Parisian Style at Home & On You!


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).


Just delightful.


A wonderful example of modern furnishings in a dramatically historic interior.


Blousy silk draperies and antique armoires.

ecc8393cc1344d729121dc5254353bc8 938c8b1ca7210708f4ae7de5332e3bdb

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.


Art- portrait, nude sketch, abstract // chandelier // leather chair // mirrored chest // Louis XV sofa // floor lamp // mirror // drapes // coffee table // dining chair

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)


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.






59be2b3692e4cf5c7a632f1b958d3815 b0e495a3ddf9f86f90b65bb338797557




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


    1. What a great question! I was thinking the same thing – these women look wonderful but are also beautiful, thin and young!! I wonder what the 50+ ladies are wearing…
      Loved this post though.

      1. I’ve just bought this book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I heard it’s very tongue-in-cheek.

        Regarding what do 50+ women wear, I don’t live in Paris but in Rome. Two of my neighbors are in their late 60s and have style for days. I’ve noticed that they tend to wear classic pieces with amazing accessories.

        I think the key is to know what looks good on your body and rock it. Confidence is better than any kind of make-up, clothes, etc. Roman women believe/know they look great. The American obsession with youth does not translate, therefore women here don’t feel like they should hide under a rock after age 30. Monica Belluci is 50 and is constantly on magazine covers in Europe.

        There is a HUGE difference here (okay big generalization) between how the expat American women (and men) dress and the locals. No locals wear PJs in public, not even while walking the dog.

        My Italian friends will spend more on one classic then buy a bunch of so-so things. One main reason is that closet space here is TINY compared to the States. I have never seen such limited closet space and I used to live in New York City.

      2. I don’t know about Italy not having a youth obsession – it has some of the highest plastic surgery rates per capita. Much higher than the US …

    2. Yep, agreed — a weakness of a lot of posts like these (not just on this blog) is they rely on aspirational images that are super-inspiring but not that realistic. “Slouchy” can be hard to pull off if you’re not very slender, and that’s something that the current vogue for tomboyish and Paris-inspired fashion basically ignores.

  1. I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this book from the shops. Might finally give in and give it a go! And I absolutely LOVE parisienne apartments. Too bad they’re so darn expensive even for the littlest things!

  2. Have you ever seen Lee Radziwill’s Paris apartment? It’s not traditionally Parisian, but it’s my favorite!

  3. I could buy all the components of the perfect french wardrobe but still wouldn’t look like that . Sigh. Doesn’t stop me from buying nearly every striped top I bump into (slight stripe addiction problem here).
    But my question is about those fabulous silk drapes. Do you have a good suggestion for a BUDGET alternative because the real thing would require I cash in my grandchild’s college fund (he’s only eight, he won’t need it for ten more years…).

    1. We just ordered insulated drapes off overstock for our country house. They are not real silk but the prices are unbeatable and they are well made and heavy. At 100 bucks a panel too!

  4. Wow….what a fantastic post Erin! So full of amazing ideas and beautiful images….inspiring!!! Thanks, Lisabeth

  5. oh this post is perfect. i just got this book for christmas and can’t wait to dive in! i saved this post for later (aka after work) so i can proceed to pin every image ;) i’m a sucker for anything parisian!

  6. It seems that plenty of nudes and French fashion plates from the 1840s and 1850s help make the look, too! But seriously, I am humbled by the amount of craftsmanship to be found in Parisian homes – mixing old and new details is delightful!

  7. I am 52 1/2 and more than 10 lbs. overweight (sigh), and I dress like this all the time. The idea is to have a small capsule wardrobe of well fitted pieces that work for a multitude of occasions. I have FAR fewer clothes in my wardrobe than any of my friends, and yet I am the person who frequently gets complimented when we go out together. A good hair cut, (this is NOT the time to be frugal), red lipstick, and a well fitted pair of trousers will take you far.
    Also, I purchased a pair of dupioni silk curtains from Restoration Hardware that were almost the exact colour of the gorgeous pair with the taped bottoms and tie backs. The colour was called Light Silver Sage, and they make me ridiculously happy every time I walk into the living room.

    1. Cindy, I bow to you. My goal is to edit my closet down to just the perfect pieces and I’m trying to shop my closet instead of stores. I’m on a diet of no new clothes until the beast is tamed.

  8. I got that book for Christmas, too! (It’s a total problem…if it says “paris” somewhere, apparently I. MUST. OWN. IT.) I totally agree with your assessment on the French wardrobe basics. I realize the French girl’s approach to wardrobe is out of necessity (have you SEEN a typical Parisian apartment? zero point zero storage space), but it’s something I’m trying to emulate more and more. Do I really need five so-so black blazers? Nope – just one or two that are perfect. Three crap sweaters because they’re 40% off at Banana? Nope – buy the Ralph Lauren cashmere that will last for ten years. Wear the hell out of ’em, look terrific in the meantime, then replace it when you need to. I used to be really into NOT wearing the same things over and over again, but I’ve finally come to peace with the fact that nobody else really notices… but they definitely notice if you look GREAT! Also, you’ll be excited about re-wearing it all the time if you know it’s luxurious and perfect. So that’s my (continued) shopping resolution in ’15. Buy less, buy better — look better in the short term, and probably end up saving money (or at least breaking even).

  9. Hey Erin,
    Been meaning to ask you if you were on a flight from Boston to Charlotte on the 22nd. My daughter thought she saw you.
    Hope you had a great holiday!

  10. Hi Erin,
    Exceptional post today! Thank you for the inspiration! I love the effortless feel of French style in clothing and that architecture……of my, so much to take in. The herringbone floors alone are to die for! Happy New Year!

  11. Great post as usual! I spy the St James Hotel in the photo with the desk, leopard rug and chair you love. Next trip to Paris stay there , it’s unreal!

  12. I must say I didn’t love this book. I spend a couple of months in Paris every year and my friends do not talk or act like the authors of this book. I much preferred your book, Erin! I got it for Christmas and gobbled it all up.

Comments are closed.