French Style 101: Dress Like You Own Je Ne Sais Quoi
We’ve all wanted to unlock the secrets behind French women’s style. The effortlessness, the poise, the enigmatic and ever-so-coveted je ne sais quoi. We’re here to help you rock that classic, effortless French style that makes it look like you #wokeuplikethis.
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French women style things unexpectedly. Invest in basics, like a breton blouse or a cashmere sweater. Combine classic pieces in your wardrobe with something edgy, like a knit sweater with leather pants. Instagrammer and it-girl Louise Pando knows how to make her classics pop with bold pieces by pairing a basic striped shirt with loose-fitting yellow elevator pants.
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Je ne sais quoi
Say hello to: Hyper-engineered minimalism — the mantra of French style. This is probably the most important, because you have to try really hard to make it look like you’re not really trying. Sarah Nait is living, walking proof that less is always more and that nonchalance is the best accessory.
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Bedhead is Best
Don’t do your hair. Or at least make it look like you don’t do your hair. If it looks slightly unwashed in a disheveled, textured bedhead way, even better. Brigitte Bardot mastered the tousled bedhead look back in the day, but you still see it on the runways, red carpet, and Parisian streets now. Here, model, producer, and musician Caroline de Maigret proudly showcases her undone hair.
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Denim & Heels
The quickest tip for how to dress like a French woman. Pairing skinny jeans with mid-heels or heeled ankle boots can make any look seem more polished.
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Borrow From the Guys
Who said men’s shirts are only for men? C’est pas vrai! Pair with thigh-high boots and you’re good to go. Bonus: sometimes wearing men’s clothing can highlight femininity by acting as a sharp contrast.
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Back to Basics
Fashion starts with a good base; make sure your skin, eyebrows, hair, and nails are always on point.
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Black on Black on Black
Wearing black is the laziest way to look classy. When in doubt, just wear a black turtleneck, black trousers and a pair of stilettos and you’ll slay. Blogger, photographer, and jeweler Adeline Rapon makes French style look easy in her subtly elegant outfits.
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Your Own Uniform
Create a signature uniform that always works for you, for days when you just want to throw something on. Marta Cygan, for example, has mastered the slouchy pants and flowy shirt aesthetic. She wears it all the time and looks stunning it works for her.
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Two is Better Than One
Two shades of red lipstick: one for the day, and one for the evening. Parisians are known for their no-makeup makeup — an effortless, haphazard look that somehow ends up looking chic. Yet a quick gloss of red lipstick immediately amps up any outfit. Opt for a lighter, orange-based shade for the day, and a vampy red for your nights out.
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Commes to Comptoir
Know where Parisians shop. They’re staunchly loyal to a handful of French style brands. Shop at Sandro, the Kooples, Commes des Garcons, Comptoir Des Cotonniers. If that’s a little pricey, you could achieve the same allure by finding replicas of their clothing at any H&M or thrift store.
BONUS: Culture is Key
Ask any French person: knowing the French language infinitely adds to the style. Care about personal enrichment. Style isn’t just a manner of dress. It’s also about personal growth and caring about cultural experience. Go to a museum, learn about French interior design, pick up a hobby, and learn the French language.