"Fashion fades, only style remains the same." Coco Chanel
Paris Street Style
While walking the streets of Paris one can't help but notice the beautiful women and men, but in this particular article, I'm going to discuss the women. I don't think there's a mistake in calling Paris the fashion capital of the world. New York City may want to claim that distinction, but NYC does not have a Monday, mid-morning, high-fashion runway show in a car dealership on Champs -Elysees. I was walking down the famous boulevard and heard some heart pumping techno music coming from one of the storefronts. I walked over to the huge window and saw that it was a Renault car dealership and there was a runway show taking place inside. So, of course, I walked in and took my place standing along with others who came in off the street.
These models were not so much beautiful as they were alluring. They were not bouncing down the runway. They were walking slowly past the fashion editors, buyers, etc and then made their way to pose in front of the photographers and walk away.
I was amazed at their sensuality, and yet it was not overt, it was a subtle overall confidence. The walk gets your attention and then they give you the time to check them out, and that is what the Parisian woman expects.
A Fashionable Corner
Parisian Woman at Fouquet's
Earlier that same morning, I had been sitting at the outdoor cafe of Fouquet's (watch the short film for pure Parisian elegance) having a cup of coffee before I began my (long) walk to the Louvre. I wanted to see Paris on foot, so I started at a fashionable corner and took my time people watching. It was probably about 9 A.M. I noticed a few tables in front of me a beautiful French woman reading the newspaper. Her hair was pulled up into a chignon and she had on a dark skirt, pumps, a nice cream colored silk blouse.
When she was done, she got up and walked into the restaurant and I remember thinking, no one walks like that in the U.S. She walked with elegance, one foot in front of the other with a slight saunter, back held straight (but not rigid) and head looking forward. She looked completely natural. I know, you're going to get up and try it, go ahead. You'll feel it if it's right. Go ahead and laugh, and remember, laughter is another CHIC quality.
French Women Style
A Million Bucks Look
About twenty minutes later, I was getting ready to leave and I looked up and she had just come out of the restaurant, looking like a million bucks. Her hair was down, flowing over her shoulders, freshly brushed, a red lipstick finishing off this perfectly applied makeup that must have been done in the powder room of Fouquet's. She was walking down the avenue, most likely to the fashion district in Rue du Faubourg St-Honore where fashion designers such as Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel, Yves St. Laurent have their principal fashion houses. So there was another snapshot of the Parisian chic; a leisurely cup of coffee at a nice cafe, the newspaper to educate the mind, twenty minutes putting on the finishing touches in a classy powder room, classic clothing and confidence and the walk. WOW. Is it that simple?
Ines de la Fressange - The Author of Parisian Chic: A Style Guide
Parisian Chic 101
There was another time that week when I witnessed the effortless chic in grand mode right before my eyes. I was walking with my Parisian friend to the crepes cafe and she had her hair pulled back into a low ponytail. As she was walking and talking, she looked over at me and pulled the hair tie out of her hair, and viola, there it was again. She shook her hair out over her shoulders and I thought, damn, these women don't even try to they are so sexy (and no, I am completely heterosexual!). Their CHICness is in their manner, the way they carry themselves, their nonchalance, their intelligence, their classic attire, their natural allure, expecting to be noticed but not showcasing any one thing. It's the whole package.
My Parisian friend told me that it's all in what French women know, they expect attention from a man, the stares, the wink, a caress or a pat as a sign of affection. If they don't get this attention, they think something is wrong with their appearance, their manner.
I think we can take some lessons from them, these most beautiful creatures; that it's almost effortless to look fantastic, but some effort is going to pay off well in our confidence and appearance! OOH La LA~~~
Parisian Fashion Tips From Ines de la Fressange
Notable French Women Quotes
"One is not born a woman, one becomes one". Simone de Beauvoir
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." Coco Chanel
"And the day came when the risk to become tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
"I am not afraid; I was born to do this." Joan of Arc
"The artist is nothing without the gift; but the gift is nothing without work." Emilie Zola
"French women have been made beautiful by the French people - they're very aware of their bodies, the way they move and speak, they're very confident of their sexuality. French society's made them like that." Charlotte Rampling
"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved." George Sand (Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin)
"When he takes me in his arms and speaks to me softly, I see the world through rose-colored glasses." Edith Piaf
What French Women Know
- french essence
My favorite! Delightful blog from France.
- French Women's Diet Secret
Easy, portable, and tasty, yogurt may also aid in weight loss
Thank You for Reading and Please Feel Free to Leave a Comment.
