All French women are known for their chic and effortless style. Parisian beauties spend their days strolling the Champs-Élysées, sipping on espressos and sampling foie gras. What a lovely life eh?! While these are stereotypes of course, not all French women are polished goddesses, there are some things we can learn from studying Paris street style. Things we can apply to make our wardrobes a bit more timeless! The je ne sais quoi our way.
The allure of the French woman is in the simplicity of her dress. Many see their outfits as dull, grey and beige, but the appeal is in their details. A well-chosen handbag, the perfect pair of shoes, a carefully cut blazer – these style basics are not just for French woman, they are the very staples of a classic, ageless wardrobe. Don’t we all want that?
So what wardrobe friends can we count on to keep us chic through the years? These beauties are our true friends worth investing real money in, without skimping.
The Trench Coat
Choose your trench coat with loving care. Give priority to the material, not the name (although if I had the funds to do so, I would absolutely invest in a Burberry trench :)). Look for a true gabardine, wool that’s rough to the touch or leather (like in the Matrix!). Lucky for us, this is one of the few garments that looks better well-worn. As such, a good place to start your search for the perfect trench is your local vintage store – depending on the era they specialize in.
Yves Saint Laurent made the pea coat classic. However, much like the trench coat it only looks timeless if it is made of a thick woolen fabric as the originals were made of.
Boots are essential at any age and well suited for a variety of occasions. You can wear them casually or you can dress them up. A pair is necessary to stave off the cold, to breathe in the summer, and to wear to work on casual days. Having a few pairs of high quality boots in your wardrobe will keep you forever chic.
White Shirts…or Black
Go into your boyfriends closet and “borrow” his nicest black or white shirt – preferably the one without the front pocket and shoulder straps. Simple shirts in cotton are timeless and have the versatility to shift with moods. You can wear them long and belted with nothing else for a uber-sexy vibe, you can dress up a pair of jeans for a hint of sophistication, you can even modernize a severe pencil skirt for today’s work environment. In short, the white or black shirt can do just about everything!
V-Neck Cashmere Sweaters
These are absolutely essential. They can be worn fitted, or loose so they craftily fall off your shoulders. They even suit every body type and build. Fantastic! Be sure to always hand-wash your cashmere in tepid water using a mild shampoo. Tumble dry as gentle as possible until damp, and finish by laying the sweater out flat on a towel.
These are the brothers of jeans. Chinos are made of cotton and can be worn with our without pleats, broad, narrow, long, short, or rolled up at the cuff. According to the French, avoid wearing these pants with sweaters and sneakers – that is far too casual! Wear them with men’s shirts, or plaid shirts. Wear them with a fine silk blouse and statement jewelry. Wear them with a vest and a man’s jacket.
Short Leather Jackets
Choose a supple leather, soft and cut close to your body. These jackets are your second skin. They make you look tough, or uptown chic – so long as the fit is tailored. Don’t be afraid to even wear them with your most romantic dresses – they look amazing on everything!
So what can we take away from our look at Parisian street style? Everything in moderation, that is – not too much colour, pattern, or print for your wardrobe staples. Put faith in accessories – this is where you can have some fun! Cut is important, it’s all about how the garment flatters your figure. Dress to your own style, wear what makes you happy, and invest in the basics mentioned above. These articles have longevity so buy them in a quality fabric.
Now if only I could finish off this post by saying (and truly meaning!) I was leaving for Paris in the morning, I would be a happy girl! Sigh! Well keep dreaming lovelies and while you’re at it have some camembert for me. Should you be in need of some Paris of your own tonight, may I recommend the classic Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn. Remember, Paris is always a good idea!
Photos by Diego Zuko – Harpers Bazaar