French Street Style: 10 Tips

French street style is not something to fear. If you are traveling to France anytime soon, do not be afraid. Just follow some general guidelines and be ready to be amazed at how easy it is to fit in.  In general Europeans do not have the ridiculous amount of closet space that Americans do and do not practice the art of hoarding clothing and items long past their usability. This can definitely work to a traveler's advantage.

  1. Wear simple separates. The items themselves are classic pieces that are put together well. This is not a uniform looking country though; add pieces that reflect who you are without shouting. No need to wear shirts with slogans to announce anything.
  2. Dark wash straight legged jeans are appropriate in most situations. Cuffs are big at the moment, cuffing your jeans and letting a little leg show is better than shorts in nearly every case.
  3. Choose nice walking shoes. Loafers, low cut boots and stylish tennis shoes will make a better impression than athletic shoes. Bright white trainers will label you an outsider without any fashion sense in no time flat. The French put stock in what your shoes look like. Do not think you can get away with beat up shoes simply because they are comfortable. Comfortable and stylish shoes are not that difficult to find. 
  4. Throw a jacket on that suits the whole of your outfit. A pea coat, simple blazer or warm parka should have fashion elements that include first and foremost a proper fit.
  5. Add elements that show your personality. A colorful scarf, tied properly, is a nice touch to any outfit. Pick one that suits you well. Even a wildly colored or patterned scarf will work if you are an outgoing vibrant person. More subdued individuals will want to pick a scarf that has a calmer appearance.
  6. Keep the athletic clothes in your gym bag. To fit in with the French, do not walk around town in your sweats, even if they are matching or brand new. Same goes for shorts or other items that you use to work out.
  7. Create a French look with a quirky element or two. The French know their fashion, but they also know that fashion is meant to be fun. Wear thick black framed glasses, or a patterned shirt tucked in and well-pressed. 
  8. Keep it neat. Tuck in your shirts, wear a belt, and be sure your clothing is not stained or otherwise unkempt-looking.
  9. Concentrate on fit. Your street clothing should fit well. Pants do not hang low in France or really anywhere that fashion is appreciated.
  10. Add an element of vintage to your ensemble. France is an old country, wearing something that could have been your long gone relative's is appropriate. Antique cuff links, a nice fedora, or retro pin can bridge the gap from yesterday and today and create a French street style that adds mystique.
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