I have an admission, I’m now the proud owner of a cap. Hardly a groundbreaking statement, I know, but long-term readers may know my penchant for overdressing for the simplest of venues. You might be wondering what that has to do with trainers but you could say I’ve (somewhat) succumbed to the appeal of practicality at the ripe age of thirty-two and I think that my two-piece trainer collection may just follow suit. Despite French women’s style being synonymous with dressing up and uniforms comprising jeans, wrap dresses and heels, it also centres on a practical approach to style.
Contrary to popular belief, the Parisian women I see day-to-day aren’t always clad in the fanciest pieces, especially not when tending to errands—like frequenting markets or making a beeline for the morning’s takeaway espresso. Instead, they often wear practical, easy-to-replicate outfits and trainers are a huge part of the uniform. Biking is a common mode of transport here and many French women I know cycle to and from the office in trainers. Their suave wardrobes encompass trainer outfits, and they are able to incorporate them into classic looks with little to no effort.
The popular trainer choices are streamlined and classic – Adidas Sambas and Gazelles, Vans, Converse and Veja being another well-loved European brand. Colour pallets usually lean towards neutral tones—spanning ecru to grey and plenty of black and white, of course. For ways to wear trainers with ease and sophistication this winter, continue reading for four ways to elevate trainers.
Cliché they may be but women wear printed t-shirts frequently here. French brands like A.P.C and Isabel Marant replenish their collections frequently.
’70s style denim in the perfect blue hue.
If there’s one thing I appreciate about & Other Stories, it’s the timelessness of the permanent collection. This exact blazer was introduced a few years ago and come autumn it’s re-released each year. If you’re a blazer fiend and finding it difficult to stay away from your collection in the cold months, I’d advise opting for a wool coat/blazer hybrid. Be sure to size up, so you can fit your knitwear underneath!
Polène is best known for its sculptural mini bags but I’ve been appreciating the newer releases. The Ilo is a relaxed style with leather trimming — meaning it can be integrated into myriad looks — both casual and formal. It’s both practical and chic.
Caps are practical for morning matcha runs and cold walks by the river. It’s surprisingly difficult to find a plain (and reasonably priced) baseball cap but Muji has come to the rescue!
The Adidas Samba needs no introduction. It’s the trainer that had non-trainer people swooning. Myself included. If you struggle to get your hands on this particular style, Adidas Gazelles can be styled in the exact same way.
Style Notes: Many of us assume French women’s style is synonymous with muted colourways but I’ve noticed first-hand how much they appreciate pops of colour. A/W 23’s scarlet is a hue I’ve seen celebrated across Paris this winter. I love the juxtaposition of cherry hues with ecru trainers. The addition of socks loans a sports luxe feel.
I don’t tend to gravitate towards denim jackets as I find them quite boxy on my frame, therefore I appreciate the convertibility factor of the tie waist.
Although cashmere knitwear is an investment piece, I’ll always champion these pieces when building a capsule wardrobe. For years, I haven’t had to repurchase any knitwear.
Wolford leggings are a cut above the rest. I’m always impressed with the quality and innovation behind its designs. I’ve been living in my leggings at the weekends.
You won’t find comfier trainers than All Birds’ offerings. These two-toned trainers pair exceptionally well with red.
Advene presents us with an architectural-style bag in a smooth fabrication and colourway to match.
Style Notes: This gorgeous look is incredibly refined and oozes the simplicity that French style is most commonly associated with. You’ll likely find these individual components in your wardrobe and to elevate dark tones add an accessory in a saturated hue. For outerwear, I’d recommend a camel coat.
Sezane’s Gaspard is another fashion hero. Now available in a further 23 additional colourways, there is truly a hue to tickle everyone’s fancy. Wear the Gaspard knit with the buttons at the back or facing the front, as a cardigan. It’s a piece you’ll have forever.
There are so many beautifully cut jeans on the high street, however, if you are considering investing in high-end denim, I’d look to brands like Toteme. The attention to detail is expert. Between the held-in fabric and twisted seams, it’s not your average pair. This style falls in between straight-leg and barrel jeans, as it has a generous fit through the leg.
Demellier’s Vancouver Tote is selling like hotcakes. I always advise shopping mindfully and the colour, structure and quality contribute to the longevity of this style.
Vans cleverly transcended the skater realm and are commonly worn in Paris with off-duty looks.
Style Notes: Monochrome looks always appear sleek and you needn’t prop them up with heels for a sophisticated look. Instead, pair a creamy two-piece with off-white trainers and pull the look together with accessories.
Bouclé knits are highly sought after in the fashion world, as are two-pieces and this A Day’s March piece comprises both. Wear the two pieces as a uniform, or interchange them with pre-existing tops and bottoms in your wardrobe.
I always evaluate materials when buying and recommending apparel and this is one of the few 100% wool co-ords available at a mid-range price this winter.
I’ve seen many French women embrace the pendants on a chain trend this year. Alighieri wonderfully melds the juxtaposition of organic textures together. The bashed metal link on the leather chain is inspired. I liken it to a modern bohemian style.
There’s something appealing about peach-toned Converse as compared to the bright white iterations. While you’re on-site, take a peek at the khaki colourways too!
Just when you thought Bottega Veneta’s Jodie was the cream of the crop, the brand has been churning out the most stunning iterations of its iconic woven style. The interlocked patina on the bucket shaping is a wonderful match.