A Stylist's Guide to Dressing Like a French Film Star of the '60s

While our high school teachers rattled on about the groundbreaking editing and cinematography in the films of the French New Wave, we fashion girls were busy observing the très-chic outfits we saw onscreen. Take, for instance, Jean Seberg’s iconic Breton shirt in Breathless. And how could you forget Anna Karina’s ruffled red dress in Pierrot le Fou?

While the genre introduced French-girl style to the masses back in the ’50s and ’60s, the American fashion girl’s obsession with all things Parisian has never been greater than it is today. Take it from sisters Chloé and Marie-Lou Bartoli, a pair of stylists born to French parents and raised in Los Angeles. The two have literally made a living off of bringing French-girl style to Angeleno starlets.

“French-girl style is effortlessly cool,” explains Chloé. Adds Marie-Lou, “It has a lot to do with an overall attitude and lifestyle—it’s a combination of all of this that makes French-girl style so appealing.” Today, the sisters are showing us how to channel that effortless, vintage-inspired aesthetic using staples from AG’s aptly named spring collection, La Nouvelle Vague.

Curious to see the results? Keep reading to see how the en vogue pair put a modern spin on the silver-screen styles.

Chloé's Take

Photo:

Describe The Fauna

While the films of the French New Wave were made more than 50 years ago, Chloé notes that the style showcased onscreen is still quite relevant today. She pulled out the menswear-inspired trend that was so common in the films and styled a black jacket and a simple button-down with a retro pair of sunglasses. Want to add accessories? Try a silk bandana tied around your neck, Chloé advises, but don’t get too carried away: “Simplicity is a major key word when it comes to re-creating the French New Wave style,” she notes. 

This tailored button-down blouse offers that effortless "I just threw this on" vibe.

A frayed hem gives a modern update to a classic look. 

Marie-Lou's Take

Photo:

Describe The Fauna

While Chloé’s style is slightly edgier, Marie-Lou says hers is more on the classic and feminine side à la Françoise Hardy and Brigitte Bardot. The stylist added a modern twist on two French-girl staples—a red Breton top and cigarette pants—by styling them with a leather moto jacket and white sneakers. “These pieces are so versatile in their simplicity,” Marie-Lou explains. “They can easily be dressed up or down.” 

Classic French style is all about stripes, stripes, and more stripes. 

Try tucking in your shirt to create a vintage silhouette. 

Lastly, if you’re wondering who French girls consider to be their ultimate style icon, c’est vous! “Us French girls love the American vintage and hippie style,” Chloé says. We guess the grass really is always greener.