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If there is one thing I love more than Paris, it’s experiencing the style and shopping while in Paris. Oh, and croissants. Those simply can’t be beat. As I unpack from my recent trip to Paris, I’m feeling excited to wear some of the new things I picked up while shopping with a personal stylist. Though I enjoy shopping for myself (probably a little too much at times), I thought it would be a fun and new experience to go shopping in Paris with a Parisian. I mean, it can’t get better than that, right? If you’re curious about what a shopping session with a personal stylist is like, or simply interested in all things Paris, read on to see how my experience went!
Before the Session
I virtually met Isabelle Thomas several years ago when I interviewed her on her best French fashion tips for my website. She’s the author of 5 books, though you probably recognize her from Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic.
When I thought about booking a stylist, she was one of the first people to come to mind. Though her style is a bit more bohemian vintage than mine, she knows the Parisian streets and style like the back of her hand – after all, she wrote 5 books on the topic!
I booked this shopping consultation through her website and after she sent me a list of questions, such as:
- Could you tell me your purpose in terms of clothes and style?
- Do you want to change your style?
- Do you need a french style?
- What are your inspirations?
- What kind of shopping experience do you want?
I didn’t go into it expecting a style transformation or change (as I told her I’m already comfortable and happy with my style), but I wanted her to tell me about French style and pick out things for me – because sometimes it’s good to have an open mind and try new things!
The Shopping Day
We started our shopping afternoon at Merci on 11 boulevard Beaumarchais. Apparently, this is quite the hotspot! There were a lot of tourists, but Parisians like to shop here as well. From mid-range to high-end brands, it somewhat reminded me of a department store like Nordstrom.
As we began to go through the clothing racks, she looked at me to assess my best colors.
She doesn’t follow the typical color analysis of determining your season of spring, summer, fall, or winter, because she finds it to be too restricting. “What if you love orange but aren’t supposed to wear it?”
With that being said, she still recommends finding the shade that works best for you. “If you love orange, determine if you should wear a soft orange or a bright orange.” She pays more attention to the boldness of color rather than the undertones.
She doesn’t use drapes or fabrics to determine someone’s best colors, either, instead, she looks at the hair, skin, and eye color. After looking at me, she said I should wear colors with contrast.
I’ve done a traditional color analysis through House of Colour and according to their method, I am a winter and should wear cool-based colors with high contrast. According to Isabelle, I should wear colors with some contrast, but not too much.
Though there is some difference between these two assessments, which is expected as different stylists have different methods (so make sure you pick someone that aligns with you), one thing is true from both color assessments – I should avoid pastels! Though they are pretty, I am not very drawn to pastels, so thankfully, I don’t have a hard time sticking to this suggestion.
Determining Style Aesthetic
When it comes to determining your style, she likes to match your “energy”. For me, specifically, she thought I should avoid anything too girly or too formal. For example, if I’m going to wear a matching blazer and pant set, it should be a set that’s a little unexpected, such as in a velvet material or something with texture, like corduroy.
We also looked at different silhouettes and details and she thought an elegant draping suited my style more than something girly like ruffles. Seeing as I showed up to our appointment wearing a lady tweed jacket with derby shoes, I’d say that’s accurate!
Discussing French Trends
Though I know the French style principles very well (I’ve put in expert hours on the subject), I picked her brain about what’s popular at the moment.
“Slim is out. Skinny is out. It’s wide and oversized everything.”
Though I did still see plenty of Parisians wearing the classic slim jeans, there were certainly a lot of wide-leg styles reflected in the clothing stores and on the streets. It was clear that flowy, loose bottoms and wide-leg jeans were going to be a big style.
Of course, you should never be a victim of the trends, constantly changing your wardrobe just to suit what’s new. If you like the trend and it fits with your current wardrobe, it makes sense to adopt a few new pieces of the style.
And don’t stop wearing something you love just because someone else says you should! If you still love skinny and slim, and find them flattering, continue to wear them.
The current French trends need their own post (coming soon), but a few other things that are really popular in Paris right now are knit sweaters, quilted jackets, oversized coats, a stylish case necklace for your phone, and Western style.
Her Picks for Me
After walking through the store and discussing style, she picked out some things for me to try on.
Some things were based on the current trends, like the outfit below. “Wide legs are in right now. Pair it with a white t-shirt.”
Some things she picked out knowing they weren’t my style so I would try on something new (“That’s what I’m here for”), and since I wanted to have an open mind, I headed to the dressing room with a variety of clothing.
Dressing Room Try-On
(left) outfit details
The first look she picked out for me, the oversized knit sweater paired with the roomy vinyl/patent pants, is based on current Parisian trends. “You can do a front tuck for oversized sweaters to show shape.”
Birkenstock clogs are HUGE right now and it’s the style to cuff your bottoms and wear colored socks.
Though the color palette is not for me, I did like the coziness of the knit sweater and the mixing of textures (“Parisian style is all about the mix and match.”) Plus, I think clogs make a great fall shoe and showing off your socks with cuffed bottoms is a nice touch.
Next, I tried on an oversized menswear blazer with wide-leg corduroy pants.
The clogs were surprisingly a good fit with this outfit, showing me just how versatile they really are. I loved this color palette more and especially loved the blazer, but 860 euros was a little more than I was looking to spend on one piece.
For the next look, I kept on my white t-shirt (seriously so versatile) and the pants, and just switched out the outerwear. The clogs made another appearance!
I liked this look and the comfort of the quilted jacket, but would prefer a more neutral color like navy blue.
For the last look, I tried on a sweater and poncho.
This particular poncho felt too overwhelming on my frame, but I love how cozy yet elegant a poncho can be.
My Final Picks
You know how much I love versatility! Since I paired the Birkenstock clogs and white wide-leg corduroy pants with almost every look, I felt like they were worth it to bring home with me. Plus, Isabelle says that white pants are a must-have because they can be paired with anything – and I agree!
It’s great to break out of your comfort zone and try new items from time to time, but I strongly believe in the power of a wardrobe color palette. To me, it’s not restricting but freeing. And it doesn’t mean you can’t try out new styles either! For example, though I like the knit sweater and quilted jacket, I’m going to look for them in a color that matches well with my existing wardrobe so everything flows together nicely.
Exploring More Stores
Depending on the type of session you book with a stylist, whether it’s an afternoon of shopping or looking for a specific look, your shopping may or may not be done after you find a look.
We still had more time in our session, so after Merci, we continued to explore the stores around this area, because there are certainly a lot.
We went to French favorite Souer, ba&sh, A.P.C, and more. In this area, the majority of prices start at around 300 euros per clothing piece.
Though I didn’t buy anything else, it was fun to experience these stores.
After hitting more of the global favorites, Isabelle took us to some of her friend’s boutiques. It was interesting getting to speak to the designers and hear more about the brand, story, and process behind it all.
Though I don’t think this is a service I’ll purchase again (as I actually enjoy shopping for myself), there are a lot of benefits to hiring a personal stylist. The most obvious ones are that you can have a wardrobe transformation or get help to put together a look for a special event or occasion.
What I enjoyed about this is that it was a fun way to experience shopping from a local’s perspective, learn about all the best stores, and even have someone help communicate with the shop owners!
Now that I’ve got my new pants and shoes, my mind is busy putting together new ways to wear these versatile wardrobe pieces. I’ve already got one idea – I can wear them to brunch! For even more brunch outfit ideas: 18 Chic Fall Brunch Outfits You’ll Want To Wear This Weekend