What Is "Parisian" Style?

some thoughts on “Parisian” style

Parisian style

more like what we’ve come to expect in Paris… (photos from May 2014)*

So when writing yesterday’s post on Parisian street style, I deliberately limited my commentary just to what I had observed. I didn’t want to lead reactions, and was curious to see what your impressions would be. I was not surprised by some of the reactions which included disappointment, dismay and even disbelief that the people I’d photographed were “real” Parisians (“they must be tourists,” some posted on my Facebook page).

I wanted to feature some Parisian style from different areas of the city than previously for a couple of reasons. First, because there’s been so much mythology built up about “chic Parisiennes” and that imagery often encompasses a very narrow subset and style (tailored, neutral, reserved, “b.c.b.g.”) and while you will see women dressed this way, generally from my observations it’s more prevalent in certain areas: the 7th, 8th, 16th arrondissements, Neuilly and other upscale areas outside of the city center. But Paris isn’t a monolith, and people of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds live and work there. As other commenters mentioned, there are areas with larger populations of those of African origins, areas with a more bohemian sensibility, and some more working class. All are part of the kaleidoscope that is “Parisian.” We sometimes imagine that everyone in Paris is thin, chic, dressed in impeccably tailored and au courant (in a very understated way) ensembles and who look like they stepped out of our Pinterest boards. In some cases, that’s true. In many, many others it’s not.

Style is more global than ever. You can no longer assume that the girl in the New Balance sneakers is American. Or the Lee jeans, and the woman in the Sandro jacket may not be French. 😉  While there may be subtle nuances of styling, items like jeans or Birkenstocks or Brooklyn tees are no longer reliable markers of where someone is from, and whether or not they are tourists. (We were flummoxed when trying to find some souvenir tees to bring home for jeune homme; almost everything, even in the French brands featured “California surfing” or “New York” themes.)

I also wanted to reassure those planning to visit the city for the first time that they don’t have to get hung up about looking a certain way, or feel intimidated by those “stylish French women.” As long as you are neat, clean and look as if you’ve made an effort, you’ll be fine. You may feel more comfortable in mostly neutrals and simple styles (which is good a good strategy for packing light anyway) and leave the rubber flip-flops in the hotel room, but seriously there is no Fashion Police Unit that’s going to write you a citation for not being chic enough.

That said, there are some commonalities. Makeup, hair and jewelry tend to be done with a light hand. You don’t see Parisians out and about in clothing that’s torn, badly stained, or that could be worn at the beach or for doing heavy construction work (except for construction workers). People don’t wear sweats or obvious workout wear as street wear, but you will see runners in running gear, especially in parks. There’s a sensibility that it’s disrespectful not to dress appropriately (e.g. in street wear rather than lounge wear) to go out in public. This is an attitude I think most of us would agree with.

If you’ve visited Paris, were people there dressed differently than you anticipated? When you’ve visited new cities, was people’s style there what you expected? Are there areas of the region where you live that have their own distinctive styles?

*Last year’s style report here.

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  1. June 30, 2015 / 3:39 am

    I know ! when I went to Paris I was worried about looking like a total frump… but whisper if you dare…I go to London a LOT and I think Londoners are more stylish… let me know what you think!

    • une femme
      June 30, 2015 / 5:44 am

      creativevoyage, I always feel more underdressed in London than in Paris. Perhaps it’s the parts of town we visit, but my impression is that Londoners always look very tailored and a bit dressier. I think Parisians are stylish in their own way (and yes, even those some are labeling as “frumpy”) but Londoners strike me as very fashionable.

      • July 1, 2015 / 7:32 pm

        You are absolutely right; last June while wandering through London on what was still a cool day, before it got quite hot, I was wearing something very pulled together in navy and shades of cream and greens. I overheard a woman close by say to the man next to her (both dressed fairly nicely but not extraordinarily so) “That’s very smart looking!” I was pleased to know they meant me. Whereas in Paris, I think the one thing people noticing you on the street seem to value is cleverness; in what way did you put that thing together that shows that you’re paying attention to fashion, but also that you have a sense for fashion, or a flair for combinations. Paris seems to be much less interested in your “ensemble” and more interested in your “eye” or your ability to pull off accessories.

