printemps à paris

My recent week long trip to Paris to celebrate my birthday and visit my favorite city (NYC you are a close second) was a great time to check out what is happening with fashion on the streets.  My friend Monica, who is living there for a year, is quite a stylish girl herself, and lucky for me, knew the great areas to shop and shared some of what she saw going on over the fall and winter in Paris.  I made notes of what I saw and have compiled a list.  The Parisian women I saw were chic and cool without ever looking like they over thought their look or had "an outfit".  I think there is a tendency to try to match too much here, that seems to be one of the keys to that stylish Parisian look.  I believe the trick is wear the same color tones, not necessarily the same colors in your outfit, keep on trend by adding something fresh this season (not 10 trendy things at once!), and be confident.  Dress for your body type, not your age.  Emulate a look you see on someone else.  Don't be afraid to try something new.  And don't think you have to reinvent your whole wardrobe each season, you can add something new, like a neon tank, under your favorite sweater, for example.  I personally like the look of classics mixed with modern, like a beautiful little ballet flat paired with something like a more edgy layered tee.  Whatever your style is, here is a little inspiration, from Paris, and from my perspective of course.  
Before I left, I read the book, Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange.  Its a great little read and has fab illustrations and a shopping guide.  I did notice that the lovely Ms. Ines does have amazing taste and apparently deep pockets, some of her favorite shops were a bit out of our price range, but her style advice is spot on.  Love her.  Anyway, here is what I saw.
1. The Vanessa Bruno Tote with Sequin Trim.  Saw it everywhere in every color.  I am a little partial to this denim one myself.  
2.  Shorts were everywhere.  Everyone had tights on with them, mostly black and under 30 set wore shorter styles with tights too, sometimes in a bright color.
3.  Layered outerwear with rolled sleeves.  Lots of little blazers over a top, then a leather jacket over that.  Sleeves rolled.  4.  Skinny or straight legged jeans and pants.  Not a single bootcut or bell in sight.  Skinny looks were on everyone, men, women, and every age.  
5.  Colored denim.  Peach & apricot were prominent among the women, and red, bright blue, green, yellow were all over the place.
6.  Lace.  Lace skirts and tops paired with a more casual piece, like denim.  
7. The Peter Pan collar. Blouses, dresses, all sported this sweet style.  Remember if you are wearing something that is that feminine, to mix it with something a little tougher, like a studded belt or flat, otherwise you will look like you escaped from a girls school. 
8.  Ballet flats, short boots, or Converse.  Flat sandals were out in the stores but it wasn't quite warm enough.  
9.  Monica told me all winter people were rocking the Isabel Marant wedge sneakers in black suede.  We went on a mission in the Passy neighborhood of Paris, searching for spring colors in this coveted shoe, that sells out everywhere despite its close to $800 price tag.  We settled on a pair of Ash Wedge Sneakers, silver & tan for Monica, and white & silver for me. They are a knockoff of the IM's but are super cute, run between $200-$300 and come in a variety of styles. I caused the biggest scene when I wore them in downtown Seattle when I got back, where people chased me down to ask about them, took my photo and I even got a high five from the Nordstrom salon shoe guy.  :) I plan on getting a black suede pair in the fall-- I am sure this shoe style will be everywhere by then.  
10.  Menswear with a feminine twist, like a shirt dress.  Often a blazer was worn over the top of dresses with sleeves rolled.  And always a scarf, after all, its Paris.  Pair with short boots or a pair of flat oxfords.  Yes, there is a little hint of 80's rolling around.  Like...  
11.  Neon.  But just one piece, like a tank, scarf, or other accessory. 
12.  Saw tons of hats.  The straw fedora was around a lot on sunny days and I also some the cloche on cooler days.
13. Florals. Pants, blouses, Florals patterns mixed.  Very springy and fun.
14.  Suede.  I bought a pair of Claudie Pierlot red suede wedges right out of the window on the Left Bank on my birthday.  Yay!  Bags & shoes in bright colored suede were everywhere.  I also bought my Gerard Darel Santa Fe bag in a suede electric blue the first day there.  Love.
People watching is always fun, especially in a large city.  We spent a couple of days in London but I couldn't get a lot from the streets--didn't feel we were in the right places.....although for men I did see cropped pants , even suits, or cuffed denim, with striped bright socks.  The weather was unseasonably warm so leather jackets were around this city as well.  I'd love to spend more time there the next trip.
Hope I gave you a little inspiration to have some fun with your clothes this spring.  That's what its all about--bonjour!