A French Girl's Secrets for Looking Stylish Abroad

When she’s not working as a journalist and social influencer, It girl Sabina Socol also shares her fashion expertise in our French Girl column. Come back each month for her perspective on Parisian style.


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

If you’re following me on Instagram, you probably already saw some pictures from my trip to Tokyo at the beginning of this month. Visiting Japan has always been on my bucket list—a huge dream of mine. I’ve always been fascinated by this culture, which is so far away from the one I grew up in. So for once, my column is not just about French-girl style, but it’s more about Japanese style and how to adapt as a traveler. So without any further ado, let’s dig in the four style tips I’ve learned from this trip.

Secret 1: If you're in transit, check out your weather app


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

I was warned before this trip that July would be the worst timing of the year to visit Japan weather-wise, as it was supposed to be super hot. Knowing that, I was expecting very high temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius, so when I checked out my weather app and saw it was going to be way less than that, I was relieved. But one thing I did not check is the humidity level. Do you remember that Friends episode where Monica’s hair goes crazy because of the humidity in Barbados? Well, that’s pretty much how I looked (and felt) all along. Had I known that before, I would have packed way more hair products, and way fewer shorts and heels. Hair clips, midi dresses, and flats (yes, flats) were my best friends during this trip. What seemed odd to me was that the Japanese didn’t really seem to feel the temperature just like us. But I’ll get to that later. If you’re traveling to Japan during the summer, keep scrolling to shop a few things to pack that might come in handy.

Secret 2: Less is more…


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

Here’s what I observed about Japanese women’s style during the summer. First of all, they are really elegant. But obviously in a different way than French, English, or Italian elegance. Most of them would wear a midi skirt or large cropped pants with a pair of cute flats and an oversize shirt. Also, a designer bag is a must. I’ve literally never seen so many designer bags in my life. Sigh. I really admired the elegance they achieved with the simplest things. If you’re a traveler and like to adapt to the culture of the country you’re visiting when you’re there, shop my essentials below.

Secret 3: But you're never too "Kawai"


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

Most of you have to remember that song “Harajuku Girls” by Gwen Stefani, right? Even though I expected to see people who resembled them in miniskirts and bold neon colors, I did not encounter one girl who dressed like that. Even though I didn’t see Stefani’s version, one thing was clear—the Japanese do like everything “kawai” (meaning cute). Everything is cute, tiny, or pink. Even the subway has a little music when it gets to a new station. Here are some absolutely adorable things to get if you want to give in to your true “kawai” self.

Secret 4: Heels? What for?


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

As you know if you read my columns, I’m a huge heels girl. Actually, I’m always in heels—it’s as simple as that. But in Japan, it was another story. First of all, wearing heels was impossible in that weather since it was so humid. Also, we walked so many steps a day that I think it would have literally killed my feet. In addition, the large majority of the Japanese women who I saw wore flats. So I guess I was on trend. If you want to be too, here are some of my picks for cute flats to wear this summer.

Next: The new wave of French-girl style.

Sabina Socol

Who’s your style icon?I don’t have just one. I’m a sponge when in comes to style icons and get inspired by my entourage, the girls I follow on Instagram, famous actresses like Catherine Deneuve.

What are your 5 favorite people to follow on Instagram?Alexandra Spencer @4thandbleeker for her amazing taste and style, and her brand @realisationpar, for the clothes of course and the cool art direction. @leandramedine and @pandorasykes, I just love their input on fashion and their sense of humor. And @c__l__o for inspiration and their beautifully curated selection of images.

What’s the fashion essential you can’t live without?A pair of high waisted blue jeans.

What’s your desert island album?Jungle