Paris Street Style 2015

scene in Paris: street style

metallic shoes

twinkle, twinkle

When we’ve visited Paris before, it’s usually been earlier in the season and still been cool enough that most people are out and about in overcoats and trenches. This time the weather was warmer and mostly sunny, and people far less bundled up. We also were staying in a neighborhood (6eme, not far from Montparnasse) that seemed to be home to lots of young families and working people, a bit less posh than some areas where I’d previously taken street style snaps. Many of the photos below were taken from a sidewalk table at what seemed to be a neighborhood cafe tucked away on the corner of two smaller rues; others were taken while out walking in the area. Paris is far more diverse than my photos might indicate, however I was focused on women 40+ who seemed to be residents rather than tourists, and was trying to be subtle about photographing subjects. So let’s have a look at some Paris street style:

First, the neutrals we’ve all come to expect…

Paris styles neutrals

The woman on the left was probably in her late 40’s to early 50’s. She had a lovely patina of grey on the crown of her head, and was totally owning that rocker-chic look. Middle woman had that very classic Parisian look, but note the sneakers. Woman on the right, 40’s, head-to-toe black chic.

Denim jackets were everywhere, on women of all ages. Usually dark wash (sometimes slightly distressed) and worn fairly cropped and fitted. I did not notice any oversized, light wash or overly distressed styles. Sneakers were also ubiquitous, though I did not see as many bright or bulky trainers as last year. The sneakers on the woman in the middle photo were pretty typical of what I observed women of a certain age wearing. Chuck Taylors are still popular as well.

paris street style 2015

Light neutrals: whites, beiges, browns, soft greys.

but lot of color too…

I also noticed much more color being worn than ever before, most often a single piece, but sometimes a coordinated outfit. Reds, corals, pinks and blues were the most frequently seen. There’s a lot of yellow and emerald-green on store shelves, but I didn’t see much of either of these being worn.

Paris street style color

Note the bright blue pants, the soft pink head-to-toe outfit (left background), and the bright coral jacket (right background). Usually brighter colors were worn one at a time (jacket or pants or bag) as an accent. Saw lots of red handbags with an otherwise neutral outfit.

popular colors in paris

(The woman the middle bottom photo was wearing neutral pieces, but mixing patterns which isn’t something I’ve often seen.) You’ll notice some people carrying cloth shopping bags; the cafe where I parked myself to take pictures was across the street from a pâtisserie and near a couple of grocery stores, so I think I caught a lot of people doing some marketing on their way home.

Paris open air market street style

The pictures above were taken at an open air market on one of the warmest days of our stay. Fuller, knee-length or midi-length skirts, usually in color and often print were skirts I saw worn most often. (Wasn’t quick enough to get more photos.) I did not see any women wearing minis or pencil skirts, at least not in our age group. This was the only day I noticed many women in dresses, and they all seemed to be softer, easier-fitting pieces.

Shine on…

metallic shoes and bags Paris

Though I didn’t see anyone wearing footwear quite as blingy as those slip-ons in the shop window (photo at the top of this post), I did notice lots of metallic flats and sandals worn (again, not quick enough to get more pictures) as well as bags and the occasional bit of trim on clothing, often beading or embellishment at the neckline of a top.

And did you notice anything else about the shoes in all of the pictures above? Almost to a woman, they are wearing flats or very low heels. You’ll sometimes see women in heels if they’re dressed up for an evening out, but the vast majority are in “sensible” shoes.

How do these styles compare to what you’ve observed in Paris, or what you regularly see people wearing where you live?

WEAR IT IN PARIS…

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43 Comments

  1. June 29, 2015 / 3:31 am

    Every time I packed for Paris, I automatically grabbed all things neutral – black and grey mostly but I always add some printed scarfs. Somehow my brain has been programmed to this rule when it comes to Paris, only Paris. I was in every color possible in Nice, Lyon but the stereotype of Paris stays. Great read and nice to get some update on Paris street style since I haven’t been in a while 🙂

  2. sueinspain
    June 29, 2015 / 3:37 am

    The last time that I was in Paris was September 2012, which I wrote about on my blog (though I wasn’t brave enough to take photos!) I hope it’s ok to give a link here, so you can read my observations. http://over60andoverhere.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/are-parisians-really-that-chic.html

    Last year we visited Toulouse, with a day trip to Bordeaux, and this time I took photos. http://over60andoverhere.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/french-dressing.html

    Reading both posts, I was definitely struck by how many women wore neutrals, so it will be interesting to see if there is more colour around this year, when we will be visiting Aix-en-Provence and Carcassonne.

