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How to Dress Like a Parisian

How to Dress Like a Parisian

parisian fashion style

Here is your ultimate guide to Parisian style. Whether native or resident, Parisian women have an undeniable sense of style. Being French and having lived in Paris for several years, I am thrilled to share with you the secrets of Parisian chic in today’s article. You will learn what truly defines Parisian style, how to achieve it, what Parisians typically wear, and what they avoid.

One thing that sets Parisians apart is that they never look like they’re trying too hard with their outfits or spend hours getting ready. So what’s the secret behind their effortlessly chic style? Keep reading to find out.

What is Parisian Style?

Parisian in the street of Paris with white denim boots and a chanel bag
Paris street style fall-winter 2021. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian style is “chic décontracté” (casual chic). It’s all about mixing classic and timeless pieces with more sophisticated and dressy items —whether it’s a designer bag, a silk scarf, a piece of jewelry, or a chic pair of shoes. To avoid looking overdone or overdressed, clothes fit comfortably, and accessorization is generally kept to a minimum.

Parisians prioritize timeless pieces over trendy items. Think button-down shirts, straight-leg denim, trench coats, or loafers, the kind of classics that might look boring for some but are so versatile they can be worn in any season and for any occasion. Additionally, les Parisiennes seek out high-quality pieces, considered sometimes as investments, that will stand the test of time.

This style exudes a certain “je ne sais quoi,” a nonchalant and cool attitude but never arrogant. The secret lies in the way Parisians incorporate masculine pieces into their outfits, creating truly effortless chic looks. Keep scrolling below for all my tips on how to achieve that coveted Parisian style.

How To Achieve Parisian Style

1. Go “Au Naturel”

Leia Sfez at Paris fashion week street style
Paris street style Haute Couture fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian style is all about achieving a balance between looking polished and a little bit undone, “au naturel.” Many Parisians choose not to wear any makeup, or if they do, they prefer a subtle look that is barely noticeable. Rather than foundation, they opt for a tinted moisturizer or concealer where necessary. A little bit of blush or bronzer, a layer of mascara to wake up the eyes, a tiny bit of lip balm, et voilà! Les Parisiennes will always prioritize skincare over makeup.

Similarly, Parisians take a less-is-more approach to their hair. They prefer a natural, slightly undone look. And instead of spending hours blow-drying, many choose to sleep with wet hair to achieve the desired look. Parisians prefer simple hairstyles that appear effortless and embrace their natural hair texture. In addition, some Parisians wear their natural grey hair as part of their style.

2. Master The “Chic-Décontracté” Dress Code

Parisian woman with navy blue blazer, slouchy jeans and ballet flats
Paris street style fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian style is often described as “chic décontracté” (casual chic). Les Parisiennes know exactly how to effortlessly mix classic, essential items with more sophisticated and trendy pieces. Think trench coats thrown over relaxed jeans, tailored pants with white sneakers, or blazers with wide-leg trousers. To avoid appearing overdressed, Parisians tend to opt for clothing that fits comfortably or is slightly oversized.

3. Wear The “Masculin-Féminin” Look

Parisian woman with masculine blazer with waist belt
Paris street style fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent made a groundbreaking impact on fashion by introducing a women’s tuxedo suit, now considered the epitome of masculine tailoring. Even after 57 years, this style remains highly popular among Parisians.

Les Parisiennes prefer to steer clear of overly sexy outfits, instead incorporating masculine pieces into their outfits, creating truly effortless chic looks. When wearing super feminine clothes, Parisians add a touch of masculinity, and when sporting masculine outfits, they incorporate feminine elements.

To achieve a modern and effortlessly chic Parisian style, blend masculine shapes with feminine silhouettes, such as tailored pants with a silk blouse, a black leather jacket over a silk midi dress, an oversized button-down shirt with high-rise straight jeans, or a masculine blazer with a waist belt.

4. Invest in Timeless Luxury Items

Kelly Hermès bag
Paris street style spring-summer 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisians are known for investing in high-quality pieces and well-crafted staples. They often pair accessibly-priced pieces from the high street with designer staples that have the ability to elevate any outfit. So their simple jeans, white T-shirts, and button-down shirts never have to work hard since their outerwear, shoes, and handbags do all the talking for them.

