Parisian Living

Parisian Fashion: French Women Remain Timeless, Chic and Elegant

by Kasia Dietz
Chic and Elegant Paris fashion – Paris in Pink

What is it about Parisian women that always leaves me staring as they ever so briskly pass by, thinking, how do they always manage to look so (for lack of a better word), chic? They appear to be dressed with a casual confidence, never looking out of place and drawing just enough attention. Each detail and accessory is carefully chosen, creating a color palette of distinctive greys, blacks and neutrals, with just a touch of color. Timeless. Elegant. And always classy. This ‘dress-code’ is most creatively displayed in the ‘bobo’ parts of Paris where ‘bourgeois’ meets ‘boheme’. The result is a never-ending fashion show on the streets of the Marais, Saint Germain, and often in between.

Longing for Paris summer fashion – Paris in Pink

What’s their secret? I have a few theories.

Timeless. Parisians are avid shoppers but not necessarily considered consumers. They choose quality over quantity and when the Soldes hit Paris, they spend the time necessary to find that one signature piece to add to their collection, which will naturally work with all the other pieces. Shopping becomes a curatorial experience. Thus, there is no end to the possibilities and no need to follow the latest trends. Rather than mimic a mannequin, a Parisian woman will simply use this model for inspiration.

Elegant. It’s not only do the mesdames of Paris who exude elegance. I am often pushed to take notice of the younger generation, anyone under 18. They too possess that characteristic French air in their attitude and appearance, no doubt inherited by their style conscious mothers, dressed at the age of 11 in Zadig & Voltaire and Petit Bateau. Perhaps an occasional ‘vintage’ scarf borrowed from their  mother’s closet. These young fashion forward minds are already way ahead of the trends. Surely, this look of simple elegance is deeply ingrained in their genes, passed on from the Chanel clad grandmother.

Classic French Fashion – (I Love Sorbet; ParisinPink)

Classy. This I know to be true, and it’s often what sets the French apart from the rest of the world. A Parisian woman always manages to look sexy, yet discreet. Even when gliding to the boulangerie in her Repetto flats. When getting dressed for a night on the town, (often no different than the aforementioned look, with only a change of shoes), she will show a hint of cleavage or a well defined leg, but never both. Why should she? It’s best to leave a little to the imagination and show your class. The French way.

In my nearly 18 months of living in Paris, I have taken many visual notes on ‘the look of a Parisian’, the streets being my school. I will never quite blend in, but I do choose to follow this unwritten code. Perhaps I was Parisian in a past life…

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Written by Kasia Dietz for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Kasia Dietz

Kasia Dietz is a handbag designer and freelance writer from New York, with a passion for art, fashion and travel, who followed her heart to Paris. She also gives bag painting workshops and custom fashion tours. Read all about her life and travels on her blog, Love in the City of Lights. View Website

20 comments on “Parisian Fashion: French Women Remain Timeless, Chic and Elegant

That is it! My ebook has been published and is now for sale on Amazon: ‘How to be chic and elegant’. It contains over 200 tips for looking chic and elegant like French women. I hope your readers will enjoy it. Merci x

What’s all this “effortless” stuff??? Being chic is a full-time job! From head to toe, you must attend EVERY day to your body- buffing, polishing, waxing, plucking, moisturising, etc and you must watch your calorie intake. A weight gain of 500g evokes shrieks of horror and dismay, and the guilty party must immediately set to work shedding the unwanted lard. And the unforgivable sin is cellulite- no matter how well hidden it may be, it’s a mortal sin. As it’s considered a disease, it’s dealt with as rigorously as you would deal with the Black Death. Above all, you must master the art of LOOKING casual, when in reality, it’s HARD work, a constant self-monitoring, with no time off for good behaviour- ever!!

Hi
I am a French woman living in the UK. I hope you don’t mind me posting here but I am about to publish an ebook on How to be Chic and Elegant, Tips from a French Woman. It may interest some of your readers. You can see a little bit about the book at http://www.howtobechicandelegant.com. I hope that it will be published very soon.
I love your site,
Bissous
Marie-Anne

Love your blog and so much fun
And I love pictures
this blog is the reality about the french women

Bonjour Kasia,

Just dicovered your blog and I love it. Not only because I am French and because your words about French women are very kind and very flattering ! Thank you !!!
I moved to the US some years ago.That’s when I discovered the appealing power of French style. But I hold for sure that what a French woman do, any woman in the world can do it too. The secret is simple: accessorize your outfit, banish sneakers, wear a silk scarf. Sounds like a cliché but it’s incredibly true.
Good luck for your blog,

A bientôt j’espère,
Anne

Karla, I’ve been agonizing how to do that messy knot!! (obviously defeating the purpose I know). A 10 year old boy I tutor here in Paris didn’t believe me when we were talking about our daily routines and how I had showered that morning… because my hair was so messy he said, bad messy. Bah.

gorgeous! thanks for posting!

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on what makes Parisian women so naturally stylish! And for enjoying the post 🙂

This effortlessly chic look must indeed have something to do with an ingrained confidence inherited from a French mother (as one gal reveals!)

And yes, ‘A mastery of the simple’.

xo
Kasia

Love your blog and so much fun. Confidence. French girls are taught confidence from their mothers. I had a french mother, trust me 🙂

Bonjour! We are staying at the Monceau apt in April. We lived for two years near there and my husband is looking forward to going to his favorite markets and having some friends over for dinner.
I think I picked up the French style when we were there as French people always asked me for directions. Of course, I guess I looked like a local with my dog–a good French accessory. 🙂
Mary Ann

Agreed! Even when they tie their hair in a messy knot on their head it looks stylish – where mine just looks like it needs to be washed.

I think maybe the point is that they are NOT trying- Trying to be effortlessly chic is defeating the purpose.

Great post though. Always love reading about Paris chic!

Love the pictures and your insights … merci!

Enjoy,
Christine Hueber

Merci encore for including some of my pics in this lovely post! I’m always so honored 🙂 Big hugs xoxo Camille @ Paris in Pink

The best art is often a mastery of the simple. Although I think Parisian girls get a bit obsessed with trends, they are very adept at mastering he simple, timeless classics.

I’ve been trying to channel the Parisian women for years…they do know how to be effortlessly chic!

French women are incredible and you are 100% right they always look SO chic. Alas I think it something you have to be born with. Personally I always feel like a scruffy Australian in Paris!!

Well put, Kasia! I’m still trying to master their effortless style. But it remains sadly elusive…

I want that blue and white dress!!!! So gorgeous with the red. Oh my! Where can I find it?

I love your parisian blog !!!

Happy City

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