Which is what I should be saying on repeat to get my head around my new style crush.  It is of course all things Parisian.  Well not all things, just the women.  And their wonderful, innate, classic sense of style.  And of course, it's not all of them.  There are bound to be loads who live in mum jeans, sensible boots, fleeces and an anorak.  But funnily enough they never make the pages of any glossy magazine or register on my radar when I go over and drool at them.

Recently I asked on Twitter what does make a Parisian woman so stylish.  How do they all seem to have this unwritten code of fashion supremacy which they follow to the letter?  And there were a myriad of responses that came back and unsurprisingly, there were some consistent answers that make sense.

And by the way - this is me all over.  This has been the story of my fashion life forever.  Lurching from style pillar to post.  An obsession with something that takes over my mind and my wardrobe.  With me, it's very much all or nothing, I'm not particularly known for doing anything by halves (whilst we're here though, I am the world's WORST starter finisher.  All the ideas, all the enthusiasm, none of the capability to see it through.  Fickle is my middle name) 

So I've been happy in the quagmire of my slightly quirky wardrobe for this part of the season - cracking out the sweatshirts, tie dye jeans, wedge trainers, harems. (ok so that's hardly out there with regards to adventurous but for a 40yr old living in the home counties, believe me, this is On The Edge....) 

And then I get the fear.  The old scraggy lamb shaped aka mutton fear.   Before I go over the edge of random, I need to reign it in.   

The hankering for complete classic takes over.  As I said the other day though, I do think it is the combination of different sorts of styles that equals personal style.  So if I am looking to emulate all things French, how do they achieve it?

1) They're petite. 

Not off to a good start here, seeing as I'm 5ft10 but there are some things that simply cannot be changed and, short of chopping off a limb, I'm sort of on a lose lose with this one.  However there are other tips which are more easily achieved without major surgery. 

2) Does this come in black?

They love black.  They adore black.  Head to foot in black is the easiest way to look instantly chic, mysterious and put together.  If in doubt, buy it in black (do you know see the method in my search for a black dress/black jumper madness?  I was starting to go native.....) 

3) Sense of Proportion 

Somehow French women always manage to put an outfit together that works proportion wise.  So a jumper should cut you off at the right place and if not, add a layer or a shirt to balance it out and make the proportions work.  Team slouchy things on top with more fitted things on the bottom, a fitted jacket works better over looser trousers or an A line skirt, as opposed to something more blousony.  Use your mirror and trust your eye (I like to think I get this right but we all make some howlers sometimes.) 

4) Buy Quality

In an ideal world.  All French women seem to be squidillionaires.  Or is the art of the bluff?  I think it's worth spending money on things you use regularly and things people see.  Bags.  Shoes.  Scarves.  Coat.  I would say though, that if you change things around a lot so they get less use, then these are the things you can be canny about).  However the sales are an excellent time to buy those things that would normally be outside of your budget. 

5) Red Lipstick 

Apparently they wear red lipstick.  Under this heading I think also comes groomed.  They are groomed but not overly made up and there is a difference.  They never look overdone - a la Towie (dear god, what must they make of us?) but always look immaculate.  Hair is never coiffured within an inch of its life, in fact, it does have that slightly loose look to it.  Messy but not messy at all.  I genuinely think it must be the Parisian water (as if).  More work needed in this category. 

6) Classic pieces. 

Ballet pumps, white shirt, indigo jeans, fitted black or navy blazer, trench coat, peacoat.  Classic pieces thrown on (sorry, elegantly placed on), to my mind, automatically make an outfit look more chic.

7) Plain

Parisian women don't do frou frou.  They don't tend to do excessive print or colours or lots of added detail.  Superbly well cut basics and the finishing touches are subtle but well placed.  This I am going to struggle with.  BIg Time.  Perhaps not all the time but my inner magpie will be rearing her sparkly head and ruffling her feathers after too long. 

And I'm sure there are loads more which I should be following.  Any suggestions gratefully received as this is going to be the basis for my Sale Manifest which I am working up.  Perfect timing as the one thing we all know we should buy in the sale is the "something classic".

Also planning ahead - don't buy things for now, buy things for the Spring, things out of which you will get loads of use.  Or even better, things that you can wear all year round.  Be that a pair of really good ankle boots, knee high riding boots, a blazer, a jacket (and yes, I haven't done nearly enough on jackets but it's Spring coming up and the jackets will be out in force.  I may have to include a bit of embellishment.  I'm sorry but I can't not.  Mon Dieu) or a good pair of flat shoes or courts. 

I'm starting with a Trench. I have been banging on about these for years, making do with the exceptionally old (but faithful) Principles one that I've had forever. 

Now I had planned on getting a Burberry.  But on trying them on and trying the M&S and Hobbs ones on - honestly?  I prefer the latter two.  The difference in quality really was not that great but the price?  We're talking approaching 4 figures for the Burberry and less than 3 for the others.   I have had my Principles one for 6 years now and wear it every year and these are definitely better quality than them.   Perhaps if you were to have it as your one and only coat then I could see the justification of the Burberry.  But otherwise, you could replace it ten times in a lifetime.  Chance of that are not high in my book. 