  2. June 30, 2015 / 4:05 am

    I made my first trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago. Due to time constraints, I was only able to see touristy areas. My observation was that most tourists made an effort – they definitely didn’t look like they were visiting the Mall of the Americas! When I observed French-speakers, I sometimes wondered if they were Parisians or if they were visiting the city from smaller centres (as tourists themselves). I was really pleased to see the myth of the cool/neutral Parisienne put to rest because the city is so multiethnic and colourful. You know what I noticed most, though? The French moms had their kids dressed in extraordinarily expensive clothes, like outfits you will see on little George and Charlotte 🙂 And the Italian tourists had everyone beat with their sports-influenced style.

  3. Susan
    June 30, 2015 / 4:08 am

    I have been somewhat surprised during trips to NYC to see that it is not the stylish beacon that many would think. Lots of black for sure, but, as in Paris and other large cities, there are people wearing all sorts of things and mainly they appear to be people just living their lives, not so concerned about fashion.

    • CatbirdFarm
      June 30, 2015 / 1:08 pm

      Susan, I totally agree. I moved from CA to NYState 20 years ago and I quickly realized that literally *anything* goes in NYC – you name it, you will see it, from high to low to ordinary to eccentric. Again, it depends on the neighborhood/venue but it’s a city of millions and every style (and non-style) is represented.

  4. Pink azalea
    June 30, 2015 / 4:40 am

    We visited Paris last year. I can’t say I was surprised by what I saw. In general, I saw young women (20’s, 30’s) who dressed with individuality and charm – semi-sheer bronze tights with denim shorts and brown booties, a girl in a feminine black minidress with long dark hair and black sandals, a pretty girl in a white dress with a red bra strap slipping down her arm. Beautiful skin, minimal makeup, and unfussy hair. Among women my age (50-70+), I saw layered neutrals, less skin showing, tasteful hair and makeup, but not too studied. Of course, I was looking around at people and there were plenty who looked ordinary, just people going about their daily lives. If they were dropped into Houston, they would not stand out except for their demeanor and facial expression. There is something about the French that makes them different and I cannot express just what that is. There is an openness and friendliness to Americans that makes us give off a different vibe. I really love the French and French culture and I am also glad to be an American. Thanks for the photos. It is very hard to do without making people uncomfortable. Much of what I saw was so fleeting it would have been hard to capture with a camera, but the images and feelings I got have stayed with me.

  5. June 30, 2015 / 4:51 am

    People in Paris are as diverse as people in any city. I believe that you “hit the nail on the head” when you said that one of the noticeable commonalities is the sense of appropriate dressing for the venue and the activity. You might be interested in watching “Bill Cunningham, New York” a documentary about a man who has photographed NYC street style for 50 years. Your street photos are always fascinating. I usually can only photograph shop windows because I am uncomfortable photographing strangers in the street.

  6. Susan
    June 30, 2015 / 5:38 am

    I’ve been to Paris many times-three times just this month-and I’ve seen a grand total of ONE Parisian I’d consider REALLY stylish. She worked in the Louvre-and she was stunning.

  7. June 30, 2015 / 5:43 am

    I take it from your words, Susan, that Parisians would not wear distressed denim! But, I do agree that style is more global than ever. I know you pictured mostly neutrals…does the Parisian woman avoid prints all together?

  8. Duchesse
    June 30, 2015 / 5:47 am

    If pressed to name differences b/t French women my age and North American women, I’d say they do not wear many logos (such as big brand nameplates on handbags), and do not feel they have to wear high heels with anything. I asked my Parisienne gfs how they spotted American women: “The smiles and head-bobs (the “yes” head gesture we make when listening to someone)”, several told me, and one said “They never stop fidgeting; French women are less expressive, and hold themselves still, at least in public.”

  9. June 30, 2015 / 5:52 am

    I feel similarly about NYC fashion – there is such a diversity of style, from off the cover of Vogue (rare) to idiosyncratic, to skirts-and-tees (most seen). There are fewer “sloppy” outfits in the big city vs. my small beach town, that’s for certain! xo

  10. June 30, 2015 / 6:08 am

    Pink Azalea and Duchesse put their fingers on an important element, I think, as does Mme. L-B in echoing your point about appropriateness of dress. The underlying commonality of good skin care, minimal makeup, a good haircut but without obvious/over styling, and a certain reserve. . . And no wonder they maintain that reserve when they might suspect we’re all looking and talking about them on our blogs! 😉 Fun posts. . .

