How to dress like a Parisian Man
Architect and fashion shaper Romain Costa has the same approach to getting dressed as to designing a building: it’s all about the proportions, colours and materials.
The French are experts at much more than eating baguettes and wearing berets. When it comes to fashion, they all seem to be masterminds at effortless style – and it’s not just the women who have the trait. French guys – with slim jeans, crisp shirts and polished shoes – can be just as devoted. Although it’s inspiring to imagine all the effortlessness being created in a trice, things are rarely what they seem.
Romain Costa is a shoe-obsessed (he has 300 pairs) blogger and architect who always takes proportions, materials and colours into consideration when getting dressed. We caught up with him during Paris menswear fashion week, and asked him to style his four favourite looks from H&M’s spring collections.
WHO IS YOUR STYLE ICON?
“Serge Gainsbourg! He has the French ‘I don’t really care’ attitude. It’s funny to see that today he would stay totally fashionable with his denim shirts, white Zizi’s from Repetto and his torn jeans.”
WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE?
“Fitted and adjusted, always with a blue detail and a crazy piece. In fashion as in life, we must keep in mind not to take ourselves seriously. In my H&M looks one of my favourite pieces is the amazing faux fur coat!”
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE ON EARTH?
“There is not really a place that I prefer, there are only people I like to be with on Earth. It's super cliché but it's true. Even in the most uninteresting city in the world, if I am with my friends, my family or my boyfriend, it becomes a place that I like automatically.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
“A dish cooked by my Sicilian grandmother – pasta with “polpettes”. It’s meatballs with parmesan and a bunch of other ingredients that she keeps secret. When she makes them she has to hide them before the meal, because otherwise my cousins and I will eat them right away. Unfortunately for her, we know most of her hiding places...”
WHAT DID YOU LOOK LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
“My look was quite classic back then, but I liked to have very edgy pieces that weren’t very fashionable at the time. In secondary school I often wore a military jacket, and in high school a big hat, a pair of skinny jeans and varnished Derby shoes. Today, everyone would find it normal, but I remember getting a lot of criticism then.”
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO LOOK?
“A pair of jeans, a pair of black round-toed Derby shoes, a turtleneck sweater and a long coat. It adapts to almost all situations in daily life.”
WHY IS FASHION IMPORTANT?
“Fashion is a good way to show who we are. Although the French saying tells us ‘the outfit does not make the monk’, we must admit that our clothes often reflect our personalities. When I get dressed, I think in the same way as for an architectural project: I think of proportions, colours, and materials. Fashion allows us to let our personality speak.”
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN HISTORY, WHAT FASHION ERA WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?
“Pre-history, because we were all naked! No, more seriously, I think I wouldn’t go very far back, but to the early ’90s. I'm a huge fan of what my parents wore then – all the geometric prints and the high-waist trousers. I loved how my mother used to dress me when I was a kid. It is certainly her who gave me the love of fashion.”
WHAT ITEM WOULD YOU NEVER PART FROM?
“I have a pair of Levi's 501s that I have had for years. A week ago, I accidentally stained them and I'm afraid they will be unrecoverable.”
WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY FASHION PLEASURE?
“I have fifty coats and three hundred pairs of shoes. I think ‘little guilty pleasure’ is an understatement!”
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET?
“I would love to meet Peter Zumthor, a Swiss architect who creates all his projects in a phenomenological way. It's amazing to walk around in a building he has designed. Today architects tend to try to impress, to feed their egos. Zumthor seems to be detaching himself from this, his work proves it. As a young architect, I think it must be a very rewarding encounter.”
WHAT DO YOU NEED RIGHT NOW?
“I'm currently in Spain, it's 10 PM and I'm so hungry. I need tapas!”
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BEAUTY DISCOVERY?
“I use a lot of beauty products! An anti-pollution gel, a hydrating cream and an eye contour for the face, but I recently discovered awesome masks that work in 10 minutes. The best!”