There is a definite “Parisian Style” that has little to do with navy and white striped T-shirts, berets and red neckerchiefs, or wearing Chanel from head to toe. It’s all about a retro urban ensemble that’s a little worn, a little designer, fairly neutral, full of character, unmatched, eclectic, always accessorized and never sporty.

Parisian street fashion was all about the following looks when we visited last week:

  • Skinny jeans, skinny jeans and more skinny jeans. 80% of women across all age groups wore them. Most of the styles weren’t ultra tapered but slick and straight was a key silhouette. I saw three people wear wide-legged pants in six days. Interesting.
  • Leggings were still big especially under tunic tops and dresses.
  • Monochromatic colours were the norm. Despite the sea of colour available in stores, street fashion stuck to black, grey, white, cream, beige and red. Very little brown and ink blue.
  • Cream, white and beige trenches, and cropped black biker jackets were “the” cover-up.
  • Sleek tops were tucked into skinny jeans and worn with a belt. Voluminous tunics, blouses and shirts were left un-tucked and often belted at the waist.
  • Knitted tops with yoke detailing were popular and virtually everyone wore some form of cropped cardigan. I didn’t see anyone who wasn’t pregnant wear a baby doll top. Woven tops were just as popular as knitted tops.
  • White and cream pants or jeans started coming through on warmer days. I didn’t see a single women in khakis or sweat pants. Linen and micro-check bottoms are the French substitute.
  • Very few skirts and dresses.
  • Ballet flats, ballet flats and more ballet flats. Loads of round toes and few pointy styles. 90% of the women wore flats but heels came out at night. Patent was hot.
  • There was an epidemic of grey Converse sneakers. You could spot at least 10 people wearing either grey, black or white retro Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers at any given time. Love it.
  • Chunky necklaces, bracelets and rings were the accessory of choice. Very few women wore statement earrings.
  • Cream, grey, white and tan handbags were plentiful and large flat totes were a popular choice. Sling bags took a back seat which surprised me.

It’s typical for French women to mix up their items. You’ll see fancy designer shoes worn with cheap H&M jackets, and Prada trenches matched with Converse sneakers. There’s loads of expensive designer merchandise on the streets of Paris, but it seldom looks new and pristine because it’s well worn and braves the elements of dirty city life.


Skinnies and a large tote making their way down Boulevard Henri IV in Paris.