  11. Marianne
    June 30, 2015 / 6:36 am

    I went to Paris in colder weather several years ago and noticed that outerwear was buttoned up at the neck quite a bit. I live in New England and that little bit of extra “buttoning” stuck out to me. First, it did make the outfit very chic no matter if the wearer was male, female, young or old. My takeaway was that Parisians might take that extra minute to look at their appearance and finish off their outfits. I know I am usually running out the door and can’t be bothered to zip my jacket all the way, or button the last button but I would look a lot better if I did.

  12. Joyce
    June 30, 2015 / 6:51 am

    I live in Colorado and I do love it, but too many people in Colorado wear their workout clothing while shopping and running errands. I do like how “fit” our residents are (and I too am one of the fitness fanatics), but I wish fitness folks could step it up a notch when not involved in a fitness activity. At the very least, please shower before going to the store! Yesterday at a grocery store I observed a woman about 40 years old wearing her used workout clothes (extremely short shorts included) placing her sweaty shoe on the edge of a produce bin in order to tie her shoe. Does she also prop her dirty shoes on her kitchen countertops at home?!

  13. Sheryl
    June 30, 2015 / 7:27 am

    I just got back from two weeks in Italy (Venice, Florence, and Rome). I didn’t pack my Birkenstocks, even though they’re my favorite walking shoe, because I was sure they would make me look like a schlumpy American tourist. Imagine my surprise to see everyone wearing them! They were by far the most popular sandal, worn by women of all ages, nationalities, and styles, and were sold in every shop. Next time, the birkies are going in the suitcase!

    • June 30, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Birkies are German, not American. If you wore them with socks… you might look like a schlumpy German tourist. They are very common throughout Europe. Not my favourite comfort sandals though; they don’t fit everyone, and I prefer a bit of a wedge or chunky heel. There are several other German brands, and Mephistos, of course.

    • Christine G
      June 30, 2015 / 3:49 pm

      I was also recently in Italy (mid-May), same cities. What I saw were lots of sweaty tourists. Just got back from a few days trip to Monterey Peninsula, California. Again, what you see in the touristy areas are bedraggled tourists, trying to make it a few more days with a few clothing changes. Truly, all you should worry about when traveling is looking clean and presentable. No one really cares what you are wearing, and the only people who look perfect are the airline stewards (before the start of the 13 hour flight), and the wealthy locals out on the town. Otherwise, no one looks much different than what I see in Los Angeles, a few perfect lovelies mixed in with the rest of us who are doing our best.

    • Jane Jetson
      July 1, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      Berkies are in this year. (USA I mean.) They never go out of style with some people of course.

  14. araminta
    June 30, 2015 / 7:47 am

    London is a huge and very diverse city. It is hard to generalise but of course much of it is working class and/or immigrant where people wear what they can. I have seen the extremes of dressing here, from the elegance of the West End, the City and Westminster to the way-out cutting edge of street fashion, as well as some really slutty and grubby looks on young women. For certain, people TALK about fashion here a lot. One thing really stands out for me is the excellence of men’s tailoring in the City and around. I’ve seen nothing like it in North America which is in general much more casual. There does not seem to be a “casual Friday” here.

  15. Jacqueline
    June 30, 2015 / 8:11 am

    I got what you were trying to do and appreciate the more balanced approach even if I personally love the chic and more stereotypical view of the Parisienne. It’s very much like NY. Each time I’m in the city, I marvel at how much nicer the New Yorker looks even though there are plenty of examples of much less style and sartorial splendor. Even many who are downright sloppy and slovenly but then they draw attention of a different kind. One thing you will not see in Paris is baggy poor fitting clothes even if they are wearing jeans and a tshirt. It will be fitted. Drives me crazy that so many Americans think they have to wear baggy clothes (again is it comfort?). How can you look put together if what you are wearing is a size (or two) too big?!

