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Crash Course in French Dressing 8: How to be Parisian Chic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

Chloe Green-Vamos is a junior at Boston College, studying abroad in Paris, France for the fall semester.  Obsessed with fashion and French culture, you can imagine Chloe is absolutely in awe to be living in Paris!  When not in the classroom, she will be taking notes on the streets of Paris about fashion, style, and elegance.  This is a series about everything Chloe is learning from the women of France.


Despite what you may think, Parisian style is not all about designer clothes.  It’s true that Paris is home to some of the biggest names in fashion−Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent, and Dior, just to name a few.  This may seem like a paradoxical statement, but the French culture is teeming with paradoxes.  For example, the way that French women stay so thin is a paradox.  The principle of Parisian chic is also a paradox.  French style is not characterized simply by a closet full of French designer clothing; it’s a combination of quality and comfortable clothing.  It’s a balance between formal and casual, masculine and feminine.



The first key to understanding Parisian chic is forgetting the American idea of the outfit.  Parisians prefer the idea of an “ensemble,” meaning “together” in French.  In short, all the pieces need to work together, not match.  Long gone are the days where matching your shoes to your handbag are considered stylish.  Make it easy on yourself and focus on complementing, not coordinating.
Parisian Chic by day
What’s so great about Parisian chic is that you can be chic anywhere: in the classroom, when you’re shopping, and even at the library.  To get a chic daytime look that would rival any French girl, remember these Parisian paradoxes.  For a Parisian chic look in the classroom, pair a smart blazer or trench with a simple  t-shirt.  If you want a rocker chic look, you can wear an old concert tee under a blazer.  The balance between the classic blazer and the casual t-shirt is perfectly Parisian.  If you want to chic look that will turn heads in the library, layer a silky camisole under a chunky sweater.  This look will be comfortable and stylish.  Try the chic combination of boyfriend jeans and a silk or lace top, for a chic shopping ensemble in Paris or in America.


Parisian chic by night
To get the look at night, the same principles apply.  Remember to balance masculine and feminine and casual and formal.  For a chic date outfit, try an ensemble of black jeans, a slouchy cashmere sweater, and a pair of sexy strappy heels.  For a night out on the town, instead of wearing heels with your LBD, you can pair your little black dress with embellished flats or even high-heeled oxfords.


Just remember, it’s a balance of paradoxes: cheap and designer, masculine and feminine, formal and casual.  It’s a look that can be done day or night in Paris or on any campus.
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Chloe Green-Vamos joined the Her Campus team as a Branch Manager in September 2011. In this role she oversees 5 new My Campus branches and works with very talented writers and leaders in colleges across the U.S. Chloe first became involved with Her Campus in January of 2011 as a contributing writer for Her Campus BC. Chloe is a junior at Boston College in the A&S Honors Program majoring in French and Communication. Chloe spends her spare time doing yoga, cooking(what do you expect from a Southern girl),shopping and daydreaming about travel.