12 Jul

The Ethical Guide to Dressing Like a Parisienne

Ah, Paris, the City of Love! Who doesn’t love the lights, the Eiffel Tower, fresh baguettes, and of course the fashion — la Mode?

There’s no denying Paris has been the fashion capital for decades now (and I’m not just saying that because I am French, non madame). Paris is where Haute Couture was born, and fashion is constantly being reinvented.

What makes Parisian fashion even more exciting are the Parisiennes. French women, especially the ones from Paris, have been known to possess that “je ne sais quoi” — an effortlessly chic style at all times of the day and night, and simple elegance that is truly enviable (again, not saying that because I am from Paris, of course). Think Brigitte Bardot, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Coco Chanel, Vanessa Paradis, or more recently Jeanne Damas.

Sadly, the big fashion houses aren’t known for their ethics, and change is in the air in la belle Paris. The French Revolution is happening all over again, and this time it’s about fashion. In fact, the city has released a plan to become more sustainable, and will implement “Paris Good Fashion” over the next 5 years, an initiative to make the French fashion industry more eco-friendly and ethical. Galeries Lafayette, the iconic department store, have also launched “Go For Good”, a movement dedicated to promoting sustainable and ethical brands. And even more recently, France has passed a legislation banning companies from destroying unsold clothes and electronics. Allez la France!

At Good On You, we’re excited to see France, and especially Paris, become a sustainable fashion supporter, and hopefully a major actor in the movement in the coming years.

So to celebrate Bastille Day and these achievements (and France’s one-year anniversary of winning the World Cup for the second time, but that’s another story), we’ve compiled the ethical guide to dressing like a Parisienne.

Grab your baguette and put on your beret — c’est parti!

Buy less and make it last

This might sound familiar, but French style embodies Vivienne Westwood’s sustainable fashion principles “Buy less, Choose well, Make it last”.

It’s been said that Parisiennes like having a uniform and sticking to it. A bit similar to a capsule wardrobe, the key to Parisian style is having a few classic pieces you can wear often and mix and match throughout the week to create the perfect relaxed silhouette.

What’s also important is having a fun element of surprise, like a patterned scarf or original hat. But try to only focus on a couple of items — Parisian style is known to be simple and minimalistic.

In the end, it’s all about quality over quantity, and the key here is simply to buy less.

Last but not least, you have to “make it last” by taking care of your pieces. This means washing carefully and repairing when needed (or going to your local couturier if, like me, you need help with more significant fixes).

Choose well

When we think of Parisian style, we might have in mind classic wardrobe essentials, like a good pair of jeans, an oversized shirt, or a timeless trench. And what better way to build your ethical Parisienne style than to buy (less) from our favourite ethical brands you can find in France?

1083

Rated: Good

Jean 254 – Ships internationally

1083’s range of denim and shoes for women, men, and children are all made in France using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton. 1083 is proud to support jobs in the French textile industry, pointing out that denim was invented in the French city of Nimes. If you’re looking for classic, comfortable and Parisian, look no further than 1083’s Jean 254.

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Shop 1083.

Veja

Rated: Good

V-10 Extra White Nautico Pekin – Ships internationally

Veja is one of Good On You’s favourite French brands. It designs ecological and fair trade sneakers and is a sustainable fashion pioneer. The brand uses eco-friendly materials, like GOTS certified cotton and vegetable-tanned leather. This pair is perfect for a Sunday stroll in le Marais!

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Shop Veja.

 

C&A

Rated: Good

Blouse – Ships internationally

This blouse is the perfect example of a classic yet fun piece to add to your Parisian wardrobe. C&A is one of Europe’s leading high street stores. The brand makes everyday clothing with eco-friendly materials, and traces most of its supply chain. It also recently launched the world’s most sustainable denim!

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Shop C&A.

Good Guys

Rated: Good

Boo Ballerinas – Ships internationally

Founded and designed by Marion Hanania in Paris, Good Guys creates cruelty-free shoes for women and men. Ballerina shoes are a classic when it comes to Parisian style. These are made from vegan leather and their kitten heels make them perfect for both day and night.

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Shop Good Guys.

La Révolution Textile

Rated: Good

Turtleneck Sweater – Ships internationally

Here’s a chic and relaxed sweater in a neutral tone to add to the look. La Révolution Textile is a vegan womenswear brand from south-west France that has won a PETA award for its use of flax knitwear as an alternative to wool. La Révolution Textile lists all of its suppliers, with clothes made in either France or Portugal. The clothes are also OEKO-TEX standard 100-certified, meaning they are free from chemicals and heavy metals that could harm people and the planet.

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Shop La Révolution Textile.

Hopaal

Rated: Great

Light Pearl Top – Ships internationally

Another classic piece everyone needs in their wardrobe — not just Parisiennes! This recycled polyester t-shirt from Hopaal is the perfect combination of classic yet quirky thanks to its knitted look. Hopaal makes simple, timeless clothing for women and men. It uses 100% recycled materials and even stocks Guppy wash bags so you can be sure you’re not sending microfibres into the ocean when you do your laundry. The brand also takes care of workers, paying a living wage at the final stage of production. A great example of a brand that puts ethics at the heart of the business without compromising on style.

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Shop Hopaal.

Trench coat and leather jacket

Weather in Paris is changeable (okay, we mean it’s sometimes dismal), so it’s crucial to always have a jacket on hand. Leather jackets are timeless and durable, but we all know the hidden costs of the leather industry, which is why we recommend buying a second-hand one. There are many cool and quirky vintage shops in Paris, so you’re bound to find the jacket of your dreams. And while you’re in there, look for a long trench coat to protect yourself from the never-ending Parisian rain.

Parisians also love their little boutiques, which — bonus points — support the local economy. So when in Paris (or anywhere in the world, really), don’t hesitate to enter smaller shops and have a look around. Who knows, you might find some amazing pieces.

Lush

Paris Lipstick Refill – Ships internationally

Lush is known for its beautiful range of cruelty-free cosmetics. They are all made from mostly natural and organic ingredients, leaving skin looking (and smelling) amazing. Lush offers a range of vegan lipsticks made from natural ingredients including jojoba oil, candelilla wax, and rose wax. This rouge lipstick with magenta undertones is perfect to finish off your Parisian look, plus it’s refillable. We are so here for zero-waste ethical Parisian looks!

 

Et voilà! Now off to drink a well-deserved glass of red wine!

Editor's note: feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned and Unsplash. Good On You has big plans for ethical fashion in 2019! To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links.

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