There is Paris for tourists and Paris for the locals. The first one lures willing victims into the glittery light of Eiffel Towel at night, and gets you lost between stores selling tat at the top of Montmartre. Paris for the locals whispers promises of off the beaten track places where only the beautiful and the stylish have a pass. So, whilst I haven’t been able to resist the pull of Eiffel Tower (who can, really?) at least I want to look like I’m on the way to much cooler place.
There is one girl to go to if you want to look like a Parisian: Isabel Marant. I know her stuff can be eye-wateringly expensive but I’m not really talking about catwalk here, rather her personal wardrobe. I’ve put together a list of items that she is always seen in to great effect. The good thing is that I can achieve it on any budget and it will looks good no matter what. I can mix and match it, too. Everything from the list goes together.
1. White jeans. I used to think they were so uncool – almost as bad as white shoes. Given that I now own a pair of white Adidas Stan Smith, I have to eat my words. White jeans look great. I get mine from Topshop Baxter (as does a certain Emmanuelle Alt). This particular pair I’ve had for three years and they haven’t lost their shape at all. I’ve had them cut just above the ankle and then lopped them off a bit more with scissors so the bottoms fray. I keep them white with a little help from Glow.
2. Leather trousers. Madame Marant wears hers with a sweatshirt and courts. They are all hours appropriate: I can wear them with a cashmere jumper when I go for coffee or dress them up with a tux jacket for the evening.
3. Tan. Every time I see a photo of Isabel Marant I think how great she looks with her healthy glow. You don’t need much – just enough to look like you’ve spent a weekend in the south of France. And the great thing is that with a tan you don’t need make up. I get my tan from a bottle.
4. Sweatshirt. It’s all about the cut. It can’t be big on the shoulders because it will bulk you up but it has to have a perfect degree of slouch. I like mine grey but I did buy the Isabel Marant for H&M maroon version, too.
5. Ankle boots – Isabel Marant does Dicker, Chloé does Susanna and just about every brand has their own version. Mine are Steve Madden bought for a song in San Francisco.
6. Army shirt to throw over your t-shirt or slip dress. I love the old faded ones most. Mine was a gift from my grandmother when I was about 15 years old. I still have it and it’s one of my most treasured items. Topshop does them very well.
7. Mini skirt – what can I say? Hands down, they are great. To carry off a tight one, it helps if you’re six foot and weigh seven stone but A-lines, skater and maybe a bit of ruffle (not too fussy though) look great on everyone. Tanned legs in the summer essential. Since winter is round the corner I will be rocking mine with black thick tights.
8. Slouchy t-shirt. Soft, a little loose and half tucked. It helps to spend a little money on a t-shirt because they age well. I have a couple which are almost threadbare but so much better for it.
9. Mannish coat. “Oh, I just stole my man’s jacket” kind of thing. I am small so I have to make sure it fits perfectly on the shoulders and doesn’t go far beyond my knees.
10. The swagger. No matter what I wear, if I have the unshakable confidence that I look good – and the nonchalance to go with it (“I just picked this from the top of the pile” said IM once) I would be well on the way to looking like her.