Thursday, December 15, 2016

Paris Street Style, December 2016, or What I saw Parisians Wearing, and in the Paris Shop Windows

Why yes, I did a bit of people watching, and window shopping, when I was in Paris! What did I see?

Sigh... lots of amazing things! One particular phenomenon that I saw on students (well, mostly students) was the plaid coat with unmatching plaid scarf outfit. The first time I saw it, I thought it was just a madly creative young man, but then I saw it again, and AGAIN...

I think it's rather cool, albeit bold. I could see myself wearing this black, white and red ensemble... For the less brazen, a plaid scarf worn with a solid or tweed coat would be a nod to this look, without going over the top!

Wearing a plaid coat with a plaid scarf

Maybe it's because it's the winter holiday season, but I felt like I saw a LOT of lace in the windows of Paris shops this visit. I've been to Paris in December before - I was there last year, in fact! - and don't recall the ubiquity of lace that was evident this year. Any kind of fiber, any place on a garment, any color you can imagine: lace, lace, all OVER the place! (I'm going to write a children's song in my head, now...) 

lace dresses in the shop windows of Paris
The dress on the right is gorgeous, albeit a bit... revealing?

lace trim on garments in the shop windows of Paris
The lace jacket at the top would be a lovely touch...

lace trim on garments, and a lace scarf, in the shop windows of Paris
And my heart cried out for the scarf at the bottom.
My heart was ignored; I have enough scarves!

This was the single trend that I saw that I thought would translate most easily to almost any wardrobe - especially this time of year! You don't have to pile on lots of tatty Miss Havisham-style togs to get the desired effect; just a touch of lace on a garment, or a lace-printed accessory, will do the trick...

And how much do I love this dark blue top with the the swingy bottom and the touch of trim...

lace-trimmed or patterned wardrobe accents for the holidays December 2016

For what it's worth, Dorothy Perkins has a TON of things in black lace. If you want to indulge in a touch of lace, this is the place to do it without breaking the bank. Lace handbags! camisoles! tee shirts! bomber jackets!  

I took this photograph at night, so the quality is even MORE horrid than my usual shop-window pictures, but I wanted to capture the combination of the metallic skirt (lots of metallics for the holidays...) with athletic shoes. I'm not kidding when I tell you that people in Paris wear athletic shoes much more than you could have ever imagined 10, or even 5, years ago! Those of us with bad knees are so happy!

metallic skirt worn with athletic shoes

Color combinations in Paris are all over the map - there's literally no combination that you couldn't find if you looked long enough. I saw a surprising amount of mustard yellow as a prominent accent color (i.e. as a garment, rather than just a bag or scarf).

Grey and black color scheme, with mustard yellow as an accent color

Accessories? Seriously, these photographs just didn't go with anything else, but I loved them enough to want to keep them. Lots of athletic shoes, a handbag about "my favorite song," and a rose brooch that one could wear every day, as a personal signature:

Shopping for accessories in Paris

Metallics for the holidays? Or just forever? These shoes were striking; I see MORE shoes in Paris, of more different styles, than I see in Chicago, or in all of my internet browsing. You truly can have a particular idea in mind and hold out until you find it...

Metallic boots, flats and pumps in the shop windows of Paris

We talk a lot here on The Vivienne Files about combining neutral colors in new ways, and all of these images show possibilities. The first is black and white with a black, white and brown tweed coat. (I felt a strong kinship with this look!) The second is that mustard yellow, with brown pants, and a multi-colored knit jacket on a ground of grey. I struggled on that one!

Below that is the most classic: grey pants, navy sweater, camel coat and belt. Timeless... And the final picture shows a grey sweater, jeans, a camel coat, with a brown belt. Talk about being able to use brown leather accessories anywhere!

Neutral color schemes for wardrobes seen in the shop windows of Paris

It's a real cliché that French women wear a wardrobe of classic clothes with distinctive accessories, but it's a cliché for a reason! I joke that you can find any jewelry you can imagine in Paris, and I don't think that's too much of an exaggeration. My love for red as an accent color was delighted to see the window at the top. And the window at the bottom shows more mustardy yellow...

Accessory shop windows in Paris

My favorite windows are always at the Diwali stores - they do SUCH an amazing job. I can't encourage you enough to look for these stores if you visit Paris; they're not expensive, the staff are often very friendly and helpful, and they are a true Alladin's cafe of beauty...

Pink and brown accessories - scarves, jewelry and shoes - in the Diwali shop windows in Paris

Pink, darker reds, and brown... these would be such glorious signature colors, wouldn't they?

