I gave up long ago on the idea that I might ever effectively emulate the effortless chic of your average parisienne. It’s an innate sense of style that one is either born with or without, and it has become abundantly clear who has it (most Parisian women) and who doesn’t (me). I’m OK with this. But upon moving to Paris, I made a shocking discovery: not only do I look like a hobo compared to Parisian women, but also compared to their impeccably dressed children. This was a harder pill to swallow.


But it’s undeniable; there is a significantly shorter—but equally intimidating—set of fashionistas roaming the streets of Paris, and they put me in my place (style-wise) on a daily basis. This realization initially sunk in one day when I found myself on a bench in the Tuileries next to a 4-year-old girl who was clearly way cooler than I will ever be. I was immediately overcome with “outfit envy.” It’s the same way I feel about the girl in the photo above. Every last detail—from the classic trench, to the trendy nautical striped shirt, to the perfect ballet flats and the playfully rolled cuffs—is absolutely spot-on and leaves me shuddering as I remember myself at age five: decked out in OshKosh B’Gosh overalls, fluorescent-colored stirrup leggings, L.L. Bean turtlenecks, and poofy hair scrunchies. On really fashion-forward days, I would rock the almighty slap bracelet.  To make matters worse, I usually had peanut butter in my hair and magic marker all over my face. My look was indeed effortless, but it was far from chic.

Now, surrounded by these dapper young ones, I can only gawk in amazement and resolve to dress my own future children in head-to-toe Bonpoint. It’s not fair, and it never will be. Parisians—mini and full-sized alike—just do it better.


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


Tory Hoen

Tory Henwood Hoen has been published by New York Magazine, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Fortune, and others. She was Creative Director of Brand at M.M.LaFleur, where she founded the brand’s digital magazine, The M Dash. Her debut novel, The Arc, is available in bookshops near you and online.


  1. When I was in Paris, there were plenty of kids that looked like kids who rocked cheap French version of K-mart. I think Americans can hone in on the exceptional and overlook the norm. I grew up in Western Europe from age 4 to 18 and can vouch for plenty of crappy awkwardly nerdy clothes. Don’t worry. Our children are in good company over there.

  2. I love the clothes and especially the hat (top pic) the one with the lace around the brim. Beautiful! I design kiddies hats and think this is fabulous. Love the French as they have such style and always dress their kids so smart.

  3. So true! French kids look uber stylish all the time – love these kids clothing looks you’ve featured here

  4. i think so your blog is one of the best blog for children’s clothing.the images are also really very attractive.thank you

  5. Oh my…that child’s lovely outfit is the epitome of chic. I have to agree with the above readers, in my days, tie-dye was the way to go! And the sneakers with the flashing lights! I was too busy reading and playing around in the sand digging a hole to the far side of the earth to care about outfits, haha!

  6. Life was simpler then.. the “tie-dye shirt” days haha..
    Comme Les Grands are the best for my little boy and girl here in Australia =)

  7. ahhh bobo children! While they are cute, you know they are going to turn into their parents. Whatever happened to wearing stirrup pants, scrunchies and tye-died tees? No anglosaxon adult woman can compete with these little fashionistas!

  8. For the older child, age 13, who can no longer wear a US 12 but still doesn’t fit into adult sizes – where can she shop in Paris for classic looks?

    1. Hi Suzanne. Great question! Anyone have any ideas? I would guess that the big department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps) probably have sections with clothing for kids in the in-between phase. Brands like Petit Bateau (sold at their own boutiques and in department stores) certainly have classics and basics for all ages. Tory

  9. Oh, yes. Too true. And Bonpoint always makes me daydream. That said, I’m faithful to Le Vestiaire de Jeanne when it comes to my daughter’s staples. Great shot from The Sartorialist.

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