Paris feels like the center of the universe — so alive, so close-to-life, so ineffably vibrant. I’ve been there a couple of times: once after I graduated from high school, when my parents treated me to a week at the Ritz (we joke that I peaked early in terms of hotel-coasting: you just can’t beat the Ritz Paris) and a couple of times while I lived in Lyon (a 2 hour TGV trip away from “The City of Lights”).
The fashion fascinated me, though I wish I could remember more of what the girls were wearing then. All I remember from Lyon was a lot of grungy layered woolens in ugly rusts and forest greens and grays. So not my scene. (Rust may be the most hideous color I’ve ever seen in my life. But then again I prefer the bold when it comes to color.) This post will therefore remain imaginative — a fantasy wardrobe for the timeless Parisian woman rather than on-the-mark in terms of what’s actually in vogue dans la rue (on the street) in France. (For those sorts of reports, visit The Sartorialist’s blog — excellent lunch hour eye candy.) My whimsical wardrobe is best defined by high contrast black-and-white, old-world richness, and healthy serving of femininity — something akin to this picture:
For strolling the street, I’m liking the idea of a twist on the classic Breton stripe in the form of this snug little mini ($98, French Connection), paired with some pointy-toed flats ($245, London Sole):
Nothing wrong with channeling a little Audrey Hepburn. The perfect accompaniment? A vintage Chanel bag. My sister inherited one of them from my grandmother (only the classiest woman in the world — a true lady), and I am uber-jealous. Save up and buy this vintage find ($3,000, Ssense) — I bet you’ll wear it from now until you’re 99:
(It just won’t go out of style. And it goes with everything. Jeans and flats, a work suit, an LBD. Yes, yes, yes.) In my French fashion reverie, the women wear slightly architectural pieces with their slouchy separates. I’m loving the idea of slipping into this retro-styled coat with anything and everything (Chloe, $644, TheOutnet):
If we’re continuing down the Audrey Hepburn route, pair with a darling Parisian striped tee (Sandro, $150, Net-A-Porter — kind of adore the longer under-shirt sleeve beneath the cropped jacket; interesting proportions) and slim-fit cigarette pants (the J. Crew Minnie — on sale for $49 — is supposed to work wonders) or jeans in a dark wash (I’ve heard good things about Hudson’s Colin Signature Skinny — $165, ChickDownTown — but I pretty much only fit into Paige and J. Brand, so I rarely venture in my denim purchases):
Top it off with these chic, SJP-in-Paris suede booties ($180, Nine West):
Note: I’m not huge into booties — I think they can render an otherwise streamlined look a little clunky or — depending on the level of panache with which they’re sported — may leave you teetering dangerously on the border of “trying too hard.” They’re just such a commitment. But the above version caught my eye because of the low “scoop” front — they show off more of the foot and are therefore a bit less intimidating. When integrating a somewhat edgy piece into an outfit, always keep the add-ons lady-like. Consider, for example, adding a feminine wristwatch (adore the croc skin band — Raymond Weil, $795, Macy’s):
You might also take a page out of Coco Chanel’s book and add a knotted jumble of pearl necklaces to complete the style ($78, J. Crew):
Of course, you could just forgo the booties altogether and instead opt for these PERFECT Lanvin boots. They are just ideal in every way — the color, the richness of the leather, the slouchiness. Die over them ($1,095, Net-A-Porter):
Tuck your belongings (including the fashion finds you’ve inevitably accrued while meandering down Rue du Faubourg St. Honore) in this gorgeous Kate Spade tote ($695, Kate Spade):
Looks like the Lanvin “Happy” but at a slightly better price point. (Not by much.) It would also look excellent when paired with a little dressed down Vanessa Bruno Athe number (she is the absolute darling of Parisian fashionistas — $55, TheOutnet) and some architecture-inspired flats by Loeffler Randall (they remind me of French windows in a beautiful Paris pied-a-terre — and are on ridiculous sale at only $50, FootCandyShoes):
Parisian chic to the max.
(Image from A Creative Mint blog, which I swoon over regularly)
Oh, and P.S.: if you’re doubting the chic factor of the clear PVC material of which the Loeffler Randall flats above are made, just take a gander at this photo from Garance Dore’s blog and rest assured — how adorable with my favorite shade of orangey-red polish?!
For a bit more formal of an affair, how about the 3.1 Phillip Lim lace dress I’ve been blogging about for months? It is oh-so-perfect. I want. ($795, LaGarconne):
Rough things up with these Vince Camuto booties (a walk on the wild side, as noted above — keep the rest of your accessories decidedly femme) — $129, Vince Camuto (side note: Rachel Zoe marked these as one of her “picks” on PiperLime, so maybe that’s what I think they’re kinda sick looking):
Something about the dramatically-collared jacket paired with the prim black lines of the dress is just perfect for Parisian street-strolling. Pair with classic Lanvin ballets in unexpected corded satin ($515, Net-A-Porter):
But it just wouldn’t be a French post without reference to the line Paul & Joe, another pick amongst the soigne in Paris’ fashion elite — just take a look at this Chanel-esque dress ($360, Paul & Joe):
Love it with some unexpected structured heels, like these Vince Camuto strappies ($110, Vince Camuto):
This Vita Fede art deco ring would make for a perfect topper — it almost reminds me of the Eiffel Tower in terms of its lines and structure ($310, Max & Chloe):
And, for la grande entree, this ruffled Lanvin dress that I’ve been positively dreaming about for.ev.er. Pure whimsy, pure fun, pure Paris (unfortunately, pure priciness as well — $4,960, Net-A-Porter):
Pair with these French lace bow-toed pumps (lace is just intrinsically Frenchified — Valentino, $885, Net-A-Porter):
(Lanvin Honeymoon Suitcase, $740, Net-A-Porter)
…but then again I’m just antsy to get the ball rolling with the wedding: T-4 days and counting and it has taken every ounce of my reserve to keep myself from total wedding details data dump in today’s post! I just want to tell you all every little thing about the Big Day but am working hard to keep it a surprise until after the 7th! Eee! I’m so excited!