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The Parisian Essentials for Style – The Uniform

I was trying to break down what the three main elements in a typical Parisian Uniform are and I came up with:

  • Effortless
  • Elegant
  • Tailored

If you’ll notice, these outfits fit in those three categories above because that is why we are so drawn to what the outfit represents to us.


Obviously, if they put thought into the outfit it is not effortless, but it sure feels like that doesn’t it?


This doesn’t mean you’re always rocking heels wherever you go, but you’ll never see an outfit paired with those dumpy, white so-called “Mom” sneakers that look like you’ve dipped your feet into a vat of dough.

They wear flats, they wear sneakers (the ubiquitous brand Bensimon FTW), and are comfortable, but not dumpy.


Will you catch them with a piece of thread sticking out that could be snipped off?

A hole in their shirt unless intentional?

An awkward, rumpled, crumpled sweater covered in cat hair pulled over their heads with no thought given to giving it a few swipes with a lint roller?


French Outfit Examples

Note: I am using my photos from Instagram @saverspender, but I don’t always dress in a typical French style because I LOVE colour and print, and Parisiennes are very averse to anything outside of their prescribed “neutrals zone”.

Just an FYI.

Some days, I go very French, other days, not so much.

Striped Neutrals

Outfit Breakdown:

Why this works:

It’s a formula.

Blazer + Shirt + Jeans + An accessory or two = Finished Look

My sister-in-law on Skype in France saw me walk in after work and said: Oh la la (yes they really do say that), you’re chic & elegant! (Not that I am not always so, but she is not always on Skype when I come home).

The t-shirt is half tucked in the front but not so crisp and tight that it looks forced or intentional. The blazer has the sleeves rolled up to the elbow because while they could also be left a bit long, a little extra effort goes a long way. (See: Effortless above)

The watch and jeans are classics — the watch is an Olivia Burton classic mens-style big dial chronograph watch, and yet the strap is not overwhelmingly large on the wrist to make it look ridiculous — this is why I love the Olivia Burton brand so much, they have THOUGHT about the strap on a woman’s wrist even with a large dial face. (See: Elegant)

The jeans, are a high-rise but don’t look it because the blazer is slightly longer and offsets the look. They are also super comfortable because I took them in a size larger (my normal size is 26), and then had the waist tailored in so that the legs would not be so tight, but I also have a pair of size 26 jeans that fit perfectly tight for other types of looks  (See: Tailored)

Lastly, the entire colour palette is neutral — you can’t go wrong with black on white, with blue jeans to break up the monotony.

You could re-wear this entire outfit over and over again by changing the blazer to be a navy one, pinstriped, or white tipped linen, and the shirt could stay the same, or be dark blue, white, grey!

You get the idea:

Another example below of me doing EXACTLY this:

(Note the cuffed blazer..)

Outfit Breakdown:

It’s pretty easy once you have the “uniform” down.

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