Belfast Telegraph

Parisian fashion: Your simple guide to how to get that certain je ne sais quoi

Want to look like a Parisian It girl? Follow these expert tips direct from the world capital of chic style. By Katie Wright

While all the world's fashion capitals have their own appeal, no city is more revered for its stylish inhabitants than Paris.

The 'London look' is the most directional, and Milan the most glamorous metropolis, but it's that uniquely chic and understated Parisienne aesthetic that women across the globe have been trying to copy for decades - and still are. Why?

"I think Parisian style has such a wide appeal due to the natural and easy approach to fashion," says Valerie Nizan, head of style at resale site Vestiaire Collective. "There is no sense of being dressed up or overdoing it."

By the same token, the French cool-girl look is actually relatively easy to achieve - you just need to collect the right key pieces and follow a few style rules. We asked a quartet of French fashion gurus to lay out the do's and don'ts of modern Parisian style. Here's what they had to say.

Do mix masculine and feminine

"The masculine element is filtering into smaller trends recently," explains Elvira Mason, editor in chief at Vestiaire Collective. "Now all Parisian girls are wearing Church's derbies or Weston loafers as opposed to pretty flats, worn in contrast with a feminine dress or bohemian frilled blouse."

Dune Guilde Black Backless Flat Loafers, £85
  • Dune Guilde Black Backless Flat Loafers, £85.
  • Monsoon Charlotte Rose Blouse, £59.

Do use accessories to lift your look

"The addition of high-end accessories will elevate a simple look," Valerie Nizan advises. For example, vintage jeans and a man's T-shirt would typically be worn with a statement accessory like an evening bag or diamond ring. The effortless allure is in the details."

White Stuff White Straight Jeans, £35
  • White Stuff White Straight Jeans, £35.
  • Topman Grey Washed Slim Fit T-shirt, £15.
  • TK Maxx Beige Animal Print Clutch Bag, £14.99 (available September).
TK Maxx Beige Animal Print Clutch Bag, £14.99

Don't mix stripes

"You see this in fashion magazines, but outside the glossies, stripes that run into one another don't create an attractive line," says model and style icon Ines de la Fressange, author of the Parisian Chic Look Book.

Do carry a basket bag

"The basket is the ultimate anti-bag," says Vestiaire's head of vintage, Marie Blanchet. "I'm not surprised this has caught on as a global summer trend. Taking inspiration from Jane Birkin's iconic Seventies look, a French girl will run around the city with a basket, take it to the beach or juxtapose it with an evening look like a silk YSL jumpsuit, for example."

La Redoute Straw Basket Bag, £23.20
  • La Redoute Straw Basket Bag, £23.20.

Do invest in timeless accessories

According to Vestiaire stats, the Hermes Carres silk scarf is still the most popular accessory sold in France, closely followed by the Chanel Timeless bag. The latter will set you back something in the region of £3,000 for a quality pre-owned version of the iconic model.

  • Chanel Timeless Black Leather Handbag, £2,699, Vestiaire Collective.

Don't be fooled by fakes

"There's nothing stylish about carrying a bag that's an imitation of a well-known brand," warns Ines. "Putting aside the conditions under which it was made and its mediocre quality, the bag is much less luxurious than a genuine and sincere cotton tote bag."

Do mix unexpected elements

"Sport a motorcycle jacket with a chiffon dress, a denim jacket with velvet pants or a tuxedo jacket with sneakers," Ines recommends.

Joanna Hope Leather Jacket, £180, JD Williams
  • Joanna Hope Leather Jacket, £180, JD Williams.
  • Sosandar Red Ruffle Hem Fit & Flare Dress, £69.
  • Jigsaw Ayda Leather Trainers, £98.

Don't wear culottes. Ever.

"We recommend these pant skirts to any woman who wants to go out without being hassled," says Ines, "or who's seeking an amicable separation from her husband."

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