To be honest, I used to roll my eyes at articles about mastering French girl style. I mean, we’re not French, so why try to be? (Okay, Bien is French, but I can only claim 25% and I don’t have much to show for the Français classes that I took all the way through college). However, over the past couple years, since trying to simplify my wardrobe a bit, I’ve come to appreciate the basic tenants of nailing down that elusive French girl style.
FINDING THE ULTIMATE FRENCH GIRL STYLE
French girl style is all about that certain je ne sais quoi. An unspoken cool factor that’s effortless and rehearsed all at the same time. It’s a capsule wardrobe without the restrictions. Creating a reliable and consistent uniform that works day after day, never failing to impress.
While I’ll get into my style tips in just a second, the foundation of French girl chic is minimal makeup and low maintenance hair. There’s an emphasis on keeping your skin dewy and hydrated with luxurious products like those from the French brand Caudalie or pharmacie favorites. Air-dry your hair, do a bold brown or a rosy cheek, some mascara, a sheer gloss and you’re good to go.
one: KEEP IT SIMPLE WITH CLASSIC SILHOUETTES
The first tenant of French girl style is to keep it simple by investing in classic silhouettes that will never go out of style. Skip the siren call of one-season fast fashion and instead pick up a versatile, tailored pair of denim or a slim sweater that you’ll wear again and again for a variety of occasions.
You can never go wrong with a well-fitted black cashmere turtleneck tucked into structured jeans. A teddy jacket might be cute, but you’ll look far chicer and get far more wear out of a wool wrap coat. Splurge on a single-breasted navy blazer and you’ll never find yourself without something to wear whether you’re headed to a job interview or a Saturday brunch. Ballet flats and stack-heeled booties are all you need to get through most seasons.
two: MIX TIMELESS NEUTRALS
I love color. Always have, always will. But, I realize that one of the keys to achieving French girl style is sticking to timeless neutrals. When you have the classic silhouettes mentioned above in mix and match neutrals, you’ll never run out of combinations to wear. Don’t be afraid of navy and black – it’s so very French. White, taupe, gray, they all look endlessly chic no matter how you pair them.
three: MERGE FEMININE AND MASCULINE
One of the things you’ll always notice about the French is that while the women are flirtatiously feminine, they don’t think twice about mixing in more masculine pieces into their wardrobe. They skip the feminine ladies who lunch blazer for a menswear style. Stiletto boots are bypassed for a more practical sleek bootie. It’s all about embracing your femininity while merging it with the tailored practicality of a more masculine style.
four: LESS IS MORE WITH ACCESSORIES
You’ve likely heard the old Chanel adage to get completely dressed, then remove one item before heading out the door. It’s essential to French girl style and it still rings true. You’ll never see a French girl overdone with accessories. Instead, she’ll have one standout scarf or an amazing pair of earrings. Never both at once. So, seriously, get dressed, then look in the mirror and take off one accessory. It’s all about exercising restraint in order to achieve that effortless look.
five: ADD ONE QUIRKY ELEMENT
I like to think of French girl style as always incorporating something a bit unexpected or quirky. In this outfit, it’s this wonderfully practical Eastland Charlie Boot that was so necessary on a cold winter day, but added a bit of tough masculinity to an otherwise sleek outfit. Maybe it’s a casual t-shirt with a pair of slacks and blazer or a designer purse with a dressed down Saturday morning look.
When it comes to French girl style, you always want to keep them guessing.