What to Wear in Paris: Your Guide to Looking Parisian Chic

Picture yourself in Paris: the City of Lights and of every single unbelievably adorable scene of Midnight in Paris. You’re waltzing your way down the banks of the Seine, and there may or may not be accordion music playing in the background, depending on how deep you want to go with this daydream. You’re a Parisian! Une française! Voila!

But then the scene pretty much loses its magic when you look down and realize you’re wearing a tee shirt, shorts, a fanny pack, and (gasp!) shoes without high heels. Poof: there goes your polished Parisian alter ego.

Whether you’re daydreaming about your vie française during chem class or actually living it out right now on your study abroad program, you have to look the part. Translation: the American tourist look, while endearing on little old ladies and children under the age of seven, is so not cute and so not collegiette-worthy. Keep the clothing chic with these HC-approved Parisian wardrobe staples:

Infinity Scarves

If it weren’t for Pumpkin Spice Lattés and the new season of How I Met Your Mother, we would never want to admit to ourselves that fall had truly begun (and that summer is actually over). Parisians, on the other hand, busted out their fall fashions weeks in advance, which means that the metro, the Champs-Élysées, and even the highest platform of the Eiffel Tower are fit to burst with scarves, scarves, and more scarves (all worn by effortlessly chic, city-dwelling ladies, of course, along with a few beautiful and brooding hipster men).

The trick of the scarf trend is to go to go all out: go to infinity! Infinity scarves can be worn around the neck or as head wraps, both of which are ideal for the chilly weather. If you really want to nail the look (just one day away from “tourist chic” isn’t enough to really own the French style, after all), stock up on black, cream, gray, tan, beige, dark green, and maroon infinity scarves; this is one staple that you’ll want for every day of the week, and you want to keep your options open! The bulkier, the better; Parisian girls like their scarves to cover the bottom half of their chins and to lie over most of their hair, so tuck in those tresses, grab yourself a café au lait, and you’ll be good to go.

Try:

  1. Tube Scarf, $12.90 at H&M
  2. Ann Knit Tube Scarf, $22 at Only
  3. Somir Tube Scarf, $28 at Pieces

Leather Jacket

Even though Paris’s prettiest like to bundle up under their massive scarves, they’re willing to sacrifice a bit of warmth in favor of maintaining that edgy street chic we’ve come to know, love, and envy until we’re green in the face. Of course, nothing says edgy like a great leather jacket. Bonus points: they look picture perfect with infinity scarves!

You can’t go wrong with black leather; in Paris, as always, black is the new black, and it’s the most spotted hue on the street. If you already have a classic black jacket in your closet (lucky you!) or prefer to paint with other colors of the rainbow, you shouldn’t be afraid to play up a rich tone. Oxblood red, plum, and forest green are the “It” colors for leather products in Paris this season, and thanks to the usual uniform of black-on-black-on-black, these jackets pop (and also go with pretty much everything else in your closet... you’ve got to love those moments).

Try:

  1. Jacket, $38.80 at H&M
  2. Asymmetric Stand-up Collar PU Leather Moto Jacket, $76.10 at Choies
  3. Black High Neck Zipper PU Leather Jacket, $55.68 at She Inside