Parisian Style: The Basics (Part I)

Nothing is as effortlessly chic as Parisian street style. If you’ve ever envisioned yourself dressing like one of those supremely classy and sophisticated French women, now is your chance! With a few wardrobe staples and some outfit formulas, you’ll be well on your way to oozing charm and sophistication!

The Basics | Building Your Wardrobe | Creating A Personal Identity

Now, you’re going to need to do some shopping. While the diagram below is for a traditional capsule wardrobe, many of the pieces are essential to the Parisian wardrobe as well. Simplicity is essential for both types of wardrobes, which is why the two look so similar to one another.

Notice the traditional pieces that can be worn for years, the menswear items, the muted color palette, and the well-fitted pieces. Some of the essentials for this type of wardrobe include:

  • White Button-Down
  • Patterned Top
  • Fitted Sweater
  • Dressy Camisole
  • Skinny Jeans
  • Ankle Pants
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Formal Skirt
  • Little Black Dress
  • Blazer
  • Classic Jacket/Coat
  • Everyday Bag
  • Pointed Flats
  • Lace-Up Shoes (Oxfords, Boots, Sneakers)
  • Classic Pumps

Remember, this list is only the basics. There are 15 items here, but you can take away from this list and add to it as you see fit. There are plenty of things not included on this list that are essential to a wardrobe: simple t-shirts, sundresses, additional tank tops, etc. That doesn’t mean they’re not allowed in this type of wardrobe, they’re just not deemed “essentials.” This also doesn’t include accessories such as scarves, jewelry, hair pieces, socks, tights, and other items that would add interest and pops of color to an outfit.

If the above capsule is too restricting, you can modify it with the diagram below. The following collection is not as detailed as the one above (and I also prefer the more classic feel of the capsule above), but it does seem more casual and wearable. I also think it’s a great place to start if Parisian style is far from your normal everyday wear–the collection below is simple and standard. You shouldn’t be afraid to add these things to your closet!

Harper’s Bazaar recommends the following tips for following Parisian fashion: stripes, casual heels, utilizing menswear pieces, neutral colors, white button-downs, trench coats, effortless hairstyles, and minimal make-up. While these are not benchmarks of French style, they are great style tips in general! Having an understated look doesn’t have to be boring. Marie Claire also offers it’s own selection of tips on dressing like French women, which you can read here. Here’s an article from 2014 talking about Parisian style, which gives you an idea of how truly timeless this type of look is.

Here’s some more examples:

Stay tuned for the next two posts in their series! For additional resources, check out these pages:

Note: All pictures link to their original Pinterest source. Click on each one for more information!


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