Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ooh la la, those Parisienne's

Aaah, those Parisienne ladies.. they always look so put together.  I love how the hair can be dishevelled but the lipstick is de rigeur.  The jeans can be faded blue and the t-shirt simple but the flat sandal is embellished with crystals.  The look is casual and 'dressed down' but the handbag is a beautiful buttery soft leather and the manicure is perfect.

So elegant, so carefree, so insouciant (don't ya love that word!) having fun at all the right parties - and oh so cool.  So what exactly is it, and who displays it so well?


Carine Roitfeld says "With French women you first see the woman and then you see the clothes... its more the way you wear the clothes and how you move..." (via Fashionologie).  

And who is the woman... she's a contrast of tough and feminine, no nonsense and lady like - that's why a tuxedo or pant suit with killer heels always looks way chic on the French.

Think about a list of fabulous stylish French women - Audrey Tautou, Emmanuelle Alt, Marion Cotillard, Vanessa Paradis, Ines de la Fressange, Clemence Poesy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carine Roitfeld just to name a few, - varying shapes and sizes, but distinct styles nonetheless, cute, elegant, sexy, chic, bohemian, strong, unique, ladylike and cool.  But above all, fun.

French women, always look like they're enjoying themselves; it's like they belong to a secret fashion society that everyone else wants to join but can't quite crack the code.  Ironically, I don't think french women follow fashions slavishly season in and season out, but rather they find their personal look from a young age and dance around it with cigarette in one hand and oodles of je nais se quoi in the other.  Sounds simple enough right (apart from the cigarette part if you're not a smoker!).

As Ines de la Fressange puts it - invest in the Magnificent 7 - a Man style blazer, Trench coat, Navy sweater, Tank top, Black dress, Jeans and Leather jacket - after that its just a matter of composition.  And Ines ought to know... with her popular book "Parisian Chic" she lays it out in a simple black and white print for everyone to absorb.  The video is cute too (see here).

And remember, if you find the basics and crack the code, you've got to share it with your girlfriends too - its your duty!  Just like Ines shares her special shopping destinations in 'Ines Little Diaries' for Roger Vivier  helping us all get in on the secret destinations that only a stylish Parisienne can access.  My favourite, St Germain for holiday packing!)

But don't get down if you can't quite get into this gallic chic rhythm... who wants to be perfect anyway... "Perfect is a nightmare.  A great French wine would be nothing without the taste of the oak barrel or a touch of dust" -  Ines de la Fressange.  See what I mean, a Parisienne just wants to have fun right?

1 - Maxime de la Falaise, c1950 - Cecil Beaton for Vogue Fr
2 - Carine Roitfeld - Paris Apartments - unknown
3 - Emmanuelle Alt - via Classiq via CarolinesMode
4 - Virginie Mouzat - Fashion Director Le Figaro - via Fashionologie
5 - Audrey Tautou - via FabSugar
6 - Elisa Sednaoui - via FabSugar


C said...

For me Its emmanuelle Alt...she looks always perfect with simple outfits!

classiq said...

Great post, Helen! Right now I really love Emmanuelle. There's no one who wears better a basic tee and jeans, two of my favourite items and two must-haves in every modern wardrobe. I don't think there's a big secret behind the French women's style: you just have to find out what works best for you, don't be afraid to be different; and put more price on natural beauty.

classiq said...

PS: thanks for the link love :)

Audrey said...

Exactly! and it's just how you said it "no nonsense and lady like"

Have a lovely day Helen!

Neda said...

Lovely post! I have the book and must admit, have referred to it on a couple of occasions! The short video was very cute...everything always sounds so chic with that Parisian accent. :)

LatteLisa LisaHjalt said...

Such a fun post. Isn't the "secret" of the Parisienne that she simply doesn't over-dress? I think that is the thing, don't throw on everything you have! And my that I mean all your strong pieces.

And yes, insouciant will be my new favourite word!

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