I’d much rather be sipping on a chocolate chaud as I’m ducking into yet another art museum than doing my 9-to-5 in Cape Town this winter. And I’m sure many of you will agree! While I certainly won’t be going anywhere adventurous this year, it doesn’t mean that I can’t dress for the holiday I want. French style has always been revered for being simple and chic, but it has never been as easy to replicate as now.
Once synonymous with quilted bags and a glimpse of the iconic double-C, today’s French style brings to mind a more relaxed approach as pioneered by brands like Sezane and Rouje. While this is a style you can emulate year-round, I think the elements really leans itself well to the cooler months. Think cosy textures, warm tones and loads of luxurious fabrics in looser styles.
Emulating the Parisian style is easy when you can shop at the above mentioned brands, but I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to achieve the look when combining a few of the below elements – many of which you might already own!
1. Round Neck Knits
The simplest and easiest way to replicate the look this winter is with a round-neck knit, tucked in off course! Bonus points if it sits high on the neck so that your necklace can hang over it.
2. Dark Denims
This is a classic winter style staple irrespective of which look you are after, but its also synonymous with French style. The most popular jean sits higher on the waist to create a nipped waist and ends slightly above the ankle. The shape – straight, skinny or flared – really depends on your personal taste. Straight legs are a classic though!
Make sure you have a pair of ballet flats on hands for the days when it isn’t pouring with rain. It’s comfortable, versatile and can easily be purchased from affordable brands like H&M. Loafers are also a popular alternative.
4. Mix Neutral Tones
It’s not often you’ll see the French embrace colour. Paris is the city that has designated a very specific green as the only colour for all municipal structures after all! Combine neutral tones like navy, grey, beige, tan, caramel, white and black to create interest and dimension without looking like a St Tropez beach umbrella!
5. Statement Blouses
A statement button blouse or lace-inset top can be worn both in the daytime or evening with a beautiful coat over to keep you warm. Think luxurious fabrics like silks, lace and broderie anglais.
6. Structured Outerwear
Which brings us to one of the most-seen items of your winter wardrobe, your coat or your outerwear. French winters are cold, so there isn’t a shortage of inspiration. This season a classic double-breasted blazer in a wool is the first choice for warmth and style. Other classic outerwear choices include the trench coat and longer-length Melton coats in simple silhouettes. Try to steer clear of black if possible.
7. Fine Gold or Tortoiseshell Jewellery
They might have moved on from the double-Cs but French girls still adhere to the less is more aesthetic, especially when it comes to accessorising. Often you’ll just see simple gold chains and small hoops finishing off their outfits, although tortoiseshell accessories is another great way to liven up a monochrome outfit.
8. Brown Accessories
Swap your black handbag for something in a luxurious brown finish – think suede or a crocodile finish. This adds additional interest to simpler outfits and is also a great way to add warmth to cooler tones like black and grey.
9. A Touch of Leopard
If this all feels a little too safe, then consider adding a touch of leopard print to your otherwise neutral wardrobe. Be mindful when choosing a print though – look for beige or golden tones and steer clear of anything too orange. Black-and-white interpretations can also be fun and much more versatile if you aren’t ready to commit to the classic print yet.
Cliché as stripes are, real French girls still wear them so you definitely can too! Ranging from classic Breton tops to knits with deep V’s and everything in between – you can’t go wrong with a classic black and white or French navy and white combination!