Every month, Londoner-turned-Parisienne Marissa Cox of Rue Rodier will bring you her pearls of Parisian fashion wisdom and style tips straight from the French capital. We turn to the oh-so-chic photographer, writer, and influencer on a regular basis for a truly unique take on her adopted country’s signature style. Whether we’re looking to her décor decisions, handbag purchases, or chic hotel choices, we can all agree that being un petit peu plus Français could never be a bad thing…
With winter just around the corner, my current wish lists are made up of cozy cable-knits, ribbed turtlenecks, and cashmere sweaters—basically anything that will prevent those icy chills. But big, chunky sweaters and thicker layers aren’t always easy to pull off, and I don’t want to end up looking like a yeti, the Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters, or Joey in that scene from Friends when he wears all of Chandler’s clothes.
When it comes to knitwear, the French seem to have a knack for making it look more stylish than most. Perhaps it’s the way they style it or the way it falls nonchalantly (or is it effortlessly) off their shoulders. Whichever it is, there is a thing or two to be learned. After all, French women are single-handedly responsible for making the cardigan sexy, despite it being invented in the 19th century by the Earl of Cardigan, who was obviously a man and a Brit.
Here are my top tips on donning heavier layers that I’ve borrowed from the French, so you can stay warm without sacrificing style.
1. Belt It
It’s all about balance (e.g., if you’re wearing an oversize jumper, wear slim trousers) unless you’ve purposely gone for the oversize look. But I’d advise you to wear it the French way (as you’ll see at the likes of BA&SH) and throw a jumper over a skirt or dress and cinch it in at the waist with a belt.
Cardigans aren’t new, so what did iconic, Parisian-born brand Sézane do? The brand turned it around so that the buttons go down the back. Genius. It perfectly offers just the right amount of je ne sais quoi while not giving too much away. And there are now sweaters that have been specifically designed to show off your back with pretty detailing.
3. Opt for a Subtle Embellishment or Detailing
The French are traditionally not ones to play with color and pattern, so texture, cable-knitting, or a knitted embellishment are safer, chicer options.
4. Wear Your Cozy Sweater With a Short Skirt
Despite a reputation for being more open and free about their bodies, the French never show off too much at the same time (unless it’s summer and seriously hot)—i.e., it’s either legs or cleavage and rarely both. One common Parisian outfit is to wear heavier layers on top with a short skirt. Team with a pair of long boots so you can hide your favorite slipper socks inside to keep your feet warm.
The cardigan has made a huge comeback in recent years, but you only have to watch Brigitte Bardot films or Insta-stalk Parisian It girls Jeanne Damas and Sabina Socol to see why. If you want to dress French, get a cardi and make it cropped.