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Women Over 40, 50 & 60: Parisian Style Details (Updated)

what to wear in paris

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.

what they REALLY wear in Paris

Wear a Flouncy Skirt Over Jeans or Leggings

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.

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.

read what to wear in europe

Black or Dark Colors for Paris

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).

read about travel clothing outfits

Perfect Paris Outfits,

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...)

cute travel outfits for fall, winter, early spring

What Women Wear in Paris

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:

How to Wear Leggings if You're Over 40 or 50

How to Wear Ankle Boots With Skinny Jeans, Leggings, or Shorts - Older Women

23 Trendy Plus Size Clothing Sites for Large Women Sizes 1x - 12x

Best Sites for Women's Travel Wear: Wrinkle Free Clothing

travel outfits europe

Main Photo

Photo Credits:

  • 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.

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. It won't show up until I have a lot of free time to go through my backlog of comments... haha.

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. Carol M

    Thank you for the great tips!

    • Tina


      Thanks for your comment. I hope you are on your way to Paris! It's my fave city on earth.


  2. Alyssa

    The Parisian women was so lovely especially on how they wore a dress. It’s amazing to see the different ways that Parisian women use leg wear to jazz up their all-black outfits.

    • Tina


      They do wear all black and they add color with stockings, tights, and crazy hosiery... who knew?


      Tina Boomerina

  3. Christina

    What great timing finding your article!-
    So great to find articles for women of a certain age :)
    We're heading to Paris mid September and I haven't been there since roughing it in my student days- I wear a lot of black already but am trying to find comfortable chic shoes that don't scream tourist- I'm not a huge fan of flats on me (I feel short) and not sure if it will still be too warm for my heeled boots I took overseas last time which I loved. we'll be watching our euros so walking a lot.

  4. Christina

    Thanks so much! This is a treasure trove of travel tips! you could write a book!
    This is hugely helpful as I am the wold's worst packer - It's nice to get tips from someone who's been there recently and in my age bracket. September is tricky as I feel I need to pack Summer and Fall clothing- you'd think at my age I'd figure out how to pack efficiently!
    Au Revoir

    • Tina

      Don't pack too much. You'll end up wearing the same few things over and over. The problem is that I don't know which few things you'll end up wearing over and over.
      Have fun!

  5. S. Campbell

    Good article. I'm wondering, though - why sad about jeans? I'm 45 and I wear them anytime I'm not at work. And not mom-jeans, either - skinny jeans or trouser jeans.

  6. Tina-Boomerina


    I thought that women in Europe (and the US) looked better when they dressed up a tiny bit more.

    I guess I remember the "olden days" when people used to "dress" for travel... now everyone looks like they are wearing their pajamas on planes. I remember when women wore hats to go out to lunch in the city...just because it was fun. And, I remember when women went boho in the 60s, but they continued to wear designer clothing (or cute knockoffs) of intriguing fashions. And, they spent a few minutes looking into the mirror to make sure that everything had the right effect... effortless chic.

    Now, everyone looks the same in some ways. The same jackets. The same jogging suits. The same jeans. The same look... like they don't care at all.

    You probably look good in jeans. When I saw your photo, I thought you were 20. However, it makes me a bit sad that, even in Paris, women are dressing more casually... in jeans. I may be wrong, but it seems as if only a few years back, women in Paris were more into wearing skirts and dresses.

    However, I must admit that most of the Parisiennes wearing jeans looked chic, so I should not complain. Parisiennes still dress much better than Americans do.

    And, at some point... after you have worn nothing but jeans for a very, very long time... you may decide to try something new... whatever it may be. I think that jeans become boring at some point. Fine for casual... but not every event is casual.


    • S. Campbell

      Thank you so much for your reply. I agree - I think there's a time and place for jeans, and I think they need to be right for your body. I think there are so many shapes in jeans, most people can wear them.

      I also wanted to thank you for writing an article about clothing and women over 40 that didn't make me angry. So many of the articles I read tell us to avoid color and cover up, and the examples of "acceptable" clothing are depressing. The word everyone uses for it is "appropriate." I disagree. Appropriate clothes are the ones that inspire you, make you feel happy, make you feel grounded, and project the image that YOU want to project. If that happens to be leather pants or a pretty boho skirt, or high heels, or whatever, then that's what a woman should wear. So thank you for not banning joy. You are much appreciated.

  7. Barbara

    I'm spending two days in Paris and a week in Lyon, in August. I know how to dress for spring and fall in Paris, but I'm not sure how to keep cool in the heat of summer without wearing shorts. I'm thinking light cotton washable dresses, but I don't wear sleeveless dresses or tops, and that's about all I can find. I'm 64, 5'5", 150 lbs. Can you suggest a summer style for me that will help me fit in? What do Frenchwomen of "a certain age" wear in the heat of summer?

  8. Linn

    Thanks for this, but it would be SO nice to see photos of women actually OVER 50 or 60... I feel like we are in a dead zone as far as fashion is concerned - no visuals. Even "old lady" clothing is modeled in 30-somethings.