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Week two has been all about learning French words for clothes and colours, apart from trying to memorize another dozen of sentences along the lines of 'please speak slower' which will hopefully save my life in France when I eventually head across the Channel. My pronunciation is failry good (well, it’s always been my strongest point when learning any language), vocabulary is not bad.. just trying to put everything together into a coherent conversation is not easy (i.e. I've been 'talking' to my phone app so far, 'it' asks you questions and you have to answer on the spot).

Certainly, trying to group words into topics has been helpful and this week it’s all about fashion. I’ve yet to learn by heart the basic 'script', as it’s called in the ‘Language Hacking’ textbook, which I could use when I go clothes shopping, like asking for size, saying what I'm looking for or whether I like it or not. But that's my plan for this Sunday. Basically, I’m trying to predict the most obvious situations that I’ll come across and make a list of sentences that I can 100% rely on.

So, I promised to write something about the iconic minimalist French style: practical, simple, yet very chic and feminine. Here’s a couple of ‘capsule wardrobe’ inspirations I found online. There’s literally thousands of these on Pinterest if you’re looking for more inspiration (links under the images if you want to explore a bit more).

Sources and credits

As you'll notice straight away, there's a lot of black, beige, grey and white. If a French woman wants to add some colour or be up to scratch with the latest trends, she just plays with her accessories (scarf, earrings, bag etc). Though I've also seen a fair bit of red or elegant dark green when browsing the net for 'French wardrobe pieces'.

There's white T-shirts and tank tops which go easily with any jacket (start with a simple black one, and then just search for stand-out tweed ones a la Chanel!). A black silk top and a plain white shirt (borrow from your boyfriend) are also a good idea. Great with jeans and flats.

Then there's good quality cashmere sweaters, and I would also recommend a turtleneck and a long grey sweater which you can put on top of everything when it gets a bit cooler.

For a date wear a little black dress and at work a pencil skirt always does the job. A few pairs of jeans won't hurt either, invest in some well-fitting and nicely cut black trousers, and pair of leather ones for a night out with the girls.

In terms of shoes, just like with clothes, keep it simple: sport Converse or Vans (I lately wear Vans ALL THE TIME), black and beige flats, Chelsea boots, black stilettos and sandals for summer.

Accessories: a couple of scarfs, gold pendants, pearl or diamond (-like) earrings, possibly a beret. A big black or beige bag to fit your laptop and then a small black one for the evening.

There's obviously some other things you can add to this list (personalise it!), but my basic rules are:

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: one good quality, long-term investment is better than 10 cheap things.

VARIETY FAIR: get classic pieces for your basic wardrobe and keep them trendy by updating accessories.

EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: after all clothes should be comfortable AND at the same time look gorgeous (OK, unless your going to the Oscars with SPANX underneath your gown and 10inch stilettos).

BE VERSATILE: buy stuff you can wear for different occasions and mix it up with other pieces you’ve already got in your wardrobe.

FIND YOUR STYLE: see what suits you and find your personal style. Some things might look great on others (or on the mannequin) but not good on you.


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