The benefits of studying abroad in France go way beyond opportunities for tourism. France is an economic powerhouse in Europe. Making business connections when you land in Paris is definitely to your advantage. Ready to take the leap?
There’s just one little thing you forgot about: what to wear for business in France. That’s right, French business culture is very different than what you’re used to in the United States. If you want to make a great first impression, you’ll definitely want to read on.
How To Dress To Impress at Work in Paris
There are always new trends that come and go in France, but in the workplace, great style tends to remain fairly unchanged. Here are some general pointers for crafting a wardrobe that will help you to fit in and gain respect.
- Keep it formal: Virtually all French companies maintain a formal office atmosphere.
- Don’t overdo it: In France, you want to show that you know how to dress well, but without drawing too much attention to yourself. Flashy jewelry and eccentric hairstyles aren’t a good idea in France.
- Avoid bright colors or patterns: There’s nothing wrong with pinstripes, polka dots and checkered patterns – many Parisian men and women use them – but for business, you’ll want to tone them down. That cherry red dress you love can probably stay home.
- Don’t dress in a sensual manner: It’s OK to draw attention to the features you like about yourself, but let it happen naturally and elegantly.
- When in doubt, opt for formal: If you’re not sure what to wear in a certain situation, always err on the side of formal instead of casual.
- Choose tailored clothing: Having a tailor means that suits and dresses fit your body perfectly, keeping your profile Instagram-ready all the time.
Why Business Attire Matters in France
If you thought that Paris fashion was just a cliché, it’s not. People in France know how to dress, and they’re very proud of that fact. Men and women try to look their best all time – even when they’re just lounging around the house!
So in situations where you need to impress someone important – a vital work contact, foreign client, potential employer or new customer – paying attention to how you dress can make the difference between success and failure. Remember, it’s not about extravagance, but instead about looking classy.
Great Men’s Fashion Ideas for French Business Attire
You might want to sit down for this because you’re probably not going to like it: In France, businessmen wear a complete suit to work, all day long. Even the jacket has to stay on the entire time. That also means keeping your tie – yeah, workplace etiquette requires those too – snug.
Is it really worth it? Absolutely. Look calm, cool and professional and French business contacts give you tons of respect, even when meeting you for the first time. You come off as intelligent, confident and powerful. On the other hand, loosening your tie gives French clients the idea that you’re not taking things very seriously or you don’t value their time.
Here are some smart-yet-controlled suit setups that turn heads in a good way:
- Navy pinstripe suit paired with a white dress shirt, solid dark blue tie, high-quality silver or gold watch, and matte black dress shoes.
- Dark gray trousers with a black sports jacket and gray sweater, checked white shirt, ivory tie, and brown leather dress shoes.
The second option is what you might wear if you’re invited to a semi-formal or casual business occasion in France. That’s right, casual does not mean jeans and a t-shirt in Paris.
Stunning Women’s Wear for Paris Business Atmosphere
For women, dressing for work in France means putting together outfits that are simple yet elegant. There are two keys aspects you have to balance: professionalism and chic. Opt for tones that aren’t too flashy, but still give outfits a touch of the artistic fashion that France is known for. Neutral colors are great because they match virtually anything.
Dress in a way that makes you look attractive and enhances your natural beauty without making colleagues or clients feel uncomfortable. There’s still plenty of wiggle room for you to create a look that features your signature style.
Here’s what some Parisian women might wear to work:
- Formal dark-gray dress pants and jacket with a white V-neck blouse and silver bracelets
- Full-length black dress – black dresses are the new black in Paris – with a tasteful clutch, gold earrings, and low heels
- Dark brown skirt, ivory blouse, light brown wool waistcoat, and a small pearl necklace
Play around with different textures for a unique, layered look.
Fashion Tips For Exceeding Expectations
These tips will never fail you in France, both for French business attire and when attending social occasions or eating in upscale restaurants:
- Opt for quality over quantity when selecting your wardrobe
- Make sure all fashion accessories are of excellent quality
- Wow onlookers with your hair just as much as your clothes
- Pay attention to seasonal changes
- Let your natural beauty show through
- Rely heavily on neutral tones
- Grab an umbrella
Paying attention to these tips should help ensure that your business attire will help you fit in, not stand out in a foreign country.