French-girl fashion is the epitome of all that’s cool right now, but did you know that French style isn’t necessarily Parisian style? As with most large cities, fashion takes an edgier personality when you move into its capital. It’s where many of the nation’s (and world’s) biggest designers are based, where the It girls shop and hang out, and where everyone from supermodels to celebrities turns for serious street style inspiration.
Of course, understanding the particular nuances of Parisian style takes some studying. Luckily, we’re just the fashion geeks you need to deliver a short course on the subject. From Jeanne Damas to Lily-Rose Depp, here’s everything you need know about the fashion rules Parisian women live by.
Keep scrolling for your guide to Parisian style, then shop the pieces you’ll need to re-create a French-girl look.
Parisian style always has a refined, polished edge to it—even when the outfit is fairly casual. Low-rise denim doesn’t gel with that, so make like Jeanne Damas and opt for high-waisted styles that’ll offer a more flattering fit and put-together finish.
She may be a teenager (and half American), but if there’s one thing you’ll never find Paris-native Lily-Rose Depp doing, it’s overaccessorising. Follow the Chanel approach of styling by keeping your accessories low-key. Choose one focus piece and let that be it for your trimmings.
Caroline de Maigret may well be wearing a sheer cami here, but even then a bra wasn’t deemed necessary. Parisian’s aren’t afraid to be overtly sexy—though they always pair revealing pieces with ones that add balance. Take a carefully draped kimono, for example.
While bras aren’t essential pieces, they do make a nice detail when paired with a plunging neckline—as demonstrated by Camille Rowe at Paris Fashion Week.
Ditch the trainers—in Paris they’re kept for the gym only. Whether you’re heading to brunch or just a stroll around the city, only elegant shoes will do. Look for a low heel like Anne-Laure Mais’s, a pristine ankle boot or a lace-up leather brogue.
Parisians don’t do cheap handbags. In fact, there isn’t actually a word in the French language for the direct translation of “cheap”, which is rather telling about the whole outlook. While you don’t necessarily have to go designer (Jeanne is carrying the Cindy bag from The Volon’s S/S 18 collection), do look for high-quality handbags that add polish.
Showing some leg is nothing to fear for a Parisian. Balance the short hemline with a long coat and a cosy knit like Camille Charrière. If the weather isn’t ideal, try layering black tights under your dress.
Throwing a blazer on over a pair of jeans à la Emmanuelle Alt? Before you do, make sure it’s tailored to perfection. The cut is everything in Paris, whether it's for a formal or casual occasion. Look for well-tailored shapes—even if you have to dip into menswear.
Next up, see the five wardrobe updates you should definitely make in 2018.
Opening Image: Getty