search

The art of shopping for basics with that Parisian flair



Need to rent a Tux? This shop specializes in tuxedos and men's formal wear rentals. When you're in a bind as to what to wear to that black-tie affair, Au Cor du Chasse comes in handy for the gentlemen. 

For us ladies… If I could shop at one store and one store only that would be Didier Ludot's fabulous vintage boutique in the Palais-Royal where it's all about the little black dress. That, paired with one of their silk scarves, and you really wouldn’t need to wear anything else. Though sometimes something new, blue or maybe not so blue, is what is required for that business meeting or family dinner or social function. For these occasions, you can rely on Caroll's, in whose fashions you will be well dressed, discreetly, and not at all ostentatious. 

For sporty-minded guys and gals, there's a shop called The Kooples. They have a spin-off boutique just for sportswear. Here you can spend some fun together-time shopping for his-n-hers. 

If there's one complaint I hear about shopping in Paris, it's that Parisian sizing caters to 0's and 2's, especially when it comes to lingerie. So, for this listing, for both guys and gals, you will find the top three picks are devoted to shops specializing in the ample, the big and the tall. What's especially nice these days, is that this does not mean you have to sacrifice one iota of style, nor luxury fabrics nor fashionable designs. For women, head to Marina Rinaldi and Cazak, and for men to the Capel Store to stock up on sizes that hug your body (but not too tightly). 

And now for the children...The French make some of the cutest children’s clothes ever. It’s like buying doll clothes for babies. Tartine et Chocolat and also Bonpoint are two of the most famous and their shops near Place Vendôme and in St.-Germain-des-Prés, respectively, have a selection from 0 to pre-teen.


Advertisement

Didier Ludot is the famous haute-couture vintage shop located at the Palais-Royal. And although the name of the store includes the French phrase for 'little black dress,' you will find so much more in here. Such as? Well, such as vintage Dior, LV, Gucci and Chanel handbags and shoes. There are gorgeously tailored haute couture vintage dresses, skirt suits and evening wear to be found and had here. Superb! It's true, you can't help but feel like Audrey (Hepburn, that is) when you're browsing through his racks. His taste is impeccable and you'll find only the best labels: Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Chloé, Hermes, and the like.. If you have time to shop for more than just that one exquisite black dress that will have you looking fabulous no matter where you go and with whom, then do head over to the Montpensier side of the Palais-Royal galleries for a peek into his main boutique. Yes, it's all vintage, too.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: Didier Ludot vintage haute couture shops are a lifesaver when you're in Paris with one suitcase and several black-tie events to attend.

Paige's expert tip: Why buy just any old little black dress when you can unearth a vintage gem at this iconic boutique in the Palais-Royal? But then, why settle for just a little black dress when you can find yourself in a fitted Dior skirt suit or a YSL evening gown, too? And don(t forget the handbag, shoes and accessories, all designer, too!

Read more about Didier Ludot La Petite Robe Noir →


9
2éme Arrondissement


Clothing shopping for kids is one of the most entertaining kinds of shopping you can do in Paris. Some of the little bon-bon like shoes, tops, ensembles and accessories that these kids' clothing shops come up with are so sweet they're tempting to eat. This is one of the best and even the name of the shop is what you often eat for breakfast as a child in France. Both boys and girls clothes can be found here and for expecting mothers, this is a much appreciated, high-end registry for the newborn. The other shop in Paris that is convenient and well-stocked is their Blvd. St. Germain location.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: This shop starts at infancy and keeps you hooked. It's like a confectionery shop but for kids' clothing.

Paige's expert tip: These boutiques are around Paris and even throughout France but one of the best ones is here near Place Vendome. One of the things the French do best is fashion and they do it just as well for their kids, too.

Read more about Tartine et Chocolat →


8
6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche


Just up the street from the Bendel's-like Le Bon Marche department store, is this little boutique called Caroll. Although Caroll is not at all so little, as they count hundreds of shops throughout France. It is mainly a dress, skirt and blouse shop. With some nice accessories like bags, belts and scarves thrown in for accent. These fashions are always up-to-date and, at one and the same time, classic. This is the dress shop you turn to when you have dinner with the in-laws, a church function to attend or a business meeting to conduct. Here you will find that French je ne sais quoi but nothing flashy, nothing too sexy and nothing over-the-top. In other words, a wardrobe from Caroll's is a safe bet and you are sure to be in style but not looking like a fashionista.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: A nice little dress shop in whose fashions you will always be stylish and classically, properly dressed.

