We could wax on and on about French-girl style—the way our Parisian counterparts have mastered the art of looking très cool without ever looking overdone, from their accessories to their windswept hair. But what really gets us is the way the city’s style icons (from Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy on up to the It girls of today) can take a simple pair of jeans and style them into an unthinkably chic look.
Does anyone do rock ’n’ roll-inspired denim better? Non. And in the interest of capturing some of that coveted je ne sais quoi for our own blue jeans, we enlisted the expertise of Kelley Ash, a stylist who splits her time between Paris and L.A. and was more than willing to fill us in on what she’s observed during her time in the City of Lights. Her key takeaway when it comes to styling jeans the Parisian way? French girls “dress very classic and don’t follow trends. They ooze a certain type of confidence and can make any style look good,” she notes, so it’s best to start with a simple base and go from there.
Ready to instill a bit of that laissez-faire attitude into your own wardrobe? Keep reading to see how Ash styled AG the French-girl way for spring.
Opt for Stripes
For spring, consider swapping your basic white tee for a Breton-striped iteration à la Jane Birkin. Ash explains that fit is key here: “[Your] striped shirt [should] fit like a glove, and it’s the one way to make your outfit feel like a true French girl’s.”
Cap off the look by tying a skinny scarf around your neck, and don’t forget the classic black belt and oversize vintage-inspired sunglasses. Et voilà: You’ve unlocked the French-girl way to update the T-shirt with jeans.
Take it from Ash: Every girl, Parisian or not, needs a Breton-striped tee in her wardrobe.
Don't Always Follow Trends
As Ash mentioned, French girls aren’t typically ones to focus on trends, especially where denim is concerned. Here, the stylist paired a chic striped pussy-bow blouse (a French-girl staple) with a pair of vintage-inspired faded jeans for the ultimate off-duty look.
This simple but striking base allows you to add in a bit more personality by way of your third piece. Here, Ash layers in a black suede vest for a bit of rock ’n’ roll–inspired edge. The perfect capper? A knockout pair of cat-eye sunglasses.
Is there anything more quintessentially French than black and white?
Go for a classic pair of cigarette jeans with minimal distressing; they go with practically anything.
Which is your ultimate French style icon? Tell us in the comments below!