  16. June 30, 2015 / 8:20 am

    When I go into NYC and often go to the garment district, and I walk up from Penn Stations. It’s more working class than city chic. But it depends on where you are in the city, just like other places and if you go uptown on the east side you’ll see a lot more older chic women. Definitely more makeup than I saw in Paris. Downtown it can be young chic but again it depends on where you are. I live in a community on Long Island where there is a large proportion of summer people. They can definitely be chicer than most of the locals. But, not always! It really depends on what they do. There is a much wider variety than there used to be. One thing I noticed in your photos yesterday, and yes I was disappointed in the fashion, was the absence of flip flops, thank goodness! I’d love to see the end to this trend! We do see a lot of workout gear out and about locally. Anne Hathaway rented a house for the season and when I met her she was wearing work out gear. Cool workout gear though.

  17. Lynn Bert
    June 30, 2015 / 9:04 am

    I was in Paris and London last June during an unusual heat wave. I had several hours to myself wondering around the streets of Paris, in one of the busy shopping districts (not really sure where). I remember the clothes women wore were not that different from what I see in the US. It could be because it was so hot and humid. Definitely no scarves, I think the person would be crazy to wear scarves in that heat.

    I was waiting for my group in front of a theater and the show apparently attracted mainly teenagers. The little skirts, short shorts, and ripped off T shirts on local teenagers looked just like those you see on teens here in California. Except that they were thin and smoking.

    I totally agree that we are not all that different after all. London is much dressier and whole lot cooler too.

  18. dottoressa
    June 30, 2015 / 9:29 am

    My most vivid travel memory is from Berlin,some 10 years ago. In a nice restaurant there was a good looking couple near us, 65-75 years. She was beautiful,in a simple,but ultimately elegant dress with pashmina. I remember thinking ” That’s the way I would like to be when in her age”. And they were Americans:-) . Suprise ?
    I like the way Italian look and dress,they try a lot and you see it,I like the way Parisiennes look,they look as they don’t try,it is not obvious,but they care, and I love London and people who are well dressed there.
    Your impeccable taste and a great way to write about it,to show it and to analize it,as well as some other bloggers I am so happy to find,are help and guide in a world of travel and understanding the ways how to dress in European cities. It is not inevitable to try too hard but it is important to care how to look and dress

  19. dottoressa
    June 30, 2015 / 9:49 am


  20. June 30, 2015 / 10:19 am

    Very interesting! It’s been years since I’ve been in Europe, but I remember thinking the Italians had better street style than the French. But of course who knows what neighborhoods I was in and who I was looking at!

    Dawn Lucy

  21. Kathleen
    June 30, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    I have family in France (Savoie) and spend time there fairly regularly. I just returned from a two-week trip, much of it spent in Paris. The “chic Parissienne” is a stereotype and mostly a myth. One can find as many chic and/or frumpy types on the streets of any city in the USA. There are svelte French women and chubby French women. The mystique sells magazines and books vacations, but it’s not the complete story.

  22. Sandra
    June 30, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    I have been visiting Paris since 1967 and find that Parisiennes have become more and more casual in their dress each year. Pants were a no-no when I first visited. Subsequent visits required dresses for me, suit and tie for MH for upscale dining. During our most recent visit to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, almost very patron (male and female) was wearing jeans, albeit nice jeans and the ubiquitous scarf 🙂 Jeans and sneakers everywhere this year in Nantes, Loire Valley, and Bordeaux.

    I’m from NY and tourists wear shorts to Broadway shows, so I think it’s a fair assumption that anything goes! 🙂

  23. CatbirdFarm
    June 30, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    From the comments it seems many of us agree that while major US cities have their share of chic dressers, perhaps on average people in the US are more sloppy than their European counterparts. Going back to an above commenter’s complaint about people who wear baggy clothes, I think a key factor is that in the US nearly 70% of citizens are overweight, and of those, 34% are clinically obese* – that’s 2 out of 3 people! In the Paris photos, I noticed only a couple of people who were overweight. If someone cannot find elegant clothing to fit, or does not feel confident about her/his shape, then perhaps there is more incentive to wear baggy clothing?

    (Although, as a disclaimer, I’m 5’10” (1.78m) and slim and I personally love baggy clothes! Soooo comfy!) But I would *never* leave the house in workout clothing! 🙂

    *stats from the CDC

    • June 30, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Catbird, that is true, though in poorer areas of Paris and its suburbs you do see more overweight people, and obviously, more saddo clothing. Part of being poor in the First World.

