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HOW TO LOOK LIKE A LOCAL WHEN IN PARIS
Photography by Jonathan Daniel Pryce
If you have a trip to the City of Lights on the horizon, be it for tourism, work or studying, it is important to look the part. Paris is the world's undisputed pantheon for the painfully hip, an enclave of taste and fashion with a unique culture and etiquette that should be respected by newcomers. Those that do their part to look and act like a local will likely find many exciting doors open to them that would have otherwise been closed if they had remained in tourist mode. If you are looking for some help on how to live and look like a local in Paris, read our quick guide to pick up some useful tips.
Learn the language
This one might seem annoying, but its importance cannot be understated. Even mastering a basic level of conversational French will get you very far in Paris and will massively improve the quality of your interactions, especially within the fashion industry. Before you go, you can easily access one-on-one French tutoring to master the essentials of Parisian conversation in a very short period of time. Conveniently, learning online enables you to tailor your experience to your knowledge level and also allows you to select between grammar, conversational and written French. It is definitely worth the time investment, as just a few words of French on the street will go a long way. Conversely, starting all of your conversations in English will not go down well with the locals.
Avoid the fashion faux pas
If you're a keen fashionista that is determined to look the part, there are some cardinal sins of French fashion that you must strive to avoid. For men, these are pretty straightforward and low effort: avoid wearing shorts in the city at all times. Pretty much the only time this is acceptable is if you are out jogging. To that end, gym clothes and athleisure are not considered chic here, so don't pack your Gymshark kit unless you plan to use your hotel gym facilities. Also, do not wear sandals for any reason - that is purely beach footwear and you will get some hostile stares on the metro if you're rocking Birkenstocks and socks on your commute. In addition, save your oversized hoodies and sweatshirts for when you are chilling at home.
Now that we have covered the French fashion "don'ts", let's cover the "do's". Parisian fashion is not overly complicated - it is mostly about understanding which clothes suit your frame and body type, and then working with that. For this reason, it is so important to wear clothes that are well-fitted and compliment your silhouette. Going for skin-tight clothing or overly baggy outfits is not a good look and will not be appreciated here. Well-fitted shirts are the holy grail of men's fashion here, so start with this as a base. Jeans are fine, but a nice pair of trousers will get your much further. Polo shirts are also immensely popular, as are fitted sweaters and turtlenecks. For footwear, closed-toe shoes for all seasons are the norm, so consider copping some Oxfords or a pair of Tods. Sneakers are totally acceptable, as long as they are definitely streetwear items and are not purely athletic footwear.
If you follow these simple rules, you will be able to look, dress, and sound the part in the City of Lights. Parisians might seem a little bit intimidating at first, but once you give these low-effort nods to etiquette, you'll find them to be some of the warmest people in the world.
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