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Mace & Crown | March 25, 2017

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Monarch Style: Understanding French Style

Monarch Style: Understanding French Style

Kim Bering
Staff Writer

The French take style seriously. Although the typical Parisian façade exists through wearing a beret, a red striped shirt and a silk scarf, classic French style circulates around a few cardinal rules. Be simple, feminine and always très chic.

Coco Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Brigitte Bardot and numerous other French fashion icons left an impermeable impression on the fashion world. Why are there so many fashionistas that come from France? Junior Moriah Morrison, an international studies student who traveled abroad to France, shared her observations on French style and why it stood out to her.

Morrison said that she found it to be, “more simple and clean cut.”

“I miss that. Everybody looked like a work of art.”

In order to achieve this, we must first understand the phrase, “less is more.” The French know that simplicity has a way of speaking volumes. Accessories are still existent, but they have a way of balancing lengths, colors and eclectic pieces. Whether they wear neutral colors with an occasional pop of a bright hue or a miniskirt for a night out, French women know how to balance their ensembles without too much extravagance.

“Even if they’re dressing up, they typically kept a balance,” Morrison said. “If they wore an exposing top, they would wear long pants.”

Another way of attaining the French style persona is to buy nicer quality pieces that are simple. That means we have to ditch Forever 21. Morrison noted that the French do not commonly break their bank on designer clothing. Rather, they shop middle of the road to buy nice quality pieces, along with some eclectic ones. Then it allows the items to be worn multiple times and for many various occasions.

Morrison also observed how even students dressed nicely for classes. No tennis shoes, hoodies or slouchy T-shirts. She noticed that almost everyone wore scarves or jackets, even when the weather did not permit one. They were primarily worn for fashion, and were not dependent on weather. Not to say the French look like Vogue models on the regular, but even students always maintained a classy and collect ensemble.

What about colors? Overall, the French maintain a neutral color palette for multifunctional use. You can never go wrong with grays, blacks, nudes and whites. Former editor of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, exemplifies this. Commonly seen in neutrals and all black, Roitfeld is the epitome of a successful and chic French woman.

One last point to make: We need to comprehend what unspoken fashion is and how it is a key trait among these cultured Europeans. It exists though imperfect yet neat hair, expensive perfume that leaves a scent trail and cigarette smoke mixed with the pleasant aroma of fragrance. Samar Youssef, a fabulous French fashion blogger of “Une libanaise à Paris,” uses smoking as a confident statement maker.

“I love the allure a smoking gives when we show up at a party,” Youssef said.

Now, what are a few key pieces to keep in your wardrobe to maintain that iconic French style? It’s simple. Get a few nice blouses, then find a pair or two of well-fitted jeans, preferably without rips. Flats come next, considering every French woman owns at least one pair of nice flats. Then find a nice jacket or coat for style. Tousle your hair and spritz that perfume. Then, throw a designer bag over your shoulder to complete everything, and voila! A classic French ensemble.

Vivre le France!