Have you ever wondered how do French women have so few items and yet they are so fashionable and effortless looking all the time? I made you a proper dress-up paper doll to illustrate the versatility of the sophisticated small wardrobe – comme le français!
THE GENERAL RULES OF FRENCH DRESSING
1 – Everything you buy has to be a timeless classic. Something that rather matches your personality than current trends, something you can imagine wearing in five years.
2 – Everything you buy must be high quality. It doesn’t matter if it’s second hand or vintage, they are for the long run. The sweaters are cashmere, and the Little Black Dress might cost a month’s rent, but you can wear it in a million combinations for almost a decade. If you buy less, you can spend more on one item.
3 – Everything you buy is the perfect fit. If not, have a trustworthy tailor at hand.
4 – No brand logos, ever.
5 – The main color palette is toned down – greys, blacks, browns, whites, burgundy, olive green – so you can match everything with everything, and once you buy something that pops, you will have a whole range of neutrals to accent it.
6 – The to-go prints are striped, plaid, or dotted. You can combine florals, baroque fabrics, or leopard print for example, but lettering, bright prints, and anything trendy like aztec are out of the question.
WHAT ARE THE WARDROBE STAPLES?
If you go on Pinterest and type in “French wardrobe” you can find dozens of shopping lists to pick for. However I made my own, so there you go:
- Basic t-shirts (white or black, preferably)
- Cashmere, wool, alpaca, or mohair sweaters
- Silk blouses
- Black blazer
- Long line coat
- Biker leather jacket (optional)
- Light wash jeans
- Black tailored pants
- A-line short or midi skirts
- Black dresses
- Silk scarves
- Designer sunglasses
- Leather shoulder and handbag
- Flat shoes (ballerina or loafers)
- Midi heels
- Ankle boots
- Knee boots
- White leather sneakers (optional)
So this means that with about 20 items in your wardrobe, 5 pairs of shoes, 2 bags, and about 3 accessories, you can partially own the Parisienne chic and dress up every single day differently, but nevertheless stylishly. The paper doll I made has 12 pieces of clothing, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 bags, and 2 accessories, and here in this entry you can see 12 different outfits she’s wearing. So easy!
HOW TO STYLE THESE OUTFITS?
- Pick two or three accessories maximum, and opt for delicate, fine jewelry.
- Always find a “focal point” piece in the outfit. Something that is special, either because of it’s color or print, or because it’s a special cut. Everything else should be neutral and accenting that piece.
- Don’t be afraid to clash two prints if everything else is simple. You can wear a leopard print silk scarf with a striped top, if you keep in simple with black pants or so.
- You can layer long sleeve tops with dresses, blouses with dresses, or sleeveless tops with long sleeves.
- Try never to wear skin colored tights, if it’s too cold to be barefoot, wear black ones.
- Be creative with your accessories! A scarf can go on your neck, on your head, around you bag’s handle, or even as a belt.
- Mix day and night items – anything shiny works with casual jeans, camisoles can go over anything, and little black dresses transform very well from day to night.
Here you can find a slideshow for French minimal inspiration!