Certainly Paris fashion week beats the bejesus out of everyone else (New York, too furry; London, too silly; Milan, too Footballers’ Wives), but what of the French themselves? From staying slender despite a diet of red wine and baguettes to having perfectly-behaved children, the fascination with French women and their seemingly idyllic lives shows no sign of abating. More than staying slim, however, it’s their chic sense of style and elegant insouciance that has the rest of the world gnashing its teeth in envy.
Parisian chic is elegant and effortless, and much classier than the standard American getup of Uggs and a North Face. It’s easy to pull off if you know what you are doing. With a few key pieces and the right attitude, you’ll look you walked right off the Champs-Élysées!
The bag. It’s not an accessory, it’s your home. It’s an indispensable shambles where you’re just as likely to find a shrivelled up four-leaf clover as an old electricity bill. If it’s beautiful on the outside, that’s just to keep up appearances. And so that no one ever wonders what’s inside.
The little black blazer. It smartens up a scruffy pair of jeans (the ones you wear all the time) and you wear it on days when you don’t want to make it look too obvious that you don’t feel like making an effort.
What you won’t find in her closet:
Three-inch heels. Why live life halfway?
Logos: You are not a billboard
Nylon, polyester, viscose and vinyl will make you sweaty, smelly and shiny
Sweatpants. No man should ever see you in those. Except your gym teacher – and even then. Leggings are tolerated.
Blingy jeans with embroidery and holes in them. They belong to Bollywood.
UGG boots. Enough said.
A skimpy top. Because you’re not 15 anymore.
A fake designer bag. Like fake breasts, you can’t fix your insecurities through forgery.
Truth be told, if the Parisienne could just wear a Burberry trench and nothing underneath, she would be in heaven.
Ballet flats. Your equivalent of slippers. You don’t choose between comfort and elegance; for you, it’s all or nothing. Nobody ever saw Audrey Hepburn wearing carpet slippers.
A small silk scarf. It has more than one function. First, it adds a touch of colour to a dark outfit without running the risk of a fashion faux pas. Then, when it rains, you wear it over your head like Romy Schneider. And, on occasion, you can even use it to wipe your child’s nose when you’ve run out of tissues.
The white shirt. It’s iconic and timeless.
A thick scarf. Precisely because you don’t own a parka. And despite pretending otherwise, sometimes you get cold.
The oversized sweater that slips off your shoulder. You wear it the day after a party, as if you’d snuggled up in a quilt. It’s as soft as a teddy bear, as calming as Xanax, as wide as a screen, perfect for days when you feel your hips too much.
Basic oversized sunglasses. Every day, even when it’s raining, because you always have a reason to wear them: too bright out, a hangover, tears running down your face, a desire to be mysterious…