Parisian chic is loved by many and I have been asked how to have this French chic style if you haven’t got the slim Parisian body.
According to the book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange where she shares lots of tips and I do love her Fashion Faux Pas when you’re over 50 which includes: Overdoing the preppy cliches a la traditional pearl necklace and earrings (can look twee), big clip-on earrings (wear a necklaces or brooch instead if you don’t have pierced ears), neon colours (yes they’re back in the stores, but will wear you rather than you wear them), and not to forget mini-skirts and hot pants (mutton dressed as lamb is a French no-no…. or should I say non-non!).
So how do you create Parisian style in your wardrobe?
Well it doesn’t come down to size, yes if you have a waist, put a belt on it, but if you don’t there are many styles that you can sport that don’t highlight your waist. I love a single-breasted trench coat belted to the back on an H, V and O shape. Blazers that have waist shaping without defined waist detail will also work fabulously on you.
The Essentials of Parisian Style
1. Keep it simple, Parisian style is never fussy or overdone.
2. Don’t forget to accessorize – it may be simple, but not boring. A high quality leather belt, some statement jewellery, a fabulous handbag, interesting ballet flat. Go for one statement piece, think Jackie Onassis in her oversized sunglasses.
3. Groom, groom, groom – do your hair, get a great cut that works with your features and is easy to maintain, look after your skin, wear light, natural looking makeup. Don’t leave the house without a minimum standard of grooming, imagine that each time you leave the house you may bump into someone you want to impress, so dress in a way that would make yourself proud.
4. Go for quality over quantity. Parisian apartments tend to be small with little wardrobe space, so each piece in your wardrobe needs to earn its place because it’s so fabulous and you love it. Get rid of – ho hum, it’ll do, or the not-naked clothes that you own.
5. Base your wardrobe around neutrals like navy or camel then find an accent colour such as red or purple to add excitement.
6. Have your clothes tailored to fit. Garments that fit you as if they were made for you (couture) rather than you trying to fit yourself into something off-the-rack always look more stylish and expensive.
7. Mix High and Low. Buy the best quality trousers, shoes and coats you can afford, and mix them back with cheaper jersey and some fabulous costume jewellery.
8. Avoid clothing and accessories that your 16yo daughter would wear, or the things you wore at 16 (from hair scrunchies to t-shirts with messages, from backpacks and fanny-packs to anything that exposes your mid-riff).
9. Avoid wardrobe orphans, only buy a garment if it works with an existing wardrobe capsule or as the basis for one that you’re specifically creating. If you’re not sure about what a capsule is, download my free ebook 5 Step Formula for a Fabulous Wardrobe on a Budget (see sign up box on the right) which has instructions on how to put them together.
10. Don’t get stuck in a time warp. If you were matching shoes and handbags 10 or 20 years ago, it’s time to start breaking them up and modernizing your style. Look around at current trends and bring in elements that suit your personality, colouring and body to keep your style fresh.
11. Sports clothes are for doing sport, not for grocery shopping, or picking the kids up at school. Sneakers are not the shoes of choice to pair with your jeans.
1. Blazer (jacket of some sort, something that can be thrown over lots of outfits to dress them up)
2. Trench (can be in a neutral, can be in a bold colour, single or double breasted)1. Blazer (or jacket of some sort)
3. V-neck Sweater/Jumper (cashmere ideally, otherwise high quality merino)
4. Jersey top (tanks, t-shirts, long and short-sleeve).
5. Jeans (dark denim, always dressier)
6. LBD (a simple dress in a great dark colour that suits you that you can dress up or down).