How I Learned to Dress While Living in Europe: 7 Simple Tips

Silas & Grace

I was in awe the first time I went to Paris.

The women looked incredible.

And the funny thing is that I know that it’s cliche to talk about how Parisian (and other European) women dress.

That they’re this high standard when it comes to style.

But the truth is, their standard isn’t that hard to reach.

There isn’t some, complex formula for how they dress. And they’re not all wearing overly expensive designer outfits.

The truth is, they just dress intelligently.

They understand what they’re searching for before they hit the shops; they know the look they want. They know what works for their wardrobe, and they don’t buy something just because they took the time to go to the mall (I used to do that – I felt like I had to at LEAST buy something).

Also, I feel that an important truth to remember when learning to dress smart is that being stylish doesn’t have to sacrifice comfort. 

With just a bit of looking, you can find cute button-ups and dresses that you could lounge around in all day. Or a cute sweater that you could tuck into your jeans that’s so cozy that you forget that you’re not wearing sweats.

Also… it just feels incredible to ditch the good ol’ t-shirt and jeans for a pretty blouse and dress pants.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like my loungewear, but last year, I decided to create my own capsule wardrobe. It was something I had meant to do for a while since my husband and I travel full-time and I can only take so much with me. So it was important that the clothing I did take were chosen carefully and all worked together.

Now I will be writing a full post on my capsule wardrobe, but for now, I think I’ll just share a few tips that helped me easily and quickly learn how to dress like a European.

New on the Blog…

Tuck & Belt

There are 2 steps when it comes to leveling up an outfit easily, and both are important.

Tucking a cute top into your jeans is such a simple way to take your outfit up a few notches, but adding a belt makes it that much more stylish. And if it’s a bright color, then it adds a nice pop to the outfit. 

The belt kind of just makes you look like you know what you’re doing; that you’re a smart dresser.

Get a Nice Trench or Pea Coat

This is probably one of the most simple ways to up your outfit game.

All you need are some black tights or leggings (& a simple top) to go underneath, tie the coat up, do your hair and makeup and you’re all set. No complex layering, the coat is your main statement. 

I kid you not, I loved rocking the fashionable fall pea coat around the French countryside and Croatia; it was such an easy way to look stylish.

Also, it was one of the main things I noticed the Parisian women wearing that impressed me so much.

Make Sure that Almost Every Piece Works with the Others

This saved me SO much time.

I used to go to the mall, have no plan, and buy whatever caught my eye. Then I’d get home and realize that almost nothing I bought worked with my other pieces.

I went with my emotions instead of seeing what would really benefit my wardrobe.

But now, before I even go to the mall, I write down everything I hope to find for my capsule wardrobe. It’s important to me that each piece almost always worked with the others. 

By doing this, I end up having WAY more outfits in my closet because of all the pairings.

Also… because I became laser specific, I was able to keep my eyes open for specific items and tune out the noise of everything else around me. There was a clearance rack of pink blouses? Cool, I’m not going for anything pink. There’s a blouse with a random but cool pattern? Don’t care, not even gonna spend a moment on it because it will not work with anything else that I have.

The Basics Build on Basics

The basics are SO important. They’re the classics like the white blouse or black or beige dress pants. The simple flats or dark wash jeans. A black belt or a nice knit sweater. And while trends can be fun, a lot of the time, they’re the look that you cringe at when you see a photo of yourself from 5 years before.

Also, when you get a nice number of basic pieces in your wardrobe, you’re able to layer so easily.

So that cute sweater can go over your nice button up. Next, you can add a camel coat and a pretty scarf. Then you finish it off with some simple dress pants, dark jeans, or leggings, and flats. 

Neutrals Are Your Best Friend

It’s TOTALLY fine to have some fun colors, but I’ve found that having plenty of neutrals is always a good idea. 

So while I might have my cute red hoodie or a blue a white pinstriped blouse, I’ll also have black jeans or a grey skirt.

It’s also a great way to look smart but also easily add a pop of color without being over the top.

Look at How It Fits You

One of the most important things for an outfit is how it flatters your curves.

While draping tops and dresses can be nice, finding the right outfits that cut nicely to your body shape can go a long way.

For a while, I stayed away from shopping for new clothes because I had just that extra bit of weight. I wasn’t large, but I still wasn’t confident in how I looked. I would constantly tell myself that once I lost that weight, THEN I’d go shopping. 

But once I finally just did it, I was amazed at how I looked. 🙂

Ok, so I had that bit of extra weight, but these dress pants and the long-sleeved top looked so good on me!

actually felt like an adult and a stylish one too. Not just someone in their 20’s that fell back on the jeans and t-shirt all the time.

Invest in Some Good Ballet Flats

For years I would quickly buy a pair of simple ballet flats off the clearance rack or at a shop like Forever 21 which always has great deals.

But to be honest, they almost always fell apart or looked horrible pretty fast. Also… they killed my feet (and joints).

So back in 2018, I invested in some nice flats that were a bit more expensive, but they’ve lasted for around 2 years now and work with almost any outfit. Definitely worth the money! 

With just a bit of research, I found that it wasn’t so hard to learn how to dress. Also, just seeing how the women in Europe looked was such a good inspiration. And again, I’m not saying you have to be uncomfortable, but with just a bit of searching, you can find the right outfit that feels so nice and makes you look incredible. 

Fashion Leveling Up Your Look Style

Silas & Grace

Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

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