  24. CatbirdFarm
    June 30, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    Maybe a better word than “sloppy” (see my above comment) is “casual.” As Sandra points out, in the US casual is really ok everywhere (no more dressing up for the theatre for many people – makes me so sad.). I truly loathe it in the workplace, where Casual Friday ate the rest of the days of the week so now employees everywhere look like they are leaving for a camping trip right after the meeting.)

  25. June 30, 2015 / 2:56 pm

    I ecently was at “The Farmers Market”in Los Anglels. Typical tourist spot. I’m the local not the tourist. I was orderinglunch from a food bar when I looked to the side of me and saw a very chic couple. The clothes were beautifull tailored. Scarf around the mans neck. I just knew they were tourists because of the tailoring. Sure enough as they walked away they spoke French to one another. Again when visiting Amsterdam, the people who I noticed as chic were the ones with the beautifully tailored clothes in expensive fabrics. Not sure what I’m saying but you see chic around the world and it’s in the fabric and the tailoring.

    • June 30, 2015 / 7:15 pm

      Yes, but that is a class thing, not a cultural thing. When I lived in Italy, pretty much everyone, rich or poor, tried to dress presentably. It was a matter of pride. If only people with beautifully tailored clothes and expensive fabrics does so, it is a matter of class privilege, not culture. Rich people are not better than the rest of us.

  26. Jeanne
    June 30, 2015 / 4:18 pm

    Having been in Paris the same time as you, I agree with your observations. I was surprised how casual the clothing and shoes were this year. I saw white tennis shoes and sandals everywhere. The weather was hot so most of the young girls and women wore sun dresses or skirts and casual tops, some long jeans but no shorts. For the first time I saw several overweight women and very few pencil thin women. Then I realized why. I normally go to Paris during the winter or early spring when everyone is dressed in their winter coats or raincoats and boots 🙂 DH and I ate breakfast at a cafe most mornings and watched the children walk to school…all well dressed.

    Last year I went to Nice and a woman from Paris was giving our group a tour of a chateau. She was in her 60’s, her hair was colored, short and stylish. Her makeup was perfect and her red lipstick was striking. She had black jeans on and a red buttondown well worn sweater with a button missing. She looked like a million bucks! She knew I was going to take a picture of her and she posed very casually with her hand under her chin. To me she was a definition of chic even though it was obvious her clothing was well worn.

    I believe the same as you when I travel. Be yourself in what you are wearing no matter where you travel and by all means neat and clean. No matter what country I have visited, I alway come home thinking how well women of the US dress.

    • Judy
      June 30, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      Ah, also stayed in the 3rd arrondissement (Haut Marais). My take on France/Paris also informed by my ongoing class at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) in NYC … we talk a lot of politics!

  27. June 30, 2015 / 5:26 pm

    Over the last 5 years or so, my friends and colleagues have lamented the decline of dress in the US. We live in the upscale suburbs of a large metropolitan city and have different levels of dress for different functions. We may be a dying breed. Essentially we define it as casual chic. Our clothes are quality but not couture, we maintain grooming schedules to remain as neat and well turned out as possible but we do not obsess. We never wear exercise clothing in public forums, that is the one absolute no no. But we do wear jeans, we still wear some dresses but mostly we wear well tailored pants and accessories. I agree that well fitting clothes are the key. Big, over-sized and sloppy t shirts etc. do nothing but detract. European cities have their own personalities IMO and that is what makes them so charming. In our way we keep trying to maintain our own charm injected with American spirit, friendliness and honesty.

  28. June 30, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Some of these comments really bothered me. I like to see people well turned out and “proud”, but I really don’ t think “upscale” people are better than the rest of us. Au contraire, it is admirable to see people of slender means who take care to be well turned out.

    • une femme
      June 30, 2015 / 7:46 pm

      lagatta, I think that’s one difference between American and European approaches to dressing. Europeans of limited means have traditionally purchased fewer items of better quality, and even when those items are well worn, they look better than the cheap, poorly made items that proliferate these days.

      • Wendy in York
        June 30, 2015 / 11:19 pm

        Many years ago we visited Capri in Italy & there were many stylish people . One girl we particularly noticed worked on an ice cream stall during the day , wearing very casual clothes . On an evening she would come to meet her boyfriend , Alberto , a chef at our hotel . Every evening she wore the same good quality , stylish outfit & every evening she looked fabulous .

