parisian style look

Fashion Tips for the Ultimate French Girl Parisian Style

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward us a small commission – at no extra cost for you.

It’s no secret that Parisian women have long been the epitome of chic, effortlessly mastering the art of looking both understated and impeccably dressed. This blend of casual elegance has captivated and inspired onlookers worldwide, spreading the essence of Parisian style around the globe. From the casual toss of a scarf and the perfect fit of a blazer to the appeal of a simple yet perfectly cut dress, it can be hard to define all of the elements that make this style so appealing for those who aren’t super familiar. Today, we’re diving straight into the essence of Parisian fashion, letting you in on the best tips and pieces to incorporate this aesthetic into your own wardrobe. 

How To Achieve the Very Essence of Parisian Style

parisian style outfit

More than just a fashion statement, Parisian style can be argued to be more of a philosophy. That can sound dramatic, I know – but stick with me! This style prioritizes quality over quantity, and classic, versatile pieces over passing trends.

At the end of the day, it’s about building a wardrobe that feels both classic and fresh, no matter the season or the occasion. As we explore the core principles and pieces that define French fashion, you’ll discover that achieving that coveted Parisian look is much more attainable than you might think!

From perfecting the art of the tuck to finding the everyday bag that elevates your style, it’s all about embracing the simplicity and elegance of our friends across the Atlantic. 

Of course, it’s not just about the trips and tricks; it’s also about the pieces too. Here, I’ve included some of my top recommendations for those looking to bring timeless pieces into their collection. Whether you’re looking to invest in a few key items or freshen up your entire wardrobe, I’ve got you covered with curated suggestions that will infuse your closet with that Parisian flair.

As we go through this list of Parisian style tips, it’s important to note that there are always exceptions to a rule! Especially when the subject is fashion, interpretation and personal style play a massive role in determining a simple look – it’s what makes fashion so interesting. Let’s get into it. 

1. Less is More

Beyond the simple silhouette lies the concept of intentional choice. Versatility is a key element in any Parisian wardrobe, with every piece serving multiple purposes such as blending seamlessly from day to night or casual to elegant.

This approach to fashion isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a lifestyle choice that values quality over quantity, classic over trendy, and slow fashion over fast. In its essence, Parisian style can be a great way of learning how to invest in quality pieces that we’ll wear and cherish for years to come!

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trends! New styles – or even old ones that make their comeback – are fun to experiment with, and especially fun to complement our wardrobes with if we are ever in the mood to try out something new. When it comes to developing a personal style that is classic, versatile, and always elegant, going for Parisian style is a great way to begin. 

parisian style clothing

2. Ballet Flats Galore 

As you learn more and more about Parisian and French girl style as a whole, you’ll see that there are certain quintessential closet staples that there’s no getting away from. In the shoe department, ballet flats are definitely part of this category. Especially in a big city where walking is a given for many, there’s no need to wear heels to look like the everyday Parisian girls – it’s about keeping it stylish and comfortable.

While ballet flats are certainly timeless and sophisticated in appearance, the Parisian love affair with this shoe design is also a nod to practicality as it embraces the Parisian lifestyle full of leisurely strolls and spontaneous adventures.

It’s about looking great and being prepared for it all – from a day that might include a visit to a gallery, a walk along the Seine, and a dinner at your favorite bistro. Like many of the other pieces that help to make up Parisian fashion, ballet flats bring with them practical elegance that ensures style never means compromising on comfort. If you ask me (and the French!), true chicness comes from feeling as good as you look!

Madewell The Betsy Ballet Flat

A pair of black flats is an essential part of any Parisian style closet – and you’ll definitely be grateful for these comfortable and versatile shoes in the days when you just can’t figure out what to put on. Always adaptable and complementary to almost any look, these flats are dependable pieces you’ll find yourself returning to often.

Jeffrey Campbell Arabesque Ballet Flat

Chanel-inspired, this cap-toe ballet flat is a great way of bringing some variety into your closet while still keeping your neutral colors in mind, understated and elegant. For a more casual, relaxed outfit, this chic shoe can instantly dress up and polish your look within a moment’s notice.

Sam Edelman Michaela Mary Jane Flat

While I know this isn’t technically a ballet flat, I had to include a Mary Jane style shoe when talking about the style of the French capital. Another very popular option among women in Paris, Mary Jane flats are just as reliable and versatile, beyond infusing your look with an accessory that’s equal parts timeless and trendy (here’s to circular fashion!). 

Related: 5 Most Popular Sneaker Brands Parisians Are Currently Wearing

3. Mastering the Tuck

It’s safe to say that the French have elevated tucking in a shirt into an art form. Whether it’s a full tuck, half-tuck, or even a barely-there tuck, this simple styling detail can go a long way in defining your silhouette and instantly polishing your look. 

Of course, there can be other more specific uses for a tuck in your look, from showing off your high-waisted pants to playing with the proportions of your outfit!

