As I’ve previously mentioned I’ve been using yahooanswers to find some inspiration for what to write about on here(after four years of being in Paris I run out of ideas).
One of the questions I answered was:
How to dress for Paris, France?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Some of my advice on how to dress in Paris is:
1) Dress SIMPLY
It is a big joke here but we say in Paris the second your wardrobe is all black, white and ércue: you’re a from here. This is somewhat true. We dress simple here but know how to accessorize. Choose one thing that is really an out-fit maker and then let the rest of your ensemble become a backdrop for it.
For example a very prominent bag and solid colors to value it. Or a loud, brazen flashy print jean with just solids.
2)Always have an element of class. We aren’t snobs here we just have a certain way of valuing ourselves that makes us hold our heads high. Whether it be imaging yourself as Coco Chanel or Audrey Hepburn decked-out in Givenchy try to channel an air of classiness and grace. Don’t hide behind insecurities and slouch into discomfort to be unseen. Feel instinctively great about yourself and assume your wardrobe choices. That is the pure and simple way to look like a parisian: feel like you’re a million bucks don’t strive to look like it.
3) Dress appropriately! Paris is not a night club or a beach. Don’t dress in sequins like you are going dancing before 20h and don’t wear anything that could be closely considered beachwear. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that showing cleavage (either back or front) is not considered sexy or attractive here and I hold to that. Cover yourself up!
Understand that Paris is a multi-cultural city and sometimes,sadly, this means that some cultures have different respect towards women dressing in a certain way. It is easy enough to be harassed or approached on the street wearing jeans and a hoodie, imagine what sort of pull your short-shorts can have. Dress sophisticated and comfortably and you are less likely to have problems. But you should always be on your guard. Do not go out in anything that you wouldn’t feel 100% comfortable in with a bunch of pervs gawking at you (not to be too vulgar).
4)Don’t pack too much! Seriously: women in Paris actually don’t have THAT much clothing but they do have lots of key pieces that they invested lots of thought and money into that they combine with the other few items they have to make fabulous attire. We wear the same things over and over but in different combinations, sometimes two days in a row. That is what makes Paris fashion so creative: it is all in the interpretation and the way you present something. Also you are going to do some shopping. Try to leave half your suitcase for the things you are going to buy and obviously wear when you are there.
5)Not a lot of makeup!!!!! You’re not going to see French woman with spackaled-on or airbrushed foundation. In summer especially women will only wear a bit of blush or bronzer and a swipe of mascara. Keep it fresh and natural. Then at night when you go out simply add a dark, smokey eyeliner to turn your look to night.
A lot of girls think that by adding a full red lip you are automatically getting the “parisian look”. For some this works but be sure that you have the right shade of red (if red at all). I have a girlfriend who can’t do the red but looks particularly great in orange so choose the lip that is right for you. Personally I prefer a light powder pink gloss to keep it sweet and natural but add just the slightest pop.
6)Thick eyebrows. A wonderful part of French fashion at the moment. I say this as a woman who is overly-blessed with this follicle extension. But in France women pencil-in or shade in their eyebrows with a natural color to make them them fuller and even and more intense. Over a pair of large sunglasses this has such an Audrey Hepburn look that it just screams class and disdain for the bottom feeders of fashion. So grow out those inchworms into the caterpillars they are. Pluck only the stragglers
7)My accent piece is usually my shoes! I’m a big fan of heels but often my favorite stiletto will let me down versus the metro stairs or the deeply curved cobble-stoned street (notably the one right in front of the église St.Germain des Prés…gets me every time!) So I often try to go for a sassy boot for example my favorites from Zadig et Voltaire and they go with everything so i can mix and match easily.
For shoes a simple ballet flat will do just fine: great for walking and it goes with everything. Don’t forget however to wear footie socks for comfort and to avoid the smell. For the Paris version visit a Repetto boutique for the famous “CENDRILLON” made iconic by Brigitte Bardot. Plus they are really comfy and last for a long time.
8)When in doubt do a bun! My dad hates this and thinks it’s way too sever but in Paris the easiest thing to do is to throw your hair up in a bun! even women with round faces like mine can look great with a high bun. Don’t know how to do one? Well learn from a pro in Paris and go to a Bar à Chignons like http://www.christophenicolasbiot.com/bar-chignons where you can learn to do all sorts of styles of bun. Prices are between 20-80 euros.
IN THE END:
It doesn’t really matter what you wear. The truth of the matter is no one will really notice. In Paris we see so many tourists a day that no one really ever sticks out. We are use to tourists and trust me it is not your clothes that make you stand out.