Welcome to my Style Made Easy series where we decode how to put together international looks from countries around the world. Today we start with France.
Every gal wants to crack the secret to French style. Seen as the epitome of understated chic, it’s been thoroughly documented in films and magazines.
If you drool over Pairs Fashion Week but doubt whether French style is attainable, you can officially relax.
Here are the key elements to Le Look from Fabulous After 40 stylist Morgan Mullin.
Le Look Classique
French fashion is best described as “classic with a twist” so embrace traditional silhouettes and fabrics. By owning iconic pieces like simple boot-cut jeans, a camel-colored trench coat, and so on your wardrobe will be timeless.
Keep an element of modernity and fun by choosing fun details- unique buttons on that never-going-to-wear-out blazer or a punchy printed scarf with a subdued cashmere sweater.
French women believe the adage of quality over quantity, and will gladly drop dollars on foundation items like blazers, jeans and so on. Make like a Parisian and invest in a few high-quality basics and rotate them. Think about it: do you really need five jackets that you feel so-so about when two fit-like-a-dream ones would do? Didn’t think so.
As you start to snap up higher-quality items, expect to sacrifice the number of clothes that you have. But I’m willing to bet you won’t miss those bargain-rack duds anyway!
That’s not to say that cheaper items do not have their place, however- cruise the sale section every now and again for trendier pieces that you know will be here now and gone next season. It’s a great way to add some color and interest to more basic pieces.
There is an inherent sense of femininity in French style, so feel free to have some fun with ladylike accents- think lace, lipstick, doctor’s bags, and scarves. Even a style as refined as this needs some room to experiment! Adding a dose of these types of items will keep an undercurrent of playfulness in a look that could otherwise verge on being too serious.
All Hail the Handbag
Consider your purse to be more than a simple carryall you schlep to work and back. To the French Fashionista it is the exclamation point to your outfit, so choose one with rich, unforgettable details- like laser-cut leather, pyramids studs or perfect contrast stitching.
Be warned, though, that to get the details that make a bag totally timeless and still statement-making means committing to it being the most expensive thing in your closet. But if you own a Saint Laurent tote do you ever want to carry anything else, anyway?
The love of sparkle is alive and well in France. But unlike our natural inclination to wear multiple pieces at once (that vie for attention), French style is all about choosing one piece to act as a statement and wearing smaller, dainty pieces with it.
Try selecting one remarkable item from your jewelry box and one to two small, delicate pieces to go with it- that’s it! A sense of restraint goes with everything, after all.
There you have it- all the style tips you need to fake it as a French fashionista. Now, if only getting the accent was as easy.