Next time you are in France, leave your mini skirts, dazzling dresses and uncomfortably tight, overly sexy clothes at home. France is all about comfort and chic basics. A French woman is disciplined from youth to establish a collection of simple, classic, well cut wardrobe items that result in timeless elegance and unmistakable style. Remember: less is always more. Therefore, when the weather gets a bit better a French woman usually does not head to the nearest clothing shop to get the “ultra-fashionable” item… but rather re-purposes her old stylish pieces so she can look fresh, modern and spring-ish (almost) effortlessly. So let’s have a look at our wardrobes, let’s roll the sleeves and let’s find those 6 items that many of us already have:
1. Long Booties
In France, style starts from comfort. “If you are not comfortable walking, what else can we even talk about?”, Sophie, my friend from Paris used to say. And she’s completely right – I’ve noticed that her (and her mothers) attic were full of beautiful, simple and comfortable shoes. No overly-high heels and no dazzling-flashy pieces either, only simple, elegant and comfortable shoes. “I buy expensive shoes and only the ones that I absolutely adore. If I spend over a hundred euros for my shoes, they’d rather be flawless”, Sophie says, “and I love knee-length booties. They are perfect with skinny jeans and perfect with my re-purposed grandmothers dress. That’s all I need”.
So if you are on the hunt for the perfect spring shoes, look no further than knee-length booties. Long booties are basically a year-round footwear: they are simple, comfortable and are perfect for nearly any style. They are perfect for the rainy spring. Perfect for the sunny spring. Perfect for the moody weather when you’re not sure whether it’ll be warm or still kind of cold-ish. Following an advice from Sophie I got my first (and probably the most expensive so far) shoes from Wills. It’s been a few days since I’ve received my Will’s brown ankle boots and have completely fallen in love with them: they are simple, chic and very easy to style. French girls love knee-length booties and they’ve definitely made me fall in love with them, too.
2. Oversized Sweater
“You know, Vicky… I am really, really lazy…”, Sophie laughs, when I ask her how many sweaters she’s got. “I don’t have many, but I love oversized sweaters. And because I am lazy, I use them inside and outside. It’s a great way to save money and not buy a spring jacket”, she keeps smiling. Oh well, that French levity, gotta love it. While Sophie’s showing me her (only) white and soft oversized sweater, she explains that French girls like earthy colors: white, gray, camel, ivory and black. Focus on patterns without too many embellishments.
In France, it’s all about simplicity and comfort – so opt an oversized sweater for warmth and coziness. An oversized sweater is easy to style: it looks good with jeans, with black straight-cut office pants, with a long dress and event with a short summer dress if you paired it together with black tights. It’s just a perfect choice for the chill weather once the weather gets a bit warmer but you don’t feel like wearing a jacket as you go outside.
3. Trench Coat
I guess it’s quite obvious that French women have made the trench coat into their BFF. For years, style editors and critics have pointed out that French women have elevated the trench coat to its never-ending chic status. Trench coat has become iconic among French women. “Trench coat is quite an investment, but once you have it, you cannot live without it. And again, it all comes to laziness – once you have a trench coat you don’t need to buy all sorts of fashionable jackets and coats. All you need to have is a nice leather jacket, an oversized sweater and a trench coat and you’re good to go”.
All you need to have is a nice leather jacket, an oversized sweater and a trench coat and you’re good to go.
4. Neutral Palette
When it comes to colour, French women prefer versatile neutral tones. Nude, ivory, champagne and camel are essential hues French woman’s wardrobe can’t do without. There are many perks of having an all-neutral wardrobe: everything matches, you look elegant and you end up having a stylish, luxury style. “I’d rather spend 50 euros buying one nice classical ivory dress than 5 trendy dresses from H&M”, Sophie says. She explains that having a color-scant closed has made her getting dressed in the morning quicker and she doesn’t spent too much time thinking what to wear.
Choose rather plain items (no patterns!) in neutral tones and the shapes of modern classic that are easy to mix and match.
5. Elegant Accessories
For the great majority of French woman style does not lie in an interesting color or a fashionable design, but rather in simple, neutral clothes and a few well-chosen accessories. It can be anything from simple studs to chic and elegant scarves and bags. Simple nude or black flats with a little bow, a gray silk scarf with dots, brown rough-shaped sunglasses or a little red cross-body bag and here you go, you’ve got that little something to your style.
As you go through your wardrobe, make sure to keep elegant accessories that go together with nearly anything. “When I look at the item and I imagine it pairing well with almost anything in my wardrobe, I know I can keep it. If I imagine it only looking good with one set, I know I should get rid of it”, Sophie says.
6. Red Lip
Is there anything more French than a red lipstick? Probably not. Red lipstick is the country’s unofficial motto. The classic “French girl look” is simple: tousled hair, bright eyes, relaxed, well-toned face and red lip. Even better to that, red lipstick is probably something we all can find in our and our mother’s toilet bag. “Add a but of rouge, red lipstick and put your smile on. Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, you will look fabulous, I swear”, Sophie promises and I’m left with the thought that perhaps even I, an Easterner who considers myself very un-French, have a hope to look a bit more chic.