Being chic and stylish doesn’t always means spending a lot of money. People often think that most Parisian women literally ruin themselves shopping at Dior, Vuitton or Chanel… Well, I’ll tell you a secret: that’s not the case – except for the very tiny percentage who can afford it :-).
Then, how manage the other French women? (a very large majority)…
From my own experience of juggling with a limited budget, here are my best « foxy » French woman’s tips
1- We buy high brand clothes or accessories in vintage and second-hand shops
Paris is full of good vintage and second-hand shops. For those who are planning a stay in Paris, I gave good addresses in this post or in my Shopping Insider’s Guide. Still, if you’re not visiting Paris, here are some good online addresses you can trust:
Shop luxury fashion at Vestiaire Collective: a huge choice of very good brands for women, men, and kids. Their difference from another second-hand online site is that they have a strong policy about quality and authenticity: » all items are authenticated and checked before reaching the seller, thereby eradicating the risks of purchasing counterfeits, mis-selling or mispricing items ». Prices might be higher than on eBay, but no bad surprise: you know what you’re buying.
Seen on VestiaireCollective website
–VideDressing: another good and trustworthy second-hand online store. Their policy is different: here you have the right to change your mind. You can return the item you have just bought and be reimbursed. Since recently they get an English, Deutch and Italian version of the store.
2- We find unique and different pieces among little creative brands
No need to underline that Paris as a Fashion Capital is the perfect place for new creators to start! The great advantage when you discover one of them is that:
– they are not too expensive (I some of them :)…)
– you won’t see their clothes or accessories worn everywhere
– They usually use specific colors, shapes or fabrics that will instantly give you a different style
Here again, thanks to the Internet you can find some online. Here is a good selection:
Sézane: clothes, shoes, and bags: very good French Style basics
Valentine Gauthier: ecological and creative collections
Petite Mendigote: easy to go bags and accessories
Karine Arabian : whole collection of quality and creative shoes
MellowYellow: not too expensive and rather creative collections
ST1 Leonor Mataillet : very delicate semi-precious jewerly
3-We subscribe to famous brands newsletters to be aware of their promotions and sales
Many rather expensive French brands as Maje, Claudie Pierlot, The Kooples, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sandro regularly send to their subscribers promotions and pre-sales notifications. That can be very useful to be informed about good deals.
4- We are members of bargain marketplaces and buy clothes from last year collection
Except if the cut or the colors became totally out of fashion, who really bother to have the last year dress of a famous brand. That’s why bargain marketplaces are very successful in France.
5- We buy designer’s capsule collection in large retail stores
Famous low prices retail stores launch them more and more often:
Ines de La Fressange in Uniqlo, Kate Moss in TopShop, Valentino, Maison Margiela, Isabel Marant in H&M…
To buy these, you are to be prepared for waiting long before the store open and stay very patient among the crazy crowd of fashionistas inside. I am not very fond of this solution. Just like sales: you’re about to buy anything but the good thing because of the rush and the few time allowed to you before everything has just disappeared…
Each seasons, online stores as « LaRedoute » or « Les 3Suisses », also sell designer’s capsule collection. Check on their websites.
6-We find « gold nugget » among affordable French clothing brands
They are cheap and very popular: you can find them everywhere in France. Some of them offer good opportunities for little pieces you won’t wear too long. Stay careful of the fabric (not too transparent), the cut… but as it’s not too expensive you can take more risks…
Why not checking their webstores:
For clothes: Monoprix, Etam, Naf Naf, Promod, Pimkie, Kookai, Sinequanone, Caroll, Camaieu, Balsamik…
For shoes: Minelli, André, Eram, Jonak, Cosmo Paris, San Marina, Bocage…
And you? What are your own tips to be chic and stylish on a budget?