Fabulously French

14 April 2014

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Dress to impress. How often have you heard that saying thrown around?

A job interview, meeting your partner’s parents, a wedding. There are so many occasions in which it should be aptly applied. But what about simply ‘dressing up’ in everyday life?

Those tracksuit pants and hoody you threw on for uni today are not what I’m talking about. Get rid of that ripped pair of converse and keep the ugg boots for home – seriously, they’re slippers.

What we should be doing is taking a leaf out of every European woman’s style guide and writing down every tip we can get.

European style, and in particular the French, is iconic. It’s sophisticated, classic, classy and chic. What we would call dressing up is what they refer to as everyday attire. High heels and a figure hugging (knee length of course) number would almost be appropriate for a quick grocery shop.

Polishing your look doesn’t need to be hard. All it takes is some inspiration and a few ‘team with anything’ pieces.

Fashion muses such as Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, Clemence Poesy and not to forget the iconic Coco Chanel provide us with all we need to know to sharpen up our look for the winter. Take notes ladies.

cocochanelIf you’re aiming for class, look no further than Coco Chanel. This concept pretty much starts and finishes with her. A love for classic suits, tweed and pearls says it all really. Chanel was one revolutionary lady in the fashion department, mixing prints and textures – what a woman.

So invest in some fabulous tweed and you’ve got a piece to carry you through not only this season, but for years to come. However, remember the words of this exquisite mortal – less is more.

Perhaps you’re after a look that’s a little more flirty. Cue Brigitte Bardot.


Famous for her tight tops and full bodied, feminine skirts, this lass knows how to work it. This look is perfect for a Sunday afternoon get-together. Team with restrained flats and you’ll be feeling French in no time.

Don’t be fooled though, I’m not talking about short skater skirts that have been the rage for the past few years. Keep it appropriate ladies; we’re after knee length here.

If your look is normally a little more casual, you can keep it that way with some help from Jane Birkin. Known for her bohemian effortlessness in the 1960s, she delivers the inspiration for that casual yet standout look.

Think wooden clogs, skinny jeans, a plain white t-shirt and some neck bling. You’ll be rocking the ultimate Parisian ‘off-duty’ outfit.

Birkin seems to have passed her inspired fashion sense onto her daughter, Lou Doillon, who shows all those ladies partial to a bit of mesnwear-inpired fashion how to keep it feminine.

Long, box-cut coats, coupled with a pair of tight black jeans, a loose knit and some bohemian-rock accessories are all you need to achieve Parisian ‘cool’.

Another French female sporting men’s inspired outerwear is Clemence Poesy. This beauty makes our version of ‘casual’ look like we’re off to meet the Queen.


Oversized sweaters and vintage inspired loafers can be jazzed up with sleek accessories and a polished clutch. Don’t think drab, think fab. Comfortable seems to be a word the French take with a grain of salt, as their theory of the word translates into something completely different in practice.

So ladies, this winter you need to get up, dress up and show up. Make an impression with your wardrobe by dressing it up a little like our Parisian counterparts.

If you’re stuck for style ideas, just look to our sisters across the globe for a little inspiration and you’ll be French chic in no time.


Alice PiperTHUMB


Alice Piper is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University and the Fashion & Lifestyle Editor for upstart. Follow her on Twitter: @PiperAlice.