The chic, effortless French girl style sparks images of a girl who’s bold and red lipped, wearing a tailored blazer, while holding a wicker basket and a glass of red wine.
In France, who is this girl exactly? Or rather, what is her personalized beauty regimen like? And what about her characteristics?
The French girl is stylish, she’s cool, she’s intellectual, she might run around in kitten heels, boots and jeans, achieving an overall thrown-together look – as if there was no effort involved.
But behind all the undone elegance, there’s a carefully curated process behind achieving a super chic (yet natural-looking) aesthetic. Such a process entails of unspoken beauty and style rules that every one of us could incorporate into our own routines.
So, in helping you discover if they’re right for you, here’s 3 secrets to having French girl style.
1. French Girl Style is About Charm and the Unconventional
There’s a French expression (that may be considered more of an Anglophone invention since it’s not commonly used in the language), “jolie laide,” which approximately translates to “beautiful-ugly”.
The French girl style means celebrating your quirks, or unique physical traits, to stand out from the crowd.
You don’t want to look like everyone else – in fact, you want to develop a charm about you. Rather than flattening your naturally curly hair with an iron, you would let it out as it naturally sits, and vice versa.
According to Beauty and Fashion icon, Jeanne Damas, who spoke to Vogue:
“It’s more about charm than ‘plastic’. You’re much more beautiful with your hair down, a little bit of makeup, wearing a nice, comfy pair of trousers. Don’t look too harsh with makeup. I don’t think that’s sexy. I don’t think that’s very classy.”
2. French Girl Style is About Being Healthy
Along with focusing on your unique physical traits and charming manner, there’s a focus on maintaining your figure so that you have a good baseline to work with – which ideally would also mean you don’t require much makeup to look your best.
There’s low tolerance for being overweight in French society, and eating habits are sensible, consisting of 3 meals a day, no snacking and reasonable exercise.
For example, traditionally, French people take a long lunch, and food is savored rather than chowed down. Eating well-prepared, whole foods is important as a society, and not just for foodies.
However, we promote diversity in different body types, so we’d take any high regard for thinness for the sake of appearance with a grain of salt, and prefer a focus on exercise and healthy eating for the sake of our health, rather than purely for the external!
3. Trend is a Dirty Word
As is the true French essence, there’s an understanding that you don’t follow fast fashion fads.
French girl fashion emphasizes timeless pieces, that don’t date within a season or two, like solid-color blouses and shirts, muted colors and simple shapes.
Think a structured blazer, classic jewelry, cashmere sweaters, jeans, trench coats, leather jackets, or low-heeled shoes.
As always, the key is to look relaxed and like you’re not trying hard at all. Which is why some women in France believe that the need to look effortless and stylish is tied to conformism and peer pressure.
Wearing leggings to go the supermarket? Bad taste! These are unspoken style rules.
And you may start to feel the stares when you move to Paris and take your dog out for a walk wearing sweatpants.
Are you Ready to Have French Girl Style?
From focusing on attitude over clothing to favoring minimalist basics, hopefully the French girl style isn’t so elusive anymore.
You’ve received your master class in ‘je ne sais quoi’, so are you likely to adopt French eating and drinking habits, and build up a classic wardrobe that forgoes fast fashion trends?
If it suits your beauty goals than it’s worth a try!
And if you’re looking to make your style game even more international, here’s our guide for Japanese beauty trends – “6 Japanese Beauty Trends that are Crossing Borders”.
Stay tuned for all the latest and greatest when it comes to beauty and skincare!