On my recent trip to Paris, I wanted to dress less like a tourist and more like a local.
She turned to fashion icons Melody Banes, Pia Moubayed, and Marielle Hawn for advice.
They each shared inspiration from classic Parisian fashion, which I tried to recreate during my visit.
I am, by my own admission, not a fashion girl.
It probably comes from growing up in Montana, far from any cosmopolitan center; I just don’t have a natural eye for style. So when it came to packing for my recent trip to the fashion capital of the world, Paris, I was a little confused. I wanted to look presentable and not look like an American tourist (even though I am one).
Apparently, I’m not the only one hoping to fit in in Paris this year—consumer-focused fashion company StitchFix recently told Travel and Leisure that one in five clients order “à la parisienne” from their summer outfits.
With this in mind, he turned to the pros: Parisian influencers.
Before my trip, I asked Parisian designers Pia Moubayed, Melody Banz and Marielle Hoon for advice on what to wear. Many of their ideas overlapped, like basics and elevated layers, and each offered fashion suggestions that would help me look like a local, not a tourist.
From simple midi dresses to versatile tunics, here’s what they recommend.
Melody Banes suggested a simple midi dress with ballet flats. I chose to wear comfortable – yet stylish – clothes for a day of sightseeing.
Melody Banes, content creator and art historian known for her classic and timeless outfits, recommended a simple midi dress with ballet flats and a clutch.
I opted for a black spaghetti strap midi dress, one of my favorite pieces I’ve been wearing this season. Since this particular day requires a lot of walking, I wore New Balance tennis shoes since I don’t have ballet flats.
Not only do I love the sneaker look with my pretty dress, and the more elegant Bance idea, but I did what I already had.
Bance also mentioned that Parisian style tends to be more conservative, skipping crop tops and skimpy clothes, which helped me stick to my suitcase for the rest of the trip.
Mariel Haun suggested wearing a pair of Levi’s jeans and a simple T-shirt, an outfit she said would be nice and practical when visiting Versailles.
Marielle Haun is a creator of effortlessly chic style and over 200,000 followers on Instagram.
Haon—along with each of the other women interviewed for this article—said that Levi’s jeans are a staple in Paris. She said she’s seen an uptick in “mini denim” and “oversized jeans,” two trends she tried to capitalize on in this outfit.
Many of Haon’s denim outfits are paired with white shirts, so I chose a cream woven tank top to match Levi’s outfit. My oversized bag didn’t quite match its chic aesthetic, but it was all I had while traveling through Paris, and I had to make it.
Pia Moubayed suggested a casual suit, including a versatile jacket, that I’d been wearing throughout a day of interviews and reporting in Paris.
A versatile jacket can make for an elegant Parisian occasion, said creative strategist Pia de Bleach, who runs an Instagram account full of lifestyle and fashion content.
Although I don’t own a casual suit, since she’s wearing bleach in her image, I do have a long black blazer and black pants, which I tried on in a near-matching ensemble.
“When in doubt, these garments make you look put together,” said Mubayed.
Even though this outfit didn’t quite match the bleach suggestion, I still felt comfortable walking around town.
Even though my playtime wasn’t perfect, I felt confident in each outfit.
Because I wanted to keep this experience somewhat permanent, I tried to recreate each of their outfits with items I already owned rather than buying new ones. My look didn’t repeat their style, but at least they came close.
Although it wasn’t perfect, each outfit was so comfortable, I felt like I could wear them and easily restyle them at home. Also, a few people have told me they think I’m a local, so I’ll take that as a win.
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