Makeup & Fashion in Paris

Paris - the famed fashion capital of the world.

It has always been a dream of mines ever since I turned 15 to visit the city. Luckily fortune has been kind to me and I have visited it twice already!

It is without a doubt one of my favorite places in Europe. I really can't explain it but it has the big city vibe yet every corner bristles with references to Gods of ancient Greek myths, lined with cobbled stones, the romance of Seine's numerous Ponts (Bridges) & of course Eiffel Tower! It looks beautiful at night - the City & the Tower - all bathed in a beautiful golden glow.

It had been a long day of walking and I was sleepy & tired, but I still made to Eiffel for the light show!
During my first trip I was quite excited about makeup & fashion and expected to see the latest trends on the street. What I realized was that Paris's moniker of fashion capital is actually a bit of a misnomer. They dress stylishly and could be the epitome of Euro-chic, but they are very, painfully slow to adapt to trends.

And this second, longer trip where I traveled extensively by the City Metro daily confirmed my belief. But here is a brief glimpse into what I did see:

1. Parisian girls have beautiful skin. Not once did I see anyone with acne marks, discoloration, dark circles. I don't think foundation covers up such a multitude of sins. Last time as well as this, I stocked up on French Skincare. French skincare is best to be the best in the world and guess what, most of it is sold only at pharmacies coz they are full of potent active ingredients.

2. Makeup is a bit of a revelation here. Girls don't seem to wear anything but eyeliner or eyeshadow used as liner. But they are so creative with it!Some line only the outer bottom 2/3rd with a navy blue, others do a thin black kitten flick on top. Yet others do only the top & bottom outer 1/3 of the eye. Add lots of mascara (natural looking, No clumps!) and they are done. No bottom waterlines please! They look for soft definition around the eye and prefer power to line. Parisian girls are generally very fair, with dark auburn hair & brown eyes so they already have high contrast in their faces, and therefore they get away with a lot less makeup. I did spot a few women with lipstick - which is always red - but these were women who were a lot mature, aka in their 60s.

3. It was summer when I visited, so pedicures were out & on display were the brightest, neon shades you could find. While the finger nails were generally plain or a soft pink, the feet were orange & red & all sorts of fun bright colors.

4. Coming to clothes, lets start with Jeans! The jeans most commonly spotted here are mid-rise, skinny fit dark wash jeans in black or dark blue. No colored denim, save for the occasional person in red (I was one of those, and I have a feeling the other chicks I saw were probably also tourists!), also no straight or bootcut fits & no slouchy boyfriend jeans. For printed jeans, Paris is where they go to die. In my entire 5 day stay there I spotted only one girl in a dark navy blue jeans with white polka dots. They looked uber cute though!
Pont de Arts in Paris.. And that is my beloved leather jacket!

5. The rest of the color palette for clothes is equally subdued, unless you start counting the tourists. The local Parisians prefer to top their skinnies with shades of white, dark blue, black, grey and cream. So the overall look is neutral. Generally they wear blouses & tops, and not tee-shirts. I could define the dress code as smart-casual. Oh, and when in doubt, wear stripes! A white tee with stripes in any color is very Paris!

6. Jackets & Scarfs: What would a Parisian women be without her fabled scarf? This where they inject a bit of color into their neutral base outfit. You'll see printed, plain, bright, wollen, satin & all sorts scarves draped around their necks. I personally don't like scarves, so I really don't get the hype. But jackets I love, and I saw them in all their glory in Paris. Paris is quite cold throughout the year and it is easy to layer clothes. When I was there, leather jackets were in vouge in all their glory, and I contributed by wearing my short leather bomber jacket. It was purchased in Europe & it cost a bomb! Paris is also a good place to buy blazers & jackets. Since everyone wears them they are considered a basic, and you will find very well constructed jackets in all stores at all price ranges (Yes, I got quite a few too!)
One of the few occasions I donned a scarf in Europe, but that was mostly coz it was so cold!

7. Shoes: Not only in Paris, but people all across Western Europe wear very good shoes. It is a myth that women in Paris don't wear sneakers, they do. But these are mostly teenagers & they wear the Converse sneaker, not the bulky white ones we see at Nike / Adidas etc.

8. Hair is basic wash, condition & air dry. I hardly saw anyone with a blow-dry.

9. Girls wear mostly pants here, I hardly saw any girls in dresses or skirts. If they were sporting one, it was always accompanied by tights / pantyhose. And no, no peplum anywhere!

So there you have it, now you know what to wear if you wanna blend in, while in Paris.

For those of you have been to Paris, what did you observe? Does it match what I saw?

And those who haven't gone as yet, what comes into your mind when you think of Paris?


  1. Wow! Your post is an eye-opener about so many things Parisian! Especially the lack of make up. And flawless skin all thanks to their amazingly healthy Mediterranean diet, I guess. Wonderful post.

    1. They have really amazing skin & even I think it is coz of their diet - full of healthy fats! Thank you for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D

  2. This is such a refreshing read. I loved it. You have described things so well, I could picture everything as I kept reading. Lovely writing, Tanveer.

    1. Thank you so much Coral! I am glad you enjoyed it! :D

  3. Eh Tanveer. YOu have no idea how happy I feel every time I see your new pics. Such a striking change from your Kerala vacation pics - not to say you didn't look good - you just didn't seem so happy and confident and I am sooo happy for you. I went to Paris when I was a kid, so its a long time ago. I have been planning a Europe trip for a long time, but between school and now work - it just doesn't seem to be working out. I'll definitely ask for more tips from you once I go.

    1. Shivani! I love your comments! You just know how to make my day sweetheart! I know what you mean when you say there is change. I feel it too, I feel happy from within & confident, and just satisfied!

      You must visit Europe when you have the time. I had an awesome time there & wld go back travelling, given the chance, in an heartbeat! It was the best vacation ever!

  4. Totally agree with you regarding the skin and makeup. And yes, girls in the city of lights prefer dark, somber and neutral colours. I had gone to Paris in August which was the peak of summer so I saw a lot of girls in shorts...but they could have been tourists too :p

    Really love your detailed post. Reading it brought back memories of my I wanna go again ;)

  5. I have been obsessed with Paris since i was four years old!! :D
    I dont know what it is,but to me Paris is a place that seems almost magical. Heartbreaking beautiful and still culturally headstrong.It rings out words of romance and spells out great history.
    I hope to go there one day!!

    The observations you made were exactly what i expected it to be like over there.They are of course very classy,neutral and subdued in their fashion sense!!
    I always hoped there would be people wearing hats though!! :D

  6. OMG...u looking so good and what a fantastic and positive transformation. I really hope to meet you sometime in Mumbai though we haven't spoken much and of course get some tips from you. Btw Paris is one of my dream destinations too. When people go to Paris for work or sight seeing, I may be one of the few who could go to raid the French Pharmacies and rake the beauty stores on Champs Elysees. The fashion is amazing. Please do take a pic of ur in smokey eyes and berry lips with Eiffel as the backdrop.


  7. This was so interesting to read. It's my dream to go to paris too! And I always thought people were very stylish there.
    You can check out my blog too if you like :)

  8. This is was a very interesting post! I hope to travel to Paris someday too..

  9. I love Paris period!!..8 out of 10 gals are actress material...I love how gals wear louboutin on roads ..Although black is their favorite color across Europe ..So no butterfly colors of dress like in India..


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