  3. sueinspain
    June 29, 2015 / 3:40 am

    PS Good to know that metallic flats were being worn, as I bought a pair when I was caught out by heavy rain on Oxford Street in London in flimsy shoes (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! 😉 )

  4. June 29, 2015 / 4:04 am

    You should have taken a photo of me…:) just kidding. The one thing that I noticed while in Paris was how thin and petite the women are. I thought that you embodied the French style, thin and petite. You are more attractive in person than on the internet. I’m happy I got to meet with you and your husband.

  5. June 29, 2015 / 4:11 am

    When we were there in early May, I noticed a distinct absence of high heels (except on some young Asian tourists near the Champs-Élysées). People dress for walking, so I saw lots of flats, a few mid range heel, sneakers and flat boots. Flats and lovely slim cropped pants were everywhere. I too sat in a cafe late one afternoon and got lots of shots of people striding by, wheeling bicycles, hurrying along with children, chatting with friends. It was great to people watch.

  6. Kerry
    June 29, 2015 / 4:24 am

    I was there last week and I noticed lots of shoes in silver – some muted, some sparkly, some like chrome. Sandals, slip-ons, heels. I craved a pair so desperately, but French women have way smaller feet than American women and I came away empty.

    • MJ
      June 30, 2015 / 10:11 am

      I have some great silver flats from Kate Spade, bought through Zappo’s, so I’m sure you can find them here.

  7. GingerR
    June 29, 2015 / 4:32 am

    I wonder if bright blue pants is ethnically French? She’s got the big scarf and quite a long braid.
    The more “french” looking women you’ve caught have a different look.

  8. Susan Frierson
    June 29, 2015 / 4:44 am

    I used to see huge differences in Paris women vs. women here in NYC. There doesn’t seem to be that much of a cultural divide anymore. Very similar styles.

  9. June 29, 2015 / 5:15 am

    I love the diversity of Paris street fashion. There are so many different looks that people watching could be a full-time activity. I have bought so many flat shoes in Paris. This year, my favourite shoes, bought in Vancouver, are silver peep toe flats that I really enjoy wearing with dresses or skirts.

  10. Jacqueline
    June 29, 2015 / 5:23 am

    I’m curious if the woman in blue in the middle wearing sneakers was actually wearing leather “sneakers”. They look almost like bowling shoes and I saw them in many European countries over the past years. Last October I bought a pair.They’re made by Ecco (the ones I bought) and look like sneakers but again they’re made of leather, not cloth so I think look more like a shoe. Mine are the same color as the woman’s.
    I found your photos interesting because the style of dress is so different from the neighborhood dress I see when I’m in Paris. I stay with friends in the 16th and there I think the dress is more what we come to think of as French chic.
    Were no women wearing scarves? I often think it’s interesting to see them with a scarf when the weather is warm, no matter how light the “summer scarf” appears to be.

    • une femme
      June 29, 2015 / 7:28 am

      Jaqueline, yes, the women in the 16th (and 8th) often display that style that we’ve come to think of as “Parisian,” more tailored, polished, conservative, “b.c.b.g.” and probably a bit more upscale. I’ve captured that style in prior years’ women-on-the-street posts, but also wanted to show some of the diversity and variety of dress that one sees in other arondissements.

      I did see scarves worn on cooler days, not so much when warmer. They do not seem to be as ubiquitous as they once were.

  11. SoSuSam
    June 29, 2015 / 5:56 am

    What great photos and observations. And all that color! Reminds me much more of the UK–at least, when I lived there a decade ago–than Paris. Anyway, fun to see. Many thanks.

  12. Amelie
    June 29, 2015 / 6:29 am

    So refreshing to see ‘real’ street style in women of our age! Thanks for posting!

  13. Christina
    June 29, 2015 / 6:29 am

    It’s been fun to read along your series because we’ve been pretty much on a similar schedule – Paris last week and London the week before. Last week it was quite warm and more people brought out official summer gear- many young women wearing sun dresses and strappy flat sandals. I also noticed linen pants and many sensible shoes, sneakers etc. though not as bright and not as many converse. I agree I saw more color than before, though neutrals still remain the rule. Also I noticed more matching – yellow top, yellow purse– be still my matcha matchy heart, maybe it’s coming back in. One thing I noticed this time is I saw more local women carrying Goyard as tote bags. When we first started regularly traveling to Paris about 15 years ago, I noticed many local women carrying beat up Louis vuittons and Longchamps LE pliage totes. But now many of the Le pliage were on younger student type girls or tourists, and essentially no LV monogram canvas to be seen at all. But many goyard totes… Maybe a shift in style? Or just a case of skewed sample from the observer. 🙂 loved your shopping posts, btw!

  14. KPL
    June 29, 2015 / 6:55 am

    Going to be blunt and say that I think you looked far more chic on your trip than any of the above photos.

