What men wear in Paris

How to Dress Like a Parisian Man

Whether you’re going abroad for a while or just looking to bring a bit of French style into your own wardrobe, everyone wants to know how to dress like a Parisian.

But men have it particularly hard.

While there’s an entire library of advice for women, the few male fashion guides out there make things even MORE vague (what exactly does “dressing nicer” mean?). If you’re just looking for a straightforward introduction to men’s fashion in Paris, this is the guide for you.

And if you need an even more simplistic approach to dressing like a Parisian (we get it – words are hard – ain’t nobody got time for that), make sure you check out our visual everyday outfit cheat sheet at the end of the post.

Make Some Key Investments

Like your Parisian female counterpart, you’ll want to embrace the notion of a Luxury Basic – that is, you’ll want to start buying clothes at a higher quality and lower quantity – particularly when it comes to your everyday wear.

A Parisian man is willing to spend a little bit more to get more durable denims and more comfortable cottons for his staple jeans and shirts. If you haven’t checked your tags in a while, go do a fabric audit of your closet.

Keep: leather, wool, denim, cotton, linens, cashmere (blends of these fabrics are also okay)
Reevaluate: most synthetics (even when blended with one of the above)

100% Cotton Shirts

If you find yourself throwing out a lot of synthetic T-shirts or sweaters and needing some quality replacements without taking out a new line of credit, I highly recommend online retailer, Everlane*, who sells 100% Combed Cotton t-shirts for only $15 and Cotton/ Cashmere sweaters for $55.

Choose the Right Shoes

Goutaste reader and French resident Mat Schraeder says looking the part is all in the shoes.

The Parisian man does not wear sneakers unless they’re vintage Chuck Taylors or designer, but even then, buyer beware – although it may seem more comfortable to Americans, in Paris designer sneaks are statement shoes. If you’re not comfortable styling an outfit yet, stay away from things with fat laces. A great alternative is a Chukka boot, which will still give you a rugged look – just with a little more Parisian style.

“My partner, ‘La Petite Française,’ strongly indicated that I should quickly remedy my shoe ‘problem’ when we first met. It’s so easy to forget what’s on your feet, but women notice… and so does the average French man. I’ve felt the stares and unsaid words and all eyes fell to the floor to inspect and comment on what adorned whose foot… Those were my early days here.” -Mat Schraeder, Goutaste reader

For the most typical Parisian footwear, grab leather pointed shoes in neutral blacks and browns (both lace-ups and single or double monk straps will work). You can wear these shoes with anything from jeans to slacks so they will definitely start you out on the right pied.

As with all of your quality fashion, make sure you take care of your shoes. As Mat says, “Regardless of what [shoes] you wear, keep ‘em in good condition. Maintain them, wash them, polish them, see your local cobbler and get to know him! These things can be expensive, so make ‘em last! That’s what we do here!”

Shoes

Enhance Your Fit

The Parisian man’s clothes fit a little slimmer everywhere than what Americans are used to. Especially when it comes to suits or coats, the tailoring has to be inch-perfect. You’ll never catch a Parisian man “sagging” in the crotch, armpits, or cuffs.

“French tailoring has a specific “stamp” in terms of detailing, gradual waist suppression, the signature skirt flair [on suit jackets], a more narrow trouser leg, and the universally recognizable regal posture created by the high armhole cut and la cigarette shoulder.”

On the one hand, this seems like a total drag – “now I have to go to the tailor?!”

On the other hand, now you don’t have to worry so much about your clothes fitting perfectly off the rack. Just take a shirt you like in theory to your tailor who knows how you want it and voilà – French-guy fit.

Collect Scarves

Walking the streets of Paris without a scarf between September and May is like walking around naked – and yes, men, that includes you!

The European-looped scarf is a signature accessory that will never look out of place in Paris – no matter the weather. French men own scarves in a variety of fabrics, lengths, and styles so they can switch things up when necessary.

“You can also lend it to her (if she isn’t wearing her own) when the evening chill comes as you’re sitting at a cafe table outside… that’s a total class act!” – Mat Schraeder, Goutaste reader

Layer Up

The Parisian male loves to layer. Shirt under sweater under coat. Maybe even toss in a scarf.

This look contributes to the general Parisian fashion preference for looking as if you’re too cool to fuss over an outfit. You’ve got more important things to do, so you just threw on your clean (or unclean) laundry and somehow it magically worked out.

