On this side of the Atlantic, we have an almost obsessive fascination with being French. From eating to etiquette, the grass is apparently greener in the land of baguettes and berets. But one thing captures our attention like no other: French Style. In our minds, life could only be better if we possessed the je ne sais quoi of a Parisienne and were able to emulate the nonchalant uniform of famous French fashion doyennes Emanuelle Alt, Clemence Poesy, and Carine Roitfeld. Well, I’m here to help. Although I am convinced that there’s something stylish in the water over there and no amount of striped shirts will make someone mistake you for a true French girl, there are a few things that you can do to make your style a little more Francaise and less Americaine. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Forget the Trends
Trends come and go and odds are, you won’t see many Parisiennes sporting them at all. Which isn’t to say they live in a bubble of classic, timeless style. Looking good is important, but looking trendy isn’t. Rather than pick up Rottweiler-embellished sweatshirts and the season’s It-bag, fashionable French gals are on the hunt for subtle ways to update their silhouette to be current, but long-lasting. Transitioning from skinnies to wide leg pants are absolutely on-trend, but also essentially classic and timeless. This oxblood purse by Deux Lux I’m holding is classic, but has a bit of edge with the spikes. The color is on trend, but won’t be passé in upcoming seasons.
2. Invest in the Best
When it comes to buying clothes, it’s all about finding things that’ll last and spending your money on things that won’t seem passé in a matter of months. This doesn’t mean buying the most expensive thing you can find, but it does mean knowing how to distinguish between good and bad quality and investing wisely. Splurge on high-end clothing that’ll make a statement. You’ll cherish them more and I guarantee you’ll be reaching for them for seasons to come.
3. Come a Little Undone
Your perfectly coiffed hair, Youtube perfected makeup, and perfectly proportioned outfit scream American like a blinking neon sign. Our culture aims for perfection in all aspects of our life, but there’s nothing less French than not having a hair out of place. One of the easiest steps to achieving the true Parisienne style is to let go a bit. Don’t wear a full face of makeup (if any at all), forget straightening your hair, and let your cuffs be a little off-kilter. The secret to perfect French style is to be, well, a little less perfect.
4. Adopt an Air of Mystery
In America, we don’t always keep secrets very well. We’re loud, boisterous, and don’t have any problems showing a little (or a lot) of our bodies. But if French style is your aim, covering it up is the name of the game. I don’t advocate personality changes, so stay as loud as you please, but leaving a little to the imagination when it comes to clothing is very chic and very much French fashion. Pick one piece to highlight, then cover the rest up. But ensure that what you’re showing isn’t vulgar or obvious. If you’re top heavy, keep the girls under wraps and perhaps put the focus on your collarbones or shoulders. Got legs for days? A longer skirt in a fitted silhouette is more elegant than a body-baring mini. Keep your best assets a secret and you’ll find yourself more stylish than ever.
5. Borrow From the Boys
The most stylish French women all have one thing in common: they have no problem borrowing from the boys. From men’s shirts to boyish brogues, there’s usually always something a little masculine in French fashion. While we’re all for girly ruffles and bows, keeping a balance and being comfortable in your ability to be a little less feminine, is absolutely stylish and chic. My shirt from Equipment translates a men’s shirt into something a bit more feminine, by using silk and a flowy silhouette.
6. When in Doubt, Add a French Bulldog
The best accessory to a Parisian-inspired outfit? A french bulldog. They’re amazing, if slightly flatulent, dogs and the best companions. Your outfit need a little oomph? Add a Frenchie! Clearly, I jest. I just wanted to pimp out my dog.