Paris Style Report: Beating The Heat

Paris summer style trends for 2019. How Parisians beat the heat! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Oui, it’s Too Darn Hot in Paris right now. Too hot to linger anywhere outdoors, for sure! But I’ve been observing and making notes, and here are a few of the styles I’m seeing most often here during the “canicule” (heat wave).

Above: Dress | Shirt | Pants | Top | Skirt | Dress

Paris Summer Style Trends

Parisiennes tend to keep it simple. They avoid overwrought styles and keep accessories to a minimum. You will see more color and pattern here in the summer months. I’ve seen a surprising amount of black still, but the pieces are usually lightweight and loose.

I should stipulate that I don’t know whether women I’m observing are Parisian, or even French, unless I hear them speak. (I try to mentally filter out people who are obviously tourists.) I’m just reporting on what I see being worn. There are a lot of visitors here now, and apparently we’re between Men’s Fashion Week and Haute Couture week, so probably some Fashion Folks Walk Among Us as well.

Floaty Florals

BASH red floral midi dress. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve been seeing quite a few midi-length floral dresses. Not prairie dresses, just simple styles, usually dark florals, in soft, light fabrics. Sometimes sleeveless, sometimes with short or 3/4 length sleeves. Usually belted or wrap styles. Worn with flat sandals or sneakers.

Simple shift dresses, usually knee length (sometimes slightly above) are also worn. Usually they are slightly-fitted to loose.

Midi-skirts

T Tahari pleated midi skirt in blue print. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

When I do see skirts, they’re most often midi- or knee-length, often pleated, sometimes A-line. Usually worn with a tee or tank on top, white or solid if the skirt has print. I’ve seen looser, just-below-the-waist length tops worn untucked with these fuller skirts too. Also mostly with flat sandals or white sneakers.

Linen Everything

Everlane short sleeve linen top in white. Details and more Paris summer style trends at une femme d'un certain age.

Especially in white! And no one’s worried about wrinkles. 😉 I’ve seen everything from classic white shirts (tucked into a nice pair of linen pants) to tunics to dresses. And Don’t Fear The Sheer. I’ve seen women of all ages wearing loose linen tops and dresses that are somewhere between not-opaque and sheer. (I’m guessing they’re wearing over flesh-toned bras and underwear they’re not noticeable.) My linen shirt has been a lifesaver, and I’ve picked up a pair of navy linen trousers that I’ll wear until the heat dies down.

Eyelet Details

J.Crew eyelet top in white. Details and more Paris summer style trends at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve noticed quite a few dresses and tops with eyelet details, which allow for more air flow. Simple designs keep it from skewing too twee.

Shop Paris Summer Style Trends

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20 Comments

  1. June 27, 2019 / 1:37 am

    I have only started to see smooth T-shirt bras here; in general French women wear beautiful lingerie with everything, every day, not just on special occasions. I was shopping with a French friend, and I noted that a top she was trying on was kind of sheer and I could see her bra. She looked at me as if I had just said that she had two eyes and one mouth–like, OBVIOUSLY. “That’s the point!” she said. And indeed I see plenty of women, mostly young but also some not young, with, say, a bright red bra under a white shirt, and some of the lace showing. I haven’t adopted it myself, but I’m on board with not saving things for special occasions, whether clothes or the good china.

  2. Kurt
    June 27, 2019 / 4:26 am

    I love being in Paris around Fashion Weeks! I prefer going in late January, when it’s a)less crowded (except the museums in afternoon, when school students from all over Europe visit), & b)not so hot. I’m from Minnesota, so Paris winters are warmer (but damper), & I don’t work up a sweat. Videos of ‘les defiles’ are running in the shop windows; the shows are an item on the nightly news. And ‘Les Soldes,’ the semi annual sales are on at the end of January. Bargains! Things don’t remain discounted after the sales like in America. They are returned to regular price.

