The "Frenchest" Things You Can Wear

Photo:

Sabina Socol

When it comes to French style, there are a few basic staples (for us French gals) that have earned a reputation as “cliché.” And why is that? Is it because of all of the Nouvelle Vague movies with their very recognizable styling? Or maybe all of the outfits à la Brigitte Bardot on Instagram? I’m not really sure why, and actually, the answer is probably all of the above. But let’s get to the heart of the matter. Are berets, ballerina flats, striped shirts, and red lipstick part of the French culture? Definitely. But are they really wearable, and most importantly, do the French really wear them on a day-to-day basis? Well, you’re about to find out.

The Beret 

The beret is probably the most iconic piece of the French wardrobe, but is it something we really wear? Wearing a beret is extremely cliché—especially if you’re French. But to me, wearing a beret is a question of timing. Now that we’ve seen (and loved) it during fashion week (I’m looking at you, Dior and street style stars), we might be tempted to give it a try. If you’re blessed with the French “flair,” you probably wore it six months before everyone else. And if you don’t care about the trends, and you’ve been wearing a beret for years because you find it suits your face, well, you’re probably an art teacher from La Sorbonne. And that’s timeless!

Desirability: 100%
The Dior show made me want to buy a beret in the second. I have to admit they’re really cute.

Wearability: 70%
Not everyone can pull off a beret.

Would I wear it IRL:
Probably. I’m not 100% sure it wouldn’t make me self-conscious or something. Also, I’m not really a hat person, but that’s just me.

 

Try out this cool navy beret. 

A chic leather beret is always in style. Try out this one from Gucci. 

Scarves

Depending on how you choose to style them and what social environment you’re in, a scarf can say a lot of different things about you, whether it’s that you’re a bourgeois or just a super-trendy fashion girl. I’m not sure they ever went out of style after the Hermès Carré was born, though.

Desirability: 80%
Just type “scarves” in Pinterest, and you’ll be convinced, as I am.

Wearability: 50%
For those who already have a classic look, scarves can come off as a little boring.

Would I wear it IRL:
Yes, and I do.

We love the patriotic colors on this scarf. 

The patterns on this scarf make it so cool. 

Striped Shirts 

If you’re born and raised in France, you probably already own about 25 marinières (and at least half from Saint James). It’s the most classic piece of clothing you can get, it’s an alternative to the white T-shirt, it’s a must-have, and I dare anyone to open a French closet and not come across at least one.

Desirability: 30%
Anyone can pull off a classic marinière Bretonne (striped shirt from Britany). It's the least "try-hard" staple you can get, and even though it's cute, it won't make you stand out.

Wearability: 100%
You'll see one on every French girl.

Would I wear it IRL:
Yes, and I have 25 of them.

Pair with simple denim for a day of errands. 

Ballerina Flats

The idea of introducing ballerina flats in this piece might seem outdated, but a recent talk I had with my male friends (around a glass of wine, #cliché!) made it impossible for me not to include them. I personally think that a pair of Repetto ballerinas are super cute with a short dress or short shorts à la Bardot. This particular convo had me confirm the idea that men hate ballerinas (or at least the men I know), but they are, indeed, a part of the cultural imagery I have of the French wardrobe. Very Nouvelle Vague.

Desirability: 10%
It is true that ballerina flats look better on elongated silhouettes (which I don't have—not that it's a bad thing).

Wearability: 100%
Ballerinas are damn comfortable and—let me say it again—cute as hell!

Would I wear them IRL:
YES. Even though my male entourage doesn't like them, I dress for myself. And I love my Repetto flats.

 

Add a pop of color to your Parisian style with these ballerina flats from Repetto. 

We are loving the cool shape of these flats. 

Straw Bags For Winter

Brought to you by the infamous Jane Birkin, the straw bag in winter is a trend that came back in our Instagram feeds last year, and it’s probably meant to last a little while. Why? We already love straw bags in summer because they’re chill and infuse that je ne sais quoi of cute laziness in our looks, so why give them up when it’s chilly outside? There’s simply no reason for that.

Desirability: 40%
They’re not hard to get, therefore, not that desirable. (You can buy them at any market.)

Wearability: 80%
Easy to wear on your shoulder over a wool coat, the straw can be slippery over other materials. So not a 100% wearable in winter time.

Would I wear it IRL:
Yes, but not with a furry coat.

 

A more wearable and versatile take on the traditional straw bag. 

Tote around all your valuables in this simple straw bag from Beldy. 

bright red lips 

Are you really French without a red lip? Although it is true that Parisians are known for being the best at pulling off bright red lipstick, this is definitely a cliché, as it’s not worn by most of the French. But if you do want to achieve that Instagram selfie–ready Parisian look, here’s a tip: Don’t apply it directly on your lips, blend it using your finger. Et voilà!

Desirability: 100%
A bare face and red lips are so sexy.

Wearability: 60%
If you’re like me, you’re not always in the mood to be the center of attention, and we have to admit that bright makeup colors often put you in that position.

Would I wear it IRL:
Super-bright red lips are a bit much for me. I’m rather into a more low-key, bitten-lips look. But for a night out, why not?

 

Hydrate and accentuate your lips at the same time. 

Mix up your everyday makeup look with this pop of color from Dior. 

Next, find out three pieces to ditch to master French-girl style.