Whether you´re planning a short weekend break or just looking to inject some French chic into your own ensemble, everyone wants to know the timeless rules of how to dress like a Parisian. Fashion savvy women have an enviable library of advice (and accessories) which make it easier for them to get the right style quicker than their male French urbanites who have lesser resources to help them with their quest to dress better. There are however several tried and tested statutes that can help to cement your apparel acceptance in any cosmopolitain city.
Key investments, both in clothing and accessories will always win big points. Like their female counterparts, investments in basic luxury elements will allow you to start buying at a higher quality and lower quantity. This will enable you to make better choices, faster, especially with day wear. The Parisian male is prepared to spend a little more to get luxury linen and designer denim for his staple jean and shirt commodities. A fabric audit is always a good idea as materials like leather, cashmere, linen, cotton, cashmere and denim are always favoured over their synthetic complements.
Trainers are not a good idea, unless they’re vintage Chuck Taylors or a designer brand. The mainstream sport branded ranges will sadly only leave you looking like an American tourist. If you are not overly confident with basic styling, then elements like deck shoes or Chukka boots can give you a jagged look but with a little more style. The most favoured street footwear is composed of leather pointed shoes in neutral blacks and browns (in lace-up and monk strap options).These versatile options can be worn with anything from jeans to trousers, so they will certainly put you on a favourable pied. Taking good care of your shoes also is critical. Maintain them, wash them and polish them regularly to keep them looking their best.
The daily ready-to-wear wardrobe should fit a little slimmer everywhere on the body than the general European man´s average. This is important for elements such as suits or coats as the tailoring has to be inch perfect so forget about sagging crotches, armpits or cuffs. Think about streamlining and easy options to achieve this look. Don´t worry if your favourite off the rack shirt fits badly as it can easily be remedied by a good tailor.
Walking the Renaissance Rue´s of Paris without a scarf between September and May is like walking around naked. The European-looped scarf is one of the ultimate staple accessories and a signature product that never looks out of place. It is available in a multitude of fabrics, lengths and styles to fulfil your every aesthetic.
French tailoring has a specific ´stamp´ in terms of detailing and gradual waist suppression. These range from the signature skirt flair on suit jackets to a more narrow trouser leg, and the universally recognizable regal posture created by the high armhole cut and la cigarette shoulder – GQ Magazine
The commandment of layering is just as important to men, as it is to women. French are great believers in layering and they do it very well. The trick is to make it look effortless, a la shirt under sweater under coat, then maybe even toss in a scarf. This will reinforce the street style predilection for looking ´as if you’re too cool to fuss over an outfit.´ The key to this look is to keep the layering discreet; each layer should allow the layer under it to be slightly visible.
All the best wardrobes are versatile, and the most versatile items to invest in are blacks and neutrals, which if you walk around Sant Germain De Pres for a while, you can see are well adhered to. More fashion forward men can get away with the occasional flash of colour in their wardrobe or by teaming up an outfit with contrasting accessories. The smart money goes on the black, white, grey, brown and navy ranges.
Teaming blazers with dark wash jeans originated in Paris. Like his female peer, the Parisian man likes to look like he threw these items together effortlessly. Successful pairing will make it seem like a flawlessly tailored blazer is just as unaffected for you as well-worn jeans or an un-ironed shirt. The same policy can also be applied to the reverse pairing; a worn leather jacket with a crisp tailored shirt or trousers will also work nicely.
The fundamentals of putting all the elements above together are simple. Begin with an un-ironed, neutral coloured shirt (either a button down option or a cotton t-shirt will do) and place this alongside a V-neck sweater. These should then be combined with a perfectly tailored suit jacket or a brown leather jacket that fits like a glove. Compliment this look by adding a fitted pair of trousers or dark wash denims with a classic brown or black belt. A pair of leather pointed shoes and a European-looped scarf will complete your prêt pour la rue look. If you are still in any doubt, you can find more examples below.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald, Executive Fashion Editor, LookBook360
Photography: Charles Daniel McDonald