Parisian Living

5 French Fashion Brands for Looking Like a Parisienne

by Ali Postma

One of the things that irks me about living in Paris is that anyone can take one look at me and instantly know that I’m not French. Tall with blonde hair, blue eyes, and Dutch features, it’s fair to say that I stick out like a sore thumb.

Parisian fashion style is about looking effortlessly chic, like this brunette wearing a beige mac and matching square-heeled mid-calf boots with a knee-length skirt (left) or this model wearing a loose-fitting terracotta suit paired with a turquoise leather handbag (right).
Top Image: Veja / Polène

Parisians assume that I’m American or British and speak English to me accordingly. When I tell them that actually “je suis australienne,” they “ahhh” knowingly and suddenly I’m the archetypal Aussie. The follow up question is usually “do you surf?”

Dressing like a parisienne is about style, like these two girls standing on stone steps, wearing navu shorts and trousers matched with the perfect pair of retro sunglasses (left). Parisian summer style is all about retro sunglasses like these white-rimmed heart-shaped ones and vintage flower bathing suits (right) from Parisian brand Make My Lemonade.
Make My Lemonade

Like many before me, I often observe Parisienne women on the street and wonder how it is they can look so effortlessly chic. And is there a way that I can imitate it? If I can’t look French, at least I can dress French, right? And dressing in French brands is a good start. So if you’re also a foreigner wanting to look the part, here are some of my favorite French brands to help you look more Parisian:

Veja

If you want to look like a Parisian, then get the right trainers is essential, like a pair of sustainably made Veja trainers sported by this model who's paired them with a long woolly camel dress.
Veja

When I first arrived in Paris, I noticed there was a “v” on everyone’s sneakers. What was this brand that was so popular with Parisians? I soon discovered it was Veja. Their sneakers are made with certified organic cotton and other socially and environmentally responsible materials.

Sustainably made Veja trainers are also go-tos for Parisian men, like this young man wearing jeans and blue shirt, lying on a bench sleeping.
Veja

They aim to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their production processes too. Veja also applies fair trade principles, purchasing their cotton and rubber directly from their producers in Brazil. All Veja sneakers are handled by Atelier Sans Frontières employees, an organisation which helps vulnerable individuals find jobs and regain social stability.

Get the right trainers to look like a Parisian, like these sustainably made Veja trainers worn by a model wearing cropped black trousers and a long blazer, as she leans against a concrete wall topped with plants (left). A pair of Veja trainers close-up (right).
Veja – Vincent Desailly (left)

Veja also upcycles materials such as recycled cotton and polyester, plastic bottles (the first sneaker brand to use fabric entirely made from recycled plastic bottles), and corn waste to create a vegan leather that is biodegradable. Trendy, socially and environmentally conscious sneakers—what more could you want?

Veja is one of the brands you should know about if you want to get that Parisian fashion style, as they are sustainably made and versatile, like this white pair teamed with white trousers and red top (left) or these mustard-colored sneakers worn with cropped socks (right).
Veja – Vincent Desailly (right)

Sézane

Another go-to brand for Parisians is Sézane, which offers well-cut dresses like this green flowery number for summer (left). Sézane also does wedding dresses like this lacy number worn by a model standing in a field (right).
Sézane

Even when I lived in Australia, I had heard of Sézane. At that time, it was still an online-only brand, which to my dismay did not deliver down-under. Now that I live in Paris, it is hard to resist the lure of Sézane, with their “Appartement” in the 2nd arrondissement and an outpost in Le Bon Marché. The brand is so popular there are now also Appartements in New York and London. And it’s not hard to see why Sézane has such worldwide appeal—if you’re looking to achieve that seemingly unattainable Parisian chic, Sézane checks all the boxes.

Parisian fashion brand Sézane is also know for its leather bags, like these large round pieces, as well as its well-cut white blouses (left) and dresses (right).
Sézane

Sézane also has an environmental sustainability and philanthropic program, DEMAIN. Each month, you can purchase a “Solidarity Creation” and 100% of the profits go directly to DEMAIN partner charities. There is also a “Boutique Solidaire” where you can donate your old Sézane pieces, which are then recycled and resold, with all profits going to DEMAIN.

If you want to look like a Parisian, you can't go wrong with a flowery blouse from Sézane (left) or a summer number like this white top and cotton trousers (right).
Sézane

Polène

If you follow fashion influencers on Instagram, you’ve probably heard of Polène. The French handbag brand is very popular with the Insta-famous. And rightly so. Polène makes beautiful, high-quality, minimal handbags in a range of lovely hues.

A Polène bag is the Parisian fashion essential, like this wrist bag (left) and well-cut black leather piece (right).
Polène

A family business founded by a sister and two brothers, the trio is reflected in their “trio of the month” design, a new tri-material, tri-color model. The bags are made with leather from renowned French, Italian, and Spanish tanneries. They are hand made in Ubrique, Spain, a city known for the production of high-end leather goods.

Parisian fashion style is all about the right bag, and the go-to brand for parisiennes is Polène. Its bags come in black and lighter colors, as featured here.
Polène

Make My Lemonade

There’s a new concept store in town by the name of Make My Lemonade, a Parisian brand and blog founded by designer Lisa Gachet. Make My Lemonade prides itself on being the first brand to offer DIY fashion. Each month, a sewing pattern from the current collection is released so you can make the piece yourself.

What to buy to look like a Parisian? Anything from Make My Lemonade, a fashion brand Parisians love for its retro cuts like this coral cotton dress (left) and heart-print white sweater (right).
Make My Lemonade

There are only four ready-to-wear collections every year, to avoid becoming fast fashion and provide sustainable, long-lasting designs instead. At the store you will find not only clothing and accessories but stationary, homeware, and even yoga mats. There’s a Lemonade Café by OPOA Paris serving healthy, vegan, and gluten-free fare. And, a space for workshops and master classes on a variety of topics such as sewing, embroidery, jewelry, and terrarium-making.

A French brand you have to know to look like a Parisian is Make My Lemonade for its retro pieces like this pink frill cuff blouse (left) and pink cotton dresses teamed with white-rimmed vintage shaped sunglasses (right).
Make My Lemonade

Pairs in Paris

I discovered Pairs in Paris – another brand serving the sneaker-loving Parisians – thanks to my favorite Montmartre boutique, Magasin. Paris in Paris sneakers are well made and minimal in design, and come in a range of on-trend colors. They offer styles that deviate from your standard sneaker, with velcro and zippers available in addition to laces.

The Parisian shoe brand to shop is Paris in Paris, for its comfortable sneakers that come in different colors like this dark red ones (left) and beige pair (right).
Pairs in Paris

Made from premium leathers from Italy, Spain, and Portugal, the eyelets are galvanized with a thin layer of 14k gold, 14k rose gold, or white bronze. The sense of style and touch of glam makes sense considering founder Caroline Robert worked for Hermès before creating Pairs in Paris. The success of the brand is evident, with stores now in America, Asia, and Europe.

Parisian brand to shop for shoes is Veja, which does sustainably made sneakers like these white ones (left) and black mock leather pair (right).
Veja – Vincent Desailly (right)

Related Links

Veja trainers are our go-to sneakers for looking like a Parisian as they come in white with different color logos.
Veja

Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation, or long term, rental in Paris, Italy, France or elsewhere in Europe.

Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

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