I was born and raised in Paris. Although I traveled all over the world, I am living outside of France for the first time now. When I arrived in NYC, I noticed some differences in this beautiful American city, and especially in fashion. Mostly, Parisians and New Yorkers don’t have the same way of thinking about fashion and this is rooted in their countries culture. As clothes are a means of expression, even small differences can have an impact on how a person dresses. And it is why fashion changes from one city to another. I want to share my personal point of view on Paris and New York street style, having lived in both cities myself.
Overall, and even though some people dress similarly or like the same looks in these two cities, I personally think there is a trend lag between the two countries.
In other words, the same things will be fashionable but at different times. Globally, the American soft power influences several continents’ way of life. And like a lot of things, a part of French fashion is inspired by the United States model. I regularly see American influencers sharing pictures of something new (which can be shoes, clothes, accessories, haircuts…) and people will start buying the same items a few weeks later. And it probably works the other way around too. Paris could influence New York (but I haven’t been here for long enough to really experience that). A trend inspires a trend, and it is why fashion is always moving.
So what are the main fashion differences that a Parisian can be surprised by when coming to New York? First of all, Manhattan and its inhabitants seem to be a bit more eccentric. They dare to wear more original clothes and strong colors. To be honest, I really like it that way, being dressed in unusual clothes without minding about what others are going to think, is true freedom. The Parisian style remains generally chicer. They like simplicity, the classy à la française. Most of them are used to wearing a few staple colors. White, blue, black, and brown are very common while bright colors are less used, compared to New York. Even on their days off, the Paris’ inhabitants dress comfortably chic, as the streetwear style is not really developed there (even though I thought it was before coming to NYC). I personally think New Yorkers dress more casual, most of the time. For example, I am used to seeing women grocery shopping in leggings and sneakers.
In Paris, and even if it is not the case for every woman, it is less usual to see girls in athleisure wear getting groceries.
They remain chic all the time, at various levels.
Now, there is, of course, a difference between fashion and style. You can have great style without wearing the latest fashions, and you can wear fashion and not have an ounce of style.
In my opinion, style is a way of expression, and the measure of somebody’s style is the originality of their looks.
I haven’t been in New York long, but I have already noticed that New Yorkers have their own style. Even if you count the odd eccentric Parisian, I think people here are more creative in general.
But never forget that:
“La mode se démode, le style jamais” or “Fashion changes, Style endures.”, as Coco Chanel said. So I encourage you to develop your own style and don’t worry about being different because being different is what sets you apart from the crowd.