When it comes to investing in fashion, Parisians tend to choose luxury pieces that are timeless and will last a lifetime. Fine jewelry, watches, and designer handbags are always smart investments since they hold strong resale value or even appreciate value over time. In terms of style, they prove their longevity by staying relevant season after season.

5. Wear Neutral Tones

Parisian woman wearing a white suit with suede loafers
Paris street style fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian fashion is known for being discreet. To maintain their understated elegance, Parisians avoid pairing too many bright colors together. Instead, they opt for neutral tones and classic shades — white, black, navy blue, grey, brown, beige, burgundy, cognac, khaki, etc. This allows for easy mixing and matching of clothing pieces. Parisians add pops of color through their accessories, such as a colorful silk scarf, a stylish hat, or a chic purse, while keeping the overall outfit discreet.

6. Pay Attention to Details

Parisian woman wearing a grey waistcoat and matching trousers with slide sandals
Paris street style spring-summer menswear 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian fashion is all about attention to detail. Parisians coordinate their outfits meticulously, making sure that every piece matches the others. This means that your top should match your pants, which should match your shoes, and your coat should fit in perfectly as well.

When putting together your outfit, pay attention to the little things, such as the cuffs on your pants, the way you roll up your sleeves, how much of your shirt you tuck in, and how many buttons you leave open. These small details can make a big difference in the overall look of your outfit. Lastly, don’t forget the importance of a well-chosen belt to give your ensemble some shape. When shopping for clothing or putting together an outfit, keep an eye out for these important details:

  • The fabric: look at what the garment is made of and prefer natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool, cashmere or linen, etc., over synthetic fabrics.
  • The fit: Your clothes should fit perfectly, meaning they should be not too tight, loose, short, and not too long. Get some pieces tailored for you if they don’t fit perfectly.
  • Prints: Keep it classic and stick to prints that won’t go out of style, like stripes, plaid, tartan, and houndstooth. Parisians do not wear more than one print at the same time in an outfit.
  • Accessories: to elevate your outfit, you can incorporate small but impactful details such as lace, bows, silk scarves, hats, or jewelry. Opting for delicate jewelry or a single statement piece is best to avoid over-accessorizing. Parisians tend to keep their accessories minimal for a sleek and stylish look.

7. Review The Trends

Parisian woman wearing a black little dress with Chanel block heel pumps
Paris street style fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisian fashion style is a bit more sophisticated than the classic French style. While French women do not necessarily adhere to current fashion trends, Parisians like to review them and incorporate one or two into their overall look. This may include the latest “it” handbag, trendy shoes, or fashionable accessories. Parisians love to mix classic, timeless pieces with trendy accessories.

8. Find Your Own Style

Parisian woman wearing a brown oversized blazer over a black turtleneck, white straight-leg pants
Paris street style fall-winter 2023. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight.

Parisians have a strong sense of fashion style and strong personalities as well. Even if les Parisiennes love their basics and do not mind sharing them with half of the women in Paris, they also want to be unique and put a lot of effort into that. They create their own individuality through details by seeking vintage pieces and lesser-known brands (“marques confidentielles”). Parisians exude confidence in their fashion choices and always leave the house feeling comfortable and self-assured. They just own it. That is the Parisian way.

I independently select all products featured on Leonce Chenal. If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only recommend products I genuinely love.

Must-Have Parisian Style Pieces

To help you achieve that Parisian chic style, I’ve compiled a list of the essentials that are found in every Parisian wardrobe —and on every street in Paris ;). I added convenient shopping recommendations for each piece.


Bottoms & Dresses



Bags & Accessories

Where to Buy Parisian Style Clothes

If you’re interested in adding a few Parisian staples to your wardrobe, here are some of my favorite Parisian brands I recommend:

What to Avoid

  • Sweatpants, lycra leggings, and any gym wear —Parisians, well-known for their discreet style sense, generally don’t wear sporty clothing except at the gym
  • Belt bags, fanny packs, and backpacks (especially in the Parisian Métro for safety reasons)
  • Too-revealing or too-short dresses
  • Flip-flops, socks with sandals
  • Ball caps
  • Any T-shirt or sweatshirt printed with “I love Paris”
  • Anything overly loud, colorful, or branded (it can potentially make you a target of pickpocketing or other scams)
  • Flashy colors and too many prints altogether.
View Comments (17)
  • Just by looking at your picture, you immediately take notice that you must take very good care of your skin, because it looks dashing.
    I would like to receive skincare advise as well as makeup tips. love make-up, fashion and always looking to learn new ways of taking care of my skin.

