There’s something enchanting about Paris. The charming architecture, preserved for hundreds of years, lovely outdoor cafes boasting saucer-sized cappuccinos, endless wine and cheese, and an unmatched view of the streets of the city, the sprawling grounds of well-kept parks which are peppered with relaxing Parisians, and countless Boulangerie’s tucked away in the corners of busy streets, selling delicious baguettes and tempting sandwiches to eager customers are just a few of the seemingly countless reasons why I have fallen in love with the truly radiant city. Serving as the “cherry on top,” the lavish, sophisticated nature of Paris is reflected in the fashions that make people- watching a spectacle; a perfect activity for a fashion-loving girl.
Say what you want about the Parisians, but one fact is undisputable… boy can they dress. As an indicator, American fashion is constantly mirroring the trends in Paris, often picking up on popular styles a few seasons after they hit the scene in Paris. Coco Chanel, arguably the most notable French fashion designer to date, summed up the importance of fashion to the essence of a city perfectly, once saying, “Fashion is not something that exists in dress only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Bold statement pieces and chic apparel add to the culture of the city, mirroring the memorable vintage feel of the beautiful city which is purposely stuck in the past, as to maintain the fabulous Parisian culture. Compared to the metal, skyscrapers, and huge billboards characteristic of cities such as Boston and New York, Paris is truly comparable to another world. With the exception of modern dress and transportation, stepping into the streets of Paris is almost like walking into a scene from two hundred years ago, which is reflected in many of the timeless fashions characteristic of the old city.
Compared to the jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers look indicative of modern American culture, Parisian style maintains a level of formality unfamiliar to traditional casual American style. Generally inspired by timeless and feminine styles, fashion in Paris is unmatched by any other culture. Generally known for their trim physiques, Parisian women know how to flatter their slim figures with fitted blazers, waist belts, and fashion-forward coats suitable for city-living. Greeting every day with a fashionable outfit, the Parisians have a much different “everyday” look than the casual style of Americans.
Characterized by the integration of basics paired with statement pieces, Parisian women manage to find the perfect balance of feminine and masculine through their effortless style. Frequently combining loose button- ups with fitted cardigans, casual tee’s with fashionable blazers, and boyfriend jeans with a lacy top or ballet flats, these impressive women manage to make fashion seem like second-nature. Topping it off with elegant accessories such as a simple pearl necklace, a dreamy scarf, or an edgy over-sized bag, French women fill the busy streets with pops of color and layers of chiffon, velvet, silk, and furs.
As Coco Chanel emphasized, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Clothing is a fun way of representing yourself, and as Coco points out, good fashion is memorable, so in a world of endless poor fashion, why not stand out as a woman who knows how to work what she’s got? There are fashionable options for every body-type out there, and by taking a hint from the Parisians, we can learn to be more stylish by utilizing flattering clothing choices.
In a time characterized by infinite fashion varieties, we should never settle for less than fabulous. And remember, in the words of my favorite fashion icon, Coco Chanel: “A women can be over dressed but never over elegant.”