Paris Style Report: December 2016 (Part 1)

Paris style - outerwear trends December 2016

I’m still editing my street style photos from Paris, and will share within the next few days. While style and trends continue to become more global, I always enjoy trying to suss out the particular spin that les Parisiennes are putting on their style in any given season.

While the weather was unusually mild during the week of my visit, it was still brisk enough that outerwear was a must. Parisians appear to put as much thought into their outerwear as the rest of their wardrobes, and it was interesting to see some of the dominant themes.

Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post! All ideas and opinions are my own.

Shown above:

top row – left | middle | right
bottom rowleft | middle | right

Puffer Coats and Parkas

Puffer coats are definitely having a moment in Paris. They are everywhere! After traveling with one, I can understand why. They’re warm and lightweight, and less bulky than ever. Most of the styles I observed were more “city chic” than sporty or “serious mountaineering.” I also observed many winter-weight parkas (again, more polished than the old army surplus styles of the past). Both puffers and parkas tended to be in subdued neutral colors: black, navy, taupe, olive. Hooded styles were common, and hoods often had a fur or faux-fur* lining, occasionally a bright color. Women of all ages seem to be fond of puffer styles especially.

Cloth Coats

While one might expect an unrelenting sea of black and navy coats, that wasn’t the case. Bright colors, patterns and embellishments were frequently seen. Cobalt blue seemed to be popular, though I did also see lime green, red, and burgundy. Coats in neutral colors often had texture and houndstooth, herringbone, plaid patterns or color-blocking (often two shades of the same neutral).

Fur and Faux-Fur*

*While the wearing of real fur seems to be quite unremarkable in Paris, I will only wear and promote faux-fur. All items linked here are faux-fur.

I spotted brightly colored fur items in shop windows, however most of the fur and faux-fur I saw worn was more natural looking (though Josephine and I did spot a set of twins in matching olive parkas with hot pink fur-lined hoods). We spotted a few women wearing fur/faux-fur vests (both knee and hip length) over top of a cloth or leather jacket or coat. As mentioned above, most jackets with hoods seemed to have a fur/faux-fur lining. I did not notice any shearling coats.

Underneath the Outerwear…

The only time I was able to see what women were wearing underneath their coats was in cafes and occasionally in stores. Most women I spotted were wearing pants, and skinny and slim styles still dominate. Black, navy and dark wash denim are the prevailing choices, though I did see grey, tan, and the occasional color (burgundy, amber). Skirts were worn with tights, sometimes matching the skirt, and sometimes in another color. I did not see anyone wearing patterned tights. In a few instances I noted that women were wearing fitted tweed jackets underneath their overcoats, though most I saw were wearing sweaters, none extremely oversized except for a stylish restaurant manager in a grey cashmere wool cape. (She was SO chic and I coveted that cape!)

All items shown here are from Nordstrom. They offer a wide selection of brands and sizes, including Plus and Petites. Shipping and returns are free, which makes it easy to try new brands or styles. If you have any questions about an item, their customer service people are helpful and knowledgeable. As of today (12/15) they’re offering free delivery by Christmas Eve too, just in case you spot something that would make a nice gift.

I’ll have some Paris street style shots, as well as a report on accessories, bags and shoes in upcoming posts.

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  1. The issue with many pants is they are cropped and hit at or above the ankle bone. If you live in a place with actual winter, you need socks and that is not a look I see anywhere in the fashion press. I’m not willing to freeze my feet (and in Minnesota, look ridiculous) for the sake of being on-trend.

    1. Laura, that’s understandable. I noticed probably an equal number of cropped and longer pants in Paris. When cropped, there was usually hosiery worn. These NYDJ slim jeans have a longer inseam.

      1. One solution is to wear them with slim booties, like the Steve Madden Holster or Michael Kors Dawson models–they rise high enough to not have skin showing and are slim like a bare ankle.

  2. I saw people with bare ankles in Paris – they had to have been completely mad. It wasn’t freezing single-digit cold (as it is today in Chicago!) but it was sufficiently wintery that socks and longer pants were the only intelligent choice. (Maybe that’s the key – intelligence?)

    We saw a few “real” fur coats – mostly the madly expensive kind, but they looked anachronistic among all of the much more up-to-date offerings in the stores, and seen on the women around them. But some people will cling until the last…

    I’m SO SORRY I was ill – we much coordinate trips again some time!