Pink and brown accessories - scarves, jewelry and shoes - in the Diwali shop windows in Paris

And brown with turquoise... classic, and always so lovely:

Turquoise and brown accessories - scarves, jewelry and shoes - in the Diwali shop windows in Paris

Turquoise and brown accessories - scarves, jewelry and shoes - in the Diwali shop windows in Paris

If you're looking for a signature accessory, Paris is the place! A brooch that looks like a flamenco dancer? A one-of-a-kind ring or brooch in wood? A multi-stone ring that includes ALL of your accent colors? Someone will have it...

Costume jewelry shopping in Paris - ceramics, wood, and semi-precious stones

This window speaks to me.... black and white....

black and white jewelry in the shop windows of Paris

Or maybe red and black?  What woman doesn't need an enormous poppy brooch?

red and black jewelry in the shop windows of Paris

Does anyone else enjoy window shopping as much as I do?


What Women are Wearing in Paris, France, Winter 2016


  1. I love this! You have quite the eye for spotting trends.
    I haven't seen the plaid combo yet (Carcassonne is pretty small and out of the way), but will look for it. Definitely lots of mustard around.
    Shoes are definitely a big deal, especially when they aren't trainers.

  2. Janice,
    Oh how fun to vicariously window shop with you ! Your shopping travelogue delights -- lots of eye candy instead of the fattening stuff ! It would seem that the shopping public in Paris repeats a trend and almost anything goes, like the plaid with plaid ( not so crazy about that one ! ). The mustard trousers look like fun for the right figure, though clearly not mine, and I love the use of the brown leather accents ! Red, pink and brown, turquoise and brown, what's not to love ? Thanks so much for sharing on the latest Parisian looks, and I hope you are feeling MUCH better !

  3. I love your travel blogs. So fascinating. This one in particular was intriguing. The plaid coats with mis-matched plaid scarfs are something I would love to do, but doubt I could pull it off. My favorite trend is sneakers with skirts and dresses. I hope that never goes away.

  4. I love window shopping with you! The brown and turquoise are lovely. Re: short skirt...why do women think a six-inch drop of fabric from their privates is a good look? Even with fabulous legs, the woman just seems, sadly, to be crying out for attention.

  5. I love Paris windows and I love to look in Diwali especially. The colours are exciting. There certainly is a greater selection of shoes in Paris than I have ever seen. I hope that you are feeling better.

  6. Thanks, Paris for the permission to mix plaids! Back in high school I had a plaid winter coat, and while I don't see that in my future, I do have a plaid down vest, and plenty of plaid scarves and shirts. Thanks to you, I've put on a mixed plaid ensemble for our excursion to get a Christmas tree today. It feels so festive! - nancyo

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  8. I love the brown and turquoise, always a favorite combination for me. I picked up a scarf with lace insets last spring and have enjoyed wearing it quite a bit, I had no idea it was a trend! I've learned from following you Janice, that you make your style as you choose the things you like. Mustard yellow always looks fresh to me, it's also a good accent color for guys.

  9. To each his or her own, but these coats remind me of bathrobes. No doubt to be worn with those hideous pajama outfits that I read about in the WaPo yesterday. :))
    Hope you feel well again soon.

  10. I've enjoyed my window shop in Paris with you, thanks. I hope you are starting to feel better.

  11. I love it when you window shop FOR me! My magpie gaze went straight to the baubles. Good news for me, I found the Coeur de Lion jewelry in a Florida shop (The Giving Tree Gallery), and they ship all over the states. Because I probably won't get to Paris this year. :-)

  12. Oh Janice- I have 2 sets of Coeur de Lion earrings! The designer is out of Germany- I am excited to see her things in Paris. Her imaginative use of color is wonderful. Her jewelry would go with so many of your wardrobes-

  13. Fantastic article, honestly, your best ever. This also explains why I've been seeing bits of apparel with black lace.

  14. I want those sneakers with the mesh back.

  15. Yessss, window-shopping is the best! You've given us a beautifully curated treasure chest her, Janice! Oh, so many ideas and thoughts ... Thank you for taking me to Paris. And if we ever get more than one say summer at a time, I'll be unwrapping the little cream cotton lace shirt bought in the Marais on impulse in 2010. Perfect with jeans or black evening trousers. Hurrah for lace and sparkly things!
    Robyn in Tasmania

  16. Love window shopping and you did a lovely job of sharing some Paris delights. So many scarves-- though I have a lot, I can always find room for more. Haven't been in a Dorothy Perkins in years, but might try visit one when I am London in a few weeks. And speaking of London, another place where you can find shoes (and knitwear)in every color imaginable. Nothing like it in the US.

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