Right after college, I found an apartment in the Marais and spent a summer living in the city. During those three months, I really just soaked in everything about Paris and its people—and it had a huge impact on me. One of the biggest ways was the fashion.
It was in Paris that I decided I was going to pursue a career in fashion. After seeing the editors and models buzzing around fashion week, I knew I wanted to be a part of it all (more on that here). But beyond that, it was French street style and the fashion lessons I learned from real Parisian women that made a huge impression on me. Many of these takeaways—like buying less and smarter—are things I’ve put into practice for years since my time living there and always make me feel more stylish. Ahead, I’m breaking down how I learned to dress like the French, even when I’m far from Paris.
Lesson 1: Skip Bold Colors and Go for Head-to-Toe Neutrals
One of the first style rules I learned in Paris was to stick to neutral colors like black, brown, tan, and white. The French tend to wear seasonless outfits that aren’t tied to trends, so these are pieces that can be worn again and again.
H&M Rib-Knit Cardigan ($25)
Good American Strong Shoulder T-Shirt ($59)
Christopher Esber Ribbed-Knit Cardigan ($485)
Lesson 2: Ankle Boots Are Essential
Perhaps it’s because Paris is a walking city, but ankle boots are required to tap into French style. They’re the perfect blend of practical and cool.
By Far Este Leather Ankle Boots ($525)
Available in sizes 35 to 41.
Manu Atelier Duck Lace Up Boots ($595)
Available in sizes 5 to 11.
Staud Palamino Boots ($425)
Lesson 3: When in Doubt, Wear Tailored Menswear
One thing I noticed among all Parisian women: Oversize blazers. Look for styles that are loose-fitting but tailored and style them with anything from a T-shirt to trousers.
H&M Oversized Jacket ($35)
Mango Oversize Blazer ($120)
Frankie Shop Pernille Oversized Woven Blazer ($117)
Lesson 4: Get a Jumpsuit
Up until I lived in Paris, the versatility of jumpsuits never dawned on me. You can style one with practical boots or dress it up with heels.
Frankie Shop Linda Twill Jumpsuit ($110)
Mango Belt Long Jumpsuit ($130)
Anna Quan Coda Belted Woven Jumpsuit ($665)
Lesson 5: Skip Uncomfortable Heels
French women tend to avoid sky-high stilettos. Instead, they wear comfortable shoes like loafers or low heels that can work from day to night.
Stuart Weitzman Mila Lift Loafers ($450)
Staud Simone Mules ($265)
Rejina Pyo 30mm Isla Sandals ($440)
Lesson 6: Get a Bag You Can Wear Anywhere
The bags French women wear are very versatile and tend to shy away from anything too trendy.
Elleme Baguette Bag ($445)
By Far Amber Bag ($634)
Apede Mod Froggy Shoulder Bag ($325)
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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