I arrived to study abroad in Paris dressed like the stereotypical American. I had worn comfy clothes on the flight over, and stepped out of my taxi from the airport sporting leggings, a hoodie and Nikes. I appeared disoriented, with dark bags under my eyes from a sleepless flight.
I was met by the sight of Parisians, strutting past me, dressed to the nines– clad in pea coats, scarves and booties. I stared down at my trusty pink Nikes and sighed, knowing they would probably be retired for the duration of my trip. Right off the bat, it was easy to notice that Parisians dress much differently than we do in America, and soon enough, I could identify certain elements of my American wardrobe that wasn’t popular in France.
Of course, one can definitely wear their pink Nike’s here without receiving criticism. It’s not necessary to assimilate to this culture (or any culture) completely. But I wanted my four months here to be as authentic as possible, so with this goal in mind, I altered some of my social and physical behaviors that didn’t mesh with what was mainstream here.
If you’re ever wanting to live in Paris, or you’re just curious as to what to fashions to expect from French people, you’re in luck. Here’s my guide on how to be Parisian from head to toe:
With the history as a leader in fashion, many people who walk the streets of Paris look put-together and stylish, usually with a simple look. There are definitely some secrets that contribute to this appearance.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Parisians stick with mostly neutral colors for their wardrobe; colors that work together and compliment each other: blacks, dark blues, beiges, etc. This makes color coordination much easier, especially for those mornings when you’re running late and can’t create that perfect, chic outfit you’ve been wanting to wear. However, if you’re craving a little pizazz for your outfit, a cute scarf is a perfect opportunity to stay warm AND stylish.
It’s also interesting to take note that a lot of women here don’t wear a ton of makeup. I mostly see girls my age with some mascara, maybe eyeliner and a little blush. It’s a simple, yet elegant look. If you’re wanting to make an impression, a bright red lipstick can add a little splash of color to your complexion.
| My trusty lip go-to is my favorite shade,
Ladybug, by MAC.
Another necessity: A bag. You’re going to be wandering all around the city, and you’ll definitely need something to keep all your belongings in! I’ve seen all types of purses here, but the most popular would have to be the Longchamps bag. They’re super convenient and stylish all at the same time.
|Longchamps is by far the most popular brand of bags for students. Most choose the navy blue color, if you're looking for a more classic and original color, black is a great option.|
If you want to adorn your feet in French style, I suggest investing in a pair of Adidas or classic booties, preferably black, and comfortable. Trust me, blisters are not your friend.
| Adidas are probably my favorite purchase of my trip
- I wear them almost every day!
Now that you know the basics to Parisian fashion, you’re ready to book your ticket out here. Remember to save some spending money to do a little shopping in the city once you arrive!
Frances Mylod-Vargas is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at Cal Poly SLO.