A city break in Paris: How to dress like a Parisian

There’s no doubt about it: Parisians have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ which makes them seem effortlessly stylish, whatever they’re doing.  As a tourist in the city, this can be daunting.

If you’re setting off for a Parisian adventure, read on to find out how to dress so you blend in seamlessly as soon as you touch down at the airport…

Pack light

We’re all told about the importance of having a capsule wardrobe, and the Parisians really get it.

If you’re usually that person holding up the check-in line as you desperately try to juggle things between bags because you’ve gone over your baggage limit, listen up. If you’re planning a trip to Paris, don’t take your entire wardrobe – ration yourself to a few key pieces that you can mix and match. Focus on quality and only bring expensive-looking and hard-working items you love.

Get up close to a woman in Paris and you’ll notice that her shoes are made from quality leather, her jumper is pure cashmere and her blouse is spun from pure silk.

There is some respite from all this minimalism. Get the basics right (a pair of well-cut jeans, the perfect white shirt, a little black dress) and you can make them work even harder by throwing in a few (but not too many) choice accessories like hats, scarves, shoes and jewellery. If in doubt, follow fashion legend Coco Chanel’s’ golden rule: when layering accessories, always remove the very last item you added before setting off.

Parisian women ooze a certain sensuality, but never in an obvious way. They don’t tend to wear anything tight like a body con dress or show too much flesh. Instead, they wear looser clothing and tease with a flash of shoulder or ankle and the waft of their Chanel No.5 lingering behind them. The good news is that this rule means that if you run out of things to wear mid-holiday, just steal his shirt or oversized jumper for instant glamour, Parisian-style. Très chic.

And never underestimate the power of a jacket. Whether it’s a structured blazer, an edgy biker jacket or a classic trench, nail the jacket and you nail the look.


Paris is a walkable city, so leave the stilettos behind and opt for dainty ballet flats like the Parisians or stylish ankle boots (which The Hip Paris Blog says are everywhere in Paris). But flat shoes don’t equal overly casual shoes: trainers are a big no-no. For the men, skip the trainers and wear a brogue or oxfords, and you will be properly dressed for anywhere and anything.


A typical Paris colour palette consists of black, white, navy, brown and khaki hues – and not much else. This makes it easy to mix and match everything, you see. That doesn’t mean that all colourful clothes or patterns are banned. You can add in the odd pop of colour with a scarf or t-shirt if you like.

Parisian hair and beauty

The French approach to skincare and beauty is much like their approach to getting dressed: less is more.

Parisian women are fanatical about taking care of their skin and keeping it hydrated, so it’s worth browsing some of their pharmacies or the cosmetic department at the Galleries Lafayette to check out some of the products which are only available in France.

As for make-up, add just a bit of eyeliner, some primer and perhaps a dramatic red lip for the evening. The idea is to look like a better version of the natural you rather than to look made-up. And these dames don’t like their hair look too ‘done’, so go ahead and skip your pre-holiday blow dry and let it get a bit messy on the plane.

Shopping in Paris

If you don’t have single thing in your closet worthy of being paraded around on the streets of Paris, don’t panic. Paris is a shopper’s dream. From the designer boutiques which line the Champs Elysee to quirky clothes at the massive flea markets (the Porte de Clingancourt is full of clothes stalls), you’re bound to find something you like. Leave lots of room in your suitcase!

The art of airport chic

Stepping off a plane and still looking fabulous is no mean feat. Their secret? Sleep – whether it’s on the plane or at the airport. If your flight gets in at an awkward time and you’d rather not arrive in Paris looking unkempt and tired, check in at our hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport. You can check your bags in, sweat out the airline toxins in our Turkish steam room and have a regenerative sleep in our soundproofed rooms before emerging the next morning looking well-rested and ready for the city.

For the men

Parisian men also possess a certain je ne sais quoi, often sporting simple yet well cut and well balanced pieces. A pair of brogues, rolled-up chinos and an interesting yet classic blazer will make you blend into the Parisian streets of well dressed men. The secret is the same as the womens’ – keep it simple. Add a patterned silk pocket square if you wish, but keep the color palette simple. This is key to the capsule wardrobe for men as well as for the ladies.

What does your Paris wardrobe look like?