French Girl Fashion

Hello again,

Happy Friday! The weekend has come around once again which means it’s time for another rambling-about-clothes session…

I have always admired the French when it comes to fashion. They seem to give the word a whole new meaning – and that’s not surprising, given that Paris is the fashion capital of our crazy little world.

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It’s sometimes hard to dictate what is deemed ‘French’ style, sometimes you just know when you see it. There’s a certain flair and aesthetic that Parisian fashionistas possess. I’ve dedicated much of my free time to admiring their stylings and the way they do things. One things for sure – the French seem to do it best, whatever it is that they are doing. A few of my favourites are Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, Francoise Hardy, Vanessa Paradis along with her half-French daughter Lily-Rose Depp, etc.

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Here are a few pointers that I’ve picked up during these admiration sessions when attempting to recreate the look of a cool Parisian girl strolling around the backstreets of France…


Berets

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This is as about as obvious as me saying go and fetch a French baguette… but a beret is a timeless accessory within the French fashion world. They can be worn in the chilliness of winter right through to the sweltering heat of summer (I wouldn’t possibly recommend it, but it can be done.)

There is a stereotype revolved around berets – some deem them only fit for film directors, artists, ‘hipsters’, and so on. But I definitely don’t think there are any particular rules for wearing them. Plus, they’re unisex, which makes them even more spectacular.

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The middle of the 20th century witnessed berets explode into trend, and I don’t think that we will ever fully simmer down from such an explosion…


Stripes

Another obvious French trend, people immediately think of France when you see stripes. Ever dressed up as a mime for Halloween? You opt for stripes, of course…

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Also known as the ‘Breton’ stripe, I found the backstory of how the French got their well-known fashion trademark in the first place so interesting;, it was initially seen in the French navy uniform in the early 1900s. The design was chosen to differentiate the sailors from the waves when at sea so they could be seen easily had they fallen overboard.

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French fashion icon and legend Coco Chanel visited the coast and became inspired by the uniform. So inspired, in fact, that she proceeded to include the stripes in her 1917 ‘nautical line’. A real change and potentially controversial risk due to the stark contrast of the then-fashionable corseted dress, she pulled it off wonderfully, giving women a new trend to appreciate and style to their desire… what a badass.

From then on, stripes have been a wardrobe essential for the French, and those who want to imitate the wonderful stylings of them…

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Minimalism

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The beauty of the French is that they always look so effortless. This is achieved by never going too OTT and keeping their colour schemes fairly neutral, with the exception of an occasional red lip, of course.

A vintage blue denim combined with a classic white shirt or blouse is a traditional look seen in the French style. Jane Birkin adopts her own unique flair with this by combining it with her trademark basket bag. Teamed up with a black blazer or boyfriend coat, you have ‘casual chic’ or the happy medium ‘smart casual’ look sorted.

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Although born in England but based in France, she remains one of my French-style icons…


Some other pointers…

So there are a few of the obvious ones, here are some extra tips for achieving that perfect Parisian look…

  • Bed hair. All of the bed hair. One of my favourite tips – if you roll out of bed and someone makes a snide comment about your bedhead, just say you’re opting for the French girl look. Done and dusted.
  • Crochet. Crochet is also a staple look for the French, combine it with some subtly frayed vintage jeans and you’re good to go.
  • Only wear heels you can walk in. The French are known for their flats and are very, very rarely seen in stilettos – but if you’re itching to wear those heels, it’s best to opt for a block style.
  • The more wicker the better – be like Birkin and introduce a little basket bag into your life… you’ll never look back.
  • Trench coats – the perfect ingredient to sophisticating any outfit. A smart, classic trench coat will save you in your times of need when maybe you’ve taken the scruffy look a bit too overboard…

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My take…

Here I attempted to celebrate the adored world of the French. I took some pieces from my own wardrobe and tried to take them for a little French spin…


The Striped Turtleneck

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Here I combined one of my favourite jumpers with some cigarette trousers to create a smart-casual nautical ensemble. I love the expansion of the stripes as they reach the wrist, when I found this beauty in a charity shop I instantly thought of one word – French.

I also followed one of the pointers I mentioned above and added my favourite vintage block heel into the mix. Heels you can walk in. Not that I’d personally opt for sky scraper heels anyway, but still…

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I completed this look with the inspiration of Birkin by opting for a wicker-style black clutch bag. Some say that navy and black shouldn’t be worn together, but I disagree. There is a quote that I once read somewhere that’s one of my all time favourites, and it’s something along the lines of, ‘French girls dress for themselves’ and I think that’s a rule that everyone should follow.

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The more wicker the better…

Jumper – M&S | Trousers – New Look | Heels – Vintage | Bag – Vintage | Necklace – Zara Taylor


The Casual Approach

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Another nautical inspired piece, I threw on this little cardigan as it gave me Coco Chanel vibes. I kept the tones neutral here, as well as the accessories down to a minimum, as fashionistas dictate that the French never go too overboard with the hardware…

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Completed with a subtle frill on the neckline of my jumper for my own individualistic touch, as well as another Birkin-inspired bag, this is my approach for a casual day-to-day French styling…

Cardigan – Vintage | Jumper – Next | Jeans – Topshop | Loafers – Topshop | Necklace – Zara Taylor | Bag – Vintage


So that’s a wrap…

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings of how much I love the French and their incredible ways with fashion. Until next time…

Merci | Lucy Violet x

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