Friday, March 2, 2012


Prêt-à-porter (meaning ready to wear in French) is essentially the opposite of high fashion (haute couture). This everyday fashion wear can be found in stores that line nearly every boulevard in Paris, from the Champs-Élysées to the lesser known boulevards such as St. Michel or St. Germain. This style of fashion can be found in stores such as Grand Magasins (department stores) or small boutiques. Some of these stores are extremely expensive, such as Louis Vuitton, while others have items for only a few Euros, such as Etam. All of these stores have clothing that is very trend oriented for Paris, specifically having things like scarves, boots, high-quality coats, and bags (all of which are sold for men as well). These stores all have the classiest of clothing, making dressing like a high-class fashionista simple.  Even the clothing options for men follow very classy, trendy and fashionable. Rarely will you see men in just t-shirts and jeans. Either way, no matter where you look in Paris, no matter what you are shopping for or what your budget is you will be able to find something that satisfies your cravings for Parisian fashion.

A window display of a Parisian boutique

Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Élysées

An advertisement for Guess on the back of a tour bus 

Two fashionable Parisians

Haute Couture

Haute Couture, meaning "high fashion" in French, refers to custom-fit, extremely high-quality, custom clothing. Designers of couture clothing pay specific attention to details, using time-consuming, hand-done techniques. Paris is one of the major cities in the world that produces true haute couture clothing. Many of these designs are featured in high fashion magazines, such as French Vogue, and are often worn by celebrities, but most everyday people wear a less specialized, less expensive type of clothing. 

An image from French Vogue

Parisian fashion is an important aspect of the culture and lifestyle of the city. Everywhere one turns in Paris, they see nothing but the most fashionable, well-dressed people. The fashion differs in France, particularly Paris, from American fashion in that all of them, especially men, take a certain great pride in having fewer, high-quality clothing items. The streets of Paris are lined with different stores where the most fashionable clothing in the world can be bought. Many of the exclusive avenues and boulevards hold the very expensive, "swanky" stores, while the side streets are where the small, cheaper boutiques can be found. One thing is for sure, Paris is THE place to go for the best High Fashion and everyday (prêt-à-porter: ready-to-wear) clothing.