French Basics 101

La femme française embodies simple elegance and casual sophistication in everything she does. No one else has quite mastered the natural, simple style of a French woman. Spend an hour in any Parisian arrondissement and you’ll be sure to come across a myriad of white tees and jeans, scarves and sneakers. Simple pieces paired flawlessly with little to no makeup and perfectly messy hair give French women the mystique that makes her famous in the fashion world.

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Photo credit: Anna Schoeck

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Place des Vosges: Paris, France

Last week, I channeled my inner frenchie and did as the Parisians do. I sported this Zara trench coat with an oversized white linen shirt from Topshop tucked in the front, and these Old Navy distressed rock star jeans. I topped the outfit off with a pop of color scarf (it’s unseasonably chilly in Paris), comfortable walking shoes from Nike and a gold watch and bracelet.

The trench is a French staple for many reasons. From the metro to the musées, trench coats fill the Parisians neighborhoods in all types of weather. From business wear to bourgeoisie, these versatile, weather proof jackets can pull any outfit together. Pair it with a pencil skirt and heels for an office look, or jeans and sneakers for a casual stroll around the city.

Every french woman has her favorite white linen or cotton shirt. They come in all shapes and sizes from oversized and slouchy to tailored and pressed. I love this one from Zara, it’s a classic French button up, perfectly tailored with clean lines. These shirts can be worn in an endless variety of different ways for a flawless transition from downtown to uptown. This oversized “chemise”can be tied up or tucked in with your favorite pair of skinny jeans or worn alone as a chic shift dress. I love the feminine details on this pleated back button up (also from Zara), it adds a fun, unexpected twist to a classic piece.

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