#1: The basics are important
One reason French girls always look so timeless and put-together is because they invest heavily in basics. Once the foundation of your wardrobe is built with these basic pieces, it is infinitely easier to mix and match different items to create classic looks. A non-exhaustive list of such items include: a plain white tee, a pair of flattering jeans, the little black dress, a black or brown handbag, a pair of shades in a neutral colour, a versatile coat, a pair of black pumps, a pair of comfortable ballet flats…and the list goes on. Just remember to think twice when buying trendy pieces that will go out of style by the next season, and always turn to the basics, as they never fail.
#2: Mind the colours
This second tip is very much tied to the first. Parisian style is defined by how classic it is, and this extends not just to the individual pieces, but the colours too. You’ll be hard-pressed to find chic French women donning garish shades like neon pink or bright orange; instead, more often than not, neutral tones like black, white, navy, grey and camel reign supreme. These colours will never go out of style, so stick to them the next time you’re shopping, especially if you’re buying heavy-duty pieces like a coat or an expensive handbag. This will ensure that these items will last long in your closet.
#3: Balance, balance, balance
Another distinctive trait of the Parisian style is that it is never too much of anything. It is never too girly, never too mannish, never too over-the-top and never too lazy. It is entirely effortless, and one way to achieve that is to know how to strike a balance. If you’re wearing a flowy, floral dress, perhaps contrast it with a tailored blazer, or, if you’re donning a more masculine pantsuit, pair it with killer stilettos. To avoid looking too put-together (and thus not effortless), try mussing up your hair, do a natural no-makeup makeup look or simply do a nonchalant half-tuck for your shirt.
#4: Less is more
This mantra might be overused, but it certainly rings true when it comes to French fashion. Continuing with the effortless rule of Parisian style, try not to look too ‘overdone’ by remembering that simplicity is best. This involves not just sticking to basic pieces (hence tip #1), but also in how you style yourself. If you’re wearing a more elaborate top, perhaps choose a simpler and more straightforward bottom, and vice versa. Letting just one piece stand out each time will help you avoid looking overwhelmed.
#5: Take note of accessories
The previous tip relates directly to this one. Ines de la Fressange, the quintessential poster girl for Parisian style, has famously said that you should never wear a pair of earrings and a necklace at the same time. The reason for this rule, again, is so that one does not look too ‘try-hard’, but instead like getting ready took all of five minutes. With that in mind, go for more minimal accessories, like a simple bracelet or dainty ring, instead of anything chunky or too elaborate – they are more versatile and easier to style.
#6: Make it undone
This tip is essentially the culmination of what has already been reiterated incessantly – keep it effortless. To do this, make sure you look at least a little bit undone, even if you have to do so on purpose. Go for loose, flowy clothing, roll up your sleeves casually, put your hair up in a messy bun. Just avoid looking too prim and proper.
#7: There are no dress down days
Nope, there absolutely is not. The French believe that in order to feel good, you must look good, so even on your worst days, you put in effort. That means getting rid of habits like moping around wearing nothing else but your old school t-shirt and tattered running shorts, and at least putting on a decent outfit. One easy combination is a nice plain shirt, your favourite pair of jeans and trusty flats. Now, wasn’t that easy?
#8: Be comfortable
This last tip might be the most overlooked one of them all. Sacrificing comfort for style is a rabbit hole that almost all of us have fallen down before. However, it is probably the most obvious mistake to make – when we don’t feel good in the outfit we’re wearing, it shows. It affects our confidence, the way we carry ourselves and our mood. If there’s one thing to remember, it is to stay comfortable, whether that relates to the fit of the clothes or the style of the outfit. Once that’s settled, everything else comes naturally.
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