I Live in Paris—This Is How the French Actually Dress Over Christmas

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 looking un petit peu plus Français could never be a bad thing…

I haven’t even reached what I’d deem the real festive period of December yet, and already I’ve been to four Christmas dos and have countless more lined up in my calendar, namely three this weekend. So of course my current fashion focus is fully geared towards festive dressing. Over the years since living in Paris, I’ve found that the Parisians dress up a little differently to us Brits. That is not to say that they’re afraid of a little sparkle, bien sûr, but it’s generally done in what you imagine as a more chic and elegant way. Rarely will you find a French girl wearing a kitsch Christmas jumper, for example, but they are not averse to sequins. And unless their invitation specifically asks for black tie or cocktail, they won’t be too overdressed either.  

Photo:

Marissa Cox

Therefore the devil is also often in the details—tops are elevated with jewellery, such as this season’s chunky choker chain necklace or sparkly earrings. And makeup, such as a bold red lip or smoky eye, helps take cute tops to the next level. So here are a few wardrobe pieces to consider this season to get you dressing more French.

1. The going-out top (winter edition)

Photo:

Marissa Cox

Photo:

Marissa Cox

A go-to for any soirée in Paris is the classic going-out top (in my case, I’ve gone for a long-sleeved version for colder weather but applied the same principle) paired with black jeans (or high-waisted black pants) and a blazer. By now you’ve probably heard me wax lyrical about this formula: the old jeans + cute top + blazer combo, but I keep talking about it because it works in almost every scenario when you need to look like you’ve made an effort but not too much, as is the French way. And to stay in line with a more festive spirit—go for velvet or a top adorned with some sparkle.

2. The minidress

Photo:

Marissa Cox

If you want to opt for a short skirt or dress, make it Parisian by pairing shorter silhouettes with long boots or Mary-Jane platforms over tights. The aim here is to keep a little mystery when it comes to showing off your body. Then throw an oversized blazer over it or be extra French and team with a cosy cardi, smoky eyes or a slick of lippy.

3. Le Smoking suit

Photo:

Marissa Cox

There’s no look more timeless, more elegant and perhaps more Parisian than the black suit. One of my all-time favourite images created by photographer Helmut Newton features Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking tuxedo, which catapulted the minimal black suit to the forefront of French style and fashion. It ultimately defined an era, shaking up femininity as we knew it in favour of more masculine power dressing. Incidentally Saint Laurent’s latest campaign is an ode to Le Smoking. Size up to go bolder in the shoulders and accentuate your waist with a belt for extra oomph.

Parisians have a penchant for jumpsuits, and there’s no surprise why, as they are incredibly flattering, pulling your figure in at the waist to accentuate your curves. For a more festive feel, and I’m thinking about New Year’s Eve here, opt for a sparkly number like the one I’m wearing by Parisian-born brand Vanessa Cocchiaro.