How to Dress Like a French Woman For Paris Fashion Week

By  September 25, 2013

When it comes to the style seen at Paris Fashion Week (today was the second day of the Spring 2014 shows!), one truth triumphs year after year: the women walking by the tents are as fashionable as the industry leaders and front-row attendees walking into them. What is it about these Parisian women, who so fundamentally understand the recipe for effortlessly elegant dressing? We look towards international leaders of fashion and French nationals, former editor-in-chief of Vogue FR, Carine Roitfeld, and her successor, Emmanuelle Alt, for inspiration on what to wear in Paris, during fashion week and beyond.

Blazer // Sweater // Clutch // Heels // Skirt

The brilliant Carine Roitfeld transcends seasonal trends by sticking to beautiful pieces that remain relevant throughout the years. While Roitfeld tends to dress up in more feminine attire, whether she’s in her signature ensemble of a pencil skirt and sweater or in a designer dress, there’s always an air of undone-ness about her look. Chic, subtly provocative, and pulled together as she may be, she never looks like she has tried to hard. “You have to be a bit low profile,” Roitfeld explains. To achieve this, understanding the difference between fashion-forward and flamboyant is key. Rather than rocking attention grabbing prints or silhouettes, Roitfeld has gained notoriety for her personal style by mastering the art of putting together low-key pieces in an innovative and appealing way. 

Coat // T-shirt // Purse // Pants // Heels

Like Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt understands how to create bold looks using the basics, which means she keeps things chic and interesting without ever looking over the top or obvious. Her usual uniform of ankle cropped skinnies, heels, a solid colored top, and a menswear inspired coat or fitted blazer is no fashion revolution–rather, it’s the way she styles it that stands out. To create an outfit that can take her from the market to a Chanel show, Alt may makes sure to include a touch of something special, like a daring pair of shoes or a blouse with unique detailing. Just make sure to abide by her and every Parisian woman’s golden rules of dressing: dark and understated colors, basic, beautiful patterns to be used as subtle accents, thoughtfully added accessories, and heels always.