I endlessly admire that French girl sense of cool that try as I may, I fear that I can never capture. There is something elusive that every famous French woman possesses. My husband swears this is why Johnny Depp, Chris Cornell and Lenny Kravitz all live in France… I of course always make the case for the amazing cities, incredible food and on and on… he disagrees, he says it’s the women. Either way, I endlessly swoon when I see how effortless Emmanuelle Alt looks in a pair of white jeans, a denim shirt and a pair of pumps yet somehow on most women it would not look quite the same. Or what about how chic Carine Roitfeld looks with her unkempt hair and black eye liner? I could name a hundred examples Catherine Deneuve, Pier Angelie, Brigitte Bardot and on and on.
This fixation with cool is what draws me to brands like Isabel Marant and Cedric Charlier. Both featured on one of my favorite sites for ultra- cool clothing La Garconne. The best part is that whatever they stock even if it’s not French it’s always handpicked and curated to have the same je nas’ se quois.
So what are the keys to French dressing? Here are a few tips to help you bring out that inner French girl.
Style VS Trends
French women generally know what looks good on them. They tend to buy more timeless, neutral colors (ie:black, gray, tan, white, brown) and classic silhouettes (pencil skirts, straight pants, silk blouses, blazers etc) rather than going for a trendy item. And they look for well-made pieces in good quality fabrics. Trendy items are fewer and further between without spending a significant amount of money on them.
Rather than going for quantity, French women go for quality. And because they do buy a number of timeless pieces they are not afraid to build a designer wardrobe or spend more money on each piece. They understand that it’s a far more satisfying thing to have that YSL jacket for 10, 15, or 20 years rather than buy a cheap version that lasts only a season.
Mixing of High and Low
High and low dressing is something that American women have embraced over the last 10-15 years but French women have been singing the praises of the unexpected mix for quite some time. In fact if there is one thing you won’t see a stylish French women doing it is wearing a head to toe look from one designer. That is far too unimaginative and dull, but you will likely see a great jacket from one designer, pants from another and a basic blouse paired with a fabulous pair of high but manageable heels.
Confidence is their best accessory
Though it may sound cliché’ French women have a visible confidence that seems to be the secret ingredient to any look. Rarely will you see a French women wearing bright colors whether it’s makeup or clothing. Nor will you see a French women whose look screams “pay attention to me”. Makeup is always subtle and not treated like a mask to hide behind, and the clothing always fits the occasion.. so wearing yoga pants when you are not in yoga class just isn’t a common thing.