5 Trés Chic Ways to Dress Like a French Girl
We've officially reached the home stretch and grand finale of Fashion Month: Paris Fashion Week. The international street style stars are already busting out their most peacock-y of peacock outfits for the culmination of the fall 2016 shows, but for homegrown style inspiration, one doesn't have to look any further than a quiet corner café or a local bistro (and, of course, all the Parisian It girls sitting front row at the shows). Because we can't ever get enough of—and can't stop trying to co-opt—French Girl Style. You know, that effortless and slightly blasé way of dressing, not unlike that laidback London cool, but with a Gallic infusion of timeless glamour and old world romance.
Aside from the classic Bréton shirt and maybe a non-cliché beret, the look is about embracing one's own individual style, mixing high-low (and classic and trendy) and wearing it all with hands-down DGAF confidence. Just take a look at the below five fashion icons who prove that French Girl chic will never go out of style.
Take inspiration from the greats
If you want to pull off the quintessential French look, take notes from the fashion icons who invented it. Exhibit A: Brigitte Bardot's sweater/chinos/ballet flats combo with a scarf tied nonchalantly around the neck.
Longtime Yves Saint Laurent muse Betty Catroux (above right, next to designer) always managed to heat up her streamlined, menswear-inspired wardobe with infinite loads of sex appeal. Example: The way she turned a lace-up safari top into a sassy mini-dress and geniously accessorized with layered chokers, a low-slung grommeted belt—with a silk scarf casually tucked into it—and thigh-high boots that are so right now. Timeless, and eternally smoking hot, just like Catroux.
A scroll through two decades-worth of red carpet shots proves that the ageless Vanessa Paradis has stayed loyal to her own inventive twist on '20s-inspired style. Like that time the Chanel model counterbalanced a white pleated and rosette-adorned dress by layering on a boxy tuxedo blazer. Her cap-toe pumps and Lady Mary-esque headband added a flapper-vibe to the outfit and you'd never know this picture was taken over 10 years ago. (Well, maybe since Johnny Depp is in the photo.)
Julia Restoin Roitfeld
Julia Restoin Roitfeld obviously has fashion in her genes (her mom is fashion icon Carine Roitfeld, after all). But Restoin Roitfeld is a style mogul in her own right and rocks her own signature aesthetic, which can be best described as seductive, mysterious infused with an irreverrent, downtown (or Left Bank?) edge. Proof: opting for a soft pink color palette, fluffy faux fur texture and a preppy cardigan, but smoking it up with a sexy cami top and stiletto heels.
The actress, Chloe model, and everyone's fashion crush is like the cross-Channel Alexa Chung when it comes to understated style (and that perfecty mussed hair we all desperately want to emulate). So no surprise that she took a classic, oft-worn ensemble—a nautical striped top, a khaki trench, and flares—and made it look so fresh and oh-so-copy-able all over again. Her two simple tricks: rolling up the cuffs of her Breton top with the coat and scrunching it all up at the elbows for a relaxed effect. A leopard print clutch (versus an expected, structured ladylike bag) adds a fierce finishing touch.