How to dress like a French woman when you don’t look like a model


Emmanuelle Alt

Net-a-Porter’s latest e-magazine issue had a fun article about the unmistakable style of a French woman, and how to copy it. Personally, I adore the traditional Parisian style. Hair that’s a sexy mess. Makeup that’s barely there. Conservative clothes that are anything but boring. I would kill to be mistaken for a French woman. So freakin’ chic!

But what Net-a-Porter fails to highlight (they mention it briefly) is that the main reason those French ladies look fabulous is because they’re usually super thin and gorgeous. Hello? Emmanuelle. Inès. Need I say more?

I don’t mean to belittle their sense of style, as they have an incredible one, but it most certainly doesn’t hurt if you have the figure and face of a runway model. Messy hair, rumpled tees, and painted-on jeans are only enhanced by a size 2 frame and enviable cheekbones.

That said, it is possible to successfully capture Parisian style if you’re not a walking hanger. Some suggestions are touched upon in the article. But I wanted to break it down even more.

Remember these two things: shoulders and ankles. 

shoulders and ankles. shoulders and ankles.

Or more specifically, pronounced shoulders and naked ankles.

These are two areas French women like to highlight. Pronounced shoulders by way of a structured, slightly padded blazer, and naked ankles by way of a cropped trouser and pump or ballet style shoe (where the tops of the feet show). That’s it really. I mean, not totally, but it will get you close. The rest you can fake.

The blazer doesn’t have to be high-end, but it does have to have structure and slim tailoring, preferably in both the body and arms. Zara does a nice job with blazers, and offers more reasonable prices than Balmain.

And the pants don’t have to be sprayed-on skinnies, which don’t work on every body type. Instead, try any slim-leg pant, and finish by either rolling or hemming the leg to hit above the ankle.

After you’ve got those points nailed down, you can add a leopard scarf and sleek shoe and be on your kickass French way.

Au revoir, people.


[tweetmeme] One Response to How to dress like a French woman when you don’t look like a model
  1. Doriane
    June 17, 2013 | 9:55 pm

    Hi !
    I think that if you like the way we dress, it’s because we try to look simple, even when we’ve made effort. It has to seem natural. Of course, naked ankle can be great to give the impression that you have slimmer or longer legs, but in my opinion, it’s not THE thing. You only have to feel yourself. Choose either an original outfit, and upgrade the whole thing with obvious accessories. or the contrary, your favorite dress, with only one piece of jewelery.

    You should have your inspiration in french fashion blog. Big beauty’s blog also shows that you don’t HAVE to be slim to look gorgeous.Mine, shows that you don’t have to look like a tall and thin model, with a super sexy face.You can also try to look our relooking tv show, as Nouveau look pour une nouvelle vie, or Belle toute nue. Even if it’s in french, you can get some ideas, adapted for every kind of body.

    Great job for your article thoug

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