How to Dress Like a Parisian (No Beret Required)

by Mary Avant

Fashion trends may come and go, but there are some styles and fashion rules that will never go out of vogue. Take Parisian-chic style, for example. After all, who of us hasn’t been guilty of drooling over beautiful French girls in their always-on-point street style or being left in awe over how fabulous Parisian actresses, celebrities, and fashion editors look no matter when and where you see them? Whether it’s the confidence, beauty, grace, or simply the impeccable sense of style that Parisian women embody, one thing is for certain: We all, at one point or another, want to dress just like them.

And one super-stylish and always-gorgeous French actress in particular, Marion Cotillard, is the perfect example of what it looks like to nail effortless Parisian-chic style, thanks to her never-failing tailored taste, flawless hair and makeup, and tastefully edgy ensembles. In fact, in the last few months alone, Cotillard has given us a bevy of great tips and ideas for how to emulate the look ourselves. Whether she’s going high-fashion glam or minimalist chic, here are five lessons we’ve learned from Cotillard about perfecting Parisian style.

1. A red lip instantly completes any outfit

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It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing jeans and a T-shirt or your most stunning designer gown (like Cotillard’s fabulous Dior number at the 2014 Met Gala): A classic red lip always pulls together and perfects any and every ensemble. Pair a glossy version with a subtly smoky eye for a sultry effect, or keep it matte with a cat eye for a truly Parisian flair.

2. Minimalist ensembles will always rule

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Want to stun in a snap without looking like you’re trying? Just throw on a minimalist (preferably monochromatic) outfit, like the gorgeous red dress Cotillard wore to a Dior event on Tuesday. Keep it structured and tailored to look savvy, not sloppy, and keep accessories as simple as possible.

3. But when you're wearing a print, the bolder the better

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Everyone needs a little print in their wardrobe now and then. So take a note out of this Parisian beauty’s book and make your patterned pieces bold, intriguing, and the total star of the show, like this sensational Mary Katranzou frock Cotillard wore to The Immigrant premiere on Tuesday.

4. A slinky black dress is a girl's best friend

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Anything black is a Parisian wardrobe staple by default, but real style stars turn their LBD up a French notch by choosing a slinky, looks-like-liquid dress — like Cotillard’s Christian Dior Couture number — for truly special occasions (or just your average date night, if you prefer).

5. Pockets and ponytails will never go out of style

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The only thing more perfectly Parisian than a striped sheath dress? A striped sheath dress paired with chic pockets and a simple side ponytail, of course. Oh, and don’t forget the streamlined, ankle-strap heels for bonus points.