Are Sneakers a Fashion No-No in Paris?

Are American sneakers a fashion don’t in Paris? The Senior Editor of on-line magazine Paris Eiffel Tower News addresses the problem from a bilateral viewpoint.

I can’t count the number of instances travelers who asked me: ‘Should I wear sneakers in Paris?’ and other variations of the exact same question. American tourists specifically are concerned about ‘not fitting in’ with inappropriate shoes.

That attitude is exceptional indeed. Dressing so as not to shock the sensitivity of the locals: how a lot more considerate can you get? I can only give kudos to all of you who ever asked the query or thought about it!

Paris, French fashion, sneakers

Paris-bound tourists are generally of the opinion that French ladies are die-tough style victims. This claim is certainly exaggerated, although access to fashionable clothing is heavily facilitated in Paris exactly where ladies magazines such as ‘Elle’ and ‘Figaro Madame’ dictate what’s trendy and what’s not.

In my humble opinion, perennial tastes appear really much alike in Paris and New York City. Globalization tends to homogenize fashion, producing operate-a-day wear equivalent in large cities.

No matter, the sneaker concern stays valid. Sneakers are now this kind of a commodity in the US, how is it in Paris?

The generally accepted small business dress code in France normally bars sneakers from getting into the corporate atmosphere, except for low-degree positions. Therefore the Parisian woman wears great-wanting city shoes to go to operate, unless the company which employs her cultivates a sporty image in which sneakers find a all-natural residence.

Yet sneakers have turn out to be design icons in their own proper. Adidas, Puma and Nike each have their very own Parisian merchants, and crank out additional designs a convincing style-victim could easily shake credit cards at. Adidas just lately teamed with iconic fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto to create Y-three, a new line of dress-up sneakers. Stella McCartney also has her personal Adidas line.

What main distinction in shoe-attitude could we identify involving American and French she-shoppers? The latter will wear sneakers as design items, not as workaday footwear. Sneakers won’t be bought for comfort, but will uncover an easy way into a tight purse when they compliment dress-down pants and make their proprietor look great. The She-Parisian loves sneakers which make her feet search thin, little, and classy.

A mere glance at the forms of sneakers most frequently noticed on women’s feet in Paris is telling: you won’t see any wide, cushy, comfy-searching, plain vanilla sneakers. You will see little, thin-hunting, flat-sole, designer sneakers.

For the identical motives, a pair of Stephane Kelian or Robert Clergerie shoes will virtually constantly be favored more than a pair of superior-seeking Pumas. Shoes are a style statement, and the additional understated it is, the better.

That’s yet another major variation between French and American ladies. Understatement is a cardinal rule in French fashion. Something that is as well visible is deemed garish. This is why the small black dress is this kind of a style icon, and why Audrey Hepburn will usually be remembered as The Quintessential Trendy American Lady.

Tourists and sneakers

Does all this mean you can’t wear sneakers when you travel to Paris? Of course not!

First of all, sneakers can be comfy walking shoes. And stroll you will, in Paris. The very finest way to find out the city is to walk along its streets. Wearing footwear in which you really feel comfy walking ten miles a day at a leisurely pace is a majorly important decision for the common mood of your stay in the French capital.

Do not back off from wearing sneakers if these are your very best walking shoes. And if you have even superior walking shoes, pack them, even if they make you appear like you are on a trekking trip!

Frankly, you must not ask on your own this question. Who cares about how you look in the street? Don’t be self-conscious, just be at ease in your shoes. You are a visitor, these are your vacations, this is your very personal time! Jeans and sneakers are international. Individuals won’t be offended by your appears. Unless you dress in pink tops and electric blue pants, with golden sneakers and Jackie-O shades, no one around will have any second thoughts about your attire.

And if they ever notice your jeans, LL Bean trekking shoes, and Patagonia jacket, nicely, push come to shove, they may possibly assume you’re American. And so what? In all likelihood they will appreciate your going to Paris.

Dining out in sneakers

Does it mean you can put on sneakers all over the place, on any and every single occasion? Not so.

For instance, can you have dinner in a restaurant shoed with your brand-new white sneakers?

For the sake of it, let’s imagine you are strolling along in your Levi’s jeans and Lands End boots. It’s now dinner time, you are hungry, and scanning the landscape looking for a promising restaurant. There is it! The menu displayed outside is appetizing, costs are inside your comfort zone, the location is not so crowded… Ah, but guests are dressed smartly. Will they let you in? Will you match in?

I have nevertheless to see a door sign indicating ‘No Sneakers Allowed’ in Paris. Some higher-brow locations might expertly leave you at bay: “Do you have a reservation? Sorry, we are complete tonight”. But beside these rare snobbish areas, no restaurant will refuse to seat you since you put on casual sneakers.

Thus the correct question is not ‘Will I be allowed in?’, but ‘Will I feel at ease entering a dressy location in sneakers?’ I venture that you probably would not. And the challenge is that staying self-conscious is a surefire way to kill your meal. Your interest should be in your plate and on your meals, not on your shoes and garb.

My practical rule is ‘Dress according to the lieu’. If you intend to dine out at high-priced, dressy restaurants when you are in Paris, just bring your Pradas. Better however: pay a pay a visit to to Stephane Kelian’s and Robert Clergerie’s boutiques in Paris, and buy by yourself beautiful-hunting footwear by these Parisian designers.

Other locations and sneakers

There are other places in which sneakers just won’t cut it.

The Opera Property is certainly one particular of them. But who would be so foolish as not to dress up for opera night? The sneaker point is moot.

What about a cabaret? I would say it is much better to dress up when you have dinner at a cabaret like ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Lido’, and ‘Paradis Latin’. Although only the stage is well lit in these locations, the reality is men and women all around you will normally be dressed up. You will really feel significantly far more comfy in some much more formal put on.

How about the boats on the Seine? If you are boarding a boat for a dinner cruise, don’t put on sneakers. This is a romantic encounter, you will want to make the most of it. An evening dress is ‘de rigueur’. On the other hand, if you only want to cruise up and down the stream, sneakers are fine.

Museums? Forget style, wear incredibly comfy shoes. No one will look at your shoes, art is on the walls. But walking down the Louvre galleries is a tiring expertise: so substantially too see, so numerous galleries, so slow the pace. The excellent doctor’s guidance: go with cushion and comfort.

Art gallery ‘vernissages’? Style is your cue. Art galleries are modest, vernissage evenings are brief. Evening dress, black preferably, practically nothing flashy, and superior-hunting style footwear. No sneakers.

Wrapping up

Dress for the location you go to. If you are uncertain about the dress code, you may well phone in advance to get appraised of it. Pack a dressy pair of shoes, or acquire one particular when you are in Paris. Bring a discreet, understated evening dress.

But don’t back away from sneakers for other not-so-formal occasions. Put on them shamelessly in the street. You will blend just fine if you harbor a pair of jeans and a pair of sneakers. Nike is an American brand, and it is incredibly well-liked in France. Levi’s, Diesel, and Calvin Klein are American manufacturers, and they rule the French jeans scene as well. In reality, I can’t very think of any domain in France exactly where American culture did not leave a mark — except possibly cuisine.

So be comfortable in your sneakers, and appreciate the view.

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