Of course, it’s not that simple, but it’s not that complicated either. The key to this look is remembering that each layer should allow the layer under it to peek out just a bit. If you wear a crew-neck sweater over a v-neck shirt, it kind of defeats the purpose.

layers

Load Up on Black and Neutrals

You get the most value and versatility from your clothes by sticking with blacks and neutrals, so the Parisian man adores this. More fashion forward men can get away with some trendy colors and accessories when the season is right, but your safest bet is to stick with variations on black, white, gray, brown, and navy.

Again, Everlane* is a great place to stock up on basic colors in high quality fabrics without breaking the bank.

Mix Classy With Casual

The whole “blazer with dark-wash jeans” thing was invented in Paris. Like his female counterpart, the Parisian man likes to look like he threw together items effortlessly. The pairing makes it seem like a perfectly tailored blazer is just as natural for you as well-worn jeans or that un-ironed shirt.

Casual-Suiting
Image via GQ

The same strategy also applies to the reverse pairing; a worn leather jacket with a crisp tailored shirt or slacks will also do the trick.

Putting it All Together: The Everyday Outfit Cheat Sheet

So you’ve got all the items sorted out, but how do you put it together? What’s a no-brainer, go-to outfit?

French-man-outfit

Start with an un-ironed neutral shirt (a button-down or a cotton Tee will both do) and a sweater (v-neck or button-down). Pair it with a suit jacket (perfectly tailored) or a brown leather jacket that fits like a glove. Add a great-fitting pair of slacks or dark-wash jeans with a classic brown or black belt. Finish the look with leather pointed shoes and a European-looped scarf for a ultra-Parisian look.

What do you think about Parisian men’s style? Could you see wearing this yourself? Still struggling to put it all together? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
 
 

*Everlane has NOT compensated me for the recommendations this post. I simply like their transparent business model and quality fabrics at a low price point.

Write us your thoughts about this post. Be kind & Play nice.
  1. Dan says:

    Great post! And a great breakdown on how to achieve a simplified, quality style. Is there by chance an actual list of the items from the cheat sheet? (I’m particularly interested in the blazer from the top row, second from the left.)

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Hi Dan! So glad you liked it! That blazer is actually part of Everlane’s slim sweater blazer line (I’m a huge fan)! Here’s a link to their site: https://www.everlane.com/r/maa6p9

      Reply
      • Love the post, question, is the cheat sheet just the essential and then we can expand on colours and items? Thank you.

        Reply
        • Emily Grossman says:

          You got it! But be careful not to expand too much on colors – the Parisian man is not very colorful in his clothing.

          Reply
      • Frank says:

        Hello Emilie, if you were to recommend 3 types of watches a man should have, what would they be? Also, is it a good idea to have a pair of khakis or chinos in a mans wardrobe if so what type/ cut?
        Thanks! Really enjoy reading everyone’s comments.
        cheers!
        Frank

        Reply
      • Frank says:

        Hello Emily, if you were to recommend 3 types of watches a man should have, what would they be? Also, is it a good idea to have a pair of khakis or chinos in a mans wardrobe if so what type/ cut?
        Thanks! Really enjoy reading everyone’s comments.
        cheers!
        Frank

        Reply
      • Robert Henri says:

        Hi! I’m French. I don’t know if you really know the French men fashion, but that’s horrible! I have old clothes from the last fashion btu now I think I’ill have to order in the US to wear normal-cut clothes.

        Reply
  2. Love the post, question, is the cheat sheet just the essential and then we can expand on colours and items? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      You got it, Joseph! The cheat sheet is an idea of what an every day basic outfit would look like. You can play with adding or altering items based on your own style or other tips in the guide, but it’s a good idea to get at least one of each of the items on the cheat sheet to start your Parisian wardrobe. You definitely can’t go wrong with these classics!

      Feel free to ask any questions here in the comments if you’ve got a piece you’re on the fence about!

      Reply
  3. Desmond says:

    Where are the pants from in the cheat sheet? They look great.

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Desmond, I haven’t been able to find my original source for those pants, however most contemporary department stores should carry a slim fitting pair of slacks like these. When in doubt, ask your tailor!

      Reply
  4. Larry says:

    Great display of the variations one can try. Question: I’m a husky fellow, any reco on pants that would work with the rest of the ensemble?

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Hi Larry!

