Finally, a post about my style and minimalist fashion. I am, after all, a total fashionista. I adore fashion. Looking well put together without much effort is what I’m all about. Even though reserved at heart, I prefer subtle instead of gaudy and loud. Jumping around shouting “Look over here! Look at me” is not me. Classic, simple and sophisticated but with an edge is. I do have a rebellious side but not enough to wear leopard in public (or anywhere for that matter). My style, is in fact, quite ‘French’.
What is it about French women and their simple, effortless style that keeps us enthralled?
It’s classy yet cool. Effortless yet refined. It’s simple and minimalist.
French women just have that “something.” That one little thing that makes them ooze grace and simplicity.
And yet, they’re badass too.
You look at them and wonder, can I pull that off? What’s their secret?
It’s taken me a long time to figure out my style through trials and errors. I’ve racked up debt for wardrobe changes only to confirm, now nearing my 40’s, that simple and timeless wins over trendy seasonal fashion. I’ve always had simple and classy pieces in my wardrobe but the mistake I made was falling for what was trending and regretting it very shortly afterwards.
In the words of DVF,
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.”
That statement lies at the core of who I am. I knew I always wanted to be an Audrey. And it holds so much more than what’s in your closet. It’s about how you carry yourself, your confidence, and your values. I believe a small part of your confidence comes from what you wear. I value how I dress and how I present myself. It’s me sending a message to the world portraying I’m a woman who cares, and I’m confident.
Let’s take a look at how you can embrace the fundamentals of French style so you too can look your best, spend your money wisely and limit the time wasted on shopping so you can get on with real life and everything that matters most to you.
- MINIMALIST ENSEMBLES RULE. ALWAYS.
You know it – the classic white button down paired with skinny jeans and sneakers– that’s the French woman’s simple effortless ensemble. They stick with a neutral colour palette and simple styles that flatter. They choose subtle over shocking.
Shocking can be fun, but it’s best reserved for your 20’s when you can get away with it. When you get to your 40’s, subtle allows your grace to effortlessly shine through. People see the woman instead of the outfit.
- EFFORT? NO! CHIC AND EFFORTLESS IS THE WAY TO GO.
“Make it look easy. Everything you do should seem effortless and graceful.” ~ Caroline de Maigret
By finding what works for you and wearing it regularly, you’ll develop your style blueprint and uniforms. They’ll become your go-to clothing which will make choosing an outfit each day easy. You’ll feel confident in your outfit choice because it looks great and feels great. We all want to feel radiant and glowing each day without having to put in too much effort.
- FAST FASHION AND FLY-BY-NIGHT TRENDS ARE ALL A NO.
No logos, no sweatpants, no yoga pants outside the studio. Need I say more?
“Jeans with bling, embroidery and holes are for your teenage daughter. The same goes for skimpy tops. “You’re not fifteen anymore.” ~ Caroline de Maigret
Sure, we all have our moments where we just feel like being frumpy. I get it I do it! But being a walking billboard and looking frumpy is nowhere to be found in any French woman’s style book.
- COMFORT IS KEY. BUT MAKE IT LOOK GOOD.
“I know what fits me and what makes me look good. I find myself buying the same thing over and over, but I don’t mind — these are my classics, they always work, they always make me happy.” ~ Garance Dore
- CURATE SLOWLY AND INVEST IN QUALITY.
A French woman takes her time curating a wardrobe that flatters her. She doesn’t fall victim to trends or buys because something is on sale. If it happens to be on sale, all the better. The French woman also invests in a few quality items.
- NO HIDING! EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE.
“Style is a fascinating way to tune in to who we are, understand who we are not, be creative, and express our inner selves.” ~ Garance Dore
French women say no to anything that doesn’t flatter. Knowing your body type and what colours work best on you goes a long way to feeling comfortable, confident and loving what’s in your closet.
Take the time to know and understand what flatters you best and stick with those styles.
- MIX HIGH AND LOW.
French women layer a mix of high and low pieces and accesssories. It’s what makes an outfit interesting. You won’t see a French woman wearing all Louis Vuitton, they’ll mix it up with some H&M or Zara. It takes your look to a whole new level. Mixing high street with designer can be fun and creative.
- THE SIGNATURE ITEM.
“You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.” ~ Caroline de Maigret
- FEWER BUT BETTER.
Clutter is stressful and too many choices in your closet overwhelms your brain. Have you ever had a morning where nothing seemed to work? You try on top after top and nothing seems to feel right or match your pants? Frustrating, right?
A closet with fewer but better quality items simplifies decisions. And you’ll love the ease of getting dressed knowing you have comfortable clothes that flatter you. I still haven’t got round to doing that… was in deep discussion about it though with a close friend… I suspect I’m getting there.
- THE PARISIENNE WEARS VERY LITTLE JEWELLeRY.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve always worn very little jewellery. I’ve never liked a lot of jewelry or really big shout in your face statement pieces. To me, it screams, “I’m trying too hard.” Or, my fave statement, “look at me, look what I can do.”
The idea here is the smarter the outfit, the less jewellery you need. Fine chains, simple earrings.
Gaudy and over the top baubles are not my deal. Simplicity is the way to go with accessories. Each piece should have meaning, tell a story, or have some sentiment behind it.
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE.
French women think long and hard before buying something. It’s all about how something fits into their existing wardrobe and goes with the vibe of their overall look. Each piece has to have a function to creating an overall look.
For more style secrets from my two fave and best dressed 43-year-old French women, Garance Dore and Caroline de Maigret, check out:
AND A FEW OF MY OWN STYLE RULES…
Clothing boosts what is already within.
Frumpy is bad. Hence no sweatpants or marching around in yoga pants 24/7. Even though I’m a mum there’s no excuses (I tell myself that all the time) Best to march around in jeans and a white tee!
No fast fashion here.
Natural fabrics as much as possible. Cashmere, I love you. If you could only afford to buy one sweater, make it cashmere.
Just a smidge of menswear. Menswear is a staple for most Frenchwomen. Myself, however, I prefer to keep it to a minimum. That white shirt for instance!
Electric patterns, camo, and leopard print are for your 20’s and 30’s. Enough said here. I avoid any crazy leopard, zebra, camo or other eye popping patterns.
Accessories? What accessories? French women keep it simple – think silk scarves, oversized sunglasses and delicate jewelry. Ok, they also love the classics but they too are not flashy and showy and over the toppy.
Invest in great lingerie. Trust me on this one. Wire free bras fit so well, you barely notice them. (for smaller boobs)
A few simple high quality pieces is all one needs. My style philosophy is buy the highest quality you can afford and buy fewer items.