J. Crew Classic Shirt

This neutral, classic shirt is the perfect piece to tuck into your jeans or trousers in general. Whether you go with a skinny belt or a subtle tuck that gives your look just that extra touch of polish, there’s no going wrong with this must-have Parisian street-style piece.

While this may seem like a dressier option for many people who aren’t used to the classic Parisian look, a button-down can be argued to be a big part of the overall look of the French woman.

4. Neutral Territory

This next tip is sure to make it into the rulebook of any classic wardrobe, and it is definitely up there for French fashion. Parisian style thrives on a palette of blacks, whites, beiges, and grays, allowing for endless combinations of effortless style every time. For a truly versatile and adaptable wardrobe, neutral tones are a must!

Of course, intentional accents of bold or bright colors, as well as some patterns like leopard print, can elevate a classic outfit and take it to the next level. In particular, red, navy blue, and Breton stripes all bring some more visual interest and an extra dash of French flair to your look.

Related: How Do You Add a Pop of Color to a Neutral Outfit? Follow These 6 Tips

Sézane Collete Marinière

This striped top is the perfect example of what it means to integrate very delicate subtle colors and patterns in your look the French way. Made from 100% cotton and featuring the famous Breton stripes, this top brings visual interest to a look without detracting from its overall elegant and sophisticated feel. 

5. The Right Accessories

Unsurprisingly, Parisian style also tends heavily towards a few accessories that can be used to define their style. The scarf is definitely a part of this group, offering both function and flair to any basic look.

Beyond its ability to level up any outfit, this accessory also brings versatility in its many styling options – always the best pieces to style! Options include tying the scarf around your neck, draping it over your shoulders, and knotting it onto your handbag! Just like that, an extra layer of quintessentially French texture and color. 

Gaston Scarf

Maryse Scarf

6. Minimalist Jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, Parisian fashion can be defined once again by the “less is more” philosophy. Timeless and classic jewelry that often leans more on the dainty side is preferred, as pieces are able to seamlessly go with any outfit. 

In Parisian style, jewelry seems to add a gentle layer of delicate femininity, polishing up any look while still featuring an understated look at the same time.

Monica Vinader Hammered Pendant Necklace

A simple pendant necklace is a great way to go about incorporating this subtle but present gold touch. 

Related: 8 Things French Women Don’t Wear (And What They Wear Instead)

7. Closet Staples

Almost like a capsule wardrobe, certain key pieces make up the essentials of French style, and are go-to designs in everyday wear. From a trench coat to a cashmere sweater, Parisian women know the value of classic pieces.

When it comes to building your closet and finding your staples, it is always best to invest in quality when possible! These pieces are the go-tos of your closet, transcending seasons and trends for years to come.

Beyond a trench coat and a cashmere sweater, a well-fitted, great pair of jeans is a must in any Parisian wardrobe. Opting for a style that flatters your natural shape – be it straight-leg, skinny, or a more relaxed boyfriend cut – ensures that these jeans can be the foundation for countless outfits over time. 

A crisp white shirt also ranks high among these staples, offering endless versatility and an undeniably classic aesthetic. This piece can serve as a blank canvas for accessorizing, be worn under a jumper for a preppy look, or even be styled in a more relaxed way when tucked into your favorite pair of jeans. 

While these are certainly not the only pieces that make up the staple of the Parisian wardrobe, this is definitely a great place to begin! 

Want a free French wardrobe shopping list? You can get that (and more) by signing up here!

Sézane Max Shirt

This classic white button-down is a favorite piece for its versatility, fit, and quality. Featuring a gorgeous silhouette and made from 100% organic cotton, this shirt offers comfort and style all at once.

Sézane Scott Trench Coat

What is French style without a traditional trench coat? From spring to winter and in between, this coat will be by your side as you navigate the greater part of the year in true Paris style. 

Madewell The ’90s Straight Jean

A pair of straight-leg blue jeans belongs in every closet, from France and back! A good fit is essential for this piece to do its part in both your casual and classic looks – and these jeans give you just that. A little bit of stretch ensures these jeans are comfortable – and very flattering – from the jump. 

8. A Tailored Fit

Since French style tends to lean more toward classic silhouettes and simple lines, a great fit is a big part of the appeal and luxurious vibe of French style – so don’t shy away from a little tailoring!

Especially when it comes to special occasions and timeless pieces you’ll come back to, it can be worth making sure that your clothes look like they were made just for you.

Of course, tailoring is expensive and can add up! While it’s definitely an easy way to get your closet looking Parisian, this same effect can be achieved simply by shopping more intentionally.

It is definitely a time-consuming process that takes some effort, but looking for the perfect fit before investing in high-quality pieces is also a great way of measuring whether something is right for you or not. Win-win!

