The Italians have their peacockery, and the British have their eccentricity, but what about the French? You could point to navy trousers and Breton tops as examples, but what else distinguishes Parisian (or French) style? Parisian style is known more by what it isn’t than by what it is, making it difficult to define and imitate.
It is still possible to channel French men’s fashion through your wardrobe and attitude. French guy style is more than just the clothes he wears; it’s also about how he wears them and the styling decisions in the quest for the perfect outfit. Being the fashion capital, Paris has little room for a man who cannot dress to go out in public.
Here’s how to look like a Parisian man. Good luck!
Men’s Fashion in Paris
Most Parisian men have abandoned the pencil-thin mustache and beret, but some classics, such as rollnecks, Breton tees, and well-cut blazers, remain. The refined bohemian still stroll the cobblestone streets in linen, silk, and floppy hat.
What is the most important tip for dressing like a Parisian? They value neatness and impeccable fit, preferring clothes that showcase the silhouette over eye-catching colors and bold statement prints.
Activewear is popular in Paris, mixing with traditional tailoring that shifts with the seasons: cotton in the summer, tweed in the winter. But the coolest trick for how to dress like a Parisian is the effortless way they wear the basics – jeans, a bomber, and tees.
Denim on Leather
A leather bomber and nice fitting denim jeans create an appropriate look for winter, autumn, and spring. When it comes to this particular Parisian look, there is no window of opportunity; it is appropriate to wear as long as there is even the teeniest chill in the air.
Blue jeans are acceptable, but most Parisian men prefer the black jean duo, with a white, crisp t-shirt under the jacket, or all black with a black turtle neck shirt.
Layering Like a Frenchman
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While Parisians are confident in their fashion heritage – think waistcoats, berets, and lapel pins – today’s Frenchmen prefer to mix classic pieces with more comfortable clothing and even pieces inspired by England. Instead of looking Anglais, smart casual looks are often tweed-ish, with textural coats or jackets offset by leather shoes and smooth, cotton shirting.
Sneakers are often the foundation of a heritage-inspired outfit, paired with cropped and relaxed indigo cotton or raw denim trousers. Quirky leather goods – think backpacks and satchels – are an indispensable carry-thing for hauling literature on your way to the Tuileries, just like the Parisians.
It’s very simple to emulate a Frenchman’s sophistication by investing in some statement pieces that will serve the rest of your wardrobe all year. Layering is an important part of the Parisian look, so having a variety of high-quality hats and scarves is necessary.
It’s a common misconception that the beret is only for Parisian women; however, every actual Parisian knows that the beret is a unisex delight. Take the Chapeau Tribe Wool French Beret, for example.
Most fashionable Frenchmen would not be caught dead wearing jewelry like an eyebrow, nose, or lip ring. On the other hand, the French prefer a statement bracelet, ring, or even an unusual understated earring.
Check out this men’s guide to silver fashion jewelry for more tips!
When traversing the streets of Paris, sunglasses are a must. Keep them dark (both the lens and the frame), and never attach them to the chains around the neck! In the summer, replace thick scarves with patterned silk scarves that tie nicely (air hostess-style) around your Adam’s apple.
Relaxed Fit Menswear
Oh, to wander the streets of Montmartre as a bohemian artist and reflect on life. Dressing like an artsy intellectual is very Parisian and looks best in earthen tones, lightweight linens, and pops of color to brighten up the deep-thinking mood. Natural fibers such as straw or beaded accessories are frequently used to create key accessories, then worked into more structured hats like summery fedoras.
The traditional boho should also be relaxedly chic, with pleated trousers and unstructured blazers making graceful his breezy stride. Two-tone brogues anchor the eclectic, refined look in pastel-on-neutral hues.
A Finely Tailored Suit
Even Parisian men who don’t believe in French fashion’s dos and don’ts will concur that no man’s wardrobe is perfect without a suit (preferably three-piece) tailored to the wearer’s body. For decades, French fashion houses have been hunting for the perfect suit. As a result, the best minds for the task now reside in Paris, devoting their days to outfitting people from all over the world with custom-tailored clothing to last a lifetime.
You should know that wearing a suit in Paris is just as common as wearing track pants, a hoodie, and sneakers. A suit is a uniform in the Parisian capital, and there are no consequences for wearing one. Perhaps he’s on his way to a serious meeting, or perhaps he’s on his way to the funeral of a deceased loved one. He could also be on his way to get a croissant or take a stroll between museums.
You can wear a suit all day, every day.
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Parisians have touched on the rustic ease of the indigo, cotton cloth, riding the denim train chugging through men’s wear this season. However, unlike the more hipster antics of New York’s Brooklyn and east London, French denim retains its classic washes (mid-blue and raw) and clean lines, with no heavy signs of distress or vintage hues.
There is an obvious Nordic woods trend in Paris, with denim outfits looking a little logger with hiking boots and fleeced jackets accented by red plaids or denim shirts. The stylish Parisian does not sport grizzly beards, but a button-type beanie is an excellent addition for the winter.
The Ideal Shoes
If you wish to dress like an actual Parisian, you should have two pairs of shoes: one brown (like these Clarks Men’s Bushacre shoes) and one black. They must be well made of high-quality materials; the name brand is less important than the structure.
Similarly, you should keep a pair of understated sneakers on hand. Parisians value comfort and recognize that there are times when a good sneaker is required. Avoid the obnoxious, bright colors Americans like to wear; a sneaker should be monochromatic or neutral in Paris.