Women Over 40, 50 & 60: Parisian Style Details (Updated)
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
I am two years over 60, so whenever I go to Paris, I study the clothing of Parisian women over 40 or 50. And, because most Parisians dress in black (and other dark or neutral colors) during late fall, winter and early spring, it’s the little details that set Parisiennes apart from chic women in the rest of the world.
On my latest winter trip to Paris, the accessories of note included black lace tights, giant handbags, black or red maryjanes, beautiful boots, and many items covered in leopard prints. And, as always, the best daytime look included casual hair and minimal makeup.
What Chic Parisian Women Wear:
Women in the "city of light" wear high quality, but not necessarily designer, clothing, and the most important thing, when wearing all black, is impeccable tailoring. Many Parisian women, of all ages, wear their skirts above the knee, and many women over 40 wear flouncy, flared lightweight skirts over tights or leggings.
Lace Tights and Cute Stockings
It’s amazing to see the different ways that Parisian women use legwear to jazz up their all-black outfits. I saw one memorable fashionista, in her 70s, wearing sexy, sheer black nylons that had giant polka dots, bigger than anything I can find in local stores. Did she look foolish? Not at all. She looked spectacular in a Tina Turner sort of way. Here are the kinds of stockings they wear in Paris:
Younger women wear wildly bright (and sometimes striped) leggings. Women over 40 (even when the rest of the rest of their outfits are all black) wear subdued, solid-colored tights and opaque hose in shades of burgundy, dark red, purple, or navy. They also wear fishnet stockings.
Extra Large Leather Handbags:
Not every woman in France carries a huge bag, but there are enough of them that you will notice the trend. I think French women are onto something. If you are skinny, a large bag makes you look even skinnier. If you are a normal (American-sized or plus-sized) woman, a large handbag looks proportionally correct.
- Large brown handbag
- Large black handbag
Great Footwear for Paris
Boots and booties are wildly popular during the beginning of spring because it is quite cold when the freezing wind off the Seine weaves between the buildings.
However, older women wear all kinds of stylish (even lavish) footwear. Parisians seem to buy the best shoes or boots they can afford.
Well, of course, when you don’t use a car you spend a lot of time walking. Women of all ages wear everything from ballet flats to over-the-knee boots. Some of my favorite Parisian shoes were black or red Maryjanes... and, I saw more red shoes during my two weeks in Paris than I have seen since elementary school.
Do Older Women in Paris Wear Jeans?
Yes, I am sad to say that there are lots of women of all ages who wear jeans in Paris, especially on weekends.
When the weather is cold, Parisiennes in denim often wear dark skinny jeans that tuck into their boots. When the days are a bit warmer, they wear flared or skinny jeans with ballet flats or pumps. If you aren't sure about wearing jeans, you can never go wrong by wearing black slacks (or a black skirt).
Women in Paris Wear Expensive Sunglasses
Whenever the clouds break, you will see an amazingly chic array of women in large sunglasses. Some of the glasses are very dark. Others are gradient coated, so the tops of the lenses are darker than the bottoms. Parisians, over 40, wear high-end designer sunglasses. And, that makes sense because, any woman who will spend a fortune on her shoes, will certainly spend a fortune for something she wears on her face.
Leopard Prints in Paris:
Leopard has been around for a while, but it is still going strong. Hey, leopard is just as timeless as black and, for some reason, I think it looks better on women over 40 or 50 than it does on younger chicks. The two main patterns in clothing were leopard and Breton stripes.
Scarves Are Everywhere:
Do I need to tell you that Parisian women and girls really do wear long scarves? And, that's where they add prints, patterns, and colors.
You will see very little jewelry on the streets of Paris, however I never go out without my pearl earrings, and I fit in just fine.
Very Little Makeup:
Most women in Paris wear very little makeup, especially during the day. They can get away with this because they devote their time and money to skincare and face products. Next time you’re in Paris, drop into one of the little “pharmacie” shops that are located on every other block to see all of the cleansers and moisturizers.
In my opinion, the best face makeup is Chantecaille (because it doesn’t turn orange) and the best moisturizer is Lancôme. Go to the Sephora store on the Champs-Elysees and get whatever Lancôme face products the salesperson recommends for your skin type. These products last for ages, and when they are used up, it’s time to trip back to Paris. (My moisturizer is running low, so...)
Almost every Parisienne wears her hair in a casual style, whether it's short or long. Women of all ages pull their hair up into a simple ponytail (no scrunchies, of course) or a simple bun. Ladies with curly hair leave it natural. There are fewer women with henna-colored hair than there were in prior trips.
So, if you want to look like you have just come back from a week in Paris, wear a good bag, big sunglasses, a great cotton or silk scarf, minimal makeup, and fabulous shoes or boots. (You will get extra points for wearing all black with some amazing red shoes.)
And, since fashion in the states is a few years behind Europe, these details will be in style for ages. If you don't like what you're finding in stores, ignore everyone, keep your voice down and pretend you're from France.
More Fashion Articles for Baby Boomer Women and Their Chic Friends:
- Main Photo: House of Fraser.
- Wear a Flouncy Skirt Over Jeans or Leggings: LaRedoute.
- Black or Dark Colors for Paris: Gertrude, LaRedoute 2015.
- Perfect Paris Outfits: LaRedoute, Hobbs.
- What Women Wear in Paris: LaRedoute French fashion 2015.
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