Forget ‘He went to Jared’s’ – find a man who gets you a nice pair of blue jeans!(Actually, find a few men – that’s what a French woman would do).
Emulating French style does not require going out to buy an entirely new wardrobe! Because les françaises create their signature style by drawing from basic pieces in a neutral color palette, it’s fantastically easy to reinterpret the clothes you already own to get that European look.
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The Daily French Uniform
When I was living in Paris, I could only bring one suitcase with me (thanks, Delta…), so I had to work with what could fit into that suitcase. As the saying goes, it’s better to look good everyday than different, so I worked out a daily uniform to maximize my style options from a limited clothing selection.
The uniform base: a pair of tapered, slim-fit, dark-wash jeans and a white or black shirt. On top of that, a grey/navy/black blazer, tan/black leather dress shoes, and – last but not least – a scarf (duh).
The jeans and t-shirt combo is quite casual, so the dress shoes elevate your look. A blazer can easily read as stuffy, so rolling up the sleeves makes it ‘everyday’. Since the outfit is mainly navy and neutrals, the tan leather dress shoes act as a pop of color and shine!
Blazers & More
French women are much more into wearing blazers than American women; an oversized blazer with cuffed sleeves (think of it as the ‘boyfriend jean’ but for blazers), tailored jean, and heel is a quintessential French look. Don’t let the heels confuse you – this look is definitely ‘everyday’ for French women! While heels are elevated, the oversized blazer has that throw-it- on-and- go vibe to balance out the outfit.
And if you don’t own a blazer, steal an old one from your dad, grandpa, or boyfriend! Shout out to free things!
It’s also très chic (#sorrynotsorry about the cliché French words) to pull your Canadian Tuxedo out of the closet and pair your jeans with a chambray button-up.
Trend alert: make sure your button-up is slightly oversized and then loosely tuck in the shirt and cuff the sleeves.
Emulate, don’t copy!
Wearing dark denim jeans also allows you to play with different patterns and silhouettes for your top! As you’re looking through your closet, remember that balance is key! Seek out less trendy and more timeless tops that add interest to the outfit. Don’t forget that the aim of this is to emulate French style, not copy it! Infuse your own personality into this interpretation and stick to what you’re comfortable with!
Drawing inspiration from the Parisians, start your French-inspired outfit with your favorite pair of jeans and go from there! Slightly oversized blouses and blazers convey an effortless vibe while a sleek heel (or boot/sneaker) elevates your look!
FRENCH INSPIRED OUTFIT PIECES
How many different ways can you pair your jeans to create the perfect French-inspired look?