SECRETS TO DRESSING LIKE A FRENCH WOMAN

In honour of Deb’s Balance by Deborah Hutton French River cruise this week, I’d like to pay homage to Gallic style.

Since Coco Chanel the world has been inspired by certain French women who have earnt the title ‘style icon’.  These women have been inspiring millions of women around the world for decades but what is it about them that gives them that special style  je ne sais quoi that is loved and emulated world-wide?

Look to current French style icons whose style may vary but who all share the secret French ingrediant that makes world-wide style icons, par example Carine Roitfeld’s classically sexy style, Inès de la Fressange’s effortless elegance, Emmanuelle Alt’s cool rock-chick look, or Catherine Denevue’s elegance.

Believe it or not, having French style isn’t hard to do.  All you have to do is keep in mind a ‘French-woman’ traits and Gallic style and elegance can be yours:

Embrace It:  French women embrace age and sexuality.  They are THE champions of the ‘style is attitude’ adage and live by it.  As Mireille Guiliano, bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat says, “In France, a woman in her 40s or 50s is still seen as alluring. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend that she is still young. She is comfortable and takes care of herself.”

Uniform Dressing:  French women have a ‘style uniform’ honed over the years that they stick to religiously.  Alt’s is skinny jeans and a blazer, Fressange’s is a classic pant and blazer, and no one does a pencil skirt and silk shirt better than Carine Roitfeld.

A Few Quality Basics:  According to Inès de la Fressange in her book Parisian Chic, the ‘Magnificent Seven’ is a must for every woman’s wardrobe and the secret to French flair – trench coat, blazer, jeans, sweater, tank top, LBD, biker jacket -in quality or high-end labels which they endlessly mix and match for day and night.

Mix and Match:  As Inès de la Fressange states in her book Parisian Chic, “c0-ordination is a crime!”.  You will never see a stylish French women head to in labels.  Their style mantra is ‘mix it up’.  Chic and cheap is the Gallic way.

Effortless:  Whether their style is boho or elegant, French women always look effortless – and comfortable.  No one-dimensional super-tight anything or sharp edges – just effortlessly chic.

If It Feels Good:  Though they stick to a few basic style rules, French women approach fashion with a sense of playfullness and “it it feels good, wear it” approach.

Beauty is Skin Deep:  French women are taught from a very young age to look after their skin and is the basis of their beauty routines.  In France, you can buy the most amazing skin care products at local pharmacies and grocery stores.

Nonchalant Beauty:  Though they love to be well groomed, French women are never ‘over coiffed’.  They prefer easy and effortless hairstyles, think ‘bedhair’ and never over-colour.  (A big no-no for all women).  The ’10-minute’ makeup routine is their preference and always includes mascara, a sweep of eyeliner, minimal foundation and well-groomed brows.

Logo-less:  Though most French style icons are besties with Karl Lagerfeld and wear AMAZING Chanel ensembles, French women choose style over substance.  French women never do head-to-toe luxury labels.

Style Info: Sportscraft ‘Audrey’ trench $239.99, www.sportscraft.com.auZara faux-leather jacket $139, www.zara.com; Dolce & Gabbana off-shoulder dress $3,700, www.net-a-porter.comCountry Road mid-rise jean $99.95, www.countryroad.com.au; Witchery slub tank $49.95, www.witchery.com.auLittle Joe Woman by Gail Elliott ‘Rock Your Baby Blazer’ $350, www.littlejoewoman.com; Marcs ‘Stardust’ sweater $139, www.marcs.com.au.


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