I’m not going to lie, I’m a pretty snappy dresser. And this doesn’t go unnoticed. On the occasions where I’d have to dress up for work events at my former job, I’d hardly walked in the door when my female colleagues would be asking me where I got my jacket/shoes/tie. They’d tell me that they wished their boyfriends would have the guts or imagination to pull off the type of look that I was rocking. I did toy with the idea of founding dressmyboyfriend.com, but that never got off the ground! Although it pains me to do so, I’m going to share with you below some of my favorite brands so that you too can be stopped in the street and asked where you got your flashy trousers or off-the-hook shirts. But please, don’t be going round telling everyone or else I’ll have to renew my wardrobe. Now there’s an idea…
Named for one of the characters of the board game Cluedo (Clue), this French bow-tie brand was born out of the frustration of its co-founder not being able to find a nœud papillon for which he was willing to part with his cash. He ended up making one himself, having learned to sew from his mother. His girlfriend featured them on her blog and soon they were flying off the shelves. Today, they offer France’s biggest selection of bowties with hundreds of colors and patterns sure to start many a conversation. They are the perfect accessory for a fun wedding outfit or even just to dress up an otherwise unremarkable look. Le Colonel Moutarde also has offerings of ties, suspenders, pocket squares, and cufflinks, all of which are made in their workshop in Lille with local materials. And if you’re like me and find women in headbands irresistible, you can find those too (the headbands, not the women!).
If you enjoy making a statement with your clothes, then you’ll love this Parisian brand. Originally a pop-up store, it was so successful that it became a permanent fixture behind the Canal St. Martin in 2015. Atelier Beaurepaire, named after the street on which it is located, uses African and Dutch wax cloth to produce some of the capital’s boldest, multi-ethnic streetwear pieces, all of which are unisex. It’s crazy to think that the first few times I went to the store I actually chickened out of buying anything as I thought I couldn’t get away with sporting any of its wild motifs. But since getting over that fear, I’m a fully singed-up member of the Atelier Beaurepaire Fan Club (disclaimer: not an actual fan club). Never have I been stopped in the street so much (admittedly not in Paris, where no one speaks to strangers) as when I’m wearing their shorts or trousers by people wanting to know where I got such a great pair of bottoms!
Probably the most bobo (bohemian bourgeois) of the brands here, it’s also the one of which I’ve been a customer for the longest time. Founded in 2005 by a then-22 year-old Frenchman of aristocratic heritage, Vicomte A is the Gallic equivalent of Tommy Hilfiger in the U.S. or Gant in Sweden, only smaller and more tongue-in-cheek. It’s my go to store for smart, casual sports jackets, sweaters, and trousers, but they also have a hugely popular range of polo shirts, dress shirts, and other accessories. What I love about their elegant-yet-preppy style is that so many of the pieces can be worn in both formal and casual situations. Their chinos, for example, can be paired with a blazer and dress shoes, but then at the weekend can be sported, bottoms rolled up, with moccasins or sneakers and an untucked Oxford shirt. If you want to be audacious while remaining elegant then you’ll love Vicomte A.
They say that if you want to know whether a man is well-dressed, you should look down. Shoes have the potential to make or break a whole outfit, however carefully thought out. Pied de Biche (which literally means “doe foot” but is more commonly used to refer to a crowbar) is a Parisian shoe brand that has been making great strides (pun intended) in the capital’s fashion scene. What I like about them is that they do the classic male models very well but with a slight, almost negligible twist; others may not notice but you do and that’s what makes you feel good in their footwear. Being a boot man myself, I love their chukkas, Chelseas, and combats, but they also do some sleek derbies as well as plain white sneakers, which should always be a staple in your wardrobe. The brand takes great pride in closely following the fabrication of their shoes from A to Z, assuring a quality final product.
The tiny shop Bernardin on rue des Quatre Vents in the 6th arrondissement is one of my favorite spots. Originally a multi-brand store, it recently became an exclusive seller of the Biarritz-based label (L’EGOÏSTE). Although all their pieces are inspired by and designed in the southwestern town, trust me, they’ll make an impression anywhere (I once made the “mistake” of buying a waistcoat there for a wedding and somehow turned a lot of the attention on to myself rather than the bride and groom…oops!). As well as their patchwork waistcoats (more of which are currently on my radar), they do some great military-inspired gear, cozy Shetland sweaters, and brightly colored trousers and shorts. But perhaps the best thing about the Parisian shop is the owner, who always wears a smile and takes pride in modelling what (L’EGOÏSTE) has to offer.
- Here are some more of our favorite French menswear brands.
- For leather footwear, head to Anthology Paris and for sneakers, check out Veja and Pairs in Paris.
- Discover Paris’ best barbershops.
Written by Neil Kreeger for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.