Rando on June 18, 2019:
Lol that Simone de Beauvoir quote is not about timeless French style; it's about how gender is performative and we're taught from an early age to limit ourselves to the gender we've been identified with--i.e. women become women by learning to embody "feminine" qualities that are not innate. This is so unintentionally ironic in this article I just had to comment. Classic French feminism is a far cry from "French girl style."
Bettykirlin@aol.com on October 21, 2018:
Enjoyed this article, It's all things I have strived for since I spent all my allowance as a really young person on trying to look like this and hopefully followed it clear to my 80's,
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2014:
I have always noticed this when in the streets of Paris. You can almost spot the locals from the tourists. This is also true of French-Canadian women in Montreal. Chic indeed!
Mary Cimeni from Philippines on November 20, 2013:
oh Paris, and the parisian women!!! always gorgeous and stunning, not only because of their height and glamour. There's that unique charm in them. . I'm so envious! I love your Paris fashion tips! Thanks a bunch rebekah!!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 05, 2013:
Thanks so much lifelovemystery. I can't think of a more pleasing comment than what you have given. I'm glad I could take you there for a brief moment in time!
Michelle Orelup from Las Vegas, NV on September 05, 2013:
I've never been to France, but I can almost picture myself with you. You are a beautifully visual writer.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on August 09, 2013:
Thank you savvydating, your observations are so true. I saw this so plainly while visiting. Even the teenagers dressed fashionably, quite naturally. There didn't appear to be that unnatural effort put forth that is often noticed on an American woman trying to dress like a Parisian. I would encourage any woman trying to get this look to adapt one thing at a time, starting with self-confidence. When a woman feels confident, it should come from within, not the clothes we wear or our hairstyle. The Parisian woman spends a lot of money on skin care and undergarments.
It's the natural glow and the mystery that make them so alluring.
Yves on August 08, 2013:
Beautiful article. There is no doubt in my mind that all American women could learn a lot from french women, even if they only observed them for a day. The French culture allows women to be sexy and alluring. This is what makes them so natural. They don't have that thing of feeling objectified. And as for the part about the French women loosening her hair. Priceless. Sexuality is an attitude. In America, we often compartmentalize our sexuality, which is a shame. As you well know, in France this is not the case. You can be sexy anywhere, because you are also chic, intelligent, and oh so knowing...
I've basically repeated your points, but I couldn't help it. They are so good!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 07, 2013:
moonlake, sorry I missed your comment. I completely agree about America. I sat in a bank today waiting for an appointment and I was disgusted with how people looked and the lack of respect for appearing in public looking so sloppy. Black, white, cream and taupe always look fashionable if the clothes fit properly and are clean. A nice accessory or a great pair of shoes can add color. Clothes don't have to be expensive to look nice. Thanks for reading and commenting.
FlourishAnyway from USA on June 07, 2013:
I think you're right -- it is all in how you carry yourself. Self-confidence is really important. Nicely written hub.
moonlake from America on April 27, 2013:
I've been to France but never to Paris. I always watch Project Runway, when they went to Paris and walked into a fabric store I thought how nice the lady waiting on them looked. She was older and had on a white knit blouse but she was just so neat. I think America is sloppy. The women here working in the banks some look so awful, I know they don't get paid much but wear a black skirt or pants and white blouse. Something better than a floppy old blouse that is yellow from bad washing. I wonder why there are no dress codes in places of business.
Enjoyed your hub sorry I rattled on. Voted up.
torrilynn on February 06, 2013:
i really liked your hub. it was very informative and detailed about the confidence that the Parisian women have when compared to women in the United States. I also believe that here in the U.S. we can take a few notes from them on how to act chic.
Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on December 21, 2012:
I attended a college which had a sizeable population of French students. Those young women possessed a joie de vivre that many of us Americans did not have. They have a high amount of body consciousness and acceptance. They also view fashion as an enjoyment. No one in my opinion loves fashion and realize the practicality of fashion as French women do. Escellent hub again, RebekaElle. Love stopping by and reading your hubs.
Fotinoula Gypsyy from NYC BABY on July 19, 2012:
I think in many countries in Europe the women always look nice. They dress up every single day. In New York you do see people dressed up, but I think you definitely see a lot more crazy looking people. I enjoyed this hub very much!
