Photo Credit: Paris Chic Code
This Cali Native Has The Paris Chic Code On All Things Luxury & Fashion In The City Of Light
Bay area native Latrice Darlène, the creator of Paris Chic Code, has called Paris home for the past nine years. The 42-year-old lecturer relocated in 2014 to learn French as part of her international relations degree program.
“I’ve been a Francophile for as long as I can remember,” says Latrice. “In the fifth grade, I did a project on Marie Antoinette where we had to embody the character chosen. I dressed in one of my mother’s fabulous gowns and presented myself as the queen in front of my classmates. I even said the famous ‘let them eat cake’ line, which I later learned she didn’t even say.”
Fast forward to 2005. While working as a leather goods manager for Louis Vuitton, Latrice was sent to Paris for management training. She visited the childhood home and factory of Louis Vuitton as well as all the other tourist locations.
“My favorite place to visit was, of course, the Chateau de Versailles, home of Queen Marie Antoinette. I fell in love with Paris’ architecture, history, and fashion. It was during that trip that I decided that I would one day live in Paris.”
Now, having made that goal a reality, Latrice is sure she made the right decision. She appreciates the soft life the city has afforded her, and enjoys a quality of life much higher than she would have had if she had remained in the United States.
“I would have to work very hard for this life in the States. Interestingly, I don’t make nearly as much money here as I did in the States, but my quality of life is ten times better. At my age and for my goals, the tradeoff is definitely worth it.”
Latrice is the creator of Paris Chic Code, through which she provides women with the cheat codes for all things luxury and fashion in Paris. She shares information on the best time to come, chic places to go and things to do, and what to wear while visiting.
“I am a firm believer of women showing up the best they can wherever they go, so I encourage Paris Chic Code girlies to always show up and show out. Furthermore, when you look good you feel good.”
A lover of fashion, Latrice describes the Parisian style as classic effortless chic. To achieve this look, she often turns to her favorite brands: Hermès, Chanel, and Zara.
“Traditional. Neutrals. Those are the Paris Chic Codes. Nothing deemed too loud or ostentatious. Nothing too revealing or risqué. Paris is a fashion snob. Due to Paris’ history of being one of the fashion capitals of the world, I would argue that she is very conservative regarding how she’s been influenced. There’s very much an old guard/gate keeping vibe regarding fashion here.”
“You arrive here with your own chic code and you quickly adopt Paris’. For example, being from California, I’m a connoisseur of color. I adore pink and I look amazing in it. Here, I barely wear color. I just save my fabulous color pieces for the French Riviera.”
In addition to talks about Paris and fashion, Latrice and ‘the girls’ talk often about issues affecting women. She hosts a Teatime where they simply talk. The commentary is all anonymous, so everyone feels comfortable being vulnerable, and Latrice remains very transparent.
Through www.parischiccode.com, Latrice offers expat consulting to assist women with their move to Paris as well as trip planning services for France and Europe. Subscribers to the website receive a monthly newsletter with details of what’s happening in Paris in addition to Paris sale dates, which happen twice a year. Latrice also recently launched a luxury fashion procurement service via her new website www.inchargeofthegirls.com.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris and are seeking chic establishments offering the ultimate in luxury, Paris Chic Code has you covered. Some of Latrice’s favorites are The Peninsula for afternoon tea and The Plaza Athenee for a luxurious brunch.
“Dine at Le Voltaire for a classic French bistro and Treize au Jardin for a bohemian chic vibe. You may even catch Jane Birkin at Treize. The Chic Code for The Peninsula and Le Voltaire is effortless. For The Plaza, bring your A game because the ambiance is so luxurious you don’t want to look brand new.”
Though naturally, clothing items you pack for your trip will vary by the season, Latrice recommends bringing atthletic shoes to walk about the city year-round. Other things you’ll want to pack include a crossbody bag for day, an evening clutch for evenings, and kitten heels or stilettos for nights on the town.
“A silk neck scarf or shawl is definitely the Paris Chic Code. And don’t forget a blazer, a pair of jeans, and a little black dress. For the ultimate luxury experience outside of Paris, we all head to the South of France, especially during August. I absolutely adore St. Tropez and Cannes as well as Monte Carlo (technically Monaco but still on the French Riviera), Antibes, and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.”
If you’ve been thinking about moving to Paris, you’ll be happy to know that there is a large community of Black American expats living in the city who have come from all over the United States.
“From California to New York, Black girlies are ditching the United States for France in droves. We love to see it! Black expat Americans have the privilege of being regarded and treated as Americans in France. As a result, we don’t really have the same racial hang-ups that we experience in the States. We all know one another and support each other. The Black expat community is very entrepreneurial and it’s very inspiring to see our success. Expat living and running businesses simultaneously is not easy, but we certainly make it look like it is.”
For more on Paris Chic Code, check out www.parischiccode.com or @parischiccodeofficial on Instagram.
Related: The Black Expat: My Journey To Paris Was Unexpected