Here’s a fact: anyone with a few million pounds in their bank account can stroll into Selfridges and become Fashionable with a capital F. But here’s another fact: very few people—substantial bank account or not— can be considered people of genuine style.
When you have a quick scroll through Instagram or check out any of the multitudes of fashion blogs that exist today – you’re inundated with people clutching onto the latest trends in a dizzying attempt to keep up with the times. And that, ironically, results in hordes of beautiful, talented young men and women looking, well, exactly like everyone else. These types of people are not the genuinely stylish people with whom we should take our fashion inspiration from.
And that’s why I like Paris.
It’s home to the Eiffel Tower,The Palace of Versailles, The Champs Elysees and and has birthed some of the worlds most stylish people – including Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. But the people of Paris (and France at large) arguably possess the best knack for fashion I’ve seen in all my travels.
I’ve been fortunate to have visited France a few times, and I’m consistently reminded of how much I just love the way French men and women dress. I love how the French flirt with androgyny and embrace the elegance of simple sophistication. Perhaps it was ever since my first visit to Paris in grade 6 that my fashion choices have been precast today, but over the years my observations of French women’s style have definitely been a catalyst for my own very personal style.
Here are a few reasons why I like the way the French do Fashion:
– Trends –
Echoing the previous point, French people are not slaves to short-lived, high frequency fads such as trends.
In London – you’re so aware of trends because the moment something becomes ‘on trend’ – every second girl or guy is wearing it. I don’t have an issue with that – but what I like about France is that the French tend to stick to timeless, well-cut pieces that are classics.
In a 2014 Vogue research analysis of French Ready-to-Wear style, it was not only revealed that French women aren’t slaves to seasonal trends, but it also proved that they found style inspiration from the streets — not magazines or TV.. I love that.
– Simplicity –
It’s as simple as that.
They eat simply, they drink simply and their attitude towards fashion is – beautifully – simple. They don’t try so hard to adorn and embellish things the way us English naturally do – they stick to what they know and they stick to the essentials. This is where the true allure of “Frenchness” lies.
In today’s consumerist culture we are constantly bombarded with a kaleidoscope of aspirations; we need to keep up with the Joneses – to look this way or act that way, to have certain beliefs and portray certain strengths. And then the French culture comes in as a breath of Fresch air (oh you’re quick if you got that.. 😉 ) and they seem simply immune from the assault of Western Culture – somewhat virginised in their approach to style and free of all 21st Century pressures.
It’s as if the French take the modern day fashion world with a large pinch of salt (because, obviously their food wouldn’t be the same without salt) and instead have simplified their approach to encompass a more authentic and “chic” style that has no Westernised frills and tassels.
– Femininity –
This is personally a point that resonates most with me. I must admit, and I know a few readers will condemn me for saying this as it’s a modern day society etc etc – but I think women are to embrace being just that – women.
I am not a feminist. At all.
Even though I believe in gender equality, I appreciate that men and women are just different. And they should dress differently, too. I like men to wear the pants! And while I love a wardrobe that has a slight flirtation with androgyny – I think women look best when they dress femininely.
Androgynous femininity is one of the core elements of a French Girl’s wardrobe and is the perfect interplay of masculine and feminine.That is why the French style is so alluring and interesting and captivating. Androgynous femininity is somewhat of a genius style that the French have mastered.
Perhaps it all began with Coco Chanel, who revolutionised the female wardrobe by incorporating the relaxed styles of menswear into her designs for women.
Having said that, I know this is a contentious topic in today’s climate but I’d love to hear your opinion. Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
– Basics –
Parisians have a penchant for good quality basics. I’m talking about crisp white collared shirts, black trousers, trench coats, the perfect tee, black leather loafers, soft cashmere sweaters and a great pair of jeans. And let’s not forget a black blazer.
– Perfectly Imperfect –
Perfection is boring and the French are easily bored. They don’t want to look perfect, and I love that.
Where the English are constantly searching for some objective level of perfected beauty, French women pointedly optimise their own level of attractiveness – and this lends itself to a perfectly imperfect appearance.
The biggest fashion faux pas in France is looking like you tried too hard.
Don’t take your self (or your style) too seriously in France and you will fit right in.
What is your favourite thing about French Fashion? Comment below and let me know, I love to read everyone’s messages and comments.
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