I am a true Francophile. When visiting, I trawl the flea markets in the wee hours of the morning and indulge in dreamy gastronomic dinners at night. Whatever the activity, one thing is clear: French women are never slobs.
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French women exude a style and confidence that stems from a commitment to always looking one’s best. It’s not about designer clothes. It’s not about glitziness. And, it is definitely not about showcasing the flash-in-the-pan trends. To French women, style is a matter of keeping things simple but never disheveled.
A French woman would never, even to walk her dog at 11 p.m., leave the house in sweatpants. Quelle horreur! Taking pride in one’s appearance is the eleventh commandment in the City of Light. So, what’s the secret? Having a small but mighty collection of streamlined classics that can be mixed and matched with one au courant accessory.
French women like to flatter their figures (even if they are not stick thin), so fit and proportion are critical. To wit, a black A line dress is paired with patent leather ballet flats and a gold cuff. For casual moments, combine a pair of dark denim jeans with a black and white striped boat neck top, espadrilles and oversized hoop earrings.
Good shoes and bags are de rigueur. You will see many structured totes, a classic shape that will work for almost every outfit. French women love their scarves. Why? Quite simply, this silky, lightweight accessory is the ultimate layering piece, an accent piece which adds polish to every ensemble imaginable.
First impressions are everything. When meeting someone in France for the first time, you will get the once over, eyes lingering below your ankles. You have heard the mantra "shoes make the man?" Well, in France, shoes make the woman also. Unless she is headed to la gym, you will never see a woman in sneakers. Shoes are stylish (flats are acceptable: ballet flats, espadrilles and leather loafers) and fastidiously maintained with frequent shines. It’s a Gallic thing.
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Need some visuals? Do a Google search of some of the Franco-fab muses for inspiration: Jane Birkin, Clemence Poesy, Carla Bruni, Lou Doillon, Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tatou, Vanessa Paradis, Ines de la Fressange and, of course, Coco Chanel.
Read more: Lessons from fashion muses >>
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