5 Pieces Required for French Style, According to Carine Roitfeld


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They say you should never meet your idols, but a few weeks ago, I couldn’t pass up the chance to do just that. My heart skipped a beat when an email with the subject line "In-person meeting w/ Carine Roitfeld” landed in my inbox. Roitfeld was visiting L.A. to chat about an exciting upcoming launch (more on that later), and was available to sit down with me for 30 minutes. I promptly replied to confirm the meeting.

For context, my apartment is stocked with issues of Vogue Paris from when Roitfeld was editor-in-chief. Growing up, a subscription to the French fashion bible was the only thing I asked for on my birthday, and I used to study every issue when they arrived in my mailbox in Arizona. Images of Lara Stone shot at Mont Saint Michel are still tacked up on a board in my childhood bedroom to this day, and the issue guest-edited by Sofia Coppola helped guide me to the most stylish destinations in Paris when I lived there. As the Founder of CR Fashion Book, she's been defining fashion with her unparalleled vision, which inspires me every day. Meeting Roitfeld—the woman behind some of the most important images and fashion influences that shaped my perspective on style—was something special.

It seemed fitting to meet Roitfeld at the Sunset Marquis, a hotel in the heart of the Sunset Strip with a storied history hosting rock legends. As I settled into a chair next to Roitfeld, I noticed her smudged black eyeliner, a silver chain necklace draped around her neck and a metallic gold Chanel bag—each element exuding the spirit of rock ’n’ roll permeating every inch of the place around us; a style that has come to define modern French fashion. As we settled into conversation, we talked about new projects she has in the pipeline but also her perspective on French fashion. And from that, I’ve compiled her lessons on the art of mastering French style.



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Carine told me she views lingerie as the foundation of a Parisian wardrobe. In her opinion, it’s the most important essential to start with. "As a French person, we’re very interested in lingerie,” she explained, "It’s very important.” It really shapes the clothes you wear on top, so it’s a category that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Knee-Length Black Skirt


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I showed up to the interview wearing this black pencil skirt outfit, and Roitfeld told me, "Look at you; you look Parisian,” as I sat down at a table with her. So it was no surprise she later named a black skirt among her French wardrobe must-haves.

Black Jacket


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Years ago, I bought a black blazer with faint thin stripes from Roitfeld's collaboration with Uniqlo—a collection of some of her Parisian wardrobe musts. She still thinks that a black jacket is required to tap into French style.



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"I quite like tights," Roitfeld told me, confirming that they're one piece that belongs in a French capsule wardrobe. In fact, she was wearing a pair to our meeting.



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You'll be hard-pressed to find Roitfeld wearing anything but a stiletto. And yes, they're a French wardrobe essential in her book.

Up Next: I Live in Paris, and These Are the 4 New French Brands Everyone Wants to Wear

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.