  3. Carol Montanti
    June 27, 2019 / 5:21 am

    A few years ago in Avignon I took note of a lovely elderly couple strolling arm in arm, I was close enough to hear them speaking French so I will suggest they were French. She was wearing a lovely, slightly sheer while linen dress, clearly wearing black lingerie. Mentally, I gave her a thumbs up! But then this spring I was in Paris for two weeks, encountered lots of locals, and during some very warm weather noticed (without being creepy!) that a lot of the younger women wearing white blouses, t shirts, etc seemed to be wearing neutral coloured bras. I know, it is odd to be talking about who wears what undies, but it has always seemed the European women are brave about showing lacy and coloured lingerie in one way or another and the North Americans wear their “my beige bra has a life/shape of its own even without me” styles!
    Susan, is this the trip when you are getting your colours done?

    • Susan B
      June 27, 2019 / 7:09 am

      Yes, in London in a couple of days.

  4. Judy
    June 27, 2019 / 7:47 am

    Some of the items Susan are not linking up to shopping pages. Sheer shirt with black bra is apparently very in.

    • Susan B
      June 27, 2019 / 7:55 am

      Hi Judy, I just tested the links and they all worked for me. Which one are you having trouble with, and what happens when you click on it? Thanks!

      • Judy
        June 27, 2019 / 9:44 am

        EF linen shirtdress. Finally got it to load but took quite awhile. A couple others. But I got what I needed. Thank you. Hope you are having a fabulous trip!!

  5. Lily
    June 27, 2019 / 8:07 am

    Do you think you subconsciously notice styles you are personally drawn too? When I people watch , whether it’s in Cancun or Montreal, I notice women in muted solids in natural fbers. Hmmm sounds like someone I know.

    • June 27, 2019 / 2:16 pm

      Yes, that is what I like too. And many Parisiennes I know. More artists, academics etc.

  6. Andrea
    June 27, 2019 / 9:58 am

    We just left Paris…I was surprised by how many women (of all ages) there were wearing short to very-short skirts, lingerie looks, and/or heels. Not many women in shorts. And Parisian women don’t appear to sweat!!

    • Susan B
      June 27, 2019 / 10:02 am

      Interesting, I did not see women over 30-40 in very short skirts. Knee and just-above-the-knee length, yes. It really depends on the arrondissement.

    • June 27, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      Shorts are less common there among both women and men, except for sport, obviously. Quite a few French men wear something like breeches (think commoners’ dress in the age of Enlightenment and Revolution) as casual wear.

  7. MJ
    June 27, 2019 / 2:37 pm

    Just bought a floral print mid-calf dress with a fitted top, elbow-length sleeves, and a fuller skirt and have been wondering if it would read as fashionable or just weird. Very glad to hear that Parisiennes are wearing that look!

  8. Lisa B
    June 27, 2019 / 3:39 pm

    My girls live in Rome where it has been especially hot, 99 today and tomorrow. Very difficult to dress for the heat and still remain be professionally attired.
    Love the look of linen, especially white!

  9. Tracy
    June 27, 2019 / 5:22 pm

    I would love to hear your observations about summer footwear in Paris.

    • Susan B
      June 28, 2019 / 1:03 am

      Look for one in a few days 🙂

  10. Eva
    June 27, 2019 / 5:30 pm

    I just got back from Austria. I saw a lot of loose fitting shift dresses, several in linen. I was impressed that the women wearing them were riding bikes around town.

    • June 28, 2019 / 9:12 am

      they are much more comfy than trousers in this heat. European city bicycles have mudguards and sometimes skirtguards. The problem is that this heat is abnormal and already people have died, including a 17-year-old boy, in Spain. One must drink copious water!

  11. Stephanie Anderson
    June 28, 2019 / 12:38 am

    The only things I can wear when the mercury climbs above 90 is cotton gauze. Bryn Walker shops always carry gauze tops and bottoms at this time of year, but you can buy wonderful cotton gauze clothing year-round at Oh My Gauze…it’s a Florida chain and website. Lifesavers when it’s too hot, plus the wrinkles are minimal.

  12. June 28, 2019 / 12:47 pm

    Susan, I finally saw that photo of you in the linen shirt. Keeping cool while avoiding skin damage!

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