How to Obtain the Unattainable French Look

How to Obtain the Unattainable French Look

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French fashion look
Inspirelle reader Celine Dallery in Paris © Dan Antoine Shapiro

Parisiennes in particular have, since the dawn of fashion, been admired for their chic, French look – a style that is effortless and sophisticated, a certain “je ne sais quoi” if you will. The look is hard to replicate and, so, is infamously unattainable for good reason. But, with these tips, you can strut down Les Champs-Élysées knowing you’re as close as it gets!

French fashion look
Parisienne Céline Dallerey © Capucine

Creating the look

Let’s start with the outfit. Paris is a fashion capital but if we’re honest, the French are rather reserved when it comes to clothing—especially color! Everyday wear consists of black and white and, on a daring day, maybe gray! All right, I’m exaggerating, but…

the French are rather nervous about bright colors, they don’t trust them and so find it hard to take people seriously when they are wearing a bright yellow shift dress.

Stick to muted and earthy tones if you can’t bear the thought of a monochrome outfit. On the whole, the French are also fairly low key, discrèt, they don’t dress up the way expats tend to do. A quality pair of skinny jeans and a shirt with interesting details will be just fine. Finish off with a noteworthy jacket or coat, something in a timeless cut like a fitted blazer or men’s lapel coat.

French fashion look
© Kirsti Alexandra Reid

Shoes and accessories

The rule of thumb in Paris is: when it’s cold, wear a scarf, and when it’s hot… wear a scarf! Parisiennes are obsessed with scarves, and I’m convinced they must have scarf origami classes in maternelle school. There are hundreds of ways to tie a scarf and the French know them all, from the sophisticated Madame on her way to the boulangerie to the 7 year-old on her way to the park — they’ve all got serious scarf game. Less is more when it comes to jewelry; and girls, give your feet a rest as high heels are reserved for a visit from the Queen only!

Honestly, you will never see more ballet pumps and shoe boots than in a Paris club.

French look
Céline with daughter, Capucine. © Dan-Antoine Blanc-Shapira

Makeup 

Maybe it’s the flawless skin, the toner or the French-Women-Eat-Healthy diet but les françaises have impeccable complexions. Makeup is not seen so much as a necessity as it is an accessory. Skip the basics like foundation and concealer, add a slick of mascara, some dewy highlighter and a smear of lip balm et voilà! Keep the classic red lip for evening drinks and dinner dates.

French women know they can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of champagne and a divine perfume!
– Mireille Guiliano, Author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat”

Coiffeur

Obtaining French hair is all in the cut. Routine, good quality haircuts allow the French to wake up with hair that just does what it is told. They also don’t fight their hair’s natural qualities, you won’t find a French girl straightening the life out of her bouncy curls. Work with what you’ve got and play it to your advantage.

Kirsti Alexandra Reid
Kirsti Alexandra Reid is a freelance fashion designer and fashion writer based in Paris. Originally from Northern Ireland, she moved to Paris three years ago on placement with university and never wanted to leave. After finishing her degree and briefly moving to Thailand, the city of lights called her back home. Kirsti writes for online platforms, luxury fashion magazines and produces design tech packs for suppliers under her brand K Alexandra. She is a self confessed Paris addict and can often be found finding her Zen in Bois de Boulogne with her little Boston Terrier.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The scarf thing is so true! When I first moved to Paris and got into scarves they were always falling off and people, sometimes perfect strangers, would retie them for me. Am no longer living in France but I still wear a scarf every day and am somewhat known for it. (They don’t fall off anymore!)

    • Thanks Rosemary for the catch. In fact, Kirsti’s website is being updated and we have replaced it with her fabulous Facebook page where you’ll
      find her other blogs, fashion recommendations and great illustrations.

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