Many women aspire to pulling off the effortless look associated with the French girl – not only does it look stylish but it also oozes ease and “un certain je ne sais quoi”. So, with my “French girl” hat on, I’ll share a few tips.
The French girl understands the difference between several items of clothing put together and an “ensemble” or outfit. So what is the difference that makes the difference? The secret lies in bringing things together, creating visual cohesion and balance. How do we do this?
First, let’s go back to basics. Getting dressed starts with your wardrobe. It doesn’t need to contain a lot, but it does need to be well curated and streamlined so it works for your complexion, silhouette and lifestyle. And it needs to be home to only those items you love (or at least like) and wear. Say goodbye to anything that doesn’t flatter or fit you. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after a wardrobe sort – a sense of letting go, freedom and possibility!
Second comes to the decision process; the eternal and recurring “what shall I wear question?” For some this creates a great deal of anxiety and frustration, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way.
What will drive your choice today? For me it’s purpose and style (where will I be showing up and the corresponding message I want to send) and - I know this may sound a little bizarre - weather conditions (I don’t do cold or wet very well so like to be prepared). For some of you, your driver will be what came back from the dry cleaner, which business events you will be attending, what fits you, what is new in your wardrobe, and so on.
Now you’ve identified your driver, start with an “anchor” garment, the building block of your outfit. Some people like to start with a jacket, or a bottom, but it could also be a statement top, or if you’re like me even a pair of shoes or a special scarf. Then build on gradually; the top that goes with your pants, or the pants that complement the jacket, and once you’ve got the main pieces to your outfit, it’s time for the “pulling together”, the finishing touches that will make “la difference”.
In France we have a little trick called “le rappel”, literally the reminder. This is something that will pull on a color or feature that is already present in your outfit. For instance, if your patterned top contains a smidgen of red, you could complement your outfit with a red scarf, pair of earrings or bag – of course, not all of these at once otherwise you’re in eyesore territory.
As another simple illustration, let’s take a top and bottom in two different colors – wearing a scarf with both these hues, and maybe a touch of something else if you’re feeling creative - will finish and elevate the outfit.
With this simple strategy, your clothes are transformed into an “ensemble” instantaneously and it will look as if you put much more thought and effort into creating it than you actually did.
Et voila, le tour est joue (the trick is done)!
Remember to have fun with this!