There is a chic simplicity about a French woman’s style that is hard to resist. Where American women tend to be after the latest and greatest, a French woman isn’t after the newest shade of lipstick, or the handbag Du jour, but rather acquiring the perfect mix of classic designer pieces, reliable basics and eccentric flea market finds to make a look uniquely her own. This attitude and approach can be exceptionally useful when it comes to defining and developing your style without adding a bunch of fashion fluff that doesn’t suit you, let alone wear. Here are a few tips to help you navigate fashion with the French flair needed to take a look from sacre bleu to trèsmagnifique!
Head to Toe Non-Non: Have you ever noticed how fresh a French woman can look wearing practically nothing but the basics? This may come as a surprise, especially considering the City of Light is birthplace to fashion powerhouses like Chanel, Hermes, Christian Dior, and Christian Louboutin just to name a few, but it almost makes sense. When surrounded by the cream de la cream a French woman can take time in training her palette to appreciate only the necessities of luxury, while sidestepping the fads and trends that will come and go quickly. She is concerned with what will last- not what is new.
Unkempt Cool: French women care about what they look like, but have a way of looking perfectly undone. There is a certain element about their style that is carefree, because they understand fashion should be fun and true beauty comes from within. Time is not spent perfecting what most needs improvement, but rather invested in fine tuning their greatest assets.
Simple Sirens: From Catherine Denevue to Ines De La Fressange, French women exude effortless glamour. This effortlessness can often be credited to the fact that these women initially take the time to define their style and rarely deviate from it. Establishing a uniform eliminates the complications that come with the desire for ‘on-trend’ impulse purchases. It is about finding the perfect blazer and having it tailored to fit your perfectly for seasons to come, not the perfect blazer for every season.
Less is More: While defining your style is absolutely crucial, there are a few essentials you will find in most every French woman’s closet. White shirts, and vintage jeans that have a second skin feel are a must. Shoes are either the simplest of ballet flat (Lanvin) or scrape the skies boasting 5”+ heels (Louboutin). Handbags are Chanel. Jewels are from the family, or unique costume pieces discovered in off the beaten path boutiques. Furs are vintage (inherited from your Mother, if so lucky). The remainders of a French woman’s wardrobe are basic silhouettes from less expensive stores such as H&M, Zara, and Urban Outfitters.
Classics with a Twist: A great way to insert your own style into these fashion fundamentals is to seek out variations of the classics. A Chanel 2.5 handbag is known throughout the world as a Classic that will stand the test of time. So, instead of purchasing the bag in it’s basic black caviar opt for a punch of Citron or a Cobalt Blue. Ballet flats are also a great place to express yourself and have some fun. Even my basic black ballet flats have a cap toe covered in spikes.
The joie de vivre of French fashion doesn’t have to stop at your appearance. In her book Parisian Chic, Ines de la Fressange considers Parisians style as ‘an attitude, a state of mind.’ That being said a French woman exudes effortless glamour in everything from the way she decorates her home to the way she addresses her guests at a dinner party. By keeping her tastes simple and classic it becomes easy not to get caught up in a flurry of details. She is passionate about life and remembers that life is too short to be a slave to fashion, très bien! Make sure to follow along in my journey of defining signature style on http://chicanddisheveled.com, you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @chicdisheveled.