    1. Janice, I was so sorry we couldn’t meet, and hope you are feeling better! We didn’t see many traditional full length fur coats either; it was more collars, vests and those lined hoods mentioned, and the occasional short jacket (which may have been faux, hard to tell these days).

  3. I don’t have real fur. But I do wonder…why do many of us who eschew fur, have no problem eating meat and wearing leather and down and shearling lined boots? Just a philosophical question.

    1. I do not eat meat or wear leather and make careful choices with regards to skin care and such. I think many who do eat meat but loathe the wearing of fur is because food is a necessity (and leather use is a by-product of that) whilst the torture and death of an animal for fashion and vanity is heinous and despicable.

      1. I do wear leather footwear (though am always pleased to find leather-free alternatives that are comfortable (I have athritis – everything has to stretch a bit) and sturdy, and still eat some poultry and fish. As with many other people, I’m moving to a more vegetable-centric diet – though fortunately my mother was always keen on vegetables. Alas it is true that most fur-bearing mammals are killed only for their fur, for fashion. An exception is traditional Indigenous societies who use every part of the animal – there was a huge difference between the Plains Indians’ use of the bison (every bit of it) and the settlers” (only the fur and hide, rest of the magnificent beast left to rot).

        I almost bought a warm parka second-hand, until I saw that what I thought was fake fur trim war real fox.

    2. If I knew of a fur company that only sold sustainably and humanely farmed fur from species that were not at risk, I might consider it. But buying a coat made from, say, sustainably and humanely farmed chinchilla might help fund the trapping of wild animals for fur by the same company, so not for me.

      With shearling, I can be pretty confident (having grown up in sheep farming country) that the animal was treated as well or better than the lambs I eat.

      Same with leather cattle vs. dairy cows or meat cattle. Ranchers take more care with leather cattle so as to preserve the skins.

  4. I was in Whole foods yesterday…every woman there had a black puffer on! It looked like a cult. with high boots. I felt like a shlub in my old sheepskin and high tops!

  5. Thanks for the roundup. Did you get any pictures of these fashionable Parisian women?
    I bought an Olive anorak with faux fur on the hood this season. We always seem to be in a sea of black during our long winters. And, now it is puffers everywhere. I want to be current in style but not disappear in the masses and feel drab.

    1. Joanna, yes I did get photos. I’m still catching up, going through and editing them…look for a post early next week.

  6. I love everything you’ve shown. I loved the faux fur too! I do have a real mink stroller that I love though, it was a Christmas gift from my late husband and has lots of sentimental value.

  7. Nice post. The fake fur coat with the pink leaf pattern is lovely.

    I feel coat envy every now and again but I confess I haven’t bought a new winter coat since…1994? (I’ve never liked cold weather and my joints hate it so much now. I would never choose to travel to a winter climate, let alone live in one.) My leather coat has a button-in liner for when it gets cold enough, which is usually two or three days a year here.

  8. On the rare occasions real fur is spotted in my city , it is on a foreign tourist & it is not admired . There are such good & warm alternatives these days , plus it seems very aging to me -‘ the old lady look ‘. Thanks for not promoting it on your blog .

  9. Many coats (I believe the Uber expensive Canada Goose is one) Use Coyote fur sourced from road kill for the fur trim..I am not kidding about this. Besides if you live in a truly subarctic climate (outside my window it is -24) you would understand that the fur trim or ‘ruff’ around a parka hood has a reason and it has nothing to do with fashion! The trim is to warm the air that the wearer breathes..sounds weird? waiting in this weather for 10 or 15 minutes for a bus and your lungs are burning, you will comprend. Sadly fake fur cannot duplicate this warming factor. That said a fur coat in NY or CA even Paris is ridiculous. Oh yes I wear ankle pants(they look so cute!) to work with little sockettes to line the shoe(ballet slipper flat)…but I am wear massive shearling lined Blondo(warm to -30) boots over them outside!!

  10. I can pretty much guarantee shearling–or specifically faux shearling–is about to make another splash in Parisian fashion. It’s already popping up around here, and I was able to score multiple end of designer bolt pieces at the semi-annual fabric sales in Montmartre…the designers test things and plan in advance for their shows/lines, so anything I find at the mill-end shops usually pops up everywhere a year later. As for the questions about the tights, there are several forces at play: the weather has been mild enough these past several winters to allow dress shoes and shorter pants well into December; Parisians will generally choose style over comfort, so being a bit cold is fine as long as one feels fashionable; those tights we’re wearing are often special cold-weather fabrications, and they’re toastier than they look. 🙂