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Top 5 Tips for the Classic Parisian Casual Look

Updated on July 21, 2016

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. And for many good reasons:

Few cities have the history, beauty, variety, and mouth-watering cuisine that Paris offers the visitor.

But because Paris offers so many attractions for holidaymakers, it can become crowded with obvious interlopers during many times of the year. If you want to blend in with the crowds - and not be automatically treated like a tourist - you need to look like a Parisian. You need to talk like a Parisian. And you need to dine like a Parisian. Out of the three, the first one is definitely easiest! So book yourself a flight and look around for Paris vacation apartments because an unforgettable travel awaits you.

Louvre Museum Paris
Louvre Museum Paris

So, what do French women look like? What is this Parisian chic style? And how will it help you appear like one of the natives?

1. Aim for a Neutral Tone

If you haven't been to Paris before, it'll probably be what do women in Paris wear? that you're wondering. One look around the crowded sidewalks will show you that there aren't many brightly coloured t-shirts in evidence. The beginning and end of French fashion basics could be said to be: wear black. But most neutral shades, including greys, browns, and navy blues, are perhaps even more popular.

If you want to wear what Parisians wear, avoid bright colours, startling patterns, and other eye-catching images.

2. Not Everything Has to Be "Designer"

But a few things, or at least one key element of your outfit, probably should be. Don't immediately go out and bag yourself the most valuable item from the most famous designer you can think of, though.

Sometimes a smaller, less expensive item from an up and coming name can go much further when it comes to being fashionable in Paris.

3. Accessorise - Especially With Your Scarf

A silk scarf is a Paris fashion essential for most women. And most locals of both genders will have several - or more likely a huge collection! - of scarves made of different materials and thicknesses. Different times of year and different weather conditions will not prevent a Parisian from tastefully donning a little fabric around the neck. What do Parisians wear in the summer?

A scarf. In the winter? A different scarf. But still, almost always a scarf! Rarely will you be able to walk down a street in the French capital without spotting several scarf-wearers, and sometimes the entire street will be filled with scarf-sporting Parisians!

Other items, like a pair of not over-the-top sunglasses or some quietly fashionable earrings, are also popular accessory choices.

4. Bed Hair

The "less is more" philosophy is probably key to the question of how to dress like a local in Paris. The intimation that you just fell out of bed looking naturally elegant is the one to strive for. "I woke up like this, darling. I certainly didn't put any effort in."

In other words, the look known to most of the world as "bed hair". In Paris, tousled hair is almost always in.

The natural look - the phrase "au natural" is French for a reason - is prized. This means minimal, and never heavy, makeup is part of the French girl look too. Except in one area - usually a shade of red lipstick is favoured for the lips.

5. Casual doesn't mean "casual"

White trainers, tracksuits, and baseball caps are all signals that you're a visitor to Paris. Likewise, the obvious tourist accoutrements - the giant rucksack or American-popularised fanny pack - should be left back at your hotel or trendy Parisian apartment.

This doesn't mean that you need to dress like you're about to step onto the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week. You don't need to go combing through Luis Vuitton, or keep obsessively on top of the latest offerings from Pierre Cardin.

If you're really wondering how to get Parisian style, it's not the art of looking as casual as possible that you need to learn. It's the art of looking like you haven't put any effort into looking quietly stylish that you need to master...

This article gives you some hints at creating the typical French look - specifically for Paris. With a little practice, you'll soon be able to convince the locals to greet you with a polite "bonjour" instead of a confident "hello".

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