It’s no secret that many women admire French style.
But, just what is the secret to dressing like a stylish French woman? The likes of Audrey Tatou, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Vanessa Paradis always look so effortlessly stylish!
Well, while there is clearly a certain je ne se quoi to their style, there’s no mystery.
If you break down the closets of stylish Frenchwomen you admire, you can see there are a few general rules that they follow…
1. Don’t worry about trends
Paris may be one of the fashion capitals of the world, but that doesn’t mean French women are obsessed with the latest trends. That’s why you won’t find quite so many fast fashion stores in the City of Love.
But, you will find lots of designer outlets where you can pick up last season’s clothing. French women are more concerned about their own style than following seasonal trends.
2. Invest in classic pieces
While it may be a cliché to think about a French woman in a Breton top or a trench coat, clichés are clichés for a reason, and that’s generally because they work!
Nothing looks more effortless than a striped top, worn with skinny jeans and ballet pumps and topped with a trench.
3. Keep it neutral
Obviously, I’m generalizing here! But, French women tend to prefer neutral palettes rather than brights.
They look sexy and stylish in a muted, subtle way. Look at navy, black, white, taupe and gray.
If you do want to add a pop of color, you can do so with your accessories, such as a stylish red handbag. You may enjoy this article on how to complete your outfits with accessories.
Not only are neutrals nonchalantly stylish season after season, they also happen to be bang on trend for Fall 2018. The likes of Philosphy di Lorenzo Serafini, Alberta Feretti and Louis Vuitton all featured layered neutrals in their runway shows.
4. Buy a comfy pair of flats
Coco Chanel once said that a “woman with good shoes is never ugly”. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer for fashion. French women love to invest in one or two really good pairs of flats which they wear time and time again.
Think ballet pumps, brogues and loafers. There’s no need to totter around in four-inch stilettos!
5. Dress to feel good
While it’s hard not to take the opinions of others into account when you dress, French women tend to dress for themselves rather than anyone else. That’s probably why they always look so effortless. It’s because they feel comfortable.
6. Less is more
Another famous quote from Coco Chanel is about accessories. She advised removing the last accessory you put on.
French style is really about less is more, and keeping accessories low key, yet quality. However, if you love lots of accessories, then don’t change your style.
The French way of dressing is all about finding what works for you. 40+ style club style mentor Ruth often dresses in a very Parisian way, but she loves her accessories. Read Ruth’s style interview here.
7. Keep your hair undone
French style is not about perfectly coiffed ‘dos, but rather leaves the hair a little undone.
You may find a stylish French woman wearing a long gown on the red carpet, but her hair will be deliberately left au natural. According to celebrity hairdresser David Mallet, French women will put their hair up in a bun, create texture, use dry shampoo and volume powder, and only wash their hair around once every five days, so their color lasts longer.
8. Let menswear inspire you
Is there anything more nonchalantly elegant than a French woman wearing a menswear-inspired tux as evening wear rather than a slinky evening dress?
Think about pantsuits for evening events, or add a menswear-inspired double-breasted blazer to your daytime wardrobe and wear over jeans.
9. Fit is everything!
For French women, fit is everything. They would rather have fewer pieces which fit perfectly rather than an overflowing wardrobe, and they’re on first-name terms with their tailor.
10. Buy a Chanel-style jacket
If in doubt, think about what your favorite French icon would wear, or indeed what Coco Chanel herself would have chosen. You don’t need to have a Chanel budget, but you can look out for Chanel-esque jackets which look great worn over jeans with flat pumps and slim jeans.
River Island jacket – Anthropologie tweed blazer – Anthropologie stripe jacket – Anthropologue fringed jacket –
Do you admire French style? What elements do you already have in your closet?
Author bio: Liz Hands is a fashion journalist and stylist from the UK who has styled fashion shoots for newspapers, magazines and high-end clients including 5* hotels and BMW. She’s now happiest either blogging about style, or donning her favorite Barbour jacket and Brogini boots.
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