With Paris being a leader in the fashion world and the creator of haute couture, one can’t help but notice the fashion choices of Parisians walking down the street. Many dress in neutral colors adding accessories with a pop of color; however, the most noticeable fact of Parisian fashion would be that they always look extremely nice and put together. You would never catch a Parisian in a t-shirt and shorts even on a hot June day. They wear clothing tailored to their figures and look flawless in their dresses and suits. One might have heard that Parisians appreciate the finer things in life, which can be deemed to be true through their fashion.
In considering their fashion choices, I couldn’t help but wonder why Parisians put so much emphasis on always looking nice. What were they trying to communicate to the world around them?
In French culture, the way you dress is an outward expression of how successful you are. Therefore, the French dress for success. They want to be perceived, even if they are not, as wealthy and as having a high social standing. While living in a community filled with people deemed “stuck-up” and “snobbish,” social status is extremely important to Parisians. They will not be seen as a commoner. With social inequality becoming more apparent in their society due to a high unemployment rate, fashion is the one aspect Parisians have in which they can still be in control of their social status.
A Parisian closet is typically sparse, yet although they own few clothing items, these items are typically fairly expensive and made of extremely nice material. By staying away from the day to day shopping many Americans find themselves doing, Parisians save money on clothes in the long run. They buy few yet nice in the beginning, and these clothes last them for great lengths of time.
With success being their main communication point, one can understand why a Parisian would always be dressed nicely. They can’t let their fashion guard down even when simply going to the grocery store or taking a stroll around a park. Their arrogance takes place in their fashion choices, which means they never want to be seen as less than what they are.
In my time in Paris, I found that the Parisians surely do “dress for success” even in doing the simple tasks of their day to day lives. I never saw a Parisian dressed in a t-shirt and leggings or gym shorts when going out to grab food for the day or even making a quick coffee run. They were always dressed nicely for the day’s activities, which I’ve found to be the opposite in the way we dress in the United States.