Dr Freddie Haddox from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally. on January 07, 2012:
You are welcome, rebekahELLE. Keep up you good work. Regards, Dr. Haddox
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on January 07, 2012:
Thanks Dr. Haddox. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had fun writing this hub when I first started writing at HP. :)
Dr Freddie Haddox from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally. on January 07, 2012:
Excellent writing. A wonderful Hub.
bell du jour from Ireland on August 26, 2011:
French women are supremely confident in their manner and their appearance and I think this is simply how they are brought up. They are told as young girls how beautiful and elegant they are and they believe it.....and self belief is everything! :-) Very nice hub really enjoyed it.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on March 27, 2011:
Thanks for reading! Tracy, I think you've said it well. A woman needs to find her own self, her own style and feel beautiful and comfortable with who she is. Thanks for taking the time to leave and comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks also for the tweet!
Tracy Lynn Conway from Virginia, USA on March 21, 2011:
What a great hub! Since reading your "How to get the French Girl Look" a few days ago, this topic has been on my mind. After reading this hub I am thinking a lot about the idea of women focusing on their individuality, this is such a positive message.
I really love this hub and will share it on twitter.
Sima Ballinger from Michigan on January 23, 2011:
I really enjoyed reading this hub. You educated me about the French Women. I felt like I was there in Paris with you. You have also given me some ideas that I will incorporate into my own Chic Style. VOTE UP, Useful!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 21, 2010:
Thanks suji for visiting and leaving a comment. to be very honest, I'm not sure what the French stay at home mother wears during the day. I'm sure it's quite different from a Parisian woman and a woman who lives out in the country. Their basic wardrobe is classic and feminine, a bit of allure. Maybe at home you could try dressing up just a little to make yourself feel better. A few basic black and white t's are nice with a pair of dark jeans, the ballet type shoe or a nice pair of Skeecher tennis shoes or whatever you can comfortably afford. They do wear scarves often, tied in different ways. A simple scarf in a nice design will jazz up any plain t-shirt or sweater. Cardigans are cozy and stylish once the weather is cooler. The French woman is all about a simple elegance in the way they dress and the way they live. I know for myself, the days that I take more time to look nice, the better I feel about myself and my day.
There are days when I do wear the 'going out' tops if I'm working at home, because I want to enjoy them now. You might really enjoy a book called Entre-Nous- A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Olliver. It is a fun read and gives you lots of tips on bringing out that French girl we all love. thanks for reading! enjoy!
suzan on September 20, 2010:
i love your blog. thanks for feeding our curiosity & encouragement to be fabulous. I'm stay at home mom & most of the time i wear old clothes. because i don't want to wash good clothes very often. i dress up only in the evening when we go out. i save all my dresses for special occation. my question is what about french stay at home mom do. do they really wear good clothes even when they stay home.if they do how they could do housework you know cooking, laundry etc etc. i know this is crazy question but i don't have any french friend toask. could you share any tips please.i would be very grateful & also what kind of shoes they wear while walking
gracenotes from North Texas on September 01, 2010:
Wow, French ancestry! I have none in my ethnic background.
No wonder you were interested in writing on this topic. Well, you'll be able to come back and give us some more information in another hub.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 01, 2010:
thanks gracenotes, you know, I lived in New Orleans for a year and the French influence is everywhere. You must have a bit of that sexy French swag in your walk. New Orleans is still my favorite city in the US, there's just something about it. I used to work with a woman who was part French and she walked that way..
The French women, especially the Parisians use their clothing to enhance who they are, not to bring attention to the clothing. I noticed that while there. I would love to go back and spend more time there, I found out after doing some ancestral research, that I have do have ancestors from northern France.
thanks for reading, I loved reading your comment. :]
gracenotes from North Texas on September 01, 2010:
I have only had one compliment in my adult life on the way that I walk. It was a guy complimenting me. He didn't go into detail, but he said my walk was similar to the way Cajun women walk in South Louisiana. Yes, if you, as a woman, go about in daily life, expecting to get attention from men, you will get it. But it will definitely help if you wear something that enhances your best physical qualities. It's so much harder to do when you reach the age when your feet hurt. I wouldn't doubt that the pain shows in the tense quality in your face. That's why I had to change the kind of shoes that I wear.
I have never been to Paris, but I understand that French women don't buy clothes in a reckless way. They use careful consideration as to quality, and optimize coordination to the max in their wardrobe. I think we American women have a lot to learn.
