisian flavour, visit a men's store and buy a linen or brushed cotton shirt in the smallest size that will fit you. When you wear it, leave the tails half-out and simply roll up the sleeves. Instant French chic.

 'As the hem goes up, the heel goes down'

A practised eye

A major element of creating fabulous personal style is knowing how to flatter you body shape. The Parisian women are practised in choosing garments that bring out the best of their figures.

There are two golden styling rules that many French women swear by: 'long and loose, not short and tight' and 'as the hem goes up, the heel goes down'.

 French women know its worth investing in luxury items (credit: popsugar.com)

Invest in your dress

Parisians know the value of quality and that luxury garments are a great investment. The initial outlay may be more, but purchasing a quality piece will mean you can enjoy its luxuriousness for a long time. You'll be carrying that butter-soft hand-crafted tote and parading those Manolo Blahnik suede D'Orsay pumps with love and appreciation for many years down the line.

Gemma Cleveland

A lover of creativity, I appreciate the arts, culture and beauty in many forms. I'm hooked on experiencing new things and indulging my senses on this amazing planet we inhabit. I flounced around Europe for a time but am happy to be lapping up the sun again in my hometown of Brisbane.