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.

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

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.

Available in sizes XXS to XL.

This print is just perfect.

Available in sizes XXS to XL.

 The perfect dress for a hot (and humid) summer day.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

I'm very into below-the-knee dresses at the moment.

Available in sizes XS to L.

This soft pink color though.

Secret 2: Less is more…

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.

Pricing available upon request.

The '90s bag is back.

Available in one size.

Here's what you'll see Tokyo locals wearing.

Available in sizes XS to L.

Perfect to pair with a basic tee.

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

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.

The beaded bag is meant for a trip to Tokyo. I already own other styles from designer Susan Alexandra, but I have my eye on this one.

When you travel a lot, you come to appreciate simple pieces that go with everything and help you feel like yourself (no matter which time zone you’re traversing through this week). And for me, this pretty pendant does just that.

These are even better stacked. Saying yes to every shade possible.

Swap out the gold jewelry for rainbow-colored earrings.

This brand has the more Instagrammable hair clips.

Secret 4: Heels? What for?

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.

True ballet flats are an essential.

These sandals are great for an open-toe option.