My trip to Paris about three years ago was a lifetime experience. I have always wanted to see the City of Lights for myself, and when I finally got there, my head kind of exploded. While walking up and down the Champs Elysées, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing living in Ottawa. I love you Ottawa, truly, I do, but the Seine! The Louvre! Chanel!! Falling in love with Paris hard, I reveled in the beautiful French architecture, world-class museums, the food (my GOD) and the style absolutely bowled me over. I was in love.
What really stood out to me was the fashion, which is no surprise as French fashion is literally tops. Each woman was stylish – effortlessly so. At the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why these girls looked so great. After mulling it over, I now know why. Other than the style being innate, French women seemed to “not really care too much” about dressing in the sort of fashion that North Americans do. They looked chic without trying too hard, and they certainly didn’t strike me as the sort who agonize over putting outfits together for hours on end.
WHAT I’M WEARING
Simple blazers that are beautifully cut, perfectly fitting jeans, sexy high heels in classic colours, great handbags, simple jewelry and hair that is always perfectly “bed head”. They had mastered it!! There was nary a nylon fanny pack, cheap visor or all-white New Balances anywhere to be seen, other than in roving groups of tourists.
After that trip, I vowed to take a little more care while shopping, opting for pieces that would stand the test of time and shunning overly trendy pieces unless they were really, really good.
While walking through Nordstrom, I spotted a mannequin sporting a jaunty little look topped off by a borderline ridiculous beret. I loved the beret instantly. It was furry black angora with a shock of bright red fox fur. Not one to care too much about how ridiculous I can be in public, I quickly climbed the large box for which the mannequin was perched, grabbed her head and yanked off the beret…all under the watchful eye of a portly mall cop. I smiled sweetly at him as he finished his apple fritter and he gave me a nod. I took that as a sign that I wouldn’t be promptly arrested. Within minutes, the beret was mine.
This beret is a “love it or hate it” piece. Exactly 50% of my girlfriends love it, while exactly 50% of my girlfriends think it’s ridiculous. Whatever. It makes me happy. On its inaugural wearing, I paired it with a mostly all black outfit that is a favourite. The bright red fur makes the outfit, I think. While technically, this little beret may not be a French girl’s cup of tea, it most certainly is mine and this is exactly how I would rock a “classic” beret.
For those of you who would like some tips on how to look like a stylin’ French girl, keep on reading.
How To Get French Girl Style
The French Girl Style is all about the well-curated capsule closet (watch my “How To Build A Capsule Closet” video here). Built from great basics, they pepper their high-quality wardrobes with fun trends and pops of colour. Part of their capsule wardrobe includes a great staple: the perfect coat. Be it a classic trench, navy blazer, and leather moto jacket, they always make sure it fits beautifully and is effortless.
Understated, Beautiful Accessories
Part of the effortless French look includes jewelry and accessories that do not scream…but instead “whisper”. Delicate gold chains, a good gold watch (Mmmm…Cartier), and a classic bag from storied brands such as Chanel and Céline define this look. Don’t forget chic scarves and classic sunglasses.
While heading to dinner in Paris during our trip, I spotted the chicest girl. She wore a dark blazer, white blouse, cropped jeans (cropped jeans weren’t even a thing in N. America yet) and sky-high black Loubs – So Kates, I believe. Her blonde hair looked like she just had a glorious romp in the sack (very “Caroline de Maigret”), and she wore a shock of red lipstick. She looked so great that I just stared slack-jawed, and then hid my potato sack-clad self behind a trash can. Sigh.
The Loubs really stuck with me. She didn’t care about the cobblestone streets, or the fact that her So Kates were a staggering, plantar fasciitis-causing 100mm high. She looked great. Those shoes with the red soles made the outfit.
Other effortless shoe looks I saw all over Paris? Classic Gucci Jordaan loafers in black or brown, Chanel ballet flats, Chanel cap-toe slingbacks, kitten heels, Common Projects Sneaks, you name it. As long as they looked great, yet stood the test of time, French girls sported them.
No matter what French girls are wearing, it fits properly. The tailoring of jackets, pants, shirts, skirts…everything is on point. That’s why they look so effortless, because they are comfortable in their clothing. No pulling or fidgeting, just easy, effortless styling!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and can apply them to your own wardrobe if you’re looking to shake things up a little!