Turning French on you - Part II - Wardrobe basics

July 16, 2012


Question: how does one spot a French tourist/expat? (And there are many in the DC area, if anyone's interested in practising.)
Possible answers:
1) The Hollister/Abercrombie shopping bags and Starbucks mugs. 
2) Zi accent (which is only #2 on my list of #adorable things after Persian kittens)
3) Their effortless chic style and radiant appearance (for most!). 

Although the correct answer would be a nonexistent 4) All of the above (and this is why I should never work at preparing tests for the College Board ...), for the second installment of my series on French style, I will be talking to you about some of the basic pieces every fashionable French woman has in her wardrobe, and how to emulate the impression of beauty and elegance they give. 

Without any further ado, let's get to the list!
- A pea coat. Preferably black, double-breasted, and in a classic cut. If I should add a fifth option to the question above, that would be it, as the black pea coat is the unofficial uniform of French girls. Nevertheless, it is one of the items you do not want to snob despite its large popularity.
- A scarf. French girls LOVE their scarves, from the small silk carré to the large, chunky hand-knitted variety. And since Anglomania is quite a French characteristic these days, the famous Alexander McQueen skull scarf seems ideal However, you can opt for a more colourful design or a vintage silk scarf.
A tote bag. In leather, preferably, and in dark brown or black. It is no secret that women carry practically everything in their purses and France is no exception to the rule, especially in big cities where people drive less and walk or use public transport more. I'm in love with this Hermès design, which I guess will be a treat to myself for my very first big professional accomplishment.
- Skinny jeans. Let me start this with a disclaimer that although I DO NOT encourage anorexia, this isn't the official blog of Teletubbies Land, so I am free to say that I find slim, fit women more attractive than full-sized figures. And after that, you do whatever you want with your body and your health. But back to the subject of French fashion: French women are slim, and skinnier than the average American. How they accomplish this is subject to speculation (Lots of walking? Dukan diet? Smoking too much? Eating less junk?...), but the point remains that they are often seen in skinny jeans. I personally find them to be greatly motivating to eat better and to exercise more to still fit in them. Selection criteria? Something that fits like a second skin, in a dark wash preferably. 
- Ballet flats. Preferably black (again!) and very simple, in a natural material (leather, etc). Repetto is the classic brand that all French fashionistas swear by. Well, they walk a lot, bless them, so they can't constantly wear high heels. 

*Brief interruption to our program. What do you mean, all of this is too expensive? Well, do forgive me, my dears, but while making today's collage, I am in quite an expensive mood (Even if I can't exactly afford  what I am featuring... Yet. Yeah, this redhead's bound to reach the stars.) But well, I'll leave it to you to find less expensive yet still high-quality alternatives. WHAT? It wouldn't nearly be as much fun if I did all the work for you! Not to mention, linking's a pain in the arse. 
And now, we return to our program.*

- A top with an androgynous touch. Androgynous has been around since the sixties, but the fun part is to insert little details (like the tie on the Sonia Rykiel top featured above) while keeping the rest feminine.
- A flirty top. Featuring nearly-transparent organza and a delicate cut. Ideal for a date night or just because you want to feel feminine and sexy; et voilà!
- The classic cardigan. The Agnes-b like cardigan is a wardrobe staple. I recommend having a few in black, gray, white and one or two colours that flatter your skin tone and hair colour.
- Sexy bra and panties. Although I've covered the lingerie aspect in the previous French Style article, I couldn't resist but feature this charming ensemble by Fifi Chachnil, an amazing French lingerie designer that - gasp - I prefer to the cliché Agent Provocateur. Not that I mind AP, but I prefer Fifi.
- Opaque tights. Remember, French girl, hot body? Les Françaises love to highlight their long legs by wearing short skirts, tunics or shorts. As this can be borderline inappropriate for some situations (or maybe it's too cold, or maybe you're too lazy to shave your legs), black opaque tights are an essential.
- A chic party dress. Now this has nothing to do with the stuff you find in the formal section at Macy's. No trashy cocktail dress is allowed. The rule is the following: simple, elegant and tasteful. 
- The perfect high heels. I've got nothing more to add, this Givenchy pair says it all.



Here's a few pointers to summarize French style:
- Invest in quality pieces. And take good care of them.
- Be parsimonious with colours, logos, sequins and other flashy embellishments.
- Find the delicate balance between minimalistic, feminine and grungy.



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9 comments:

GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle said...

Lovely items. I especially like that chic pea coat.
Beauty, Fashion and Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

Miss Margaret Cruzemark said...

Oh my God…This is so so cool. Your blog totally rocks!!!
Best Regards
Miss Margaret Cruzemark
http://margaretcruzemark.blogspot.com/

Beauty Follower said...

Great clothes selection... Repetto are my favorite ballerinas!

Beauty Follower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosalinda Tjioe said...

Cute pieces! x

http://rosalindatj.blogspot.com

Confessions of A Confused City Girl said...

Cute picks!

~Sherine
Stop by and say HI!

Confessions Of A City Girl

Fash Boulevard said...

I want everything. Fabulous post, love! If you get a sec, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my latest. xo

www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

Amy Garrou said...

This explains a lot! Thanks :) I need things spelled out for me all the time.

Mark Roudy said...

Lovely theme to turn around french for this season. Champion activewear is a smart choice in this sense.
http://www.apparelnbags.com/champion/index.htm

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