So what do I have in my own ‘French wardrobe’ and what brands I like wearing? I am definitely obsessed with vintage shops and London is a great place for such treasures. I then like to mix these with high-street basics and designer pieces. Have a look at the list below (doesn’t look that ‘minimalistic’;-).
My whole wardrobe is based around a white T- shirt. Love it with a scarf, jeans and flats. My white tees usually come from GAP, COS or M&S. Whistles also do decent ones. I’ve also got a few T-shirts in black, grey and dark blue. A MUST in every wardrobe, not only French.
I’ve got some delicate silk tops, which work great under a sweater or for hot summer evenings. Sexy, yet understated, especially with a jacket or mixed with a chunky woollen knit. I bought my last couple of silk tops with lace embellishments at Massimo Dutti.
Jackets, I’ve got quite a few in various colours and patterns, depending on the season. If you’re searching for ‘a la Chanel’ tweed one, visit your local vintage shops, and Zara makes good look-a-likes on a budget.
Simple cashmere sweaters in black and grey (I need to invest in beige and red!). I love the ones from M&S and got a black one from Galleries Lafayette.
A beige Trench coat is another must-have in my wardrobe. I’ve got a beautiful one from ‘Elementy’, a small Polish brand, and they have a great collection. I’m in desperate need of a black one now…
Turtleneck is a very important winter item for me (although I wear them all year round). The slightly forgotten Benetton is actually a great place for such basics.
Jeans, my favourite is the dark blue ‘Leigh’ style from Top Shop, but also any kind of boyfriend jeans. Levi’s 501 is also the ultimate classic. Shorts for the summer (vintage Levi’s are great again), they’ll go with white shirts and tees. And an over-size jacket on top.
Well-fitting black trousers, like the ones you get in a suit combo. Benetton, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Mango or COS from the high streets brands.
White shirts, I’ve got a couple of ‘boyfriend’ style ones from GAP and Zara, another few silk ones from charity shops mostly. Wear them casually with a scarf, beret or a simple delicate gold pendant.
Dresses... I’ve somehow got a lot of black ones (which is very French ;), all pretty much knee length and barely any cleavage in my case. I brighten them up with colourful accessories, as I don’t like going ALL black. I enjoy wearing good quality fabrics and cuts that accentuate the waist. The general rule is, I know a good dress when I see one. My favourite French brands are Sandro, Maje and Zadig & Voltaire for chic, summary dresses. These brands are very ‘Parisian’, super feminine, but with a ‘rock-chic’ edge.
In terms of accessories, apart from scarfs which I wear a lot, I’ve a thousand pairs of earrings, a few simple gold pendants and some bracelets for layering. Remember, that ONE stand-out element in your outfit is quite enough. Wearing a very extravagant dress? Keep the accessories simple. But if it looks too plain, you can go big on the jewellery.
Leopard print… I see that a lot on French women, but I don’t have it on my list yet. Maybe I’ll give flats in this pattern a go for the upcoming summer.
Black pencil skirt, can be in leather.
Striped shirt, an iconic ‘French’ piece, my current one is from COS.
Leather biker jacket, yet again Zara in my case.
Shoes… this is a never-ending list…unfortunately I’m not very minimalistic on this front as I can’t have enough shoes in my life. I like to wear flats, got the classic black Chanels among others, then a couple from Repetto (they mostly do shoes for dancers, but also have a wide collection for non-dancers like me), a few suede black stilettos (Mango, Kurt Geiger and YSL), some open toe, high heels sandals (Kurt Geiger), black Chelsea boots and biker boots for the winter (I love Anine Bing lately for those). And get yourself a pair of white VANS or Converse!!!
Bags: big black or beige one does the job, then a smaller one from Chloe if you want to splash out. I have lots of small bags to mix with my outfits, I get them regularly at vintage shops or flee markets. LOVE bags… not as much as shoes but I’ve got a big box at home. Lately a lot of burgundy.
Basic rule: I prefer to invest in one, good quality piece, then ten cheap ones. Though I often combine quality, fashion and great prices at vintage shops. And sell or give away the clothes I don’t wear.