Over the weekend I picked up a copy of How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are and dove right in, as it’s well known that anything Parisian-inspired bring me to my knees muttering “show me the way!” This book is very tongue in cheek, some of it making me wonder if these ladies were being sarcastic or brutally honest, but I loved the take-away’s regarding style, attitude and beauty.
These are the four women who penned the book- and just by looking at them I would sign up for any style lessons they have to offer.
Reading this book made me think about Parisian style in the home as well as in fashion- as the French are genius on both accounts! Yes, Parisian homes have a leg up when it comes to architectural detail, which they celebrate in a big way. But that doesn’t mean we in the US (or elsewhere in the world) can’t take inspiration and tips from the way they style their homes.
A mix of simplicity and ornate detail is what makes Parisian homes so interesting. Also the dynamic mix of the antique and starkly modern. I feel like they really embrace history, things with patina and details but also aren’t afraid to mix in wonderfully crafted contemporary pieces as well. These images help illustrate their unique style:
I can’t EVEN with the trim, moulding and floors. The furnishings perfectly offset and highlight the incredible architecture.
Classic and historical.
Another great example of simple mixed with detailed, modern with traditional.
A good example of the “new Parisian” style- mostly modern with a few large traditional anchors (the Chesterfield-style sofas).
A wonderful example of modern furnishings in a dramatically historic interior.
Blousy silk draperies and antique armoires.
A simple palette keeps things neat and tidy leaving the drama for the change in textures and styles.
Such a fabulously feminine bedroom.
I love this mix of modern iron framed shower with the antique gilt accents. Perfect.
Another set of dramatically full draperies keep this room from feeling cold.
As you may have noticed, gilt framed antique portraits are found in many Parisian homes.
The drapes, the trim, the rug, THAT CHAIR!!!!
A clean, modern Parisian apartment kitchen. The light in Paris is just magical, by the way.
My dream blank space (in Paris, of course)
Here are some key items that comprise Parisian interiors- they key is to MIX and include items with a history, story and meaning into your home- not use all new, store bought items. Etsy, eBay, 1st Dibs and flea markets make for wonderful resources for items like this.
Another thing you’ll see in Parisian apartments are armoires, since closets are typically small. My parent’s happen to have an antique French armoire they are looking to sell. I believe it’s circa late 1700’s/ early 1800’s and it’s GORGEOUS. If I had the space and ceiling height for it I would take it but I don’t (wah-waaaahhh). Email me if you are interested- pick-up only in CT) email@example.com
I couldn’t end this post without also delving into Parisian style. It’s almost cliche at this point to obsess over the French and their amazing style, but there is reason for it. They are amazing at it! The major points made in this book regarding dressing are awesome- abstain from wearing tons of logos and skimpy, overtly sexual things (it’s all about leaving much to the imagination), invest in the perfect jeans, trench and bag, dress in simple palettes, don’t over accessorize, make sure not everything is perfect (especially your hair), embrace menswear and NEVER leave the house in pajamas. Ever.
These ladies have done it right.
Here are some key items to help make sure your wardrobe is Parisian-chic. All of these are timeless essentials that every woman should have, in my opinion!
black dress // striped tee (also this one I just bought) // jeans // menswear shirt // trench (or leather jacket like this) // sweater (or this one) // blazer // bag // black boots // flats (perfect- I have them) // heels // flat boots // stripe dress