Parisian style – according to Caroline de Maigret (model and French fashion icon) — comes from what nourishes us every day: what we read and the music we listen to forms our fashion identity.»
While observing French women on Parisian streets, I have noticed that rarely they make an effort to « fit in ». They would rather use fashion, incorporate it into their lifestyle and enjoy it every day. And after a few years in Paris, I started doing the same.
LIVING IN PARIS AND PARISIAN STYLE: WHAT DID I CHANGE?
These are not big and dramatic changes. But as I observe myself, I know that my look is different from the one I used to have when I lived in Poland. When I first came to France, I knew (more or less) that Parisians are different with their approach to fashion. I have read « Parisian Chic » written by Inès de la Fressange and some other books. However, I have always had the impression that I was either under or overdressed.
Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.” ― Michael Simkins, Detour de France: An Englishman in Search of a Continental Education
The « Parisian look » is in fact so difficult to capture! Women are nonchalant and at the same time elegant. They don’t look like girls in Central or Eastern Europe (heels, dramatic makeup, sexy dress), they don’t dress sporty like girls in the U.S. They seem dressed comfortably but it has nothing in common with the sportswear that American people love so much. It took me some time to crack this Parisian dress-code, but I managed to understand a few things.
When it comes to my personal style, I see changes in the way I pick my shoes, how I tend my hands and how I have started to pay attention to « les accessories », especially famous French scarfs.
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING (AROUND PARIS)
If I could take you back in times and show my wardrobe back in 2010, you would see many pairs of high heels. I was known for wearing over the moon high heels. My friends were joking that you can hear me coming before you actually see me (apparently I was making noise on the pavement with my heels …)
Personal style and a confidence in their own intelligence gives French women a secure, self-confident, in-control, comfortable-in-their skin feeling – Anne Barone ” Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food and Still Stay Slim”
Years have passed, I live in Paris and my closet looks much diffem: rent…. I fell in love with the « basket » — comfortable, all year round perfect Converse style shoes. I can spend all day running and my feet will not be tired!
I have left my high heels in Warsaw, and I miss them dearly. But in Paris it is just not possible for me to walk and feel glamorous while wearing heels. I am also skeptical when it comes to ballerina flats since they very often damage my toes. During the winter season, I love wearing boots, during sales I want to look for classical Chelsea boots and use them during autumn-winter season 2018.
Do I miss my high heels? Of course! When I come back to Warsaw I immediately wear my stilettos and run to meet my girlfriends. And I feel like a real Warsaw girl again 🙂
PARISIAN STYLE AND EXPAT’S BEST FRIEND: MEET THE SCARF
When you come to France, you will notice that almost everyone is wearing a scarf. You may think that French people are just obsessed with these little accessories! And after a few months, I have understood why. A scarf is your best friend. It will warm you in the winter, or hide your arms when April sun suddenly starts to shine.
A woman’s relationship with her accessories is important and elemental. She should choose her accessories as she chooses her friends – Nina Garcia ” The Little Black Book of Style”
A scarf is just the best wardrobe piece you can get. When you wear something very classical and calm, it can change your outfit in a second. When you like bright colors but don’t want to buy a beige coat, you can « help » yourself with a scarf and voilà! Your face looks fresh, radiant and people ask you whether you enjoyed your vacation.
PARISIAN STYLE &FRENCH MANICURE — NOT THE ONE THAT YOU THINK!
Women in Poland have a completely different approach to manicure than French women. First of all, it’s so easy to find an elegant, clean and professional nail salon in Poland that will not make you bankrupt! Since Shellac found a way to nail bars in Poland, we enjoy a shiny and strong manicure, that will survive washing dishes and gym sessions without a scratch (at least for 2 weeks!) In Poland, I was a manicure addict. I had a gel nail phase, later I was always wearing classical red. I love having my nails done by a pro — it just makes me feel prepared for everything.
And in Paris…. Manicure is not so affordable like in Warsaw, so I let it go….
I read an interview with the French actress Léa Seydoux. She has admitted that in Paris you will not find nail bars on every corner of the street. I guess that the price is the reason why in Paris you will mostly see women having nude nails or a manicure done at home. For me, it’s simple: if you can’t pretend that you manicure has been done by a pro, just keep to the fresh nail. I have two lefts hands when it comes to a manicure, so when I am in Paris, I stick to the look à la naturelle.
P.S. French manicure (nude or light pink base with white tips) is seen nowhere in Paris! I think, that this trend has passed. Don’t try to make it before coming to Paris, it will not turn you into a « Parisienne »!
EVERYDAY PARISIAN STYLE —MAKEUP IS DISCREET AND INVISIBLE
Homeland of L’Oréal, Bourjois and other famous cosmetic brands, and what do we see on Parisian streets? For sure, no contouring à la Kim Kardashian and no strobing. Just fresh looking faces, sometimes with a flash of red lipstick. Makeup in Paris means discretion. You can enjoy it, but make your face look better, not heavy and overdone.
In Poland, women prefer stronger makeup than the one we see in Paris. When I have moved to Paris, I diminished drastically my everyday make up routine. But frankly, it wasn’t making me happy. I have a very pale skin and when I don’t help myself with a little makeup, people ask me if I feel sick and propose a glass of water.
I like to play with makeup, I like to make my eyes dramatic — when there is an occasion. I worship Lisa Eldrige’s YouTube channel and I have learned many tricks from professional makeup artists when I was working on TV. My everyday make up doesn’t look strong or fake, but it’s done with precision and gives me « strength «. As a natural blonde, with a pale skin, I don’t appreciate being told by brunettes to keep my eyes « natural ». If I had dark eyelashes and natural dark eyebrows, I would also advise people to keep it natural!
So, right now I can’t say that my makeup is strictly « Parisian style ». But I don’t care — I like how it makes me look and this is what in fact really matters.