I want to start with this little disclaimer: I know many women who do not follow these pieces of advice at all and who are French women. However, I love getting into the stereotype of the “French style”, and I personally follow these little tips to look as French as possible, even though I look more like the idea I (and many others) have of France than like most French women in reality. In my eyes, dressing “The French Way” means looking wealthier, softer, simpler and more confident.
Today, I am sharing a short list with you and there are many other areas in which you can invest in order to bring more French élégance into your looks, but I think these ones are the easiest steps to follow and the ones that will bring the greatest results.
Choose the right fabric
This one might me the most important of all. If you want to look wealthier and more put together, you need to invest in high-quality pieces of clothing. I am not telling you to for crazy-expensive pieces, but to choose the best items. I personally would avoid anything that has to do with fast fashion: not only is it cheap, but it does look cheap as well and who wants to look cheap? Moreover, it does so much harm to people and nature all around the world and who would want to support such a disaster?
However, it does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on a coat. I personally go to a vintage boutique and I always find gorgeous pieces. Last summer, I found a Gérard Darel shirt for only twenty euros! If I can find a vintage boutique in my tiny little city located in the North of France, so can you.
My last tip when it comes to fabric would be to stop shopping with your eyes. Yes, it can seem a little counter-intuitive but I would highly recommend shopping with your… hands. Thus, you will be able to feel the fabric and you will see instantly if it is good quality or not, without knowing yet if it is appealing to the eyes. I personally love silk above anything else, but I also recommend satin, which is far less expensive but really beautiful as well. I own a wonderful purple satin dress which is actually softer than some of my silk shirts!
Invest in a high-quality coat
As you may know, I consider myself a minimalist. In my eyes, that doe snot mean I own only X or Y items, but it means I absolutely love and use/wear every item I own. I think being a minimalist is the best way to choose quality over quantity. This rule is really relevant when it comes to coats, especially if you live in colder areas.
The coat might be the most importance thing you wear as it is the only thing a lot of people see; you can have the most beautiful dress, if your coat does not suit you well, you will not look elegant. Your coat must be well-cut, elegant and sober. When it comes to the coat, I think you should invest a little bit more money, which absolutely does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars, once again. You can find gorgeous coats that cost less than 200 dollars, you simply need to look little harder but believe me, it is worth it.
This one totally depends on your personal style and applies only to people who share my personal tastes. I personally feel more elegant and confident when I wear a few nude colors, maybe because I am a minimalist and love my small wardrobe. I personally wear black, baby blue, baby pink and beige a lot. On the other hand, I own dark green, dark purple and red items. When you look at these colors, you understand very easily why I love them so much : they all look good together. This saves me so much time and energy Ladies! Moreover, I think the less colors we wear, the classier and most effortless we look.
I would personally recommend choosing three to five “nude” colors and either one “crazy” color (fuchsia for instance) or one to three “harder but still basic” colors (dark green or navy blue for instance). In oder to choose, you should try those different colors : the perfect colors for you should suit your natural skin tone, hair-color and eye-color. Then, it should also suit your undertones. There are a lot of explanation about in online but I can totally write a post about it if needed.
This one is, once again, very personal. You must be notified that in 2020, pearls are so out of fashion. However, I love them enormously and I think they give a chic vibe to absolutely every outfit. There is a saying that says women should wear their pearls during the day and their diamonds at night, but I personally love wearing pearls… all the time.
I think this is THE accessory that spices up any outfit. I personally love my little red silk scarf. When it comes to scarves again, I would recommend vintage boutiques as they usually sell satin and silk scarves for really little money… and these scarves have a history, which I find so comforting.
I personally wear scarves either loosely around my neck, like a shawl or tight with a little bow (see picture above). I also love wearing them on my bag or in my hair. Options are endless, and the best way to find the style that suits you best is to try them all.
This seems obvious, but I am myself guilty of not following that rule from time to time. My mom always told me not to wear my heels at a soccer game. I actually did not attend soccer games, but the idea was clear : “girl, dress according to the place you are going to”. That means that if you are invited to a cocktail, you can wear your heels, but that you should not wear them when you are attending a rugby game. When you know you will walk a lot, bring your flats with you etc. Those are intuitive rules but we sometimes tend to believe elegance to be all about heels and dresses but no. Elegance is about being dressed for the occasion, feeling at ease and never out of place.
THE rule: the shorter the dress, the smaller the heel
I can’t stress this one too much. In our modern world, showing skin has become the norm. I do not want to be too conservative and strict on this as I think done with taste, everything can look good, but I think that this trend of showing as much skin as possible can lead to terrible faux-pas.
Elegance is all about suggesting rather than showing and the best way to remain chic and not to dive into the vulgar is to follow this simple rule: if your dress is long, your heels can be high but if your dress is short, you should not wear more than 3cm. I think a very common misconception is to think that “heels are classy” but:
- All heels ARE NOT classy (we could discuss it later if you want)
- It all depends on the context, time of the day and outfit.
Here is why I think this rule should be learned by heart and never forgotten.
Hoping I have inspired you to dress more elegantly,
lots of love,