    Look forward to your reply.

    Thank you,

  • Hey Leonce! Why are sheer tights a faux-pax? For example, black sheer tights can be quite attractive.

    Also, are jeggings a fashion faux pax?

    Do women in Paris ever go jogging outside? If so, what do they wear?


    • Hello Cannon, Thank you for your questions! Black sheer tights are very chic, however, it’s more nude sheer tights that are considered a “faux-pas”. Indeed, it’s usually very complicated to find nude sheer tights that match perfectly our skin color, so we usually end up having legs lighter or darker than our natural skin color 🙂 Also, French women usually only wear leggings when working out (going jogging outside in Paris for example) but not in everyday life. Jeggings are not a common thing in France so I would assume that the French would prefer to wear skinny jeans rather than jeggings. I hope that helps xo

  • Bonjour! Really liked this article, had a quick look in my lunch hour but will read it properly later. Had to laugh when you mentioned Emily’s style in Emily in Paris is the ‘anti-Parisian style’ ! 🙂 I suppose it was quite over the top… I also really enjoy your skincare posts & particularly lifestyle tips 🙂

  • LOVE your articles and wonderful insight, Leonce!
    You state that Parisian fashion is more sophisticated, more tailored than the rest of France which makes a lot of sense. But can you please elaborate in a possible upcoming article how women in smaller French cities and towns remain fashionable and timeless throughout the year. For instance, what would be classic look essentials that a fashionable woman in Lyon, in Bordeaux, in Aix en Provence might wear?
    The reason for my question is because in the U.S. — New York City would be more akin to Paris (but only in a certain way, of course) whereas I live in a medium-size city in Texas with a population of 1.5 million inhabitants.
    SO THE QUESTION IS: How does one remain classically chic when it’s 30 Celsius and you’re NOT on vacation??!
    Thank you in advance for any guidance or tips you can provide on Tier II/Tier III city fashion.

  • Dear Leonce
    What is refreshing is having a French person writing about French subjects. So many so called ‘French’ experts on lifestyle. fashion etc are not French, live in USA and have never even visited France. When we travelled, pre Covid, France was our special place. The biggest compliment i could recieve was a French Person thinking i was French.
    I save your emails to read over and over when i need guidance and inspiration on style.
    Thank you

    • Bonjour Georgina, Thank you so very much for your lovely comment, it means a lot to me! With things going back to normal, I hope you’ll be able to travel to France again 🙂 Merci beaucoup for subscribing to the newsletter as well! I’m very happy to hear you enjoy it —xo, Leonce.

  • HI Leonce!
    I love your articles, but I was still a little curious:
    How can you wear fashionable items when it’s freezing outside? I’m sure Parisians must be cold in skinny jeans.

    • Bonjour Mia! Thank you very much for your comment! I’ve written a lot of different articles about French fashion in fall and winter. I’ve added the links so you can find these articles directly. Let me know if you have any other questions! xo Leonce

  • Dear Leonce,
    I absolutely adore this article.
    It is extremely interesting that Parisian sartorial is playful & relaxed at the same time!
    As much as I adore ostentatious London dressing, I find that Parisian style is much more attractive for Autumn/Winter, with the occasional blend of the two city styles during the Christmas/ New Year period.

    Kindest Regards,

  • Love this especially the don’t list! Could you do a do’s and don’ts on Parisian interior style please

  • Bonjour Leonce j’adore ton blog !
    J’aimerais beaucoup y voir un article sur le style français au travail / une work capsule wardrobe.
    Merci !

    • Bonjour Mathilde, merci pour ton commentaire. Quelle bonne idée! J’ai ajouté cela à ma to-do list et j’essaierai d’écrire sur ce sujet dans les semaines à venir. Bien à toi, xo Leonce

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