“How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits” is a best selling book that was published in 2014, written by a group of four fashionable, funny and highly sarcastic friends. Due to my long-term love of everything Paris related I’ve read various different books on Parisian fashion, but this is the only one that makes complete and utter sense. I can’t believe I’ve been here over a month now, and that I’ve only got less than a month to go. However, I’ve learned a crazy amount from living here already, from the type of food they eat, the way they set their dinner table, the way they commute, their general attitudes, their language slangs, and of course their everyday style. When most people combine the thoughts of Paris and the fashion world they tend to think of streets full of stylish women, bold coloured accessories, women that know their figure and of course many men in suits. Now I have to admit I’m not disappointed by menswear over here because french men aren’t afraid to always look their best, but the women on the other hand are still surprising me. Let’s just say I stand out like a sore thumb, and not just because of my red hair. If you’re coming to Paris any time soon and want to just blend in with the Parisian lifestyle, then I think you might find these five styling tips incredibly useful…
- Embrace your natural beauty
At home, and I think pretty much everywhere in Ireland, if you don’t have make-up on you’re almost frowned upon. I always absolutely hated this because I have incredibly sensitive skin so having to wear make-up every single day isn’t the best thing for it. Paris however, couldn’t be more different. The first few days I was here, roaming through the cobbled streets constantly craning my neck to look around at the stunning architecture, I was given the weirdest looks. It’s funny because it’s not as if I was wearing heavy foundation, my dark purple lipstick, or even smokey eyes, I considered myself to be pretty bare. My first night out here was the weirdest experience though, in regards to beauty. I braved the combination of dark red lips and smokey blue eyes, but it was absolutely pointless. Yes it looked good, but all the girls around me had practically no make-up on whatsoever. It was so surreal. So after a week or so, I began to tone down my eyes, go for nude lips rather than red and only put on one layer of tinted moisturizer, and now I’m starting to fit in that little bit more. So what I’m trying to say is that in Paris, keep it simple and embrace your natural beauty.
- Messier the better
This is one thing that I just adore about Paris style, because it’s something I always have regardless of where I am or where I’m going. Messy hair. During my time here I think I’ve seen about three women that had styled hair-dos, every other girl has either messy waves like myself, messy plaits, thrown together buns or just a simple ‘out-of-bed’ look, it’s awesome. Therefore if you’re a girl that loves her curling tongs, never leaves the house without a straightener or has an obsession with always looking pristine, then I don’t think Paris is the place for you.
- Forget your FigureFrom many years of reading Trinny & Susannah books, watching Gok Wan on repeat and having Off The Rails as my guilty pleasure, I’ve learned that you should always embrace your figure. I’m far from having a body like a Victoria Secret Model (sorry but chocolate will always come first…) but over the years I’ve learned to hide my worst parts and highlight my best bits. Whether that’s wearing a pair of high-waisted shorts to show off my legs and hide my stomach, a wide waist belt over a flowy dress to highlight my waist, or a pair of skinny jeans instead of boyfriend jeans to hug my figure rather than hide it. However when you’re in Paris all those rules seem to just disappear into thin air. Every woman here seems to love baggy tees, loose fitting dresses, low-rise ‘mom’ jeans, boyfriend blazers in a size too big, and any other item of clothing that doesn’t highlight your figure. Even on nights out I’ve yet to see a bodycon dress, a pair of fitted shorts, or even a pair of faux leather leggings. Essentially all the trends that have been filling nightclubs and bars back on Irish soil, are non existent to the world of Parisians
- Minimalist MagicMinimalism kills me, always has and I think it always will. Yes I’ve always dreamed of my future home to have all white walls, but I wouldn’t have one single bit of white furniture alongside them. If you follow me on Instagram or on Snapchat, you’ll know that I’m constantly wearing brightly coloured clothes, bold embellished shoes, or if I’m wearing a simple outfit it’ll always be paired with clashing coloured accessories. It’s probably one of the reasons why people behind the counters of cafés or shops talk to me in English no matter how hard I try to speak French, they just know that I’m not a local. Now I’m proud to be Irish and I always love being associated with Ireland, but it does get frustrating when you cannot go a whole day without receiving a judgmental stare from a passer by. I’d like to say that if I had known this before I came I would’ve packed more of my simple, darker coloured clothing (they just love their fifty shades of grey, black and navy over here!) , but I know that I wouldn’t have because I love my clothes and colours too much. If you do want to fit in however I’d recommend you to pack lots of grey, lots of black, and lots of simple pieces but I still like to stick by the iconic line Ms Chanel once said; “In order to be Irreplaceable, one must always be different…”
- “There’s not an awful lot you could tell about a person by the shoes”
One of the quotes that I always had strong belief in was from probably my all-time favourite film, Forrest Gump. As he was sitting on the bench, hugging his box of half eaten chocolates, rambling to whoever came and sat alongside him, he spoke about being able to tell a persons personality by their shoes. I always agreed with this quote but after living in Paris my view has changed. I always had the impression that even though Parisians are renowned for their simplistic style, I imagined them to always have an amazing pair of shoes to finish off their outfit, but I was wrong. I’ve seen a handful of women wear stunning heels strutting through the cobbled streets (I’m always baffled by how they seem to do it with such elegance and poise), but a large majority seem to have very simple shoes. Whether it’s a simple pair of ballet pumps/loafers, a pair of chunky heeled brown shoes (think of the style heels your Granny would wear, rather than Alexa Chung), or a plain pair of flat sandals, there’s never anything elaborate. The amount of glances I’ve received when I wear my embellished coral gladiator sandals is unbelievable. So if you want my opinion on fitting in, go for Primark basics rather than their limited edition options.
Before I finish off this post, I just want to say that this post isn’t aimed at any group or person in particular it’s just the impression that I’ve obtained from people in general living in probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris. If you happen to be a Parisian reading this, I hope I haven’t offended you in any way, shape or form, but then again fashion wouldn’t be fashion without peoples honest opinions..