Isabel Marant and Caroline de Maigret were recent guests on the podcast Pardon My French by Garance Dore. They detailed key attributes of essential French style. These 3 women are some of my favorite style influencers that have mastered the cool girl, effortless way of dressing that is always elegant, modern, and quintessentially chic.
I've always been enamored by the casual elegance of dressing like Ines de la Frassange and Emmanuelle Alt. Most often, a French-chic outfit formula is 75% neutral basics and 25% unique accessories. A showpiece accessory like trendy bag, a showy vintage bauble, or sassy pair of heels transform an outfit of basics into a sophisticated ensemble. French women don't strive for impeccable hair and makeup, either. The air of nonchalance is their artform. Isabel Marant and Caroline de Maigret told Garance Dore that the typical French girl wants to appear intellectual, and intellectuals, they say, rarely show up to an event overly glammed. They have much more important things to do.
Furthermore, one of the pillars of French style is to buck labels and overt trends, and stick to buying clothes that are comfortable, tailored to the body shape, and versatile. The method of wearing a uniform takes the guesswork out of getting dressed every morning, reason enough for me to subscribe to this way of dressing. By relying upon well-fitting basics, having confidence is a natural extension of feeling comfortable and ready-for-anything in an outfit [think: Steve Jobs black turtleneck]. What makes French style dressing most appealing is that something simple can be made to look elegant. The exuding effortlessness is all in the attitude, which comes from doing all of the "work" of getting dressed before the clothes even make it into their closets. To them, shopping is not just a spree to pick up anything and everything on display in stores, but a carefully curated choice of pieces that fit a bigger picture: an overall style aesthetic. Rather than layering prints, the French focus on mixing textures, like pairing a silk blouse with a suede jacket, or leather pants with a thin cotton sweater.
Sometimes a movie, a story, or a stylish woman walking down the street, is motivation to search for a certain something the next time we are out shopping. After I saw this photo on Pinterest, I hunted down a red scarf, and now I love how it adds a little punch to a pretty simple tee and jeans (my uniform).
Do you have any French style icons? What about their style inspires you?