By: Lisa Anselmo
Paris is considered the fashion capital of the world, and I get it: Chanel is here, Dior, LVMH—blah, blah. But if you think those Sartorialist-esque street fashion photos posted during Paris Fashion Week are an indicator of how Parisians dress, think again. Most of those people aren’t even French; they’ve come to the shows from London, Tokyo, and yes, New York. My point? Everyday Parisians aren’t really all that fashion-forward. Stylish, for sure, but when it comes to pulling a look together, they’re fairly conservative: subdued colors, simple tailoring, understated adornment. Their closets are also surprisingly spare: the basics that work for them, which they’ll wear over and over.
Fashionable New Yorkers, on average, are more experimental and daring with their choices—mixing patterns, having fun with oversized accessories. It’s about making a statement and having fun, whereas with Parisians, it’s about looking like you just threw it on (and, of course, it landed beautifully).
But both Parisians and their New York counterparts have their beloved basics for every situation. (And, yes, they’re as different as their individual approaches to fashion.) Here, the five fashion essentials of les parisiennes and New York women, as seen by me, a loud and proud Comme des Garçons-wearing Manhattanite living in the jeans-and-blazer-loving City of Light.
1. Never without, regardless of weather:
New York Girl: Saint Laurent New Wave Lily 213 Cat-eye Sunglasses in Ivory
La Parisienne: Scarf. Her fave was only 30 euros from Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais. But it’s all about how she ties it, anyway.
2. Her fave shoe for brunch with the girls:
New York Girl: Acne Jemma Bootie
3. If it’s chilly she’ll throw on the ol’:
New York Girl: Uniqlo Supima Cotton UV-Cut crewneck Cardigan in black
La Parisienne: Denim jacket, like the Levi’s Ex-boyfriend Veste en Jean
4. She’ll show up for your party in:
New York Girl: Something that makes a splash: Her new Spring Medley Tulle Skirt from Anthropologie
La Parisienne: Something understated sexy: Her Isabel Marant Laya blazer paired with indigo skinny jeans, a sheer t-shirt, and black kitten heels
5. She'll Never ever Let Go of It:
New York Girl: Her vintage ‘90s Prada black Tessuto nylon backpack with triangle logo (it was her first!)
La Parisienne: Her Chanel leather cap-toe flats that she got in high school and keeps resoling. (She thinks the new designs with the screaming CC monogram is un peu vulgaire.)
Lisa Anselmo is an author and blogger living in Paris and New York. Her memoir, My (Part-Time) Paris Life is published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. You can follow her on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.
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