Paige's expert tip: You will find these shops in the best neighborhoods and shopping districts of Paris. But while this one is just a stone's throw from the very upscale Left Bank department store, Le Bon Marche, it This the one shop in Paris of this chain store brand that is the off-season outlet. Here you will find dresses from at a sweet little discount just because they were worn last summer or last fall. The quality however still screams French craftsmanship so you can't go wrong.

Read more about Caroll →


Advertisement
7
6éme Arrondissement
Bonpoint
Photo courtesy of Bonpoint copyright 2013


The story of Bonpoint, the luxury children's clothing store, begins in 1975 (officially). Prior to that Marie-France Goutal, one of the five founding sisters was a stylist at Dior. She and her sister Dominique dreamt of dressing their children in the kind of clothes they adored. BonBon was born. Their meeting with an antiquarian, a man who owned a shop called The Point, was the alchemy that created Bonpoint. 120 shops worldwide later, this children's clothing brand dominates in the highest circles (think princesses, princes and celebrity royalty). Their concept shop in St.-Germain-des-Prés really is worth stopping into. It's housed in its own self-standing townhouse. Each fabulous themed room leads to the next even more fabulous room. During the warm months, its terrace café offers a secret little spot in which to relax and repose. Toys and books complete the children's shopping scenario.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: Any item, no matter how little, from Bonpoint is a lasting keepsake for your child (and you).

Paige's expert tip: If you're shopping in St.-Germain-des-Prés, it's really worth stopping into their concept shop that is near the Senate. Don't forget to relax for a bit on the terrace café while you're there.

Read more about Bonpoint →


6
6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche


This is a Paris cult brand. True to its name, too, it's a his-n-hers clothing store. The ad campaigns always features couples (real couples, not photo fake couples) wearing their fashions. And while their street clothes boutiques can be relied upon to feature a heavy dose of black, their sport boutiques offer lighter, more playful fashions for workout wear and leisure. This clothing brand skews young but that's not to say that there won't be something to be found for all ages. You can dress yourself head to toe here, too. Meaning, you'll find t-shirts, sweatsuits and even tennis shoes. Think young and playful with each season bringing a refresh of styles and colors.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: A rare boutique that offers his-n-hers shopping, some items are even subtly coordinated. As in matching print shirts and so forth. Aww, cute!

Paige's expert tip: Must like black. That is the qualification for shopping at these stores. Though I must add, their main boutiques emphasize black but these Sport spin-offs do offer more color and are a bit more lighthearted in terms of style.

Read more about The Kooples Sport →


5
2éme Arrondissement
Kookai Stock
Photo courtesy of Kookai


This is one of those staple brands for Parisian ladies. It's been around since at least the 80s and seems to maintain its stride. This shop is the outlet shop and it's right in the middle of Paris. It also has a great big selection. Prices are slashed at huge discounts which makes it fun to shop a season in advance (think summer shopping in winter and vice versa). There are Kookai shops all over Paris and France. But this is the only outlet boutique of its kind for the brand and the shop is huge, with a full selection. This is staples shopping so think cute tops, pants, jackets, sandals and shoes...that kind of thing. While we're on the topic of outlet shopping- Paris has outlet malls just outside the city. But Paris also has these boutique outlet shops; You just have to know where to find them.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: This brand has been a staple French brand for decades. It is quality basics with a cute flair and this year's must-haves in Paris.

Paige's expert tip: When you find one of these outlet brand boutiques in Paris, you really must covet the address. They are not always in plain sight, and the visitor to Paris is often encouraged to pay full retail for things. However, if you seek out these discount/outlet shops which dot certain neighborhoods of Paris, you'll be able to stretch your shopping budget that much farther.

