The French-girl wardrobe is fascinating for a number of reasons: it's simple, timeless, and effortless. And the quest for the right pieces to achieve it can easily become a lifelong endeavor. We could spend all day figuring out how to emulate the key elements that make French style so good, and if you're a consistent Who What Wear reader, you know that we do spend a considerable amount of time on the topic.
We're hardly the only sartorial Francophiles, either. We chatted with an NYC-based wardrobe stylist who is so enamored with the simplicity of French style that she went out and designed her very own French-inspired capsule wardrobe. Meet Bryn Taylor, a stylist of 10 years who recently launched Ouisa, a well-edited assortment of just six pieces that make up what she deems to be the perfect capsule wardrobe.
"While I love fashion and understand the power of clothing to change people's mindsets," Taylor shared with us, "I noticed that my clients often expressed frustration over the paralysis of choice within their wardrobes and shopping for clothes in general. They wanted to create an easy, cool, signature style but lacked the confidence and tools to do so. I would always advocate for a smaller, more thoughtful wardrobe consisting of pieces they could depend on in any situation, and seamlessly mix and match. Essentially, a capsule collection. I kept noticing that the foundational pieces my clients' closets were missing were the same tried and true essentials I depended on in my own wardrobe."
Photo:Coni Tarallo; Courtesy of Ouisa
After so many years of championing an edited capsule wardrobe in both her personal and professional lives, Taylor ultimately decided to create what she deems to be the perfect one. She may be based in NYC, but after spending time speaking with both French and American women living in Paris, she learned that they rely on a uniform mentality of sorts that eschews trend-driven pieces for more timeless and comfortable choices. Instead, they've acquired a streamlined formula that usually consists of the same pieces worn in slightly different ways.
Thus Ouisa was born: "I wanted to convey a feeling of confidence and natural personal style through outfit repeating and uniform dressing, and this concept of a capsule dependent upon a select few foundational pieces was a strong source of inspiration for Ouisa."
While Taylor's line offers her specific perspective on each staple, we also sourced options from other retailers that will suit a range of budgets, sizes, and tastes. So with that, continue on to discover and shop the six-piece French-inspired capsule wardrobe that stands the test of time.
"Not every button-down is created equal. I wanted to focus on one that felt both put together and laid back, depending on how you wear it. Ours has a slightly oversize fit with subtle, dropped shoulders. These elements provide that laid-back quality, while the stretch cotton feels special and not too casual."
"A good black blazer is the cornerstone of every stylish wardrobe, and it's something I rely on almost daily. I wanted to create a blazer that could balance between polished and relaxed, which is why we went with a slightly longer, looser silhouette and collarless shape. Many people equate blazers with work wardrobes, but I wanted to show that they are so much more. We chose a medium-weight twill that drapes beautifully, while not feeling too structured."
"The Mock Neck does double duty as a layering piece or a standalone. It helps balance the larger silhouettes of The Button-Down, The Blazer, and The Trouser. We chose a stretch rib knit that has a unique texture that's fitted yet flattering because adding something fitted to your capsule wardrobe is always a smart option."
"A black pant is essential, and The Trouser is made to feel put together yet not too formal. The fabric moves with the body, and the slightly relaxed ankle fit makes this piece particularly versatile. It’s made of the same fabric as the blazer to give the option of pairing together for a modern take on a suit, but it’s just as impactful on its own."
Photo:Coni Tarallo; Courtesy of Ouisa
"This is a shell that’s so much more than a shell. The fabric is a super-soft satin that, unlike many satins, does not wrinkle. It serves as an elevated top that can be chic on its own, or complementary under The Blazer."
"The Legging is perhaps the most contemporary addition to a capsule, and this one is not your typical legging. It’s made of a more substantial Ponte knit, which offers more structure and coverage, while the side panel elevates the look. It’s the epitome of polished comfort dressing."