I Lived in Paris for 3 Months and Learned How to Dress Like the French

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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