The Secrets of French Style
Now that Paris Fashion Week has become a distant memory and the new autumn/winter season is well and truly underway, we turn our attention to the stylish people strolling confidently down the chic French boulevards and wonder to ourselves: what is their secret?
Why are French women considered the most fashionable in the world?
Less is More
In the words of Coco Chanel, "whenever you leave the house, you should look in the mirror and remove one item from your ensemble". That is to say, over-accessorising for the French is absolutely hors de question. One statement piece will suffice; for many french women, this is the simple yet elegant scarf. A must-have accessory, you will never look more French than when you are casually flipping a scarf over your shoulder as you saunter into the boulangerie.
In addition to minimising your adornments, less is also more when it comes to showing skin. Doing so in unexpected ways, for example a bare back or shoulders, leaves much more to the imagination and is the key to an alluring yet sophisticated look, without being overly sexy.
A French woman is never one to simply follow short-term trends. Nevertheless, she will always remain up-to-date and at the forefront of fashion. How? It's all about mixing timeless classics with super trendy, current pieces. For example, a chic LBD or some well-cut blue jeans will never get old and can be paired with almost anything.
Mixing the timeless and the trendy together with fearlessly mixing patterns, textures and colours, is what makes French fashion so innovative and original. However, be wary of appearing over the top – mixing can be a catastrophe if it is not done right.
Quality over Quantity
This is vital when it comes to the "timeless classics". These are your go-to items, they're supposed to last you for years. For this reason, French women invest a lot of money in their wardrobe of staple garments, allowing them to wear the same clothes from week to week and still create hundreds of unique outfits by subtly alternating the accessories and matching with shorter-term pieces.
Attention to detail is equally important. For instance, a simple, well-made black blazer will make anything smart... one with creases or a button missing will completely spoil your look and would be an absolute no-go for the French. Their motto: focus on the finer details. That way, you will be perfectly turned out and your ensemble will seem effortless.
The unquestionable confidence in the way French women carry themselves is paramount to their "best-dressed" reputation. They dress for themselves, aiming to wear what feels good, which comes across. Inès de la Fressange, member of the International Best Dressed List since 1998, reveals: "they mainly buy things to feel nice rather than to show off". That is to say, whether it be from Monoprix or Chanel, being comfortable and confident in what you are wearing will allow you to pull off the most daring of outfits.
Finally, we come to deepest, darkest secret of all. Arguably, the biggest misconception about French style is that it is effortless. We seem to believe that the women of France have an inherent fashion sense which the rest of the world will simply never acquire. In reality, it is quite the contrary. Being the best-dressed women in the world does not come easily. En réalité, French girls spend hours in front of the mirror, rifling through their wardrobes, trying on different combinations until they have decided what to wear and, most importantly, made it look natural.
Et voilà, the four secrets to that French je ne sais quoi!