Street style in Paris

Friday, 18 April 2014
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The Parisian chic has been romanticized and analyzed by hordes of Francophiles, including yours truly for decades. The funny thing is.....when you compliment a Parisian on her outfit, as I've done,  she is genuinely surprised. "Oh, this is nothing special, "  "My style is actually quite boring"  Call it je ne sais quoi or maybe effortlessly chic because it's hard to pinpoint what made these ladies and gentlemen chic. Or is it dressing with an air of nonchalance but with an eye for detail? Let's not forget the men who also look incredibly dapper but never contrived.

Sure, this is a gross generalization because Parisians from certain arrondissements are more dressed up than others. That's pretty obvious if you spend a lot of time in the metro and trekking to various lesser popular areas of Paris.

Let's talk about hair. It never looked done or overly polished. Messy buns or ponytails are common. Whew! Because I still can't style my hair, even at this age. For a country that introduced many of the skincare and make up brands to the rest of the world, they're very light-handed when it comes to plying on cosmetics. Black or grey skinny jeans are infinitely popular amongst the younger population but the older generation are bolder with their choice of outfits. There's usually something eye-catching whether it's a particular accessory, shoes or lipstick they're wearing.

Colored pants are popular amongst the men. I've seen various shades of the rainbow paired with denim or tailored jackets and sometimes sporting a beautifully folded pocket square. I was scouring the internet to find outfits paired with sensible shoes (as you probably know by now....I still haven't learned to balance my bodyweight on heels). Trendy sneakers, brogues, ballet flats and ankle boots are common footwear gracing the streets of Paris. In fact, it's so rare that I see a woman strutting pass in high heels and when one did, I stared. And stared......

I had the best intentions to approach Parisians for street style photos but screaming arrĂȘte while chasing after them like a paparazzo would've scared every poor albeit chic soul away. I turned to skulking around, sitting at cafes and making sure I was facing the street, loitering outside the boutiques...... Utterly mad. Anyway....I abandoned the idea after day 2 when I started scaring my own child and friend.

23 comments:

  1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Marlene, for including street style pictures of ordinary women who are A - over the age of 50 or more (Ines is 57 but she's..... Ines....so she doesn't count.) and B - not reed thin. I ADORE the woman on the bicycle with her very cool ankle boots and messenger bag and the older woman with the grey coat, Goyard bag, and matching patent brogues. Truly inspiring. Wish more style bloggers did this.

    DId you see the video of Kim K strutting around Paris in a too tight Givenchy (?) dress and super high heeled ankle boots? She could barely walk. She looked ridiculous. The antithesis of these truly chic women.

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    1. THIS :) Love this so much!

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    2. Maria, that's so very sweet of you to say this. I set out to capture photos of anyone's outfit that I fancied, whether it was the accessory, shoes or whatever. I was tired of seeing fake street style outfits, glammed up, just for the camera. Thank you for the feedback. I'll do more of this in the future.

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    3. Maria said it all so I'll just "ditto" her! Beautiful and real and amazing. THIS is my Paris!

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  2. This is wonderful, real Paris style as opposed to the internet/blog idea!

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  3. Just so totally cool. I think it is ingrained in the french. x

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  4. Love the lady in the dark red brogues and Goya tote ......... Fabulous! French ladies are so chic! Xx

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    1. She looks amazing - individual, put together and practical. You could actually walk in those shoes as well as make a statement; the shopping would fit in her tote and the cut of her coat is so chic for a maturer figure.

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  5. Absolutely loved this post! So different from a cliche "Look I am in Paris trying to look like I am a Parisienne and oh-so-fabulous" that one gets exposed to once in blogosphere... Exactly what I have been missing so very much. Ok, granted you just drilled a hole in my heart bleeding with nostalgia, but boy, I enjoyed these photos so very much! Thank you! x

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  6. Adore these pictures. I love to see real people (not just young and beautiful people) of all ages, male or female just being themselves and looking so incredibly stylish.

    Now go and sit in some more cafes and take some more pics please!

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  7. Wonderful street style shots! Whenever I am lucky enough to be visiting Paris, I am literally obsessed with the street style there! It never fails to inspire me, effortlessly chic always comes to mind :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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  8. Sublime! Best photos yet! More...!

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  9. Love these snapshots of French style! They look so put together but without looking like they've tried to hard! Inspiring! xx

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  10. What Maria said...couldn't put it better myself. Thank you for bringing this unique take on Paris street style to your blog. Love!

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  11. I am a complete Francophile! I did my work placement in Paris (albeit more than 20 years ago now - eek showing my age) and just love going back to visit when I can. Your photography and blog are amazing - you've captured some great scenes here, totally Parisienne. How chic does the lady look on her bicycle and she has some beautiful leather accessories x

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  12. Love that bag in the last photo! :) these are great shots, even if you did feel you were awkward getting them :)

    Away From Blue

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  13. Lol I think I was one of the French girls to tell you my style is boring? ;-) It's interesting to read your thoughts on Parisian fashion as a someone who doesn't live here. Compared to NYC for instance, we're definitely not as colorful / daring / polished, but I do enjoy the simple chic and not overdone style that is prevalent here. Though I do love that Chanel bag you captured!

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    1. You got that right. I couldn't believe you called your style boring!!!

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  14. All three of the older women are dressed wonderfully. They're inspiring to women of all ages -- and I'd like to echo the other commenters about how refreshing it is to see a variety of ages and shapes on a street style post.

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  15. There's also a certain patina of wear to everything they have on--not that their clothing looks worn, but they don't look like shiny new things bought yesterday, which looks more stylish and authentic than the usual French-style "blogger" outfits. They're clearly clothes that they actually wear, and don't just save for their OOTD shots.

    Great shots!

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  16. Marlene the photos are stunning. As I was looking at the photos and scrolling down I was thinking, I wonder if Marlene went up to any of them :) I wouldn't be confident enough to do it. Hair - I'm in the same spot as you, I struggle with my hair :/

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    1. I would've liked to stop a couple of them but most of the time, they zoom right past. I barely have enough time to take a photo.

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  17. Just gorgeous! All of them & so inspiring! I wish I was that cool.....and yes....I still can't do my hair either! xx

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