Paris is arguably the fashion capital of the world, but it also offers countless opportunities for us mere mortals to get in on a piece of the action. We here in the city of lights have been spending hours selflessly shopping for you in order to round up a list of the very best shopping, from shoes to sundresses, right down to your unmentionables.
Colette, 213 Rue St. Honoré 75001
Colette is kind of like if a department store and a high-end concept boutique had a beautiful baby. Considered the mecca of all things Parisian and cool, Colette is frequented by celebrities, designers, photographers and tourists alike (last time I was there, I bumped into a very pregnant Kim Kardashian). Each week the store entertains events and sells items based on a certain theme – collaborations with Disney, Keith Haring and Babar have all been recent additions to the store’s carefully curated stock. The main floor sells novelty items based on the week’s theme, along with vinyl records, iPhone cases, coffee table books and the odd bicycle or two. Upstairs is where the more permanent collections are based, from Alaïa dresses to Givenchy minaudieres. The bottom floor contains a café where shoppers can relax with a cappuccino after a hard day’s shop.
Maje, 3 Rue Soufflot 75005
Maje is consistently a destination for the fashion-forward Parisienne. Its wares include everything from upgraded basics in scrumptious silk and leather, to mini party frocks with sheer paneling and champagne-colored sequin blazers. There are many Maje locations around Paris, but the store on Rue Soufflot is particularly interesting. Located in an old Pharmacie Hospitalière right next to the Luxembourg Gardens, it’s also larger than most Maje boutiques so you can get the most bang for your…euro.
Fifi Chachnil, 231 Rue St. Honoré, 75001
Located in a courtyard off of the Rue St. Honoré, Fifi Chachnil is a secret treasure trove of vintage-style lingerie and clothing. Its inventory is limited to balconnet bras and high-waisted skivvies, along with some garters, cropped cashmere sweaters and wiggle dresses to give you the full Bettie Page treatment. The store is decorated like the boudoir of a ’40s film star, replete with pink velvet curtains, a snow-white vanity and ruffles pretty much everywhere. All in all, Fifi Chachnil is a secret hideaway where you’ll come away with treats that are both naughty and nice.
The Broken Arm, 20 Rue Perrée, 75003
Known as the current best concept store in Paris, The Broken Arm is a café and eclectic boutique where all the coolest bloggers and persons-about-town can be found, located in the heart of the Marais. Decorated minimally with white and wood elements, the owners let their clothes take the spotlight. You can find the best new neon woven nylon Nikes there, as well as eccentric coffee table boutiques by Nick Knight and Richard Avedon. The main brands selling at the moment are Kenzo, Carven and Ostwald Helgasson. In the café, you can chow down on chorizo-filled baguette sandwiches, perfectly crafted lattes and blueberry cheesecake. Who says fashion people don’t eat?
COS, 62 Rue de Passy, 75016
The best Swedish export since Ikea, the COS store on Rue de Passy is the ultimate in minimal yet statement-making basics. COS appeals to an Audrey Hepburn sensibility with a futuristic twist, and their prices won’t break your budget, either. The French have adopted the brand with open arms, because every chic Parisian knows the power of a well-cut coat, asymmetric woven sweater and ankle length trousers. They also sell jewelry that resembles nuts and bolts, buttery over-sized leather clutches and linen scarves in neon painterly prints. If you’re a purist at heart, you can’t go wrong with their soft-as-clouds basic t-shirt (in every color, bien sûr).