How to dress like a French woman (and what her style can teach you about life)

              I am obviously very American.

              I am obviously very American.

What is the secret to French style?  

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about having a style tagline.  My tagline has long been "edgy Parisian chic".  But the "Parisian" part is a little vague, so I decided to do a scientific study on Pinterest to deconstruct the style of the French woman. (You can view my "study" here.)  These are the physical qualities I noticed - 

1) Natural hair and makeup

2) Simple but textured outfits

3) A jacket or blazer

4) A scarf or vintage necklace

But it wasn't purely physical.  What are the cultural differences that give her that "je ne sais quoi"?  Here's what I came up with - 

1) French women aren't chasing fads.  They aren't letting someone else tell them how to dress.  They have a slight "I don't care what you think" attitude.  But that doesn't mean they don't care.  They put thought into what they buy upfront, so when they get dressed, it's easy.

2) They buy what they like and actually wear it (instead of saving it for a "special occasion").  They wear "real clothes" all the time.  (You won't catch a French woman wearing exercise clothes outside of the gym.)  Famous American women don't wear the same outfit twice.  But in my "study", I noticed famous French women wearing the same black collared shirt or the same sandals or the same button-up shirt with jeans over and over and over.

3) They don't have the American obsession with shiny and new.  They are comfortable with old and worn-in.  They work with what's right in front of them.  

4) French women are always put-together but never flashy.  They are more into texture and quality than something that is immediately striking.  

So, I did a little French exercise from my own closet.  I started with a simple v-neck white t-shirt, straight leg jeans, and black flats - 

white tshirt 3.jpg

Added a thin scarf - 

Changed the necklace to something more vintage (actually my grandmother's locket) and different scarf - 

Then dressed it up a little with a black blazer -

That was 3 different outfits with the same main items.  So, what can we learn about LIFE from French style?

1) A little forethought can streamline your life.  We often end up with too much stuff (and too much to do) because we throw things in at the last minute.  Walking through a store and grabbing whatever catches our eye is going to result in a random closet (or kitchen cabinet).

2) Limitations can set you free.  Work with what you have right in front of you.  Let's get creative with what we already have.  America is the "land of opportunity", but too many options can be distracting and paralyzing.  

3)  Texture and layers make life interesting.  Instead of skimming the surface, go deep.  Build some texture into your life.  That takes time and commitment, but it builds quality that will last.

I would love to hear your thoughts on clothes or life - especially if you are actually French.