I, like so many others, have always been inspired by the idea of the french woman. She’s stylish and beautiful without much effort. She eats what she wants (butter, pastries, and cheese included). She drinks wine everyday and she stays slim and fresh. She makes no apologies for living a life of decadence and yet she glows with good health. The allure of the french woman has spawned hundreds of books and articles and it doesn’t seem to be fading away. And for good reason! After all, don’t we all want to wake up with glowing skin and perfectly mussed up hair, maintain our health and still indulge in everything good life has to offer? Unfortunately, as someone who has never lived in France, I don’t have the secrets to mastering this paradox. I do, however, have a pretty decent grip on french style (if I do say so myself) and in this blog post, I’m focusing entirely on the main principles of it. From the must-have spring accessories to the beauty essentials that will give you that oh-so-alluring je ne said quoi, here are my tips and picks that encapsulate French style.
A C C E S S O R I E S
The french approach to fashion is all about the classically elegant capsule wardrobe that is punctuated by luxe extras. Tie a silk scarf around your neck and slip into a beautifully crafted pair of velvet loafers and watch your neutral cashmere sweater and cigarette pants ensemble go from zero to a hundred, just like that. When it comes to accessories (and everything really), buy fewer pieces but make them count. Sure, that designer bag may seem like a ridiculous amount of money now, but if it’s taken care of, it will last and look beautiful from season to season, year after year. Like a fine wine, a Chanel 2.55 flap bag only gets better with time.
1 // Barneys New York – Small Straw Tote Bag
2 // Tiffany & Co. – Sterling Silver Elsa Peretti Bean Necklace
3 // Nine West – Huff Women’s Smoking Slipper
4 // Polo Ralph Lauren – Callie Raffia Smoking Mule
5 // The Cambridge Satchel Company – Cloud Shoulder Bag
6 // The Met – Monet Sunflowers Bangle
7 // Mulberry – Square Silk Scarf
O U T E R W E A R
When it comes to your coats and jackets, look for timeless silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. Once you’ve got a flattering style in mind, keep your eyes peeled for eclectic details and unexpected colours to breathe new life into basics. The mainstays of your spring/summer outerwear arsenal? A lightweight linen trench, a buttery soft cashmere cardigan, a waist-cinching leather jacket and a weekend-casual denim jacket.
1 // Vero Moda – Cool Trench Jacket in Pink
2 // Iro Luiga – Cropped Leather Jacket
3 // (Pre-Owned) Chanel – Striped Knit Cardigan
4 // Rebecca Taylor – La Vie Floral Embroidered Jacket
T O P S
The essence of french-girl chic is looking like you rolled out of bed in a striped Chanel boat neck and Dries Van Noten trousers, swiped on some lipstick and finger combed your hair before strutting outside with all of the confidence in the world. It’s effortless yet stunning. It’s put-together but not too polished. So how does one achieve this tricky balance when shirt-shopping? Look for well-made tops in beautiful, natural fabrics. Subtly sexy, unexpected details are oh-so-French as well. A deep, cleavage-baring v-neck? Non. But a plunging back in your linen sweater or an off the shoulder ruffled cotton tee? Oui. P.S. never underestimate the versatility of a silk t-shirt. It will take you from day to night with ease.
1 // H&M – Ruffled Open-Shoulder Blouse
2 // WtR – Sonnet Belted Silk Wrap Top in Emerald
3 // River Island – Petite Pink Striped Crop Shirt
4 // Chicwish – Focus On Lace-Up Back Sweater
5 // Patrizia Pepe – Silk Blouse in Fuchsia
6 // Mango – Floral Embroidered Striped Shirt
7 // Banana Republic – Cropped Ponte Shell
8 // Galvan London – V Neck Camisole in Black
B O T T O M S
Creating a well-rounded, french-inspired capsule wardrobe definitely requires a few essential pieces. For example, a perfectly worn-in pair of blue jeans for casual-wear is a must – I mean, how many of us live in denim? Also, a pair of dressier trousers that you can wear to work or to a fancier event. Don’t limit yourself to plain black – a classic print like stripes or houndstooth is a little more interesting but still goes with everything. Finally, make sure to have a collection of skirts that can take you from work to play. A lace or silk number is a sexy choice for a night out, while a fluttery knee-length piece can take you anywhere, from a wedding shower to a Sunday brunch. Like with everything else, never skimp on quality and pick pieces that are unique but not trendy – for example, a wide-legged pair of high-waisted blue jeans is ultra-modern but also timelessly flattering.
1 // Dries Van Noten – Velvet Culottes in Mint
2 // Weekday – Ace Wow Blue Jeans
3 // Daily Look – Lily Lace Trim High Waist Shorts
4 // River Island – Beige Paperbag Button Front Pencil Skirt
5 // J. Crew – Okinawa Striped Wide-Leg Silk-Twill Wrap Pants
6 // TOPSHOP – Heart Ruffle Toe Mini Skirt
B E A U T Y
French women are renowned for their simple yet extremely effective approach to beauty that centres far more around skin and hair care than makeup. Forget contouring or gluing on false lashes. French beauty is all about embracing your uniqueness and enhancing your natural beauty, while also taking excellent care of your complexion. Invest in top-shelf skincare and hair care items and stick to your regime everyday. Treat yourself to a bit of pampering as well – a monthly or bi-monthly facial and massage will keep your skin glowing, while also allowing you to gain professional insight on how to keep your face looking it’s best. Also, never forget to wear a bit of perfume. Find a scent you love and wear it until people associate it with you. Finally, go easy with the makeup. A bit of red lipstick and a smudge of eyeliner is all you need to make your beauty look really pop.
1 // Yves Saint Laurent – Rouge Pur Couture The Mat
2 // Byredo – Velvet Haze Eau De Parfum
3 // French Girl – Lumière Huile Pour Le Corps in Moonlight
4 // Avène – XeraCalm A. D Cleansing Oil
5 // Bobbi Brown- Long-Wear Liquid Liner in Carbon Black
6 // Peter Thomas Roth – 24K Gold Pure Luxury Hair Mask Treatment
I hope you enjoyed this post! What does french-style mean to you? Let me know your thoughts!