    • Evie
      June 29, 2015 / 8:19 am

      I totally agree. I have not had the opportunity to visit Paris in many years but none of the women shown have that “je ne sais quoi” that makes me think “French”. Thanks for sharing these photos. I am feeling more stylish already! 🙂 And you looked fabulous!

    • KarenLA
      June 29, 2015 / 10:12 pm

      I agree

  15. June 29, 2015 / 7:04 am

    This is very similar to the variety I’ve seen, especially when we’ve stayed in the 13th. Even more variety when you get up to Belleville/Menilmontant, or even the 10th (which might skew a bit younger, more ethnic mix), the 12th. When we speak of Paris style, we so often mean something that’s really more particular, linked to class and ethnicity and age, etc. in subtle ways. I love the range you grab here and the way you nonetheless tease some useful principles out of it.

  16. Kathleen
    June 29, 2015 / 7:27 am

    I enjoy all of your travel posts, but the street style ones are my favorites! An avid traveller and people-watcher, I love checking out how other women are dressed, accessorized, wearing their hair, etc.–my husband even jokes that I notice other women way more than he does! I have always found way more inspiration from “real women” than from the runways. Thanks for covertly snapping these pics! 🙂

  17. Susan
    June 29, 2015 / 7:42 am

    I have to agree with a poster above–you looked far more chic than the street style you captured. I don’t see anything remarkable in the dress of these particular women. Maybe I am missing something? I do understand how you might see different street style in different area of the city. That would certainly be true in my city. I can imagine seeing chicness of dress in some particular areas of my city and quite a different style elsewhere in the same city.

  18. Debra
    June 29, 2015 / 7:46 am

    I saw lots of dresses on the really hot day we had, in particular, there were many similar versions of the short-sleeve linen shirt dress depicted on the right of your dress photos. I noticed the color, too, and my sister and I both decided that when we came home the first thing we were going to buy was a pair of red pants, because we saw plenty of those on both men and women.

    Thank you for the photos; I think you’ve gone a long way towards reassuring your readers who might visit Paris that dressing for that city is not that difficult.

  19. amidprivilege
    June 29, 2015 / 7:47 am

    I love that photo with the blue, pink, and coral splashes. I think that catches Paris style best – the way everyone’s doing something personal but with a nod to a trend that seems just out of reach and suddenly desirable to the visitor. Or maybe that’s just me:).

  20. Leslie K
    June 29, 2015 / 8:21 am

    I’ve really enjoyed this series of posts, thank you! Also, 100% agree with KPL above.

  21. CatbirdFarm
    June 29, 2015 / 10:03 am

    Genuinely curious (although there’s no way to find out): if any of these outfits were labeled as being taken on the streets of, say, Kansas City or Buffalo or Phoenix, would we give any of them a second glance, let alone the power of influence?

    I love the wry observation by @Debra, above: “you’ve gone a long way towards reassuring your readers who might visit Paris that dressing for that city is not that difficult”.

    • KarenLA
      June 29, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      Cat Bird I was thinking the same thing. Take them out of Paris…one great thing about this particular post is the next time I go to Paris I’m not going to be so concerned about what to wear as anything goes.

  22. Linda
    June 29, 2015 / 11:06 am

    Agree with what I think Catbird Farm was saying. I live in Chicago, and I see people who are dressed like the women in these photos every day, both downtown and in the suburbs. I felt the same when I was actually in Paris–there really was not much difference. If anything, I came away with the thought that American women (dare I say it?) have a more intuitively creative sense of style and balance. Susan, I think the pictures of *you* in Paris were the most interesting of your series.

  23. susan
    June 29, 2015 / 11:06 am

    First of all thank you for all the wonderful posts during your time in Paris, the photo quality is fantastic, clear and concise. And although I am lucky enough to get to go to Paris a couple of times of year, and yes, I do STRESS about what to wear even now ten years later, I find it all a bit of a myth that the women are supposed to be impeccably dressed, yes I suppose they have a certain neatness, but I too have never had a head turning moment when I thought, Ah yes, there it is, that elusive quality us other mortals do not possess. So again thanks for dispelling a possible outdated view of a lot of perfectly ordinary people there. I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. 🙂

  24. Lady of Style
    June 29, 2015 / 11:18 am

    Same in London – every woman is wearing flats! My daughter (she is studying in London) owns quite a selection of high heels but keeps on telling me she doesn’t wear them any longer, at least not during the day.
    Also good to hear you haven’t seen much over-distressed denim as I will never get that trend 😉

    Annette | Lady of Style

  25. Wendy in York
    June 29, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    You are sort of proving that Parisian style is rather a myth . These ladies are like most of us – we can look pretty good when necessary but don’t feel the need to make that kind of effort all the time . I’m glad nobody takes pictures of me when I pop out for a pint of milk or walk the dogs . Quite reassuring really .

