How to dress like a Parisian
Vanessa Bruno is a favourite amongst Parisiennes of all ages. (Kim Laidlaw Adrey)
Paris has a signature sartorial style -- a casual, never-overdressed-yet-never-underdressed approach that translates to Parisians looking effortlessly stylish no matter what.
So how do you blend in when visiting the French capital? Hot foot it to any of these quintessentially Parisian shops and flex your credit card like your style depended on it (because it does!).
For clean, simple shapes try APC, a favourite with fashion-forward types even though it is surprisingly classic. The French brand’s timeless and androgynous aesthetic -- using denim, cotton and wool in mostly neutral tones -- extends across ranges for men, women, shoes and accessories.
Kitsuné, a clothing line for men and women from the Parisian record label of the same name, mixes Breton style with a Japanese savoir faire to produce high quality preppy basics - -think polo shirts, v-neck jumpers and dark blue jeans -- many of which are adorned with the label’s adorable fox motif.
For high-end high street fashion, Sandro and Maje, both with branches throughout the capital, might as well be crowned the official uniform suppliers for Parisian women between the ages of 18 and 35. Creating looks directly inspired by the catwalk but at half the price, these shops are a great place to pick up a couple of trend-led pieces. They also have accessories and shoes, and Sandro carries a men’s line.
Isabel Marant, the French designer darling of fashion shows worldwide, creates bohemian pieces to flatter the female form, all of which are interesting without being difficult to wear. She also has a more affordable range , Isabel Marant Etoile, as well as a children’s line.
Young French designer Guillaume Henry has revamped old Parisian couture house Carven in recent years, and the affordable, youthful separates for men and women are available at the label’s Left Bank store (36 rue Saint Sulpice; 09-60-45-47-04).
Parisian women of all ages adhere to Vanessa Bruno’s subtle silhouettes, featuring fluid shapes and flattering fabrics in neutral tones. There was a time when Bruno’s sequin-embellished tote bag seemed to be slung over every female shoulder in the capital. Although it may no longer be the Paris It-bag of the moment, if you add just one key piece of from any of these designers to your wardrobe, you might just pass for a local. And what’s more, the summer sales are on in Paris until 31 July.
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes unlockparis.blogspot.com.