Travel + Leisure is one of my favorite magazines in a normal year. During 2020, with any type of travel completely off the table, it’s been my favorite form of escapism. Lately (well… always, if I am being honest) I am daydreaming about Paris. A stay at the Hotel Lutetia, which recently completed an intensive four-year renovation, is at the top of my list. Of course, my vision of myself amongst the soaring ceilings, detailed mouldings and spectacular carved mantles does not include my WTF “pandemic uniform” of faded black denim and whatever sweater happens to be clean. Instead, I need some real French Girl Style!
Full disclosure, I have never been to France. But, my daughter spent a semester in Paris. And, we agree – French women have a certain air about them, a confidence to pull off ensembles that would look distinctly out of place in your average American suburban shopping mall.
So, to revamp my Hotel Lutetia fantasy, how do I achieve French chic without resorting to vintage Channel? Here are my easy-to-follow “rules” for fabulous French Girl style:
1.) Black. A great unifier and oh-so-sophisticated. Europeans wear black in every season. Even a relatively inexpensive outfit looks better in black.
2.) Legs. American women are so programmed to wear jeans or pants, we forget the incredible allure of a swinging hem and glimpse (or more!) of toned leg.
3.) Shoes. I don’t mean sneakers, flip flops, or (heaven forbid!) Crocs. I mean shoes. Real ones made of leather, preferably with a bit of a heel (although embellished ballet flats or high boots are also acceptable).
4.) Good bags. Bags don’t necessarily have to be designer. Great lines are crucial. Also, size matters! Nothing looks worse than a woman with a tiny bag and the some huge, hideous, canvas freebie tote with a slogan emblazoned on it. Go for a larger bag or carry less stuff.
5.) Body conscious designs. Belt it. Cinch it. We all know that French women are notoriously thin. But you can enhance your own silhouette with form-fitting designs that create the illusion.
6.) Personality. Hard to define, but easy to spot. Create a signature look. A scarf in the hair, masses ropes of chains/pearls, a hat. Choosing to dress with flair requires a certain degree confidence.
Here’s looking forward to a 2021 filled with exciting travel destinations and of course, plenty of style!
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Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style. From must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products for parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com.
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