On my personal endeavor to become French or, at least a little French like Jacqui Kennedy or Susan Sontag, I lived in Paris as a university exchange student. And along with learning the language, and the politics, I embarked on learning how to BE French. How to dress French, shrug French and smile French.
I learned that style was a ‘combination of fashion and class,’ designer brands and vintage, Champs-Elysees and chain store.
The Gauls considered over-dressing, inappropriate colour-combinations and the ‘brand overloading’ they saw in international fashion magazines a major style ‘faux pas’.
The Parisian women I
stalked studied mastered cheap vintage; they mixed their Zara with their Saint Laurent, saving for expensive items and wore cheap (but oh, so, stylish) tops and skirts in-between.
While I was struck by the classic style of Parisians, I noticed that they owned clothes not too dissimilar from what I saw on sale in Australia.
It might be the globalisation of the fashion industry, the fact that we increasingly have the same chain stores, are pinning the same images on Pinterest or looking at the street style blogs. But either way, I saw that French fashion, once identified was maybe not to hard to recreate.
So, et voila, here is a list of how to be French, even if you’re as ocker as Kath & Kim.
1. Skinny Jeans.
Skinny jeans: Somehow all Parisian women look like models in skinny jeans. I watched with envy as they consistently cut through the crowds in the underground as they glided for their metro.
2. Leather satchels.They strung their French-branded leather satchels over their shoulders as they walked through the Sorbonne.
3. Heeled ankle boots.
They swung onto their bikes in practical, but stylish heeled ankle boots for a smooth ride home.
4. Leather jackets.
They wore their leather jackets all the way through spring and autumn, night and day.