Paris is the city of love, famed for its laid-back attitude and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. But if you dig a little deeper, Paris is also a city famed for its incredibly stylish men who rarely put a sartorial foot out of line. Parisian men are well known for their air of romance, their charm, and their love of fine fabrics. But what is the quintessential Parisian man’s style, what makes it so memorable, and how can you replicate it yourself at home? Here’s everything you need to know:
If you want to dress with Parisian style then simple denim jeans are likely to form the basis of every outfit you wear. This commitment to denim can manifest itself in one of two wears. You can either opt for minimalist black skinny jeans (which will inject a rock ‘n’ roll, youthful aesthetic to your overall look) or classic indigo jeans that have a retro and rustic feel. These jeans tend to be wider in the leg and are often worn with a turn up. This will show off your high-quality leather shoes or boots.
Whichever style you choose, avoid jeans which are faded or heavily distressed. The Parisian jean is raw, clean, and low key. Don’t try too hard when choosing your denim. You don’t need extra details or embellishments to show case your style credentials if you want to look with authentic Parisian style.
No doubt as a result of the changeable weather experienced in France, Parisian men know how to layer like pros. Simple tees are worn with classic-cut shirts and a statement jacket over the top. Tweed, leather and even denim are all the order of the day. Parisians choose layered items to showcase where they have travelled to, or to emulate a particular mood or period in history.
Wear cheaper high street pieces layered alongside more expensive investment pieces from high end brands. Also, be sure to look for unusual leather pieces, high quality cotton or fun accessories when you are on holidays overseas. These unique pieces will have their own stories and will help you create an outfit that is distinctly your own. When picking pieces to layer, experiment with different textures and proportions to add unexpected depth and interest to your outfit.
Relaxed and Understated
The London aesthetic for men tends to involve wearing your clothes as tight as possible. This is a trend that has been replicated in many other cities too. However, in Paris, relaxed and understated comfort is much more popular. Channel your inner Bohemian artist, and don’t be afraid to wear your outfit with a little extra breathing room. The best way to pull this off with style is to look for unstructured formal piece. Wear oversized shirts or carrot trousers, rather than baggy tees and hooded tops. You don’t want your look to be too urban and scruffy for the average Parisian.
When looking for oversized pieces to pair together, look for complimentary colours and lighter fabrics such as linen and cotton. These tend to be easier to wear with extra breathing room than thicker fabrics such as denim or leather.
The beret may be considered the quintessentially French accessory, but you’ll rarely see a Frenchman wearing one. Unless you’re going to a costume party, always avoid them. When it comes to choosing the perfect Parisian accessory that anyone can wear, only one thing immediately springs to mind: the scarf.
Ideal for elevating your layered look, choose a lightweight cotton scarf in the summer. Wear thicker knitted scarf during the winter months. Frenchmen traditionally shy away from pattern, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t inject some personality into your outfit with your scarf. Why not choose an unexpected colour, such as red, aubergine or cobalt blue? This will attract attention for all the right reasons.
Every man should have a well-fitting suit in his wardrobe, and this is particularly true for the well-dressed Parisian man. If you have the budget then invest in a suit from a high end French brand, such as Lanvin or Yvves Saint Laurent. These brands cut their suits specifically with the French man’s tastes in mind.
If you don’t have the budget for a designer suit then don’t worry. A wide selection of well cut high street suits still have plenty of Parisian je ne sais quoi. The key is to look for a suit that doesn’t have too much structure. Avoid shoulder pads, as well as double breasted jackets and anything too stiff. Instead, look for something minimalist with drop shoulders and just one or two buttons that blend beautifully with the fabric of your suit.
The Parisian Palette
When it comes to putting together the perfect Parisian colour palette, it’s important to start with muted colours that blend together brilliantly. Neutrals and black are wardrobe staples, and should form the basis of your wardrobe. Build up extra colour by adding it in layers. Black, navy blue, grey and blue are all essential Parisian shades.
Like to be the centre of attention? Add just one piece in a bright, bold shade to inject colour and personality to your outfit without straying too far away from the typical and traditional Parisian aesthetic.
Finally, looking like a laid-back Frenchman is all about attitude, and the best way you can achieve this is by being louche. This means to look rakish, to have your own sense of style, to attract understated attention the minute you walk into a room. Effectively, to achieve this, you need to ooze confidence. If you know you look good then you’ll walk taller and people will be naturally drawn to you.
Choose pieces that fit you perfectly, that appeal to your sense of good taste, and that make you feel great about yourself. If you can do this then you’ll ooze the confidence of a Parisian man in no time!
If you enjoyed this article or you’re exploring European looks, take a look at our tips for mastering Italian Style