Do the terms classy with a sexy edge, effortless style and je ne sais quois come to mind when you think of French style? What appeals most to me is the perfect blend of understated elegance, edginess, confidence and joie de vivre. With icons and muses such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Tautou, Vanessa Paradis, Marion Cotillard, Françoise Hardy and Clemence Poesy, no wonder women everywhere are trying to emulate their style. To be the fashionable Parisienne is the fantasy of many woman around the world and there are many Parisian style books to prove this.
While I’m inspired by French style icons, I’m certainly not implying that other women across the globe do not embody these hallmarks. To the contrary, I believe many do. In fact, stylish Americans such as Grace Kelly, Jackie O, Elizabeth Taylor, Olivia Palermo and Blake Lively are as inspiring. And who doesn’t love a shopping trip in NYC?
Carine Roitfeld has said when describing the essence of French style. “It’s more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs — just little things that make a difference.” Ines de la Fressange has become almost synonymous with her daily uniform – a simple but polished combination of cropped trousers, white button-down top and Roger Vivier flats. Her style appears nonchalant and as though she doesn’t put much thought in it. She proves dressing only gets better with age.
One thing I have noticed is the lack of labels Parisian’s wear. Really, who wants to be a billboard? Don’t get me wrong, I certainly love my Chanel and Dior, and red-soled Louboutin’s but the repetative and large labels make me cringe. What appeals most to me about the way French women dress is the elegance. They dress like real women – women who have lives, a career and families. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who owns her style. “Real beauty is to be true to oneself. That’s what makes me feel good” – Laetitia Casta