How to Dress Like a French Girl

Salut les amis! Today I'm here to talk about the way women dress in France. 

I've written a bit about French girl style before and now I'm taking it one step further. Fashion blogger, I am not, but I have observed a thing or two about the unspoken dress code here. 

Here are 10 unwritten rules every French girl seems to know:

1. All black everything. 

No matching required! I remember bringing a green peacoat with me when I studied abroad in Montpellier. I ended up switching it out for a black one when my family came to visit over the holidays. In Paris especially, I felt like I stood out too much wearing any color other than black. 

2. The shoes make the outfit. 

Is it just me, or is footwear way more important in Europe? And shoes can't just look good either, they have to be functional, as my Dad would say. On any given day, I walk on countless cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks. Not to mention I live on the top of a giant hill. So stilettos just aren't going to cut it. 

3. Layer as if your life depended on it. 

For whatever reason, the French seem to be experts at layering. Chalk it up to their innate sense of style or the fact that the weather in Lyon can vary quite a bit over the course of the day (whatever you do, don't forget your parapluie!) Still, I got a little carried away with this one the other night. The temperature had dropped a bit so I piled on a button down, cardigan, jean jacket AND a leather coat to top it all off. Way overboard. My French friends were like "what are you wearing?" 

4. All the scarves. 

See previous point about layering. The French like their scarves, no doubt about it. Scarf wearing is one of those habitudes ingrained in the culture, right below baguette eating and above validating your billet. Bonus points if you have a vintage Hermès carré en soie like my friend Sylvie.  

5. Wear the same outfit two days in a row. 

That's right, I said it. Ain't no shame in that game, especially if the people you're seeing on Day 2 aren't the same people that saw you on Day 1. I remember thinking this was strange when I first moved here but now I totally do the same thing. If it involves less laundry, sign me up. 

6. Gingham style. 

First it was polka dots, now it's gingham. Les petits carreaux seem to be everywhere here. Or maybe everyone just shops at the same three stores (Zara, Mango, H&M). Not a fan? The classic striped marinière is a surefire way to get mistaken for a Frenchie ;)

8. The jean jacket. 

An American classic that really seems to be having a moment in France. Often paired with...

7. ...Adidas Stan Smith sneakers (they're back!)

But in France, did they ever really leave? Originally designed in the 60s for a French tennis player, the iconic kicks seem to be especially popular here. 

9. Tights with shorts.

I remember this one from my days in Montpellier. I also remember moving back to the U.S. and quickly realizing that this is one trend that has never quite caught on stateside the same way it did in Europe.

10. Always dress to impress. Always.

Think you're gonna run to the boulangerie or Monoprix in sweats? Think again. Or do as I do, and swing by the market on your way back from a run. Sure, you might get a few funny looks but, hey, c'est la vie. 

x Stephanie

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