Audrey Hepburn looked great. She had a long neck, which is not a bad asset, and you'll notice in My Fair Lady that the costume designer put her in lots of high-necked blouses. Or, she wore a multi-strand necklace to fill everything in. It's hard NOT to be great when you have Hubert de Givenchy designing Paris-inspired couture wear for you.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on July 27, 2010:
thank you greentiecommando. they are beautiful creatures, I agree. such elegance and a naturalness that is real and alive.
thanks Peggy for reading and leaving such a nice comment! I'm glad you were able to stroll along with me through the street of Paris. :]
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 27, 2010:
You write so artfully that I almost felt as if I was strolling those French streets right along with you seeing what you were viewing. Well done!
GreenTieCommando from USA on June 11, 2010:
This hub is so True. I was astonished when I first walked through the Champs Elysses - there are so many well dressed girls! Very elegant, great color coordination and style.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on January 26, 2010:
thank you mow! I have more coming! thank you for reading and leaving a comment. happy to meet you here. :)
myownworld from uk on January 26, 2010:
Another wonderful hub! I could take in your hubs on Paris all at a go! Loved them all! Thank you for sharing them!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on December 19, 2009:
thank you 2uesday and green for your lovely comments.
green, the ELLE in my name is just a creative expression for a pen name. my middle initial is L and I love the French 'oo la la'~~ elle means she/her in French. at one time I did subscribe to ELLE magazine until it took a turn with it's new editor. I liked the original magazines much better... yes, there is a certain something they can teach us! :]
Hillary from Atlanta, GA on December 19, 2009:
What an elegant Hub rebekahELLE. Is your moniker any reference to that elegant magazine? As I was reading I kept seeing Audrey Hepburn in my mind's eye (although I don't believe she's French). Anyway, I do think we American girls can take a few lessons from you and the Parisian women. There's something to be said for exuding an air of confidence in our inner beauty. Thanks!
2uesday on November 01, 2009:
I loved reading this hub because you write in such a way that I could picture what you had described, thanks.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on October 12, 2009:
yes, it is true. I sat with my friend Martine and we disussed the cultural differences between American and French men. American women can learn a lot from the French woman.
Ivorwen from Hither and Yonder on October 12, 2009:
"...they expect attention from a man, the stares, the wink,..."
What a different way of thinking! I always feel like I am doing something wrong when I attract this kind of attention, especially while grocery shopping. Time for a pyridine shift.
Living In Paris on October 04, 2009:
Nice hub -- and so TRUE. I bought my first pair of "sneaker flats" in Paris 8 years ago because I felt so un-chic compared to everyone around me. Now the trend is EVERYWHERE, and since then, I've never gone without having a couple pairs in my wardrobe.
You (or someone) should do a hub on French women and their scarf stylings. It really is an art form.
mandybeau1 from Out there on September 30, 2009:
Hi well ya know can take the Frenchman/woman out of France but not Visa Versa. I am half French and I have a certain style, that seems to prevail.
I hate garish things, I paint bright paintings because they appeal, but I still try and make it tasteful, and I believe we are essentially pedantic. I think this contributes to the Style that and grooming. I run an online Zlio Store, and enjoy choosing clothes that Frenchwoman like.
I really enjoyed reading this Hub
ralwus on September 25, 2009:
It's Friday. lol Enjoying a drink right now. go to bed shortly, change my picture again tomorrow.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 25, 2009:
thank you for your nice comment. I'm glad you enjoy!
ralwus, you changed your pic??
ralwus on September 25, 2009:
What a great intro to French women. I love your style.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 15, 2009:
thank you kindly~ I'm attempting to make this both informative and entertaining, so I appreciate your words.
I'm working now on my next Paris entry, 'my first night in Paris'. what a magnificent city, it's own world. nice to meet you!
euro-pen from Europe on September 15, 2009:
Wow. That's an entertaining read. I like your writing style. It makes your hub extremely interesting and exciting to read. I appreciate your praise of French women who of course have a many admirers over here in Europe.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on September 09, 2009:
prasetio, there are beautiful women everywhere, I'm sure also in your country! I love what you say in your profile, very nice. yes, it is wonderful to be able to communicate with others through hubpages! thank you for sharing with me.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 07, 2009:
I will be nice when I meet Parisian woman. And I think it is impossible.thanks for share.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on August 25, 2009:
thanks europewalker~ no, I didn't ever see sweat pants or sneakers except I did see Americans in sneakers. I will say I had blisters on my feet after walking all day in shoes not meant for walking all day.... over cobblestones! But~~ it was worth it!
europewalker on August 25, 2009:
I enjoyed your hub, you are so right. The women there always look so good. They are so chic and it seems so natural for them. I didn't see any in sweat pants and sneakers!