I Just Got Back From Paris—7 Basics the Most Fashionable Women Wore


(Image credit: @annelauremais@_sierramayhew)

Paris is a city that's synonymous with style, and the fashion of its inhabitants is the stuff of legend. But what exactly do the most fashionable women in Paris wear? As someone who just got back from spending a month in the city of love, I can tell you that the answer might surprise you. While Parisian fashion is often associated with luxury designs and couture creations, the truth is that the most fashionable women in Paris often rely on a few key basics to create their chic and effortless look.

I ended up leaving my trip with a new appreciation for elevated wardrobe staples and a shopping list to go along with it. I have an entire capsule wardrobe of basics, but there were certain things I saw while I was in Paris that I haven't thought to upgrade in a while. Below, find the seven basics—from oversize crew-necks to retro sneakers—we all need to invest in after my time in Paris.

1. Skinny Belts


(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

Belts are the accessory that way too many people overlook. The difference that a good belt makes when styling a pair of jeans with a white shirt is quite noteworthy. French women know to invest in this accessory and never bother with a logo.


2. Layered Crew-Necks


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

French women don't particularly waste a lot of time on runway trends, but there was one standout styling trick from the 2023 runways that I saw so many women wearing. Layered crew-necks were a big star at Miu Miu and on the streets near the Seine. The best part is you can probably re-create this look with what is currently in your wardrobe.


3. Structured Blazers


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

After observing French women wearing lightweight blazers on the daily, the biggest change in my wardrobe during my time in Paris is that I started never leaving the house without one. Blazers are versatile, practical, and now at the top of my list when I get ready for a day of doing whatever is on my agenda.


4. Striped Button-Downs


(Image credit: @_sierramayhew; Pictured: Lioness Moss '90s Long Sleeve Cotton Shirtdress ($89))

People know French women wear white button-down shirts on repeat, but surprisingly, I saw more striped iterations of the wardrobe staple than expected. It's a fun upgrade to the classic piece you already own, so I say go for it.


5. Wide-Leg Trousers


(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

Wide-leg pants are trending worldwide, but they're more than a trend to French women. They are a lifestyle. The influence hit me so hard that I found myself wearing wide-leg pants almost every other day. It's a movement I plan on taking back home with me for sure.


6. Straight-Leg Jeans


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

French women wasted no time on denim trends and went straight for the most classic silhouette of all—straight-leg jeans. By spending just one weekend in Paris, you might imagine that every French woman owns the same pair of jeans.


7. Cool Sneakers


(Image credit: @francescasaffari)

I was formerly led to believe that French people laugh at Americans who wear sneakers outside of the gym, but I've been proven wrong. I've seen more sneakers here than any other type of shoes. French people prioritize comfort over everything, so don't be afraid to buy a pair of cool sneakers.


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Associate Editor

Sierra Mayhew was always destined to work in fashion, but she didn't know it at first. Growing up with no choice but to wear a rotation of school uniforms and activewear, her love for fashion really blossomed when she moved away for college and was able to finally define her very own personal style. Shortly thereafter, she interned at Elle magazine and instantly knew that editorial was for her. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she worked for ShopBazaar, contributing regularly to Bazaar.com, and finally made her way to Who What Wear, where she is an associate editor. When she’s not working, you can catch her always trying to catch a flight, rollerblading through New York City traffic, or exploring the latest luxury vintage boutique.