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12 Jul

The Ethical Guide to Dressing Like a Parisienne

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To celebrate Bastille Day we’ve compiled the ethical guide to dressing like a Parisienne.

Our 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, 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?


Rated: Good

Jean 201 – Ships internationally from France

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 201.

See the rating.

Shop 1083.


Rated: Good

V-10 Sneakers – Ships internationally from France

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!

See the rating.

Shop Veja.

Shop Veja @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Veja @ Outerknown.

Shop Veja @ Threads 4 Thought.

Mother of Pearl

Rated: Good

Tegan Shirt – Ships internationally from the UK

This shirt is the perfect example of a classic yet modern piece to add to your Parisian wardrobe. Mother of Pearl is a sustainable and ethical luxury womenswear and accessories designer brand that celebrates individuality and authenticity. The brand uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including organic cotton and ensure the payment of a living wage across some of its supply chain.

See the rating.

Shop Mother of Pearl.

Shop Mother of Pearl @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop Mother of Pearl Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Good Guys

Rated: Good

Betty Suede Ballerinas – Ships internationally from France

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.

See the rating.

Shop Good Guys.

Shop Good Guys @ Immaculate Vegan.


Rated: Great

Light Pearl Top – Ships internationally from France

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.

See the rating.

Shop Hopaal.


Rated: Good

Glencheck Shirt – Ships internationally from Germany

“Love fashion, think organic, be responsible” are the maxims of LANIUS. The German brand uses lower-impact materials, like GOTS certified cotton. All LANIUS facilities are SA8000 certified and it is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

LANIUS' clothes are available in EU sizes 34-44.

See the rating.


Swedish Stockings

Rated: Good

Doris Dots Tights – Ships internationally from Sweden

Swedish Stockings creates high quality, responsibly made stockings, knee highs, tights, socks, and pantyhose. The brand also offers a recycling program to help clean up the hosiery industry—if you send in three or more pairs of synthetic pantyhose from any brand, you'll receive a 10% discount code to use next time you purchase Swedish Stockings.

Find the perfect pair in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Swedish Stockings.

Shop Swedish Stockings @ Urbankissed.


Rated: Good

Ruby Bodystocking – Ships internationally from Denmark

Underprotection is a Danish brand combining ethics and aesthetics, creating underwear, loungewear, and swimwear from lower-impact materials like organic cotton. All of its packaging, paper, and polybags are either recycled or biodegradable, and it only works with certified factories as it believes “fair working conditions and fair wages are human rights”. Underprotection exists to celebrate women of all kinds, and its goal is to make them feel as beautiful and comfortable as possible.

You can find the full range in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Underprotection.

O My Bag

Rated: Good
woman holding small black mini bag my o my bag

Nano Bag – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

O My Bag merges style and a responsible approach, creating vintage inspired, rugged-chic bags made from lower-impact, high quality materials. The Dutch label also uses non-toxic dyes in its products.

See the rating.

Shop O My Bag.

Shop O My Bag @ Urbankissed.

Shop O My Bag @ Wearwell.

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.


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!


Looking for more local sustainable fashion inspo? Have a look at our favourite ethical fashion brands from Europe.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned and Unsplash. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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