How to dress like a Parisian – style lessons from Ines de la Fressagne!

by Sylvia

Ines de la Fressange - Parisian Style

One of my birtday presents this year was the book Parisian Chic from Ines de la Fressagne. Advertised and promoted as a personal style guide, it’s really about everything that Ines loves about Paris.

You may already know Ines de la Fressange. She is a French style icon, used to be a model for Chanel and is known for her immaculate style. Very French, elegant, chic and minimal. And that is also what you can expect from this guide. Ines encourages a style that is very much based on the basics: “use half you budget on basics and half on impulse buys like accessories”.  Other than that she feels that your main asset is your smile.

It therefore comes as no surprise that as essential basics Ines lists familiar items like:

  • A men’s blazer
  • The trench coat
  • The navy blue cashmere jumper
  • The tank top
  • The litte black dress
  • The blue jeans
  • The leather jacket

In additon she gives many practical tips that can make a difference (“wear two scarfs above each other”) and provides a few ‘golden rules’, which most of you will be familiar with. Some of her other important tips include:

  • Combine cheap with expensive
  • Don’t buy one complete look, but mix and match
  • Go easy on bling and big logos
  • Hunt for new designers and unknown brands
  • Be sure to feel comfortable with your clothes in every way
  • Create unexpected combinations (but don’t overdo it)
  • Don’t be a slave to trends but know what they are!

There is no doubt that Ines looks great in the casual chic style based on basics. But that is partly because she doesn’t need much to look stunning. She still looks as amazing as she did in her model days and would look good in a shapeless rag! The advice to stick to basics and keep it simple is solid though. It’s a fool-proof way to look chic if you do it right.

The risk is that it can get a bit boring and predictable as well. Ines herself encourages you to take risks sometimes, but on the whole she enourages to ‘fit in’ and select an outfit that ‘blends into’ the occasion you are attending. You can then distinguish yourself with accessories. The book certainly doesn’t feature any ‘risky’ outfits.

So if you’re looking for a safe, but very elegant and parisian style, then this book will certainly get you on the right track. In addition to fashion tips, you will also learn about Ines’ top beauty tips and find inspiration for your home. I loved the photos of Ines that accompanied her pages on basics and accessories, as they clearly highlight her style and showed off her casual elegant chic.

Be aware though that most of the book is dedicated to Paris itself. Ines lists many great places to shop, dine, stay and even take your kids to and after reading this book, you will be dying to go and visit Paris itself and take this book with you. In fact I am so tempted that I may just try and find a day to visit Paris this holiday.

All in all this is a fun and well-presented guide that will give you some good style tips and will guide you to the best that Paris has to offer. If you are a fan of Paris and fashion and plan to visit soon, then this guide  is a must-have!

Parisian chic is available at Amazon. For more style books and reviews view my list of style books!

 Has anyone read this book? What did you think of it?

1 Diane

I haven’t read the book but it’s one that I would certainly love to own. Her advice is so straight forward and for the most part just seems to guide the reader to buy basic wardrobe pieces that will always be in style. Great post!

2 Sylvia

Yes, that’s right Diane. Thanks for commenting at 40PlusStyle!

3 Red Tag Chic Los Angeles

She really has great style!!


4 Luksus Bogactwo

I also love Ines de la Fressange, for her style and the fact that in every situation she can look elegant and beautiful.

5 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Luksus!

6 Greetje

Might want the book for basics as I don’t really knowhow to “do” basics. But I would not play it safe all the time. No way. No fun for me.

7 Sylvia

Yes, it’s a good book for that. And you will get a taste for Paris and will want to go!

8 Buckle Button Zip

It’s a great book to read and own. So glad you featured it. Her style and advice is great for anyone who admires that Parisian ‘je ne sais quoi’. Not flashy, but always sexy and natural.
x Laura

9 Sylvia

Glad you like it too Laura!

10 Paula Robinson

I do love her style, and often have a similar dressing style … I bet the book is great!


11 Sylvia

It’s fun and leaves you with a strong desire to go to Paris!

12 issy

I just LOVED this review !! So many other reviewers neglect that fact that Ines is, indeed, beautiful and looks magnificent in almost everything. I am thrilled you pointed that out. And though her clothes are “basic”, they fit to perfection and are probably expensive. She also “maintains” herself very well. I recently read that it is estimated that Jennifer Anniston spends approximately $100,00 ( American ) for “grooming”. Minimal can be maximally expensive.

13 Sylvia

Thanks Issy!

14 Irma Guzman

I love her style too … just bought the book!!!

15 Sylvia

Hope you like it Irma!

16 Greetje

Which book would you recommend me. Being bad at buying basics and combing them, still wanting to achieve casual chic. Still with a twist, but the twist I can figure t myself. The book Style evolution by Kendall Farr or this book by Ines?

17 Sylvia

Ines’ book is more fun with more images and interesting style tips, but the section on fashion and what to buy and get is very small. I finished it very quickly. Style evolution is more dry, but has a LOT more information on what basics to get and how to dress for your body type. Perhaps read some chapters on Amazon, to see what suits you more?

18 Amy

Very useful reply!

19 Amy

This describes exactly how I dress, to a T. (I’m 60 and slim and I take good care of myself.) I get compliments every day on how I look, with very little effort. I’m no style expert, believe me. So I definitely recommend this method of dressing – it’s quick and easy and nets compliments.

20 Tracey

I also got the book for a birthday present this year. I have long admired Ines’s style. Like Greetje, I don’t really do basics, but I am inspired by the mix of high and low, menswear and the European aesthetic. It’s also a stylish trip around Paris, and that is always fun.

21 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Tracey!

22 Elaine

I like the philosophy of Inez and I’m trying to achieve many of her recommendations. The rule I break is on color. I want to wear interesting colors and minimize defaulting to neutrals.

23 Susan

I have that book and love it/her!!!

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