« Can I really master French style? » If you are wondering this, I can firmly tell you “oui”. “How?” with a few simple tips and, most importantly, by finding your je ne sais quoi. Many women admire – even envy – French women for our relaxed attitude and effortless chic style. It’s a mix of arrogance-confidence that says to the world “who cares?! I Love my style, la vie est belle”.
Nonetheless, if you really want to solve the mystery of French style, you must always keep one thing in mind: Live. Your. Life. To. The. Fullest. Embrace what makes you ‘you’. Once you understand this, you’re already half way to creating your own effortless sense of style.
Now that you know the secret, here are a few basics to help you to enhance your ‘je ne sais quoi’ and French up your style:
1- For French women, it’s not about fashion… it’s about style: your style!
First we must distinguish between these two word: fashion and style.
Fashion is like a tyrant; it speaks to you through magazines, television and celebrities who tell you constantly what to wear (please pardon my French passion). However fashion doesn’t last (between 1 and 3 years).
On the other hand, style is what makes you unique; it’s an extension of your personality. You can show your style through an accessory, a colour, a hair cut, or even a fabric but it lasts forever.
French women refuse to follow tyrannic rules. We do not like to show brands, after all we are not marketing products but we do prefer to perfect our own style. Coco Chanel put it perfectly in 3 words “elegance is refusal”.
We use fashion as a tool with the purpose to find inspiration and express ourselves with French style.
Embrace. Your. Uniqueness.
2- Be a rebel: mix but do not match
Be a stylish rebel or should I say a revolutionary woman. Remember it’s not about the brand.
You can have the most expensive labels from the most talented designers if you do not know how to put them together, you won’t have great style. It is important to mix things up: for example try a pair of trousers with different tops, different jewellery, play the working girl and turn an office outfit into a dinner ensemble by simply changing your top or accessories.
French style is an experience that you can have alone or with the help of a style consultant in and with your wardrobe. Have fun with your clothes.
However keep in mind the key to success: do not match. It’s about effortless coordination – even if it does take quite a lot of effort behind the scenes. For example, avoid wearing everything in the same colour or the same pattern. It’s all about finding the right balance.
3- Less is more
This age-old proverb is as relevant in achieving French style as it is in everyday life.
You may imagine the perfect French wardrobe as over-flowing with clothes and accessories but let me tell you: it is not the case. French women prioritise quality over quantity. We are very picky when choosing our clothes. We avoid to buy impulsively and think in a deep way what we need to buy.
That being said, we also have some “coup de coeur” (that moment when we know we simply must have it!) but generally, we try to focus on classics and basics that are timeless.
« Less is more” also applies to the way you dress. For example: you are wearing a beautiful décolleté, no need to show your legs, you want to wear your big earrings, no need to add a necklace. Same rule also applies for your makeup: choose to focus on your eyes or your lips but please not both.
4- Master the Art of wearing colour
Colour is a key styling tool for French women and it’s important to understand different tones of blue, grey, black, beige and mix colours in a subtle way.
In Paris women prefer to wear neutral colours but in the South of France, women tend to be bolder with their choices.
However no matter the region they’re from French women follow the same rule: do not wear more than 3 colours at a time. You definitely do not want to look like a “sapin de Noël” (Christmas tree)!
If you aren’t sure about wearing coloured clothing, try adding a pop of colour with an accessory or shoe: show the world that you are a confident woman!
5- It’s all about Attitude… Own your femininity
I often hear that French people look arrogant. And I often question myself: is it arrogance of confidence? Well, of course it depends on people but I do believe when you feel good and uninhibited, it shows. It can be sometimes confusing for people who haven’t (maybe yet) followed this philosophy of life.
The femme française are not conformist and we embrace our femininity.
For us, femininity has nothing to do with high heels, décolletés, long legs or perfect nail; it goes deeper. We accept our real nature and in doing so, convey a nonchalant attitude that says to the world “je me respecte et je m’assume” (I respect myself and I know who I am).
Once you embrace this attitude, you can wear flat shoes, black pants, just a cashmere knit and whatever you want, and you will feel as feminine and glamorous as you would when you wear a skirt and heels.