Many of us are in awe of the French woman’s style….whatever that may be defined as…but let’s just say that most of us agree that there is something tres chic about the Parisian woman. There are a million and one opinions out there about the hows and the whys (myself included) of that indefinable je ne sais quoi but recently Vogue Paris have cut to the chase and created a very simple list of ten essential items for any self respecting woman who would like to dress in the French way. This is a simple no-nonsense list that makes sense. These are pieces of clothing that we can all wear, whatever our age….and isn’t that the important point and the point of difference with French women….classic with a twist…a little like a martini…shaken and not stirred. We all want to dress French so here is the how….
Number 1… Le Chemise Blanc
How could we live without this basic white shirt…Could we have two? …..One in cotton and one in silk to span the seasons..
Number 2… Le Trench
The classic beige trench coat from Burberry is the investment of a lifetime….the blue chip of stocks…the one coat never to be without at home or on your travels….
Number 3… Les Ballerines
Ballerina pumps, my everyday walking, stay-at-home.. anywhere goes shoes in black….These pumps work with pretty much anything that might come out of the wardrobe. My favourite brand…Repettos.…(My little secret with ballet flats is to re-heel and re-sole them after buying with non-slip material….this makes them safer to wear and ensures that they last longer.) I would also add an addendum here (sorry Vogue Paris) and include a pair of Converse as an ‘essential’ essential…Dressed down and practical these are one pair of shoes I never leave home without….
Number 4… Le Jean
Le favourite piece of clothing….for me anyway….According to the French stylistas they must be faded and straight…I agree…other than John Travolta I don’t remember anyone looking good in flares. I love the ‘skinnies’ too…Brands…time and testing is what jean buying is all about….be in the mood and persevere…and when you find your ‘perfect’ fit…buy two pairs….I am a JBrand fan although Current Elliot is the Vogue Paris brand du jour
Number 5… Le Cachemire
Grey, soft and long sleeved…classic round or v-neck….Let’s be greedy here and include a black, navy and cream sweater as well. Cashmere is all about feeling the luxury, the warmth and the comfort….Eric Bompard is the French cashmere of choice….Cashmere is everywhere and many brands are excellent, it’s the cut that counts…. and no machine turn ups instead of a proper basque finish…
Number 6... La Petite Robe Noir
The little black dress really should be number 1…because who can live without it. Not me. Wear it on any continent for any occasion…The LBD is not a dress to stop at one but make sure your first, like all firsts, is memorable and something that makes you smile….
Number 7… Les Escarpins Noir
What are these you may ask? These are our drop dead, sexy, high heel classic black heels. Wearing high heels is like therapy… as soon as you put them on you feel stronger and more confident…Remember Cinderella… her glass slipper is testament to that….As for the aching feet and pinched toes…feeling good about ourselves is not always easy….a little pain for a lot of gain… Heels, whatever any one will tell you, are more flattering than flats any day of the week…Wear them selectively, for short bursts of time, get in training…but never give in….they really are our friends….Anything that can make my legs look longer and slimmer and my ankles narrower is a miracle and that has to be counted as true friendship…One of the ultimate designers of les escarpins noir is Christian Louboutin…like le trench, another blue chip for the portfolio…
Number 8… La Veste de Blazer
The black blazer or ‘le smoking’ jacket made famous by YSL back in the day. Every girly cupboard needs a black blazer…Wear it open by day or buttoned up by night…with nothing but your pretties underneath…Number 8 + Number 4 + Number 7 = win, win, win…..And the best news…no wasted hours planning the perfect outfit…trying on all those clothes that never worked the first time and still don’t cut it…this is the happy fall back position, the safety valve of fashion….
Number 9… Le Tank Top
The tee-shirt needs no introduction…If many colourful and logo laden favourites are clogging up your drawers make way for the plain veste style tee…no sleeves means the cut of your blazer can do it’s job. Save the olden goldies for the gym…
Number 10… Le Pantalon de Smoking
The holiest of holies when it comes to essentials in the French woman’s wardrobe….the right hand to YSL’s ’le smoking’ jacket…the black pants….Like the LBD…never leave home without them…
This is the essentials list according to Vogue Paris.…I would be tempted to add a few extras but then I guess that’s not the point….if we start here then maybe we are on our way to a little of that elusive bien dans sa peau…keeping it simple, keeping it classic…keeping it French….xv