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Parisian Women's Secrets for a Chic, Minimalist Style

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I have a Degree in Fashion Design, worked in a buying office, in production and on the shop floor and love helping women look good.

two women having a meal in front of the Eiffel Tower

two women having a meal in front of the Eiffel Tower

French Style Wardrobes

Many Parisian women, both young and older, have developed a chic clothing style that is unique to Paris. They have small, minimal closets containing only a handful of stylish clothes that perfectly meet their needs. As a result, many women around the world would like to know how to dress like a French woman and emulate that distinctive look.

I live in England and was lucky enough to visit Paris once. Whilst there, I was able to take some great photos that sum up the essence of this look.

The Tenets of Chic French Minimalist Style

  • Simplicity: For Parisian women, less is more.
  • Femininity: They tend to dress in a gentle, feminine way, rather than an aggressive way.
  • Modesty: Many seem to prefer modest styles rather than short mini skirts and cleavage-revealing tops.
  • The basics: Parisian women pare their wardrobes down to essentials that match their lifestyles, basics such as a pair of jeans, a black skirt, a black jacket, a little black dress (LBD), a white T-shirt, and a white shirt.
a woman walking dressed in all black

a woman walking dressed in all black

How to Dress Like a Parisian Woman

  • Neutral colours: Predominantly black and white, but can also include navy and denim, cream, and shades of grey.
  • Mix and match: By keeping it simple, everything mixes and matches together.
  • Attention to Fit: Clothes are neither figure-hugging nor baggy and are a comfortable fit.
  • Quality, natural fabrics
  • Prints: Parisians don't seem to wear many patterned or floral fabrics; maybe because they are harder to mix and match. Instead, they seem to prefer Breton stripes.
  • Texture: To add interest to an outfit, they may include textured fabrics such as tweed or lace.
  • Footwear: Suitable styles for walking around Paris are flat ballet pumps or sandals and in the winter a pair of boots. Medium height heels are also an option if they are suitable for walking around the city. Shoes are also in neutral colours for easy mixing and matching with the clothes.
  • Accessories: This is where the fun comes! Chic Parisian women focus on a few well-chosen, good quality accessories to pull an outfit together and provide an individual look. Accessories enable you to play dress up. Parisians will only wear a few accessories at a time. They may include a neutral coloured leather bag, pearls, a silk scarf, a beautiful necklace or bracelet, or hosiery.
  • Scarves: The French are famous for wearing scarves and tying them in a myriad of different ways.
a window display in Paris

a window display in Paris

  • Natural hairstyles: Hair is seen as a key accessory to a chic look. It is kept in good condition and is worn in a variety of simple styles, either down or up.
  • Make-up and skincare: Chic Parisians look after their skin and prefer a simple natural make-up look. One favourite lipstick colour is red.
  • Elegant mannerisms: Their elegance is reflected not only in their clothes but also in their mannerisms.
  • Style for life: For all women, dressing well is an ongoing process of learning and editing your wardrobe for each stage of life.
  • An interest in style: She likes to keep up-to-date with what is going on in the fashion world and may incorporate some of the current, trendier looks into her wardrobe to update her basics.
  • Attitude: Relaxed and enjoying life!
two women walking in Paris

two women walking in Paris

two women talking

two women talking

a woman looking at her phone

a woman looking at her phone

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 rontlog


Samira on July 31, 2017:

Thank you so chic

Nancy on April 05, 2016:

Good observations and descriptions. Hits the mark.

JLouise on May 28, 2012:

This article, advice, and music combination are the epitome of chic! Thanks!