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french style

What would the French do?

I’ve just got back from where I consider to be my spiritual and stylish home in the south of France and ladies I hate to say it; while we know how to nail a hot trend, French women have us beaten hands-down when it comes to timeless and effortless style.

French women, in the main, seem to have a stylish way of dressing for almost every eventuality. From city living to popping to the market, they have it down to a tee! Graceful, elegant and feminine. These girls know how to work their feminine charms without looking in anyway trashy or weak. And this chic signature is not only the preserve of the young and thin. Women of all shapes and ages know how to make the most of themselves en Français.

My discovery is, of course, nothing new. Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and French beauties have been hailed as style icons for many years.  So what’s the key to their stylish success? What gives the Audrey Tautous and Juliette Binoches of the world the upper hand? If you ask me it is keeping it simple and sticking to what they know best. The French might be Avant-garde, but they are never followers of faddy trends and that is what makes them look so well put-together.

I studied lots of French women’s outfits and shops when I was there and it is true to say that few of the pieces are utterly remarkable when taken in isolation. The capsule wardrobe consists of straight leg trousers, in black, navy or beige, a-line skirts hitting just above the knee, fine knits and classic crisp shirts and, of course, the little black dress.

comptoirdescotonniers shirt tail dress

All items are teamed with well thought out accessories and beautiful shoes. Add in seasonal pieces for colour and accent and you have the prefect recipe for timeless French elegance. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it does work.

So do we UK ladies have a hope of pulling off this look? Yes, and its not even that hard to do. Less is most definitely more. Practice pairing down your look to a few key essentials. This look isn’t all about minimalism; its about making sure you wear a few perfect pieces. Think clean lines, luxe fabrics and ultimate glamour.

Tee-shirt Uniqlo

Think of the finishing touches of your outfit as the focus – show off statement shoes by keeping everything else super simple, add some colour to a simple trench with a scarf, and opt for pretty-as-a-picture pumps instead of block heeled courts!

Zara ScarfZara Ballerina Pumps

Time to channel your inner Mademoiselle!

Rowan McKinnon
Rowan is a Fulham-based personal stylist and owner of style consultancy Style Eyes. www.styleeyesme.blogspot.com; www.styleeyes.me

Rowan is offering WLL readers 10% discount on her styling service.

Fashion Focus