Every month, Londoner turned Parisienne Marissa Cox of Rue Rodier will bring you her pearls of Parisian fashion wisdom and style tips straight from the French capital. A photographer, writer and influencer, we turn to the oh-so-chic Marissa on a regular basis for a truly unique take on her adopted country’s signature style. Whether we’re looking to her décor decisions, handbag purchases or chic hotel choices, we can all agree that being un petit peu plus Français could never be a bad thing…
I’ve always been a big spender when it comes to clothes. However, before I moved to Paris, I was guilty of repeatedly buying unnecessary items that would often get relegated to the back of my wardrobe with the tags still on. Oh, and then there were dreaded “panic buys”—the last-minute dash into town to purchase something because I didn’t have anything to wear to a birthday party on a Friday. (Almost immediately, I’d regret buying it.) Since moving in the French capital, I like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two, not only about style and how to dress for my figure but also about buying better, shopping more consciously and investing in items that last longer than one season. So here are six lessons I’ve learnt that will take your shopping habits to the next level.
Quit: Buying frivolous things
Start: Investing in staples
On Marissa: Arket blazer; Goldsign jeans; Mulberry Sunglasses; Miista shoes; Simon Miller bag
It’s common knowledge that Parisians have great style. While they’re not afraid to experiment with trends and colour, they are better known for investing in capsule wardrobe items that don’t have a sell-by date (aka pieces that will never go out of style). And there’s nothing that works harder than a black blazer. Invest in a preferably single-breasted, slightly oversized, structured black blazer that can be worn open or cinched in at the waist with a belt. My go-to brands for this brilliant basic are Acne Studios, Arket, Joseph and Totême.
Quit: Overspending in the sales
Start: Wish listing items in advance
On Marissa: Rouje shirt; Goldsign jeans; ATP Atelier sandals; Loewe bag
A plethora of Parisian It girls said non to Black Friday this year, including me. I love to snap up a bargain but personally find Black Friday and Cyber Monday rather abhorrent, as they actively encourage over-spending and unnecessary shopping. I very carefully select and ruminate over the clothes that I buy. I make wish lists for example with all my favourite online retailers—Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion.com, MyTheresa and Farfetch—and wait until seasonal sales come around to only snap up items that I know will have long shelf-life. Also, the rule is if you wouldn’t buy something at full price (like this Loewe straw bag that I saved up for), I wouldn’t recommend buying it in the sale just because it’s cheaper. The likelihood of you wearing it is pretty slim.
Quit: Ignoring the basics
Start: Finding perfect-fit jeans
On Marissa: Citizens of Humanity jeans; Arket jumper; Stuart Weitzman heels
I could put this in with investment pieces, but I feel jeans deserve their own special point because a good pair is your bum’s best friend. And we know that French girls are champions at enhancing their figures. My advice? Find a great pair and buy them in every colourway. Even the chicest of Parisians who rarely wear jeans own great denim. My favourite labels include Citizens of Humanity, Goldsign, Weekday, L'Agence and Mother Denim.
Quit: Buying shoes you can't walk in
Start: Making sensible footwear purchases
On Marissa: Gap jeans; Mango heels
This might seem a bit of a no-brainer, but I’m sure there are numerous times that you overestimated your capabilities to squeeze your toes into pointy shoes or walk more than 10 metres in skyscraper heels. It’s a myth that Parisian women sashay through the streets of the French capital in stilettos. And if ever one did, they certainly wouldn’t be walking far in them. As the queens of effortless elegance, they prefer practical heels that can be worn from day to evening. I don’t bother with super-high heels, and luckily, this season’s trends are very obliging, with low-heeled, barely there sandals available at every price point. These are easy to walk in and look just as great during the day as they do for drinks in the evening. Check out Manu Atelier’s new shoe collection (coming very soon!) as well as By Far, Aeyde and Staud.
On Marissa: Rouje cardigan
I often do clothes sales or “vide dressings” as they’re called in France to empty out my wardrobe of anything I haven’t worn for a while. And as the saying goes, “One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure.” I’m a big believer in recycling, and there are no better items to be actively recycling than clothes… After all, fashion is sadly one of the planet’s biggest polluters. The more I can resell and find new homes for, the better. I recently purchased this Rouje cardigan from a friend who was doing the sale with me. Bookmark Vestiaire Collective, and download Depop.
Quit: Snapping up the same thing as everyone else
Start: Looking for exclusives
On Marissa: MyTheresa x Baum und Pferdgarten dress; Teva sandals; Loewe bag
As much as I love following the trends, there’s nothing worse than looking like a clone—one of the reasons Parisians are so keen on vintage. Keep your eye out for exclusive collections and one-off pieces rather than heading straight to mass-produced items on the high street. I love Zara like the next woman, but if you purchase an item with a lot of print, I guarantee you’ll walk past someone else wearing it. Rixo does a great job at this with its limited capsule collections; the newest one created in collaboration with Sabina Socol is a dream.