    • Duchesse
      July 1, 2015 / 5:23 am

      Lagatta’s comment reminded me of a former MIL; the family was what some define as “working poor”. MIL always looked chic, because she dressed simply, in non-synthetic fabrics and her clothes fit. She bought in thrifts or yard sales and had the skills to alter the things herself.

      Money does not confer style. At the opposite end of the continuum I’ve seen women in boutiques, spending crazy amounts of money (which I guess they had) and buying the most gawdawful getups.

  29. Judy
    June 30, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    I think much of this “Parisian style” has to do with the more bourgeois types in Paris. And not even including the bobo/leftist/former punk types (I know some!). I’ve stayed in the 5th and 6th, I’ve stayed in the 11th, even the 17th, 19th (and maybe the 18th but not sure because it was a long time ago). There is a place called Tati in Paris, haven’t shopped there in over 20 years, but I think it even tried to open in NYC a while ago, without success. It was a place with cheap clothing of not great quality. Paris is full of people who don’t correspond to the stereotype. And they are not just immigrants. Many are full-fledged French people, born in France. Maybe their parents or grandparents came from (usually) La Maghreb, or French North Africa. Or sub-Saharan Africa. Take the metro, and you see ALL sorts of people and varieties of dress, just like in NYC. (I live in Brooklyn.) I am as guilty as most when I subscribe to the idea of Parisian style, the Frenchwoman’s allure, and all of that. But it is a total myth, a fantasy! And saying all that (and I am sure many of you will not like me for it), I have to confess that this fall, I will be going to Paris and staying in Montparnasse to live out a bit of my 1920s Paris fantasy. But at the same time, I will see my Parisian friends in the 19th and 11th arrondissements!

    • Judy
      June 30, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      (Somehow put this in wrong place before):
      Ah, also stayed in the 3rd arrondissement (Haut Marais). My take on France/Paris also informed by my ongoing class at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) in NYC … we talk a lot of politics

  30. dottoressa
    June 30, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    Lagatta,I totally agree with you about taking care in dressing,no matter rich or not. And appreciate this. It’s about style,not Money.

  31. July 1, 2015 / 12:58 am

    I agree most cities are now very global. Here in the south even the Parisians who come down for their holidays are not particularly fashionably dressed however they are always neat, tidy and appropriately dressed. You can pick them out from the many tourists that visit the village in summer. The never seem to wear shorts or baggy trousers and tops.

  32. July 1, 2015 / 11:20 am

    In Italy (Turin) they were. In Paris.. Hmm just a little. In Nice they are all dressed to perfection.

  33. Julie
    July 1, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    I observed in Paris about 5 years ago women wearing scarves and large bags as armor. You could not see a bit of body under those two items and after having my chest stared at and commented on by men in the subway I could see why. I went out and bought a scarf and large bag too! Plus if you stare at a man (my weapon in the U.S. to get them to avert their eyes) even to give him a dirty look, it’s considered to be a come-on. On another note the Munro shoes and NYDJ recommendations you have given me have been excellent and I have lived your travel vicariously sitting at my desk eating my lunch in Michigan!

  34. Jane Jetson
    July 1, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    I was in Paris earlier this month, before the weather turned warm. I wore mostly dark neutrals and wore black without concern. I always feel pressure to wear at least some color at home. I was in Montparnasse and sat in a cafe watching the world go by. Many were commuters coming out of the metro. I noticed that the clothing stores had lots of color, at least in the windows but the women wore neutrals. I have worked in retail and stores use colors to draw the customer in. Must be the same in Paris. The only thing that surprised me was that some women were still wearing boots and sweaters. Paris can be cold in the summer so it makes sense not to store the winter clothes. At home I would rather layer in summer than wear heavy clothes. I still love me boots!

    I didn’t see any Goyard bags or anything particularly pricey on the women I saw. Now to think of it, I didn’t see any statement necklaces.

    In some ways, the outfits are similar to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I saw lots of neutrals but they seemed more practical and sturdy than fashionable.

    • Judy
      July 1, 2015 / 6:20 pm

      Jane, I will be staying in Montparnasse in September for the first time for my 20th visit to Paris, at the Hotel Istria. I have of course visited the area and know some of its haunts, but please share any of your favorite places there—if Susan doesn’t mind. And Susan, you said you were near Montparnasse, so please tell us any of your particular finds in that area! Merci par avance!

