I’ll warn you that if you chat with me IRL, chances are that I’ll start talking about Paris 30 minutes into the conversation. 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 Parisian culture 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 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, green, 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.
Available in sizes XS to XL.
Available in sizes 23 to 32.
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.
Available in sizes 35 to 41.
Available in sizes 5 to 11.
Lesson 3: Printed Dresses Will Never Fail You
If you walk the streets of the Marais, you're destined to see pretty printed dresses in prints like florals and polka dots. Pair them with a small basket bag.
Available in sizes XXS to L.
Available in sizes 0 to 12.
Lesson 4: When in Doubt, Wear Tailored Menswear
One thing I noticed among all Parisian women: Oversize blazers with a tailored fit. A nod to “boyfriend style,” the styles were always loose-fitting but tailored and typically styled with anything from a T-shirt to a more daring piece like a leopard-print button-down.
Available in sizes 34 to 44.
Available in sizes XS to L.
Lesson 5: Get a Jumpsuit
Up until I lived in Paris, the versatility of jumpsuits never dawned on me. The French wear more casual versions during the day and dressier styles for a night out.
Available in sizes 36 to 40.
Available in sizes XXS to XL.
Lesson 6: Skip Uncomfortable Heels
French women tend to avoid sky-high stilettos. Instead, they wear comfortable block heels that can work from day to night. Pro tip: gold is an especially popular color.
Lesson 7: Get a Bag You Can Wear Anywhere
From baskets to saddle styles, the bags French women wear are very versatile and tend to shy away from anything too trendy.