Tips for Dressing like a Parisian

This summer, I became obsessed with Parisian fashion style!  I read three books—Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi by Olivier Magny,  Paris in Love by Eloisa James, and Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet.

Each of these books had tips on helping any woman achieve the easy, ultra-sophisticated Parisian look!

Here are the tips I learned from each book…

Stuff Parisians Like

1.) Jeans-(own up to 10 pairs)—black or grey.  Never wear jeans with sneakers (unless Converse).

2.) Never tuck in your shirt.

3.) Wear BLACK—simple clothes, simple color.

4.) No wearing of red or yellow.  “The mental sanity of a person bold enough to wear such outrageous colors as yellow or red will be questioned at once by all Parisians.”

5.) Navy blue is acceptable.

6.) Scarves are qualifiers of style and social class.  Women own at least 3—(usually more)– of varying width, fabric, colors, and brand escalation.  Don’t match the scarf to the other colors of your clothes.

7.) Sunglasses—Must have a logo on them.  The more discreet, the more elegant.  Never wear flashy logos.  Most Parisians can’t afford Christian Dior couture, so Christian Dior glasses will do.

Paris In LoveParis in Love

1.) Berets

2.) High heeled black boots

3.) Undies of pink pleated satin, fanciful white lace, translucent pearly silk.  No cotton underwear.

4.) Louis Vuitton or Goyard handbags

5.) Tight, knee-length shorts for work with dignified jackets and high, high heels.

6.) Tailored clothes.  Find a good local tailor and get all of your clothes appropriately tailored.

7.) A French girl is trained to love her figure, and to take personal pride in her clothing, even if that clothing is never intended to be seen by anyone other than the owner.

Parisian Chic

1.) Don’t coordinate outfits

2.) Demand quality, don’t wear glitter and logos.

3.) Shop in H&M’s menswear department.

4.) Mix couture and street culture.

5.) Wear tunics with cardigans and pearls.

Essential Pieces


• Blazer—Belt it.  Roll up the sleeves. Wear it with pants or jeans, a white shirt or a lace, silk, or satin camisole.  

• Trench Coat—Roll up the sleeves.  Scrunch the collar.  Tie the belt—don’t buckle it.  Wear it with jeans, a suit, a little black dress, EVERYTHING!  

• Navy Sweater—Wear it with white jeans or black pants, flat shoes, with heels and bangles for evening.  

• Tank Top—Wear it with shorts, jeans, printed skirts, a quality necklace, under a blazer.  Choose tanks in simple colors—black, gray, white, navy, khaki.  No patterned tanks!

• Little Black Dress—Simplicity and elegance.  

• Perfect Jeans—Straight-legged.  Wear them at night with a sequined jacket.  Choose jeans in dark blue, sky blue, white, and black.  

• Leather Jacket—Wear it with pearls and with a sweater underneath.  The older the leather, the better.  Preferably in tan, fitted, and with slim sleeves.

Shoes—Better one pair of really beautiful shoes than a room full of duds!

• Ballet flats

• Open-toe sandals

• Black heels (not too pointy or too rounded)

• Penny loafers

• Riding boots (in black or tan)  

Bags—Better a straw bag than a fake luxury label!  Only match your bag to your shoes if you’re under 30.

• The big tote bag

• The clutch

• The satchel

• The ladies handbag (solid and structured)

• A straw bag

Jewelry—Your most beautiful item of jewelry is your wedding ring.  Avoid sophisticated luxury pieces.  Opt instead for something minimalist—a single stone simply set.  One statement piece!

• Antique earrings

• A charm bracelet

• A man’s watch

• Colored gem rings

• A cuff bracelet


• Low-waisted sweatpants

• Big, warm sweater

• Moisturizer, lip balm, and eye drops

• Socks

• Converse tennis shoes

• Large tote bag

• Two small, wheeled suitcases

Ooh la la!  Complete with wine and baguette!  Bon courage!


2 thoughts on “Tips for Dressing like a Parisian

  1. As a parisian woman and a personal shopper in Paris, I have to do a few updates ^^
    It is stylish, as a woman, either to half-tuck your shirt or to completely tuck it but letting it loose (not tight).
    Wear whatever colors you feel like but mix them with basics. The aim is not too look tacky. Parisian men do LOVE colorful pants right now (red, yellow, green, etc).
    Agree on sunglasses and scarves!
    Read the Ines de la Fressange books. She does not say not to wear glitters. You can wear glitter but balance it with basics (see a lot of glitter boots or knits in Paris now).
    Otherwise I agree with the rest of your post.
    Im a personal stylist/shopper in Paris.
    Have a look at my last article on how to wear heels:

  2. I stand corrected! Thanks for your updates, Alois! I really like your blog and I enjoyed reading about you and your services. When I’m in Paris, maybe we can go shopping together! 😉

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