Parisians are famed for keeping it simple, and really, it is just sticking to the basics. I once asked my friend why and she replied: Because I’m too lazy to do any more.
1. STICK TO NEUTRALS
They also basically only wear neutrals, and lean very heavily into wearing black black black over any other solid colour.
Of course, they like to add texture to their blacks, and will wear a black tank top or a soft knitted black sweater with black jeans, but a black moto jacket and some black ballet flats.
I find black really harsh on most women when worn from head to toe, so here are some neutrals you can wear to mix with each other:
- Navy blue (a nice deep dark one or a more vibrant navy)
- Any kind of grey (charcoal is so much nicer than black)
- Camel (a nice deep rich caramel camel, not a bland one)
- Whites and ivories (my favourite hue to freshen things up)
- Burgundy (a deep rich wine burgundy to add colour)
As for a pattern, you can always try stripes.
Stripes are a neutral colour to a Parisienne, trust me!
The most flattering stripes on women are:
- wide spans of colour in between thinner stripes (shown below)
- thin lightly contrasting pinstripes (white and light blue for instance); the ones where they are dark pinstripes are not as nice
- no more than two colours, preferably one of them being a white or cream, then either a navy, red or black
The least flattering stripes on women are:
- rugby-style, thick, Charlie Brown stripe
- thin constrating stripes too close together (makes you dizzy)
- stripes with more than two colours
- stripes with two colours that are too dark (e.g. navy blue and black, or brown and black)
If you don’t think navy and white or black and white work as colours for you, try red and white, it softens the contrast and looks fabulous.
SHOPPING FOR STRIPES
2. GO HALF A SIZE OR A FULL SIZE LARGER IN CLOTHING
Your clothing shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t comfortably sit down and tuck in a full meal.
My trick is to always go up half a size or a full size larger so that things skim my body and give a little bit of devil-may-care insouciance to my look, like:
Oh this old thing?
It’s oversized but I love it anyway, paired with perfect high-rise jeans and killer footwear.
The Olsen twins actually embody this look better than anyone else, but I will caution you against going too far as they do, because they sometimes do look like bag ladies and it is not flattering.
3. DON’T WEAR ANY ACCESSORIES
Maybe you can wear your wedding rings (very few French couples we know are actually married these days), but that’s it. Keep it SUPER simple.
The French like to do it either with statement bold pieces (one amazing necklace), or with nothing at all. It’s all or nothing with them, no grey zone of matchy-matchy accessories.
The bling so to speak, is kept down to a minimum if any is evident at all.
4. WEAR MINIMAL OR NO MAKEUP
The #1 trait I see in French women is perfect skin, and obsessive attention to skincare, but once you have an amazing base to work on, you don’t slap on makeup to cover it up!
Every single French woman I know wears no more than a swipe of mascara, some colour on their cheeks and lips, and that’s it.
(If at all.)
(I actually think she looks better without makeup..)
Once when I did my makeup for going out, and wore my whole range (mascara, eyeliner, concealer, foundation, blush), etc… they were bemused at how much time it took and frankly, it made me a little self-conscious.
From that day on, I’ve kept my makeup to a minimum unless it’s for a wedding, then I really spend the time erasing out imperfections with concealer.
(Psst.. even for weddings, I’ve seen French girls just swipe on this exact blush and lip tint. SERIOUSLY.)
5. WEAR FLATS
Nothing annoys a French girl more than being uncomfortable because when you are not comfortable, you cannot possibly feel good, and therefore cannot dream of looking like you’re happy, carefree and attractive.
All types of flats.
Ballet flats are the perennial favourite, but I’ve seen lots of moto boots, pointed flats, sandals (no, absolutely NO flip flops), little chic wedges and tall knee-high riding boots.
You can go your entire life, even to the office, avoiding heels.
Also, NO embellishments on these shoes. Keep it to a minimum. You don’t want it completely studded, with lots of straps or bows or anything.
Simple, sleek and cool.
Footwear is also where they can wear a little more colour like red flats.
I break the rule on this one because I like 3″ heels for the office (makes me look and feel taller, and therefore more competent & confident), but the French couldn’t give two baguettes about heels, no matter what others say.
As with everything else, you also have the other extreme (bien sûr) of French women wearing high heels (not platform ones that are 4″ high, those are tacky), but 3″ being the maximum for even running to the grocery store or to pick up a baguette around the corner.
(You never know who you’ll run into at the boulangerie.)
They’re extremists, the French. It’s either flats or 3″ heels, no in betweens.