When we talk about fashion capitals of the world, a few distinct locations spring to mind: London, Milan, New York. But perhaps the most famous? Paris, of course. Why? Well, France’s association with glitz and glamour could be said to date all the way back to King Louis XIV (perhaps more commonly known as “The Sun King”) who resided in the stunning Palace of Versailles and prided himself in his appearance so much that he took the textiles trade under the control of the royal court. Since then, the continental country has produced some of those most notable, iconic, and respected fashion houses in the world. From Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Nowadays, lovers of fashion flock to the Champs Elysees, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and the “Triangle d’Or” (which translates as the “Golden Triangle”. So, if you’re considering adding a little Parisian chic to your personal style, here are a few areas you might want to focus on!
Berets may well be the most stereotypical garment associated with Paris, but believe it or not, wherever you head in the city, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, chances are you’ll see a handful of people sporting them. They may well be tourists, but regardless of whether Parisians really wear berets on a regular basis or not, they’re a brilliant piece of headwear that any follower of fashion should have at hand. This round and relatively flat hat tends to be made of felt or a similar kind of cloth and can come in a whole host of colours. We’re going to assume that you don’t want to have to store a whole rainbow of different berets, so choose your colours wisely. Relatively plain and neutral tones tend to be best, as they will match more outfits. So consider black, cream, taupe, or grey.
When it comes to footwear, Parisians, like many dwellers of major capital cities, tend to opt for rather sensible options. Why? Well, they tend to walk a lot further than people in less densely populated locations, and they tend to walk at a much faster speed too. Various studies have been conducted in regards to why individuals in densely populated inner cities tend to walk more and faster. Theories for distance include public transport links being more complex and requiring further travel between different platforms and means of transport. Theories concerning speed tend to conclude that individuals lead busier lifestyles and thus economise their time, valuing it more and wanting to spend less of it trailing from one place to another. Regardless of the reasons, comfortable and well fitting footwear become key. So consider flat slip-on ballerina pumps or ankle boots for colder seasons.
The Breton stripe is a classic Parisian staple. It originates from Brittany on the North West Coast of France, where a decree in 1858 enforced the pattern as part of seafarer’s uniforms. Traditionally, the white stripes are two centimetres thick separated by a single one-centimetre thick blue stripe. It was borrowed from seafaring and incorporated into mainstream fashion in 1917 by Coco Chanel who added it to her collection inspired by the nautical aesthetic. The clothing also broke away from the heavily tailored and fitted clothing of the time, proving popular for more casual wear during an era where vacations to seaside resorts and towns were becoming increasingly popular. Nowadays, you can get almost anything in Breton stripes. From pyjamas to dressing gowns, skirts, jumpers, and even socks or underwear. However, we’re still the fondest of its original form: the Breton stripe top. These are widely available, so start searching for the perfect fit and material to suit you.
The Signature Blazer
The signature blazer is perhaps the last necessity when making a comprehensive list of Parisian style fashion staples. The brilliant thing about blazers is that they are an inherently formal piece that can still easily be paired with an overall casual ensemble. They simply elevate the casual daytime look to create a standout outfit. Again, generally speaking, it’s best to invest in a relatively nude tone for this piece. This way, it can be used to its full advantage and paired with as many different outfits as possible. It’s a great way to add a little warmth while maintaining a chic and sleek image, without layering up with thick jumpers.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll soon have the perfect Parisian wardrobe! Don’t feel the need to go out and buy everything at once. You can build your wardrobe up one step at a time.
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