I so had the wrong idea about Parisian fashion before I moved here...

I was dreaming of perfectly coordinated outfits with berets and frilly, whimsical, laced/ruffled/pleated skirts to express my romanticized feminine side to my hearts content.

With inspiration looking something to the liking of.... (see images)

 
 
 
 
 
 

OY.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth of what Parisian fashion looks like.  

At least, not in 2014.

This is not how Parisians dress, frankly, at all.  

Instead, this is how the the modern Parisian dresses....

 

 

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ONE: Having a slightly “unfinished” look is tres cool.

Today, what I actually see amongst Parisians is a look that hints at being (slightly) imperfect.  In fact, the modern day Parisian wants to appear that she isn't trying too hard.  For instance, they may wear the sharp blazer/fitted shirt, but it’s paired with the slouchy pant.  Or, they wear a intricately tied scarf with purposely un-tamed hair and untucked shirt.

Who needs perfection anyway?  Ahh so liberating!

 
 

TWO: You don't need a massive wardrobe.  Invest in quality. (In fact, it's OKAY to re-wear the same fashion pieces.)

I came from a land where shopping near-weekly is all the rage (just look at the all of the fashion blogs out there), following "trends" is essential, walk-in closets reign supreme, and "I can't be seen in this again" is common talk.  True Parisians are not like this.  They appreciate the quality pieces they have, and they have a no-apologies approach to re-wearing what they have regularly.

Parisians invest well in their classics.  If you have been to Paris, you have probably noted that, aside from global chains in main areas, clothing stores are not nearly as cheap in price than American stores.  Why?  The fashion here is designed with far more attention to detail and quality.  I have become passionate in recent months and have stopped consolidating cheap stuff from cheap stores (the stuff falls apart and it's horrible for the environment!) and instead I invest in quality pieces, too.  Just remember, build a wardrobe you love slowly, celebrate what's there, and just mix and match!

 
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THREE: There’s an over-abundance of noir (re: black) on the fashion scene.

Go strolling around a neighborhood Parisian arrondissement, eavesdrop at those lounging at outdoor cafes, shop at the staple Parisian stores, and much of what you will see in fashion is black.

While fashion lights up more during Paris Fashion weeks (perhaps from those foreigns like Italians and Americans dropping by ;), the main staple in Parisian is black, with slight touches of grey, navy, and white.  In fact, I once went to a party for a fashion magazine and everyone, I mean everyone was wearing black.  I stood out (perhaps a little too much!) in my outfit of red, pink, and prints.

Truth be told, the average Parisian is a bit subdue, not wanting to stand out much or be too bold.  (You could probably point me out from kilometers away, with my bright colors!)  If I could give Parisians a dose of fashion advice, I’d tell them not to be afraid of color, to embrace it! 

 

 
 

FOUR: Look more closely: there’s details there defining her style (quirky, expressive, and sexy is there after all.)

While Parisians dress a bit imperfect, invest in classics, and over-wear black, there is more than initially meets the eye.  Look deeply and there you will are probably stubble hints of her character.  It could be: a quirky pinned character on her sweater, an intriguing cut, an unusual jewelry design, a high slit or partly sheer top.  Just be sure to look for it!  

 

Voila!  Now you know how to dress like a Parisian, too.

I'd love to know, do these Parisian fashion tips surprise you too?  Is there one you would like to incorporate more of in your wardrobe?  Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!