How to look French: Part 2

Written by Diane on. Posted in on life in France

How to look French

The French are known for their impeccable style and taste, and even the words “French style” conjure up an air of sophistication. Want to look more like the French? It’s not that difficult to emulate French style if you keep a few basic tips in mind.  

Read on for how to look French!

 

French style: How to look French

The world looks to the French for how to be chic and for good reason. Women and men in France seem to “get” fashion more than their American counterparts. I admit it — the French do fashion right while making it look effortless. And you can too. (For those of you who missed the first post, be sure to check out Part 1 of French style: How to look French here.) Remember, it’s all about looking classy and put together, so even if you keep just one or two of the below tips in mind, you’re well on your way to looking French.  

Here’s how to look French:

1. Take it easy on bright colors

Neutrals are in with the French, so mix and match shades of black, gray, navy, white and beige and avoid looking like a rainbow at all costs. French people do wear color but it’s more subtle with accents here and there or via accessories.

French style

2. When in doubt, less is more.

Don’t fall victim to accessory overkill. While a chic pair of sunglasses, a cool belt and maybe a bracelet look classy, a headband, earrings, rings on every finger, a scarf, a flashy belt, etc. all put together do not. Pick and choose where you want to add flair. And still, take one piece off before you leave the house. Really.

3. Modesty is in.

Maybe I’m biased here since the last place I visited in the U.S. was Miami (where skin was definitely in!) and I just notice the contrast more, but French style is more about being modest and wearing seductive clothes that are sexy and not too skimpy or trashy. So what’s that mean? If you’re wearing a short skirt, throw on some tights and/or tall boots to cover your legs. If you are wearing that short skirt, don’t wear a revealing top as well. Pick and choose one area to flaunt — not all of them — and still be modest about it.  

4. Your lingerie matters.

I don’t get how French women wear lacy little bras all the time because who wants to see your nipples when the wind blows? And who wants to see the lace pattern through a tight t-shirt? Not me. French lingerie looks better when it’s not covered by clothes, yet French women actually do wear sexy lingerie under clothes and wear it every day. Seamless, more functional lingerie doesn’t seem to do so well here. So forget boring cotton, ladies!

5. Leave the sneakers at home… unless they have heels or are Converse (or you’re headed to the gym)

If you want to know how to look French, leave your sneakers in your closet unless you’re at the gym. While I don’t care if I run to the grocery store in sneakers, just be advised that the French rarely, if ever, do this. Unless the sneakers are “cool.” The French love Chuck Taylors in all kinds of colors. Adults, like well into their 40s, wear this Converse footwear staple and it kind of baffles me. They’re not attractive, offer no support and really don’t look chic to me. But hey, to each his/her own. And sneakers with heels are all over the place and very “in” right now. I just don’t get it.

6. Take an extra two minutes to assess your outfit.

Before you walk out the door, look in the mirror. Does your hair need to be smoothed? Do you need to add/take off an accessory (remember #2 above)? What’s on your feet? Give yourself a once over and then walk out that door with confidence.

Got it? Feeling good about how to look French? This goes without saying, but the above list on French style is based on my observations and are just generalities. Not all French people follow these dressing conventions and nor should you.

Above all, remember to be yourself and rock your own style regardless of your nationality or where you live!

     

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Comments (6)

  • Cerise

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    My canadian boyfriend always jokes that his favorite thing about dating a French girl is the lingerie 🙂 I guess I’d never really thought about it until I moved here and noticed all the sports bras. I don’t even own a sports bra! I guess its just a habit you get into. As usual, your posts are spot on!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Hi Cerise, I think sports bras in France are pretty much JUST for working out. And even then, maybe for people who are more “hard core” or are doing very high impact activities. I’ve seen French women both in the gym AND running in regular bras and it wasn’t pretty! Can’t be good for support either. But in the US and I guess Canada, women will just wear a comfortable sports bra to run errands even if yoga was hours before. I think French lingerie is pretty but I don’t own a single thing!! Thank you for your comment!

      Reply

  • Adrienne

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    Love, love, love your blog! I’m leaving soon for France to study abroad for 6 months and it has been beyond helpful! (Hope it’s not too weird that I’m commenting on a 2+ year old post, haha)
    Quick question about clothes– do people wear plaid in France (kinda doubt it, but just wanted to double check)? Also, are peach or salmon considered bright colors (i.e. would I look like a tourist in a salmon colored dress with a neutral colored belt/shoes)?

    Reply

    • Adrienne

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      Also, are Chuck Taylors/Converse still popular in place of sneakers?

      Reply

      • Diane

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        Yup, still popular with men and women. See ’em all the time!

        Reply

    • Diane

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      Hi there, happy to help! I think first and foremost you need to wear what you’re comfortable in. In general, French women don’t wear bright colors and I can’t say I’ve seen too much plaid but it’s out there. You didn’t mention where you’re studying abroad but I think this lack of color and fashionable women stereotype is strongest in Paris. Even if you are in Paris, I say wear whatever you want as long as it’s not old, beat up gym shoes. Add a scarf, a nice accessory to your colorful dress or plaid, and you’ll fit right in. 😉 Enjoy and email if you ever need anything!

      Reply

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