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How to get a Parisian Fashion Wardrobe: The Essentials – Part Three

All of my Parisian Style & Wardrobe Posts can be found here.

So we’ve gone over how to get into a French-style mindset in Part One, and I’ve shown some sample outfits in Part Two of how some women dressed.. so I thought for Part Three, I’d give a really fast Parisian Wardrobe Essentials List based on the outfits I saw, and just what I thought would work well.

These items work for all four seasons, or the ENTIRE year. This is not just for one season, but basically for life (in my eyes)!

NOTE: If you live in Canada, or somewhere equally cold, you might need to add a goose down jacket and some winter boots to this along with appropriate winter accessories.

Otherwise, this covers most basic winters that aren’t freezing cold. Or if you live somewhere rainy you’d want to add a raincoat or a trench coat and rainboots to this mix. Or somewhere hot, you’d remove the winter coats and sweaters.

French-Wardrobe-Parisian-Fashion-List-Essentials-Items

 

WHOA, WHY ISN’T IT ALL BLACK OR GREY?

Okay before we go on, you will notice that I didn’t make the entire wardrobe black, grey or navy blue.

This is just because.. I can’t do it.

I can’t make a list of Wardrobe Essentials and make it totally 100% BLACK.


It just isn’t in me.

However if you want to go REALLY Parisian, make everything on the list above in black or grey and you’ll be fine.

This wardrobe is as neutral as you’ll get from me. I’m itching to add colour but I’m also trying to stay true to what a real Parisian wardrobe would look like.

LIST OF EVERYTHING IN MY IDEAL PARISIAN, MINIMALIST WARDROBE

You can also cut out some duplicates like not having two white shirts, or two chain necklaces, but I like the idea of variety.

Starting with the clothing and ending with accessories, going from left to right, top to bottom:

BLAZERS / JACKETS / TOPPERS

  • White blazer — A tuxedo or dinner-style jacket
  • Black blazer — Because you can’t just have ONE blazer that isn’t black, now can you?
  • Black leather jacket — If you only have one leather jacket, make it black or brown
  • Mixed tweed/leather jacket — This is both casual but also dressy

SWEATERS

  • Navy sweater — A staple
  • Camel sweater — Another staple in an acceptably neutral colour.
  • Black turtleneck — Thick neck, cowled, or in a thin knit, it’s a staple as well

SHIRTS / TOPS

  • Fitted black t-shirt — Naturally!
  • Fitted white t-shirt — Ditto.
  • White drapey t-shirt — A loose t-shirt in any neutral colour works (grey, black, navy, etc)
  • Navy patterned tank top
  • Graphic grey tank top — To keep things fun and casual
  • Plain grey tank top
  • Striped Navy blue long-sleeved shirt
  • White long-sleeved shirt

PANTS

  • Black skinny jeans
  • Dark denim jeans — you can also make these skinny, bootcut, or straight-legged)
  • Black trousers — a classy trouser

SKIRTS

  • Black pencil skirt
  • Flared black skirt — To add another layer of texture and dimension

DRESSES

  • Casual grey summer dress in a pinstripe
  • Black sheath dress

COAT

  • Autumn or Winter wool coat in a neutral colour (camel is what I chose, but black works)

SHOES / HEELS / BOOTS

  • Leather sandals
  • Ballet flats
  • Black pumps — no platforms, and in a chic, classy, manageable height
  • Tall leather boots
  • Short biker boots

PURSES

  • Black clutch
  • Casual satchel bag
  • Structured bag

ACCESSORIES

  • Simple minimalist watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Circle scarf
  • A fun patterned scarf
  • A bright scarf
  • Pearl studs
  • Dangly earrings
  • Delicate necklace with a small pendant
  • Layered chain necklaces (in gold and silver)

Et voilà!

You can make a ton of outfits out of this for the entire year, from Spring to Winter.

You just need to mix, match, layer, and keep it simple.

All of my Parisian Style & Wardrobe Posts can be found here.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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41 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Thanks for the great post! I do have one question about outerwear. When I was in Paris last fall it seemed that every store was advertising down jackets – hip-length with or without hoods. They were cute and living in America where these are ubiquitous I thought “Hey, cool, it would be nice to be able to wear one of those next visit!” I’m going to Paris again next month and I’m wondering if that is a look that has indeed caught on. I have a cute, just beyond hip length not-too-puffy-not-too-thin down jacket I’ll bring if so. Otherwise I need to replace my woot peacoat I typically take to Paris. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I’d replace the wool peacoat. It’s the most classic, understated item you can buy to wear all over, as long as it keeps you warm.

      Are you cold without a down jacket? If so, take the down jacket and give it a shot. It’s better to be warm than too stylish.

      Reply
  2. Lynn

    Hello there: I really like all the suggestions you make. Being a more mature woman (65) I’m wondering what you’ve noticed Parisian women of that age wear? By the way, I’m always being told I don’t look my age. Any suggestions you may have would be welcomed. Thanks, lynn

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I’d be happy to do a post for you. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  3. Merrin

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been looking to find a minimal capsule that works and looks more stylish as I am a bit style challenged (okay I didn’t have a clue how to put together a wardrobe of outfits). This is now my list. it is perfect.

