Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Le Style File

Regarde: the most accurate book on French style ever written.

When my mom purchased it for me as a going-away present, of course I was thrilled. But in the back of my mind, I wondered: could this really be true? Would les femmes francaise really release their enviable style secrets to the public, or was this book merely a ruse intended to throw French-fashion-crazed Americans (like me) off the scent of obtaining the real «je ne sais quoi?» of French style?

Mais non—from what I’ve seen of the chic-on-the-streets in Monaco, it’s all true! Formidable! Chouette! How fantastic for those of us who attempt to incorporate French vocabulary into our everyday conversations to sound instantly more stylish and cultured (me again)!

This is the author of Parisian Chic, former French model and present-day fashion icon Ines de la Fressange. She’s so charming, right? Bien sur!

Though her book is technically on obtaining Parisian style, I’ve seen women following Ines’ rules in every city I’ve bought out visited in Southern France. So, obviously, I’m now in the process of incorporating her suggestions into my own style recipe. Want to do the same? Here are a few tips from Ines to get you started:

1. “Mix couture and street culture.”

2. “Never look rich—discover new labels, especially if they’re creative and affordably priced.”

3. “Wearing a big, man’s watch with a cashmere sweater, jeans, and Converse sneakers is very sensual.”

4. Keep jewelry simple—“A lucky charm bracelet” is best, “especially when it’s been brought back from India and you can tell your friends, ‘I’d give you the address but it was a gift from a friend, she brought it back from India…’”

5. Put effort into looking effortless.

6. Never wear Nike shorts publicly, ever. Okay, that one was mine. Live and learn, you know?

This morning, I went into Monte-Carlo to meet two Swedish au pairs for lunch. I kept Ines’ guidelines top-of-hat while pulling my wardrobe together, of course.

Normally, I might be tempted to wear a chunky necklace with my ensemble. Mais non—Ines suggests simple diamond studs. Et voila—I’m suddenly French!

A nod to the leopard trend, a structured orange jacket, Haute Hippie pants I got at an incredible sale price (Ines says discounts are very fashionable), ballerines, light makeup, and a center part.

I’m not all-the-way French yet (I’m still lacking a man’s watch, a delicate charm bracelet, and a chunky cable knit turtleneck), but I think I’ve been influenced. And I love it!

Merci, Ines. Je t’aime.

bisous, mes amis! xo

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