Read more about Kookai Stock →


4
8éme Arrondissement


Just around the corner from the Plaza Athenee Hotel and not more than a 5-minute walk from the Champs-Elysees is where you will find this one-of-a-kind Paris shop. Karen, the owner and also creator of her Magic Pants, stocks her shop with women's clothing sizes 14 - 26. And stylish ones, too. Here you will find elegant evening wear, sporty outfits perfect for a weekend away, business staples such as pin-stripe pants and fitted jackets as well as accessories and mix-n-match. Some of the brands you will recognize (Marina Rinaldi), and some may be new for you. What is recognizable throughout all the product lines is the attention to quality textiles and shapely tailoring. Be sure to ask about her Magic Pants. These are the shop owner's own creation and have generated a cult following as a slimming staple for your wardrobe.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: Paris has only a handful of shops where plus-sized people can replenish their wardrobes. This one caters to women with elegant, good taste.

Paige's expert tip: If you are feeling disheartened about the doll-sized clothing stocked in most Parisian boutiques, head to this shop just near the Champs-Elysees. Beautiful wardrobe pieces for the amply endowed come in all plus sizes and from several designers. Don't forget to ask about Karen's Magic Pants, they are super slimming and above all, comfortable to wear.

Read more about Cazak →


3
6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche


Let's face it, Paris is a city much like NYC and L.A. when it comes to clothes shopping. There is a definite prejudice towards sizes zero and two (women's French sizes 32 and 34). So Hallelujah that there is a chain of designer-fashion women's clothing stores. The emphasis here is on women. This brand was begun in 1980 in Italy. The clothes are designed expressly for a curvy silhouette. Which means the cloth is cut for a curvaceous body, rather than scaled up from smaller sizes. The result? Gorgeous clothes that fit well and make you look glamorous! These shops carry size Voluptuous in just about anything you are looking for, be that dresses, skirts, pants, blouses and accessories. Even jeans. You needn't be shy or self-conscious here, either, as the shop ladies have a reputation for being helpful and, well, dare I say it, even nice. Whoever said size matters?

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: The Good Lord, in His wisdom, did not make us all size zeros. Feel free to love every inch of yourself while you shop here.

Paige's expert tip: Gone are the days when a real woman must dress in a burlap bag. Glory for that! This shop will have you waltzing through the aisles as you choose trendy dresses, fun prints cut for skirts, matching blouses and even accessories to tie your look together. The brand's motto is 'inclusivity.' And your shopping motto here is 'Sexy Queen.'

Read more about Marina Rinaldi →


2
6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche


Sometimes when you're sojourning in the City of Lights, you have to dress the part. And since whoever packs a tuxedo in their suitcases when traveling these days, this shop is there to save the soiree. For 150 years it has specialized in renting tuxedos and tails. Some of the men's suits look they'd be quite fitting for the Versailles Ball while others will easily allow you to guide past the Maitre d' at Paris' one, two and three-star Michelin restaurants. Likewise, if you've been invited on a hunting trip, you'll find all the required togs in this obscure little shop on the Left Bank, just near Odeon. In other words, dressing the part has never been so easy, nor affordable.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: One fun thing about Paris is that you can put on the glam. But who packs a tuxedo anymore? Voilà, you'll find one here.

Paige's expert tip: Where do men go when they need a tux for the evening? There's probably more than one answer, but one place is here. You can buy, or even rent, a tuxedo for the evening, and if you need hunting togs or tails, you'll find those here, too.

Read more about Au Cor du Chasse →


Capel Store
Photo courtesy of Polo Ralph Lauren copyright 2014


Let's face it, North Americans, for the most part, are just a bigger breed than their European counterparts. This can make shopping in Paris for a man taller than 6' a bit of a, shall we say, challenge? Thank goodness for Capel Store. The shop specializes in sizes for Big and Tall men or, as they say in their promotional materials, Extra Tall and Extra Large men. For us coming from the US or Canada that translates to normal-sized. Brands you can find here for your guy include Boss, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren. Their house label, Blue Capel, is aimed at a bit younger, or younger-dressing, client. A nice bonus is that they do on-site tailoring at any of their three Paris locations.

Recommended for Clothing Stores because: Our North American men are simply built larger than the average Parisian bear.

Paige's expert tip: Two other shops in Paris as well, one near Les Halles and the other on the Left Bank, not too far from the Theatre de l'Odeon.

Read more about Capel Store →


Map

Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige

×