      This is a great question! I can tell from your comment that you’re looking for a way to hide your figure a bit, but I’d actually still recommend going with a tailored pant or trouser! You don’t have to go quite as slim on your cut if this makes you uncomfortable, but baggy pants will only add bulk to your figure while a good tailored cut will be much more slimming.
      If you’re concerned about things holding up in the waist area, I’d recommend going with a cool vintage suspender over a belt, as this can look really fashionable while being a little more functional for your needs.

      I hope this helps – let me know if you have any more questions!

      Reply
  5. Cecily says:

    The bf pointed to this blog post when shopping for his new work wardrobe :) We’re both pretty much clueless at this stuff. I’ve heard of Everlane from a few people already but haven’t taken the plunge. What do you love about it? By the way, would you recommend Vain Pursuits? We’re both pretty much clueless about skin care as well :)

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      I’m so happy to hear this post is getting popular with the gents! And I LOVE Everlane, Cecily! The quality of the clothes is excellent (even the delicate silk blouses are standing the test of time – no buttons lost or seams ripped yet!) and the prices are extremely hard to beat. At this point, I think about 60% of my wardrobe came from Everlane, and I religiously carry the Petra bag, too. The fabrics are like butter to the touch and the colors are perfect, versatile basics.

      I haven’t had a chance to try Vain Pursuits yet, but maybe I will now that you’ve reminded me! Have you had any experience there?

      Reply
      • Cecily says:

        I checked out the Petra bag and that is one absolutely gorgeous design ! My bf loves the men’s slim sweater blazer so that makes getting his birthday present so much easier this year 😛 I just signed up for Vain Pursuits today too. I was sold after seeing some more reviews and I can’t wait to get my personalized pampering in a box!

        Reply
  6. Eugène says:

    Bonjour! I found your article and read it with excitement. I was in Paris this Summer and I was pleased to read that I nailed it in my fashion sense. Paris and I have a special relationship – we get along so nicely – I love it there!

    I would like to add that a clincher to getting along in Paris is being decisive, even when you need to ask questions, be confident but not cocky. If you speak French, you’re all set! If not, at least learn to ask if the person you are addressing speaks English. Don’t just start off an exchange with speaking English unless you know the person you are speaking to. Pleasantly ask: Pardon, est-ce que vous comprenez anglais? Score major points this way!

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Hi Eugène! I’m so glad you had such a great (and fashionable!) time in Paris. I love it, too!

      You are so right about the importance of showing some effort to speak French first. This is something that also came up in a previous post we wrote (http://goutaste.com/are-the-french-rude-5-reasons-americans-might-think-so/) and is so so so key to having a great experience. It really makes sense once you think about it, but many people don’t often start conversations this way! Great point!

      Reply
  7. Cate says:

    This is a really great post!

    Reply
  8. Belle says:

    Wonderful post! My husband totally needed something this simplified to help him know how to dress in France when we go in Spring 2015. Can’t wait to pull these items together for him!

    Reply
  9. Greg says:

    This is such a great post! I’ve been looking for ideas on how French men dress since I’ve just fallen in love with their culture and country entirely, and I’m hoping to go to Paris within 2015/16. I’ll definitely be looking into everlane. I’m a younger Canadian guy and have no idea on where to get anything nearly this stylish or comfortable without being online so I hope this’ll be a start. Any other sites or ideas would be great! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Hi Greg! I hope you do make it to Paris this year or next!

      Definitely start looking at brands like Everlane, Zara, JCrew, Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela, Paul Smith, and YSL.

      Online, I like: Everlane.com, MrPorter.com, oki-ni.com, and coggles.com.

      Reply
  10. Nick says:

    Hi ! I’m 30 years old. I’m a French man who lives in Paris.
    For summer, you could wear jeans or shorts pants with leather flip-flops or leather strap sandals but not beach flip-flops.
    If you don’t want to be noticed as a tourist, you should always wear leather sandals !
    Most of parisian men don’t like to wear beach shoes

    Reply
  11. Bob Roberts says:

    Great tips, thanks for putting this together. Headed to Paris in the still cold early March timeframe. What do you think about some dark colored courdoury pants in the mix?

    Reply
  12. Michael says:

    Love your web page! The men’s leather (saddle?) bag is wonderful. Where can I find that one or something very similar? Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Gabe says:

    Would H&M be a good store to purchase clothing? Do you recommend it?

