How do the French do it? How do they manage to look effortlessly chic with the minimum of effort, maintaining the appearance of having thrown together an outfit at the last minute, because they were too busy discussing philosophy at the local café to think about something so mundane as clothes?
The secret to successful French dressing isn’t that complicated – it actually boils down to keeping things simple, understated, and having a few high quality pieces in your wardrobe.
French women tend only to wear sportswear in the gym, although trainers, and especially Converse, are making an appearance on French feet. Heels are as understated as the rest of the outfit, and stilettoes are out – no tottering about on unfeasibly unstable footwear for the French, thanks.
Frenchwomen manage to look effortlessly feminine, and one of the ways they do it is by wearing traditionally masculine clothes, and giving them a twist. The trench coat is a classic look, one that is perfect for formal occasions or draped over a pair of jeans. Women have been wearing men’s tuxedo jackets since Yves Saint Laurent launched ‘le smoking’ back in the 60s. Similarly, a pair of skinny Levis coupled with a Breton shirt is a perfect rock chic(k) look for the weekend.
Understatement is often key – no loud colours and large, flashy logos – that’s for the Italians. Colours are black, white, grey, beige, perhaps a splash of a primary colour such as a red handbag, for effect. When you’re working with a neutral palette, it’s easier not to clash.
Hair is another essential – it shouldn’t be excessively coiffed, but have a slightly tousled, ‘I recently got out of bed and don’t care’ look – similarly, eyeshadow should be understated, and slightly smudged for maximum effect.
The fit is all – French women, never, ever, pour themselves into something a size too small in the hope that it’ll make it them look slimmer. They know that always has the opposite effect. Instead, dress slightly looser, working layers against each other, and get on good terms with a tailor, who’s a girl’s best friend in contouring clothes for your body.
French women don’t try to follow fashion – instead they want to look as if they inspire fashion. Choose a signature style that suits your look and your lifestyle, and go for it.
Ultimately, dressing like the French is about having confidence in your own style, not caring (or appearing to care) about what other people think, and rocking your own individual look. You should try it – it’ll make you look great, and feel great.