Alexander McQueen at Paris Spring 2012 RTW

With fashion week at a close in Paris, I couldn’t help but notice the large amount of tourists trying desperately to look the part this week. You might be tempted on your visit to the city of chic style and design to dress up more than usual. This would be your first “tell,” as they say in poker. Parisian girls are known for their chic but more importantly, their blasé. As an American and fashion buyer for Calvin Klein, J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch, I’ve become well-versed in this look after living in Paris and dating a Parisian.

1. Don’t overdress.  Especially avoid what you might dress for an evening party during the daytime (or even the night time). Skinny jeans, a blazer and flats make a good outfit choice for any situation.
2. Don’t wear too much jewelry. Wearing none is in fact, a great accessory too. Instead, add a scarf and a great handbag.
3. Don’t wear high heels. Instead opt for ballet flats, sandals or boots (the low kind with a heel or flat to the calf). Avoid kitten heels, unless you want to look like an elderly lady from the 16th Arrondisement.
4. Don’t wear leggings.  Audrey Hepburn might have left her mark on Paris but instead choose a pair of (ultra) skinny black jeans.
5. Do wear stripes! They are always in vogue.
6. Opt for casual bags.  Louis Vuitton is for the Asian tourists. Longchamp is a great French choice. I use it to transport my groceries, for work and for a night out.
7. Leave your hair a bit tussled and messy.
8. Never carry a backpack or wear sneakers. Apparently they scream, American, to the French.
9. Speak softly. There’s an incredible quiet hum in the Paris subway because nobody is really above the other.
10. And never take out your map!

Do you agree? What have we missed?

Stay tuned for a behind the scenes Paris Fashion Week recap by Untapped correspondent and photographer Nina Westervelt.  



  1. Gwan says:

    I would say in general, just don’t stress that much. I see all kinds of ridiculous statements on this topic (not including your remarks, of course) suggesting that French women are all the same and all classy. I see French women wearing all sorts of horrible crap (but to be fair, I am en provence, not Paris). At the end of the day, while you can definitely make things worse for yourself wearing any combination of tracksuit/sneakers/baseball cap/very low-cut top etc., I think you look like a tourist when you run around touristy parts of town clutching a map, looking lost, getting in everyone’s way when you stop short to stare at that awesome building and taking photos (and smiling too much). You look like a local when you’re plodding along to work looking like you know where you’re going and aren’t too pleased about it 🙂

  2. Buffalo Dave says:

    If you are driving, use your horn. If you are walking, smoke while pushing a stroller. Say “Putain”, a lot. 🙂

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