Wednesday, March 15, 2017

That Effortless French Style

Paris street style is always chic.

Pearls and my 20-year old chenille jacket...
"A girl must be two things: classy and fabulous"
--Coco Chanel

Trends come and go, but there is something so enduringly cool about the fashion sense of French women.  Watch French films from the 1940s to present day and take notice of how French style choices are so timelessly nonchalant: a crisp white shirt partially tucked into a pair of faded jeans, black patent heels with a black mini skirt, a classic quilted handbag, tousled hair that makes a woman appear as if she just beautifully tumbled out of bed ... after passionately kissing goodbye someone who looks exactly like Jean Paul Belmondo circa 1966.

How do those French women make it all look so easy?


Scarf? Black top? Quilted bag? Check!
French style never seems forced, even when the femme is wearing something dramatic or even outrageous.  There is a unique kind of je ne sais quoi that French woman manage to pull off, an understated (but no less effective) panache.  It's confident.  It's seemingly effortless.  It merges comfort with style.

It's my favorite look to imitate.

When I want to give my outfit some quickie French flair, I always add a scarf.  I think scarves are extremely underrated in American fashion.  Sure, we pull out a muffler or infinity scarf when it's cold, but scarves can be so much more than just extra layers against a winter chill.  (Take a look at my growing Pinterest Board dedicated to scarves.  Swoon!)
My vintage Pucci and antique rhinestone pin. Mais oui!

Scarves are a great way to invest in designer prints, without needing to sell blood plasma or max out a credit card.  (Thrifter's tip: I have found several vintage designer scarves on Tradesy for next to nothing.  C'est magnifique!)

A great scarf transcends seasonal trends and adds an unmistakably feminine exclamation point to whatever you're wearing.  I love that.

Another classic French accessory is a strand (or several strands) of pearls.  I'll admit, I'm a little pearl-obsessed and pile on the many pearl necklaces I've collected over the years.  I know Coco Chanel said we're supposed to take off one accessory before leaving the house, not add one.  Sorry, but I just can't help myself with pearls.  The more the better.

You can certainly find affordable faux pearls almost everywhere, but I suggest investing in the real deal.  Buying genuine pearls doesn't have to be a wallet-busting endeavor.  While regular retail jewelry and department store prices are often cost prohibitive, I've found the most amazing pearl deals at HSN, Evine and JTV.  Amazon also has some beautiful choices.

I have never regretted a real gemstone purchase.  As part of my slow fashion mindset, I'm determined to avoid trendy buys and only add wardrobe and jewelry items that will last.  Junky statement necklaces are fun, but pearls are forever.

So, mes amis, how do you incorporate French style into your fashion choices?  Whether you're Bardot sexy or Deneuve sophisticated, you'll do no wrong with these basic style pieces:




For all my fellow fashion book nerds out there, I really loved reading Lessons from Madame Chic, by Jennifer L. Scott:



I also had a chance to see a few pages of the upcoming Parisian Chic Lookbook, coming this April. I can't wait to dive into this book!  Jump on that preorder list, madames et mademoiselles.  This is a stunning volume filled with enough French #outfitoftheday inspiration to last a lifetime:




For even more French fun, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are takes French style way past wardrobe and into the realm of life philosophy:



If you love French style as much as I do, take a look at my post on the life of Sonia Rykiel.

Be sure and take a look at the great Paris street style video at the top of this post.  Below, check out more candid Paris street video for tips on how to wear a scarf like a French woman.  Tres jolie!

How to wear a scarf like a French woman.

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Video by the amazingly cool ILoveParis.