      • une femme
        July 2, 2015 / 8:06 pm

        Judy, I’d highly recommend dinner at a small restaurant called Invictus. http://restaurantinvictus.fr/en We had dinner there our last evening in Paris and it was wonderful, from the menu to the service to the cozy, neighborhood ambiance.

        • Judy
          July 3, 2015 / 7:46 am

          Merci !

      • claire de vaugiraud
        July 11, 2015 / 12:09 am

        There is a street called rue Daguerre which is partly pedestrian only (the part that starts near place Denfert-Rochereau). There are quite a few cafés and restaurants with terraces that will NOT have you suffocate with car generated pollution. You will be able to walk there by crossing trough the Montparnasse cimetery.

  35. Kat
    July 2, 2015 / 10:19 am

    This matches my experience of France. I think Americans have a mythology of Parisian women and style for sure. Not all Parisian women are petite or slim or dress impeccably. Items do not always fit well. Dress styles have really loosened up, and I have to always remind myself not to overdress (I often do but I will say, I feel I have good experiences in French stores and restaurants because of it). To me, the beauty of French women has always been their bearing and posture. Someone remarked on the long purposeful stride of the Parisian women, and that’s spot-on in my experience. That’s how I observe various nationalities out in a global city like Paris, not dress. For me, I also appreciate how Paris is becoming a more multicultural city. It’s more colorful and interesting to me now, and styles/colors reflect that.

  36. Mary Perez
    July 2, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    I used to spend a lot of time at airports waiting to pick up my husband from business flights. To entertain myself I would watch the disembarking passengers and try to guess where they were from according to their clothing. One flight was memorable–everyone getting off the flight was stylish in a classic way. I had to ask where they were from…never would have guessed…Germany! Have been to France and Italy and would say that the Italians were better dressed than the French. In Verona, they still promenade down the main street; sashaying in very stylish garb. Of course both places have every type–that’s part of the fun of people-watching. American tourists mostly dress appropriately–think we’re all more worldly because we have access to so much information and wonderful blogs 🙂

    • Kati
      June 8, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      Yeah we don’t have blogs here in europe…

  37. July 5, 2015 / 5:14 am

    Brava! I have tons of notes on Parisian Chic that are similar! I just returned from three weeks in France–spent between Paris and the Cote d’Azur. The last few days spent in the sweltering heat of the top floor of my better half’s family’s apartment in the 6th! (He was gloriously ‘eppy. I slept with the ice cubes! But you’re observerations are spot on. Hopefully, you’ll be able to read what I have to say in my blog when I’m unpacked, photos uploaded and the notes are all organized! I just gotta add–during the caniscule, I literally walked around Paris in an old pair of Rondini sandals, a $15.00 plain gray t-shirt dress with the only accessory being a brown leather belt worn around the hips and I was more chic than many others…and trust me, I’m the one who is ALWAYS just slightly a bit “undone”! I love your blog BTW!

  38. July 5, 2015 / 9:54 am

    Paris has always been a top city on my places-to-visit list, but now I wonder if eccentricity may not be very welcome there, despite the globalization of style. I know I would feel pressure to dress with more reserve. I love a reserved, sophisticated look too, but it’s not my go-to style for feeling who I am at this point in my life. Maybe I’m over-thinking here and I’d be too distracted by everything else around me that I wouldn’t notice any side eyes? I guess I’m wondering if the response in general to eccentricity in style would be much different than anywhere else.

  39. claire de vaugiraud
    July 10, 2015 / 11:58 pm

    A suggestion re “le jeune homme” : a French brand called “Le Coq Sportif”, street style sportswear including sneakers, mostly subdued, not very likely to be common in California.

    A few general remarks re French women: they tend not to wear statement anything (bag, shoes, jewelry, perfume…), they speak in softer and lower voice than Americans (the Japanese do the same), loved ones can run a hand through their hair because it is not overly coiffed, they tend to wear shoes that will take them from public transportation to cobbled street and graveled lanes in parks, sportswear – yoga pants included – is for doing sports only

    Lastly regarding children clothes, there is a brand called Cyrillus which is medium priced, very good quality and the reason why quite a few French kids look expensively dressed. Its British equivalent is Boden and if you google both brands you will understand the different approach to colors.

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