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      I think H&M pieces are great for mixing in with your more luxury items, but because they are generally cheaper and lower quality, they tend to be made from materials or with speedy craftsmanship that won’t last as long. That said, it is great for trying out a new seasonal trend that you aren’t sure will be around or fashionable next year!

      Reply
  14. Kevin says:

    Where is the brown leather jacket from? It’s perfect.

    Thank you for putting this together. Have been looking for adding some French touches to my wardrobe. What retailers do you generally recommend?

    Reply
  15. Tracy says:

    Hello. What would someone that is in their fifties, and is short and stocky wear, the same things.

    Reply
  16. Kyle says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been a fascinated reader of your blog for some time, and really love it. Before my premier voyage to France I wanted to ensure that I looked the part, yet everywhere I turned no website had any tips for me(as a male) other than dress like a tourist if you are one. That alone disgusted me. Perhaps not disgust but rather distressed me, if I as an internet savvy tourist could not find an hospitable webpage for tips how did the Americans abroad dress? Well I stumbled upon your blog and ate it up being that I am a Francophile, Europhile, and Fashion Lover(of the late 19th century and early 20th) among other things!

    When I did end up visiting I enjoyed it so much more knowing that I looked the part. During my sojourn an actual Parisienne in Paris asked me what arrondissement I lived in at that time, which was both a compliment to my French and my fantastic taste(with your aid!), I was incredibly proud. Additionally in when I was in Valenciennes a man who was very much a lost American Tourist asked me for directions to Lille, after our conversation he inquired where in The UK I was from!

    So long of the short of it, I really loved your article and felt it brought a lot of colour(not literally) into my wardrobe and I love your cooking articles! Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
    • Jayna says:

      That is the correct blog for anybody who wants to search out out about this topic. You notice so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I truly would wantaHa). You posivitely put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

      Reply
    • You know I thought the same thing and the only reasoning I can come up with? is that when your fat, it stretches your skin out whereas when you lose the weight and tone up your skin tightens up which means the pigments in your skin are closer making your skin darker.

      Reply
    • Maya multumesc, esti o draguta.Perfecta a fost la gust intr-adevar, adica mie si alor mei ne-a placut, dar ca ''fizic'' mai are pana la perfectiune.Mi-a fost greu sa tai drep blatul iar dupa ce l-am insiropat pana la refuz asa cum mi s-a cerut :)) mi-a fost greu sa mai intind crema ;)) Si ehhh…stiu ca multora li se intampla asta dar de fiecare data cand am de facut aceste faze la prajituri sper ca mie nu mi se va mai intampla 😀 Dar bine ca a iesit buna. :)

      Reply
  17. Simon Peters says:

    “to peak out just a bit” – ah, Spellcheck, don’t you just hate it? I don’t mind letting something peek out a bit, however.

    Reply
    • Emily Grossman says:

      Thanks, Simon! I appreciate the heads up, especially because spell check doesn’t catch little homonym typos like that! The post is edited now, so there will be more peeking and less peaking 😉

      Reply
  18. Mitchell says:

    What about summer looks? I’ll be there in July and not sure lots of layers is the thing to do in the hot months?

    Reply
  19. Michael says:

    Thank you for this write-up. I’ll be in Paris for the first time in late November. I’m going to lose a few pounds between now and then, and put some outfits together. This site will help a lot. Bookmarked.

    I don’t have any scarfs yet, but I’ll enjoy finding some.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  20. Peter says:

    Hello, great article with great information. I’m heading to Paris for my first time, going with my family, my wife & two amazing daughters almost 4, & almost 2 years old. Lights of my life.

    So…I’m a bigger guy, built like a brick house, or Mac Truck, thick all the way through. You know what I’m saying. I’m 6’3 250+, so my question is do these tips still apply for me too? I think I can pull it off without over stepping my boundaries. And I’d rather look like a dumb American, than a French douche bag. I’m just saying. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  21. Michael says:

    What kind of headwear? We will be visiting in July.

    Reply
  22. Sara Jackson says:

    If you want to look prominent, you should take care about your dressing, Some time person look awesome in formal dressing but casual dressing give him/her a chance to have apply variety of changing in his dressing. Its nice experience to visit this article and happy to see the collection. but still there is little bit difficulty for some of us having short height to choose perfect dress according to their height. For all short height persons Sharp Casual Wear (http://www.sharpcasualwear.com/) is best place to buy dresses that are pretty suitable to their heights and size.

