How to Dress Like a Parisienne

August 3, 2014

How to Dress Like a Parisienne - Peaceful Dumpling So I’m probably going to regret saying this–nothing is for certain yet!–but, I may be going to Paris in fall. What happened was, my boyfriend had a work thing in Paris, suggested I come with him a week before, but then now it’s not in Paris anymore but in London and Portugal, but then I threw such a tantrum (so not a Peaceful Dumpling when Paris gets dangled in front of me and then taken away) that he promised to fit it in before Portugal…so it’s all kind of up in the air still. But ever the optimist I’ve been listening to Hotel Costes for the past 1 week straight (“what’s that junk music?” scoffs Boyfriend) and looking up cute clothes that I imagine chic parisienne me to be wearing as I scamper around on cobblestone streets. (And not even for 2 minutes worrying about what the heck I’m going to eat).

Though I’ve worshiped at the altar of Audrey Tautou (what girl hasn’t, who grew up watching Amelie in early naughts), fell in love with la Nouvelle Vague in college and had the task of reading lots of French manuscripts in publishing, I’ve never been to France. And like all New Yorkers I have an enduring fascination with the city of lights. Actually I believe the feeling is mutual because I run into so. many. French. tourists. In fact a lot of Europeans I meet say that their favorite city is New York, and in my mind I’m thinking, “but we have no alleys! What is wrong with you!” I think if New York has an advantage, it would be its edginess. If you want thrill, you have come to the right place. New Yorkers have a different way of thinking and it’s a very extreme type of environment. On the other hand (I imagine) you go to Paris not to be thrilled but to dream, to romance.

So back to how to dress like a parisienne. New York women love to experiment and it’s a more eclectic, edgy look. On the other hand French dressing is all about paring down to your essentials. Think Anne Fontaine white shirts, “a worn little navy sweater” (I’ve read), undone hair, but bold red lipstick to show you’re a girl. Here’s my wish list of New York-meets-Paris, edgy-meets-mysterious look. All vegan, naturellement.

1. Vegan Leather Jacket by Aqua, $98 How to Dress Like a Parisienne Lately I’ve been really into the idea of a great vegan leather jacket, which is classic without being matronly or boring. It’s all about contrasts–I would wear this jacket with a soft tank, a pencil skirt, hair pulled back or in loose waves–or with a floaty, not-to-short skirt in a lighter color, so you can be feminine but not too sweet.

2. Silver Midi Skirt by Zara, $59.90 How to Dress Like a Parisienne - Peaceful Dumpling I love the mysterious silver color of this skirt–metallic is a neutral that any woman should embrace. The midi length is comfortable and goes from morning, afternoon, to night. I’d wear this with a casual cotton tank top so it doesn’t look too dressy.

3. Vintage Cotton Tank in Heather Coastline by J.Crew, $22.50 How to Dress Like a Parisienne- Peaceful Dumpling     Did I mention I live in shades of dark blue and navy? It’s always tasteful. Navy never fails you.

4. Slouchy Vegan Leather Tote in Mulberry/Taupe by Free People, $68 How to Dress Like a Parisienne - Peaceful Dumpling This vegan leather tote is reversible (inside is taupe), with pockets for everything from your iPad to wallet to passport. So chic and perfect.

5. Colette Vegan Leather Sandal by Free People, $98 How to Dress Like a Parisienne Editor Jennifer and I have had long conversations about the dearth of lovely vegan sandals–problem solved! These thick strap vegan leather sandals are great walking shoes that go with everything from jeans, to little skirts and shorts, to midi skirt, to capris…

6. Absolute Lips lipstick in Sanguine Angel by De Vita, $23.95 How to Dress Like a Parisienne I can’t believe that though I’ve been trying to find *the* red lipstick since age 15, I’ve yet to find one–and one that’s vegan, cruelty-free and toxin-free, to boot. It’s a source of great chagrin. Why, oh why?! As you know Parisienne style is incomplete without a slick of that red lipstick–the infamous “garçonne” look. The deep cool red Sanguine Angel by De Vita may be the answer for my prayers.

7. Straw Clutch by Kayu Capri, $180 How to Dress Like a Parisienne     I’m literally in love with this handwoven straw clutch with agate clasp, made in Southeast Asia by fair trade workshops. This clutch will take you from lovely brunch, museum afternoons, to dinner and cocktails without missing a beat. My absolute favorite color in the world is emerald green, and though it doesn’t look great on my person as clothing, might this be the way I actually get to wear it?

8. Lace briefs by Stella McCartney, $28 How to Dress Like a Parisienne     Finally a Stella McCartney I can afford! A lace underwear in dusty rose seems so very parisienne.

9. Vegan Ballet Flats with ankle straps by Soda Paso, $34 How to Dress Like a Parisienne   Understated ballet flats are as parisian as baguettes. Wear with slim dark jeans, a neutral t-shirt or a white blouse, and then you’re done. 10.

“Endless” shirt by J. Crew, $88 best_white_shirt   I know I’ve said wovens are difficult for me but the allure of a crisp white shirt can’t be denied–especially if it has that slim fit with a longer shirttail, so good for mixing and matching. Looks great with a soft cardigan, tailored blazer, with shorts and sandals, and of course jeans.

What do you think about Parisienne dressing? Are you in love with French chic as I am? 

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Juhea is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling and the author of bestselling novel Beasts of a Little Land. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, @juhea_writes and Pinterest.


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