After three weeks in France, two blogs on French style, and countless glasses of wine, it is still hard to describe the indescribable élan of French women. But I have pinpointed three specific elements that may help solve the mystery.
It’s quite astonishing that a small piece of silk can make such a statement when it comes to dressing. But the French have always been masters of their scarves. Long, short, square, rectangular. No outfit seems complete sans scarf.
Since many French women wear very little makeup, it seems the scarf may accomplish a similar job–adding color to the face.
Even the men agree. Bien sur!
Pick up any French magazine and you will notice there are far more ads for skincare products than there are for makeup. Why? Simple. French women value skincare over makeup any day. A consistent skincare regimen is ingrained at a very early age. Foundation, if worn at all, is scant. French women concentrate more on showing off their healthy-looking skin rather than camouflaging it.
Au natural being the keywords here.
France is a world leader in cosmetic and skincare production and sales. Recognize any of these these names: Lancome, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Christian Dior, Chanel, L’Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent, LaRoche Posay, L’Occitane, Guerlain, La Mer, Clarins?
When it comes to fashion, French women don’t dress for anybody but themselves. They know exactly what looks good on them. And they simply don’t care about others’ opinions.
Each day, American women strive for perfection—it seems to be in our nature. We agonize over every pound, every morsel, every wrinkle, every gray hair. But for French women, a little indulgence is okay–and so is aging. According to blogger Jennifer Lien: “They (French women) are comfortable in their own skin and idols don’t exist in a French woman’s dictionary.”
French women respect themselves. They can be feminists and still appreciate their femininity. And they will never turn down a gentleman’s offer to open their bottle of champagne. Some might interpret this as arrogance, but to them ‘c’est la vie.’ (It’s life.)
I took this photo on top of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The jacket seems to sum up every French girl’s philosophy on style.
Time to leave the croissants and cappucino.
I may never truly understand the elusive panache of the French, but as long as there are baguettes and wine, I’ll keep trying.