  26. Ellen
    June 29, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    When we have gone to Paris, we always stay in the 6th, but in the St Germain area…perhaps a little more polish. Our last trip was in October of last year, preceded by a week in London. By the time we got to Pairs it was hot, close to 80, and sunny by midday, so Parisians were dressed in their summer clothes, and celebrating the summer extension just like we were. I saw few scarves in Paris, and few heels, even at night…and then worn primarily by people who were not speaking French. And of course, sneakers everywhere, and in every variety possible: sparkling, print, athletic, retro, wedged…nothing seemed off the table. I think there are many myths about Parisian style: you can wear anything if you choose it with thought, be sure that it fits impeccably, and give it your own individuality.

  27. June 29, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Yes, more colour than before, except in the African areas where some women – and men – have always worn traditional dress, colourful prints – and have enviable posture. People in Paris walk A LOT – it is a very important factor in their shape, as I’d say fewer do formal workouts than North Americans or people in northern Europe. There has always been somewhat more colour on the Mediterranean coast, and Lyon is in-between.

    Yes, the stereotypical Parisienne who “doesn’t get fat” and is always stylish is a denizen of certain posh central and west-end arrondissements.

    I think the lady in the blue trousers is of South Asian origin.

  28. Moi
    June 29, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    I must say that I see women in Chicago that are dressed in a very similar fashion…in fact, perhaps a little better.

  29. Christine
    June 29, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    I notice the long, purposeful strides of the women in your photos.

  30. KarenLA
    June 29, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    When I was in Paris last I noticed that many women wore kitten-heel pumps, as it is difficult walking on some of the cobble stoned streets. I’m thrilled they are wearing flats as I have taken to them here. I believe there is going to be a stiletto heel back lash. I don’t know if you heard about “High Heel Gate” in Cannes during the film festival, where some women were denied access to the red carpet because they weren’t wearing heels. Quite and up roar. The Hollywood Reporter ( Entertainment bible of the industry) reported that several designers were already making flat shoes ( $500) including Jimmy Choo, so you know flats are coming. I’m also glad to see some kind of a sport shoe being worn. I detest those clown-like monstrosities that so many Americans wear and it’s so hard to find a walking shoe that doesn’t scream tourist.I enjoyed your photos.

  31. Karen
    June 29, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    I agree with others that you look much more chic than these women do. It’s a little disappointing that they didnt’ fulfill my vision of the “chic Parisian,” but thank you for sharing!

  32. Karen
    June 29, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    Um . . . they look pretty frumpy. I wouldn’t go grocery shopping in NY wearing some of these “ensembles.”

  33. happinessatmidlife
    June 29, 2015 / 10:39 pm

    I have to agree with Karen – you are way more chic than these women you’ve captured. But it’s always fun to people watch.

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion linkup.

  34. June 30, 2015 / 6:55 am

    Oh I love this post! I feel like I’m at the cafe with you people watching!
    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy

  35. Jules Hemps
    June 30, 2015 / 6:58 am

    Lol. If you are in the Midwest in the U.S. – lots of shirts with writing on them and spandex at the market( as in exercise wear)! I am seeing more skirts and dresses on women of a certain age. Also Capri leggings with longer loose tops and loose dresses. Thanks for reality pictures!!

  36. July 1, 2015 / 11:24 am

    I saw most women in flats in Rome too. I really had to search for one or two women wearing heels on the cobblestones.
    Greetje

  37. MimiB
    July 11, 2015 / 11:58 am

    I just found your blog… First time visiting, but it won’t be the last. I lived in France for a few years some time ago and return as often as possible. Your observations about Parisian street style are right on.

    My observations are that women visiting who wish to “fit in” should not worry about wearing the latest fashions … that’s for the quite young … but rather make sure your clothing fits well and is versatile. French women usually buy far less clothing than Americans, but of much better quality, often classic items that will see them through many years and occasions. They vary their accessories, mix and match, add and subtract pieces and may buy just a few fresh pieces each season. This is excellent advice for travelers as well. French women seem to intuitively understand that faddish or distinctive items have a short fashion life and can’t be worn too often, so they are very selective. I have noticed that chic women of any economic class or age often seem to have a signature item they wear or carry frequently … It might be a handbag, a piece of chunky jewelry, a leather or denim jacket, some boots …

    You are absolutely right that few women wear tottering high heels except on special occasions, no matter how designers may push them as necessary fashion. Parisian women are walkers and while they may not give in to wearing actual athletic trainers on city streets, they generally stick to flats or low heels.

  38. Peri sams
    September 1, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I am visiting Paris for the first time at almost 56 years old…bit I still want to know how to dress!

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