How to Dress in French Woman Style
Watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s again and wondering if you could ever dress like Holly Golightly? Or flipping through a glossy magazine and suddenly stopping at a page to envy Nicole Kidman in a Chanel dress? Wondering if Givenchy would ever retail clothes besides the same old perfumes at your nearest Pantaloons? Well, here is how you can discover the French side to your wardrobe that will transform you into an effortlessly classy and elegant woman, without burning a hole in your pocket or drawing up huge credit card bills.
French Women Don’t Get Fat. Mireille Guiliano’s modern classic French Women Don’t Get Fat is a How To on losing weight that is written like a travel column. A few lifestyle changes, ala French women, will make you lose weight and have a figure that resembles theirs. This, in turn, will ensure that you have the body to flaunt that French look.
1. Get Proper Lingerie. There are so many women who wear the wrong lingerie. Either it is wrong for their outfit, or it is not in the right size. Don’t believe the lady at the lingerie shop. Get a chart of international sizes and a measuring tape and measure yourself. Don’t cheat. Even if you are too big or too small for the ideal size in your head, if you wear the correct size you will automatically look good. Invest in good quality lingerie. If you feel good inside, you will be confident on the outside. Buy in basic black,white and nude colors.
2. Get used to wearing heels. Sure there are plenty of French women out there who wear sandals, sneakers, loafers and Converse shoes. However, to become the quintessential French Fashionista, wear heels. You can self-consciously swagger in flats, but heels change the way you walk. They ARE bad in the long term for your feet and your hips, but nothing suits the French Fashionista better than a pair of heels. Get kitten heels if not six-inch heels. Kitten heels are a favorite with nearly ALL French women from the time they were born. With a little practice, kitten heels will become second skin to you.
3. Get classic pumps in black and nude. Shoes make or break your outfit. If you wear everything with your trusted black chappals, then you are completely ruining your fashionable outfit for you. When in Rome, do what Rome does. When trying to become a French fashionista, wear pumps. If you want to go the extra mile, buy pumps in as many colors as you like. Royal blue, a muted green, a yellow meant to make a grand statement, even pastel shades. Stay away from fuchsia though. It might be the season’s favorite, but for a classic French Fashionista, a fuchsia pump is not something she’ll have in her wardrobe. I stress black and nude as basic necessities, because they will serve you for all occasions. I am not a big fan of the white pump, though Audrey Hepburn has worn them on several occasions. Unless the outfit is a pristine all white, don’t go for white pumps.
4. Buy skirts. Why are skirts so overlooked? I hardly see skirts on people unless they go for the full-length ethnic variety. In my opinion, go for a lehenga instead. And for all those women complaining that knee-length skirts makes them look short, think again. I agree that jeans and leggings make you look slimmer and taller, but skirts paired with heels can work wonders. Jeans are sexy, but what can be sexier that beautiful waxed legs in lovely pumps? Women have been wearing skirts for centuries. Don’t call for their extinction. And yes, even women on the heavier side can wear knee length skirts. I have seen many women who do and with the right amount of confidence, look great.
5. Learn the cuts that work for your face and body type. If you have a square face, like I do, going for low-cut v-necks is the best option. You don’t always have to show cleavage. Real French women can look sexy without having to deliberately show cleavage. Round necks work for everybody and can be quite classy without being boring. Don’t wear turtle necks if you have a strong jawline, despite turtle necks being great French favorites. Boat necks isn’t really a cut that a classy French woman will have. A high neckline should again be avoided if you have a strong jawline. However, if you still crave the comfort of your favorite black The Beatles T-shirt, just go ahead and wear a high-neckline feminine top. Just be confident. As for the bust-line and the waist-line, don’t worry about it too much. If you can co-ordinate your skirt with your top, like wearing a fitted skirt underneath a loose top, or wearing a belt above your waistline, you can off-set both a heavy or spare bust-line and a bulging waist-line. The effect should be soft and effortless and the last thing you want to be is self-conscious.
6. Buy solid colors. I cannot stress this point more. This DEFINES French fashion. The French do it right because they have the right colors in their wardrobe. How many French fashionistas have you seen in black,grey and beige? One too many. Is it boring? Maybe. Is it unfashionable? NO. The same rules for the shoes apply, and this time you can go a step further and safely buy colours like yellow, a bright green and lots of white. However, do not get anything blingy or fluorescent. And no fuchsia or neon colors. Buy pastels. Buy a rich royal blue velvet top or dress. You won’t regret it.
7. Stock up on fabrics. Cotton, georgette, velvet, satin, tweed, there are loads of fabrics to choose from. Or don’t choose, buy all. Even a feminine denim top may work with a classy black or brown skirt.
8. Buy SCARVES. The icing on the cake of French fashion. No, you can’t use your dupatta as a scarf. Scarves aren’t expensive and you can get it in solid colors as well as different patterns. And yes, you can wear them all year round, and not just when you have a sore throat.
9. Use the vest-shirt/blouse combination. Layering works wonders for the fashionable, but our country is too hot to permit layering all year long. Instead, if you wear a spaghetti or a vest in a solid color and a shirt or a blouse with a deep neckline or buttons, it becomes oh-so-French. I myself do this a lot, and it looks great without costing a fortune. Don’t be scared of showing the vest, that’s the whole idea of this style. Again, people on the heavier side can also try this. Layering makes you look sexy without being skimpy. How else are the French supposed to look fashionable in their cold climate?
10. Always pair a pattern with solid colors. If you must wear a print or a gentle embroidery or lace work, be sure to only wear solid colors along with it. You always want only one part of your outfit to stand out and patterns always call to be noticed.
11. Never wear two different patterns. Never, never, never do that, even if you don’t want to be a French fashionista. It rarely works and even the best designers can’t make it work.
12. Buy pleather/leather bags. Yes, those jute and cloth bags are fashionable. Actually, they are cheap too. But they are not French. Inevitably they will look ethnic, even if they are plain and beige. Buy bags in the same old basic colors. They will serve you well.
13. Get nude, coral, a muted red, a muted pink shades of glossy lipstick. Not gloss, not a matte lipstick.
14. Black eyeliner. I cannot stress how important this is. Always black, stay away from neon blue and green. Wear it thick on the upper lid. Wear it winged. Wear lots of mascara and have really dramatic eyes.
15. Get those nails manicured. No wonder the French have a manicure to its name. Manicures are very important.
16. Wear minimal jewellery. No chunky pieces, no costume jewellery. Keep it minimal. Keep it gold, silver, even platinum. Keep it diamond,pearl,emerald, even onyx.
18.Wear your hair shampooed and conditioned, with a good blow-dry. Don’t try emo haircuts or style excessively. No highlights. Flaunt your wavy hair, if you are lucky enough to have it. Keep it real, soft and natural.
With all these tips you will realise that you don’t need too much money, you don’t need to pore over magazines and you don’t need to buy designer clothes in order to be fashionable. The French Fashionista sets trends and doesn’t follow them. So go ahead, become one.
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