I lived in France for a year. Many French women put a great deal of time and energy into their appearance. They can spend hours on personal grooming — hair, nails, less is more make-up — and deciding what to wear. Even when they dress casually, French women give their clothing a great deal of thought. They are taught from an early age to make the most of what they have. If you want to blend in but don’t want to wear black I would recommend going for an “English Country” classic look — neutral blazers, jackets, suits, blouses, skirts, dress pants, raincoats — with special attention to the details. The easiest accent is the neck scarf. And I did see women wearing blue jeans in France — at museums, on the weekends, walking their beloved dogs — even women of a certain age — but the jeans were crisply ironed and worn with tweed blazers, blouses and high heeled-boots.
Just returned from Paris and want to pass along what women are wearing this winter. Dark wool coats and jackets in many different lengths accessorized with ruffled scarves, wool cloches and berets are the choice of many women. Many young women wearing very short skirts with boots and leggings and colored leg warmers peeking over the top. Leave your high heeled ones at home. Flat boots in any style keep you warm and sure-footed. It is cold in Paris and everyone was bundled up but looked very stylish. Bring your fur if you have one, the warmer the better. The most apparant fashion was the wearing of black Buddy Holly style eyeglasses on women, men and children.
Lynne, Topsham, USA
I keep seeing posts advising Americans not to wear sneakers in Paris.
I agree with the part about not wearing sneakers to restaurants/out at night to the theatre, etc. Yet it does seem necessary to be prepared for a lot of walking — whether around the Louvre, in the scenic parks (such as Le Parc Floral w/ its wonderful music concerts) or up and down the hilly area of Montmartre. Travel is much better (and one is kinder/makes a better impression on the locals) when one is not irritable and focused entirely on painful feet. Also, I have seen pictures from Paris street fashion blogs of Parisians and models too in Converse and other black sneakers. In Europe I have seen Parisians and Londoners wearing more of the stylish skinny jean styles with more formal or “flowy” tops. The Little Black Dress w/ ballet flats is quite wearable too for more formal occasions. Suggestion: wear ballet flats and bring heels in a purse for Metro travel.
Audrey, SF Bay Area, USA