Without further ado, this is what I shall be hawking in the next couple of weeks.

I love the styling of this one, have seen it instore and the quality of the fabric is great.  It's been featured in a couple of magazines recently with excellent write ups.  A lovely rich camel colour with a heavyweight feel to it. 

Beige Classic Mac from River Island £75

M&S Collection Pure Cotton Belted Trench Coat with Stormwear £79  My trusty favourite which is never in my size instore and whenever there is a 20% off voucher about, it's always sold out online.  Oh I do love you M&S.  But please.  Please please please sort your ordering out.  

Hobbs Saskia Trench Coat in Stone £189  This is also gorgeous - a completely classic although personally I do like a buckle on my belt.  I don't know why as I always tie it in a knot anyway.  So that's slightly random. 

John Lewis Cara Trench Coat - £99  A black trench - how French.

Jigsaw Double Soft Trench Coat in Black £295 This looks the epitome of elegance to me from Jigsaw.

John Lewis Belted Trench Coat in navy £99  I know the Parisians are all about the black but there is something still equivocally French about navy to me.  I think it's up there with black for chic (she says justifying some navy purchases she may have made recently......) 

So they are the ones that I have seen, felt and can vouch for.  Am now off for a date with The Husband for lunch.  Who I do believe may have gone off piste with my Christmas present it appears.  I am having rather disturbing visions of that actual teddy teddy bear jacket under the tree.  Hmm.  In the meantime though, am ridiculously excited about going into London to meet him!  I shall, however not be shopping.  My work here is done (oh actually I lie, I do want a Uniqlo merino jumper but I may wait and get that next week...) 

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Black Harems - Hush
Dolman Sloppy Joe sweatshirt in marine - Hush 
Black quilted biker jacket - Whistles
Denim blue and stone scarf - Cos
Gunmetal Virgins - Ash
Black Diego - Alexander Wang

Tomorrow I shall be back with part two of the Sale Manifest. 

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12 comentarios:

  1. Hmm black clothes and red lipstick. Two things that don't really suit me. There goes my Parisian chic aspirations!

  2. Love the new inspiration! French women do seems to be able to look chic and buy way less clothes. Picking quality over quantity. My problem is every time I pare down my wardrobe, I just find a way to fill it right back up again!!!

  3. My favourite style inspiration is Paris Chic...... I felt a total stuffy when hubby took me to Paris 6 years ago...... Sat in L'Avenue restaurant in total style awe of them. However, I was amazed that they sat there and only had 2 Asparagus sticks. Hubby and I had to move things onto the floor to fit our food & drink!! And the Parisian waitress said ' oh Madame I think you have ordered too much' we hadn't!!!! Tables were tiny.....perfectly fine for a salad ( to share! ) & a glass of wine which most were ordering. X

  4. Ikwym I too feel like I need more sophistication - I dress really well for work but for my downtime it's all sweatshirts,pleather leggings,cowboy boots and wild faux fur jackets. Definitely think I err on side of mutton - was just in town sans enfants and a spotty youth handed me a club flyer - I'm 41! Problem with quality over quantity is I love quantity and can't afford both! Hope you had a lovely lunch date - that blue really suits you.

  5. So true my french friend (who is tiny and eats really small portions to my gigantic ones) is always white shirt, loafers, lipstick and scarf. Re the macs I bought mine from Autograph at M&S 3 years ago had so much wear out of it and it still looks new. Love the Hush outfit "cool chic".

  6. I am English living in France and agree completely, the French have an amazing sense of style, but it is very much a "uniform". You are right that it is simple, classic pieces that they know look good together; great haircuts (long when young and bob or short as you age) and it starts young.....children look like children ( and not like little hookers) teenage girls are well-groomed and also wear simple, classic styles (the Longchamp Pilage is everywhere) I travel to the UK 2/3 times a year and am appalled at how badly people dress.

  7. T he outfit pics arent the clothes you wore for lunch in London though are they?

  8. I have just returned from Paris and have to agree, the woman always look so immaculate, have no idea how they all manage it!! Re the trenches, I was super lucky to find a classic black trench in the Mulberry shop at Bicester a couple of weeks ago, have worn it to death since I bought it!! X

  9. I have a friend who always asks herself before she buys something 'would Ines (de la Fressange) wear it?!' If it passes the Ines test, she buys it!

  10. I have a friend who always asks herself before she buys something 'would Ines (de la Fressange) wear it?!' If it passes the Ines test, she buys it!

  11. How spooky I've just got a book Parisian Chic by ines de la Fressange - fear not Kat you already are tres chic - apparently french women love a supermarket clothes bargain (thinking F&F shirt here), mixing black and navy - how clever are you! Did put my fingers in my ears and sang la la la at the no distressed jeans bit having just purchased my Asos saxby's!

  12. Ah but so dull n'est pas!