    Reply
  23. simone says:

    I am looking for suits makers for my store in Washington Dc area. to order large quantity
    at retail price. can you give me some referral. I will appreciate a lot .

    Thank you very much Simone Sabatini

    Reply
  24. Aaron says:

    Hello! I am going to Paris in a few weeks. My wife has lived in France and is fluent. I am not. I also must say, I am a fairly average “beer belly” 40 year old. It’s not huge, but slim fitted clothes usually don’t look good on me. Here is what I plan to take:

    Dark wash jeans, a few neutral sweaters, casual button downs, white cotton t-shirts (along with a few dark colored ones for layering), dark scarf, and my Helly Hanson hiking boots (for both comfort and style).

    The items I am unsure of are: my Birkenstock sandals and a small backpack. I love my sandals (they are the traditional 2 strap brown leather version) but am unsure if they would fit in with the style in mid-May. I wore them all through Germany and Austria, but that is where they are from so it wasn’t a problem. The backpack may single me out as a tourist, but I need the space for packing over a satchel and am limited on space and weight. It would be for carrying things I don’t want left at the flat and my camera (and probably my wife’s stuff as well).

    Any advice would be great! Thanks, Aaron

    Reply
  25. Ron says:

    Do you have suggestions or names of those button up blue shirts? Been looking in places like GAP or Amazon…no luck.

    Reply
  26. Saj says:

    Bonjour ! this is a nice read with some great tips. i would like to get more info on :
    1) month of July , do you recommend multiple layers of clothing / scarfs etc. ?
    2) din’t hear anything about the men in Armani, Versace, Prada .. Or if not the Italians, what about Christian dior, YSL … ? are those designer wears limited only for special occasions or indoor parties etc.. ?
    3) what about the sunglass ?
    4) what if my day starts around noon and then spend all night too outside without a chance to change the outfit. carrying another scarf and change it during the night will be good enough ?

    merci

    Reply
    • Ben says:

      Hi Saj,

      1- In july it is hot so you’ll dress simply : leather flip flops or toms, a short or pant with hems, white tshirt with an open light shirt. Make sure your clothes fit you, not too big, not too tight!
      2- We dont wear luxury brand, most of our clothes are h&m, zara, asos etc…
      3- It’s up to you, we dont have a special treatment about people wearing sunglass :)
      4- You should first check the weather on internet at the beginning of the day, a scarf will be really useful around 9pm when it gets chilly and sometimes you’ll have to take a pullover with you as well !

      Reply
  27. Brad Burgess says:

    This is the best post I have read of man’s fashion in Paris. Thank you for putting together such a thoughtful article. Other than shoes and the tailored fit my everyday wardrobe translate really well. I can easily fix the shoes.

    Reply
  28. Hay que tener la mejor semana de la moda masculina del mundo al estilo París

    Reply
  29. rachel says:

    where can I find such scarves as you talk about, for men?

    Reply
  30. Kitty says:

    Great article, which could be expanded with more inspiration and specific links perhaps… I LOVE that you have some ideas for men. I find that cyclists have muscular thighs and as my husband is one of those cyclists, do you have any tips on slim fitting trousers/cut/alterations etc to give the look with comfort and style? Sometimes he has to have a size up to accommodate his thighs, but then has so much to cinch at the waist. Not great without tailoring. :-)

    Reply
  31. Mike says:

    Informative and clear fashion tips here – well done and thanks!

    I’m a New Yorker and was looking to see what Parisian male everyday fashion was about. I’d have to say it’s not too far off from the NY advertising (or other type of creative) office dressware. Other than the scarf – I find this one hard to wear here personally, especially the European-looped variety- but I’ve always associated that with the French look.

    Are there any specific brands that Parisian men stick to ( or is there an all-around staple brand) and any more details on how to wear the slacks/dress pants, especially at the ankle area? Is the bottom ever tapered?

    Reply
  32. Eva Roster says:

    Thank you for posting this wonderful blog on the fashion and lifestyle trends of Parisian men. We all know that the people of Paris have a good fashion sense and are always on top of their fashion game. Looking forward to reading more interesting posts in the future.

    Reply
  33. Kaveh says:

    Hi dear Emily
    Thank you for this post and it was very helpful,
    I want to know if the Parisian Men buy just from a Parisian brand or not?
    And if yes Which brands do you think are popular and have more quality?
    Regards

    Reply
  34. John says:

    Spot on. I needed this for a role I’m playing as a French fashion photographer.

    Reply