Related: 13 Go-To Parisian Outfits (As Told to Me by French Women)

9. Embrace Vintage & Pre-Loved Finds  

Incorporating vintage or second-hand pieces into your wardrobe is another amazing tip for getting that European flair into your collection. Just like many of its neighboring countries, Parisians have a deep appreciation for the past, and a well-chosen vintage piece can add that unique flair to make your outfit stand out. 

Beyond being a great way of upgrading your style, investing in pre-loved items is a more sustainable way of approaching fashion, aligning with the French value of prioritizing quality over quantity.

10. Find Your Statement Bag

Much like their approach to other accessories and clothing pieces, Parisians lean more towards investing in a few quality handbags as opposed to various ones of lesser quality. While this is definitely not meant to say that French women tend to have conservative handbag collections, there are certain styles that tend to be more popular. 

From large, slouchy leather bags to small, structured handbags, the style possibilities are endless.

Following a pattern, the key to a Parisian style handbag is in its versatility and timeless elegance. A classic leather tote can carry the essentials from a weekday at the office to a weekend getaway, while a chic, minimalistic crossbody bag is a testament to the practicality that defines French style. 

Finding your ideal go-to bag can also involve playing with different seasonal textures and materials that add an unexpected, appropriate twist to a classic look. Think of a suede oversized bag paired with a wool coat in winter or a wicker basket bag that brings a touch of the South of France to a summer dress.

Related: A Guide to the Most Popular Handbag Styles in Paris

Milo Classic Bag

Compact and structured, this gorgeous crossbody bag beautifully blends function and aesthetic for the everyday.

Gabin Bag

This slouchy bag is perfect for infusing an extra dose of style into your look – and keeping your essentials safe!

The Essential Mini Bucket Tote

Classic, casual, and perfect with anything! This bucket tote follows a popular French silhouette and will always have your back, no matter what you’re wearing.

11. Embrace the Masculine-Feminine Balance

French style is known for its androgynous edge, where a dress can be paired with an oversized black blazer and heels. This natural balance adds a sophisticated dynamic to any outfit, playing with contrasts to create an elevated, effortless look. 

Incorporating menswear elements into a wardrobe doesn’t just have to stop at blazers, either. Pieces like classic leather loafers and crisp button-down shirts also lend a masculine feel to a look, and pair beautifully with feminine details that help to make up the Parisian approach we’re after! These “masculine” pieces bring structure and a more serious edge to softer pieces like silk blouses and lace tops.

Striking this balance the right way is also about the textures and fabrics you choose to incorporate. Combining a chunky knit sweater with a satin slip skirt, for example, plays on this contrast and emphasizes it in another way. In general, the seamless blend of structure and fluid makes the Parisian style so interesting. 

Accessories can also play a crucial role in achieving this balance. A delicate piece of jewelry can soften a stern, masculine-inspired outfit, while a bold wide-leather belt can add weight to a lighter, more naturally feminine outfit.

12. The Lace Touch

While more structured materials are also very much used within French fashion, there is no denying the use of lace to make up the more romantic details in a well-thought-out look. With its intricate patterns and sheer elegance, lace contributed a touch of romanticism and refinement to any outfit, embodying that perfect blend of strength and delicacy that Parisian style is known for. 

Incorporating lace into your wardrobe doesn’t mean you’re confined to traditional looks or formal occasions, either! Parisians have seemed to really master the art of incorporating lace in unexpected ways, making it a present and versatile component of daily wear.

A lace-trimmed camisole, for example, can add a hint of romance from under an oversized blazer, while a lace skirt can be downplayed and balanced with a chunky knit sweater for a look that’s cozy and chic. 

In order to truly embody the Parisian spirit, make sure to stop and think about the color and specifications of your lace pieces. Opting for timeless shades like black, white, or navy will ensure your pieces stay relevant and versatile throughout the seasons and years. 

Sézane Chlo Shirt

This shirt beautifully encapsulates a lot of the style principles of the French. The delicate lace-like embroidery detail that runs along the placket and collar of this top lends a soft, delicate touch to your look. Pair this shirt with a trench coat, leather jacket, or blazer for the ultimate Parisian outfit.

Sézane Chlo Shirt in Lace

If you want to take it a step further and fully embrace the romantic vibe, then this lace shirt is the way to do it. Beautiful, delicate, and well-crafted, this piece is sure to turn heads wherever you go – from down the block all the way to the streets of Paris. Once again, this shirt can be paired with more structured, masculine silhouettes for that coveted French balance. 

Embracing Elegance: The Timeless Appeal of Parisian Style

Ultimately, the Parisian approach to style is about finding pieces that resonate with your personal aesthetic, serve your lifestyle, and stand the test of time, much like the Parisian approach to life itself!

In the world of French fashion, less is really more. This philosophy encourages us to seek out high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time, helping us to cultivate a curated closet that blends classic pieces, personal style, and individuality. 

Up Next: I Learned These 7 Foundational French Fashion Tips After Interviewing Parisian Women


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.