    Reply
    1. Eve

      2016 and this wardrobe advice is still relevant! Fashion comes and goes but style is forever. Thanks so much for helping me pare down my cluttered closet.

      Reply
  4. Susan

    Hello…nice blog.

    Reply
  5. Cristina DiCapua

    Thank you!I really enjoyed your blog. Great ideas for any age group.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  6. Cristina DiCapua

    Great options! Unfortunately I don’t have any of those colors in a dress.Not even the leopatd:( Does it have to be a neutral? Or will another black dress work….I have a lot of black.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Black would work. I’m not a fan of black which is why I tried to avoid it in the capsule but Parisiennes LOVE black. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Cristina DiCapua

    What is an alternative to the grey dress? I have my own version of all the rest. I would add leopard pieces to make it more me.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      A leopard print dress then 🙂 Otherwise, any other neutral — white, ivory, navy, striped, they all work.

      Reply
  8. Sharon

    Great advice for my young adult granddaughters

    Reply
  9. Sharon

    Thank you great advice for my young granddaughters
    Im an older young woman just loved the style
    I do add just a bit of color

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Age has no bearing on how you should dress as long as it is appropriate and feels good 🙂 I plan on wearing what I wear now, when I am 80!

      Reply
  10. jack

    people who look good in black do not look good in beige. People who can wear beige have skin with yellow undertones while people who can wear black well have blue undertones.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I think it depends on the shade of beige. I look awful in some shades of beige, but great in others (darker, caramel tones) as well as black.

      Reply
  11. Mirella

    I truly fell in love with this wardrobe. I would like to ask if you could update your chosen garment on polyvore, I know it’s just an example but I am courious to see what you would pick nowadays. Thank you so much

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I will create a post! 🙂

      Reply
      1. mirella

        @save. spend. splurge.: @save. spend. splurge.: Great! thank you!

        Reply
  12. Annette

    Just found your blog LOVE IT. Thank u.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      No, thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Ashley

    Loved the out fits. I now live on a farm and have struggled with appropriate outfits, for a old farm girl to wear, when I’m off to the city. Also I really appreciated the comments about living in a colder climate, as I do. I use to wear all black all of the time, but after drastically cutting my hair short to grow my natural hair colour, I can no long wear black against my face. I’ve ventured in to the tan and navy zone. Which I think make me look young.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I find it hard to dress down and I live in the city!! 🙂

      Black ages everyone in my opinion. It should be used sparingly….

      Reply
  14. Polina

    That’s perfect capsule wardrobe! How do you think, will it be ok to wear navy and beige colors for basics? Or it wouldn’t be enough.. Classic?

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Navy and beige is more than enough for classics but I think you might get bored. Add white, cream and/or black for a variation.

      Reply
  15. Michelle

    I’ve decided to do the minimalist capsule wardrobe and have significantly reduced what I have in the closet. I just made the investment in some key quality pieces that can be mixed and matched like this, everything else is what I already have in the closet.
    I’m doing a lot of consigning to get some money back.

    Great work on this, I enjoyed the 3 part Parisian wardrobe, you gave me some ideas for mixing things up.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Thanks! 🙂 I love consignment because it gets rid of stuff in your wardrobe that you otherwise feel guilty about seeing.

      Reply
  16. MelD

    I’m actually in the middle of a Six Items Challenge and couldn’t bear to choose all black. Instead, I’ve chosen almost all grey, cream and a bit of palest green and working round those, staying neutral or going colourful with accessories with my mood…

    Reply
    1. saverspender

      @MelD: What 6 items did you choose??

      Your colour palette sounds wonderful. I love greys and creams together 🙂

      Reply
  17. Sarah

    Love this post. I have a very colourful wardrobe, but I only wear the neutral stuff on a regular basis. I tend to lean heavily toward navy rather than black or grey, though I do have a lot of the latter two as well.

    I love the grey, pinstriped dress. It’s probably my favourite thing you listed.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Sarah: Navy is also my go-to colour, that and grey. 🙂

      I love the dress too! I don’t own it but I have something similar.

      Reply
  18. lee

    OMG! I am addicted to this series. I have been classified as a “hoarder” and one of my goals this year is to throw/donate/sell what I don’t wear anymore. I feel like I need a fresh start and this is the direction that I’m gearing towards. I’ve read about the 20/80 rule and it bugs me, it just doesn’t seem practical, environmental, etc. etc. Anyway, thanks for the visuals!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @lee: You’re welcome! The 20/80 rule makes sense to me. Honestly, you really only wear 80% of your wardrobe to work or going out, and the 20% is stuff like your suits or a formal black dress to wear to events. 🙂

      Reply
  19. Tania

    LOVE all your choices! In fact, I’m saving the image to my desktop when I get home tonight for future reference. As a “black” mostly chick, I’d say this capsule is perfect. Black looks best mixed with other neutrals and different textures. Black is my choice but when I buy tops I’m very conscious to always have a staple amount of white, charcoal, army and plum in the mix because a black T, black jacket and bottom all in smooth fabrics can look very old and frumpy, not fashionable especially if the items have faded a little at different levels. Wear a black jacket in a different texture (like leather or faux or boucle), add a little white T and it’s a 100 times cutter/sexier than an all black outfit.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Olive green! Don’t forget olive green 🙂

      Reply

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