Your Blueprint for Mastering Effortlessly Cool Parisian Style
However you feel about eating snails, New Wave films, and putting butter on absolutely fucking everything, there’s no denying that French guys have an almost uncanny ability to look really damn cool. And the truly frustrating part about how good they look? It seems like they don't even have to try. Like, at all.
Well, we've got some good news for you. First off: They are trying. No one just magically acquires the perfect pair of jeans or Chelsea boots by accident, after all. Secondly: You can look that cool, too. And the best part about it? While you will have to try a little, you don't have to go too crazy to make the look work. All you need are some key building blocks—think denim, leather, and a good pair of shoes—and a few standout pieces.
And, since it's 2018 and we're not all trying to look like brooding hipsters in a Godard film, don't be afraid to have a little fun with things by bringing some color into the mix. A toasty orange suede jacket? A bright yellow crewneck sweater? A grass green bomber? It's all on the table. Here's how to dress like an effortlessly cool Parisian guy who actually knows how to have a good time—no matter where you live.
Suede jacket, polo shirt, and trousers by Sandro; derby shoes by AMI
A jacket in a rich color like this is enough to take a look from everyday casual to "Damn, check that guy out." But when you add in a clever varsity stripe detail on the waistband of the trousers? That just knocks the whole thing into the stratosphere. But—and this is crucial—nothing screams for attention. The orange is bold but not blazing. The pants are trying, but not too hard. And the simple white polo and black derbies ground the whole thing in a bit of sensibility. It's all about balance.
Jacket by Tod's; sweater by A.P.C.; trousers by Mr P.; socks by Bombas; Chuck 70 sneakers by Converse.
See that denim jacket? It's not actually made out of denim. Instead, Tod's photo-printed the denim effect on luxe leather. It's that willingness to play around with convention and expectation that brings a little levity to this whole look. Like those white socks. Maybe you've been told they're best saved for the gym. Forget that. Wear 'em with everything you want this spring. They'll make things more fun. Ditto that for a bright yellow sweater. Oh, and just in case you're worried everything is getting too frivolous? You can't get much more classic and easy-to-wear than gray wool trousers and classic black Chucks.
Coat, shirt, jeans, and derby shoes by AMI
Yes, that's a red-and-black checked car coat. And yes, it's going to turn a few heads. But that's the whole point. Plus, with a coat this bold, the rest of the outfit doesn't have to do a lot of heavy lifting. Just pick classics like a white shirt and blue jeans, twist them a little with details like western-style snaps and an elongated belt, and you've got a look that's as easygoing as it is eye-catching.
Shirt by Louis Vuitton, trousers by Acne Studios.
Want to channel the louche vibe of a preternaturally cool French guy on vacation? The mid-century feel of a camp-collar shirt is tough to beat. Cut a little boxier, with a casual, open collar, it's the sartorial equivalent of a devil-may-care attitude and a cocktail resting lazily in your hand. But seeing as this isn't the '60s, and your life isn't actually a black-and-white movie, why not punch things up with a bright red color and an all-over graphic print?
Blouson jacket, jean, and boots by A.P.C. Camp-collar shirt by Mr P
A lot of emphasis gets put on dark blues and blacks when it comes to creating an air of cool. But lighter, brighter shades are not to be discounted. Kelly green is unexpected, but pairs perfectly with washed-out denim. And a sand suede Chelsea boot adds a little polish to the look. Of course, navy shouldn't be cut out of the mix entirely—especially not when it shows up next to a brighter blue vertical stripe in a supremely stylish short-sleeve shirt.
Shirt, tank top, trousers, and sandals by Hermès
Sometimes, life calls for a drink. And a less buttoned-up approach to style. A graphic print, oversized cut, and rich color mean it's easy to wear this shirt from Hermès like a light jacket. Balance that, both in feel and proportion, with a wider-leg trouser in classic navy. And if you're feeling just a little adventurous—and the weather is agreeing with you—a pair of sandals make the whole look feel even more relaxed. Because honestly, nothing is much cooler than being as comfortable as you are confident
Photography by Tyler Joe • Styling by Jonathan Evans • Grooming by Jacques Uzzardi • Model Josue Comoe at Bananas • Special thanks to Hoxton Hotel Paris
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.