Literal translation for the French phrase Je ne sais quoi: “I don’t know what.” As in: I don’t know what the heck it is about French women that makes them so alluring–so mysterious. Their style is quite indefinable, n’est-ce pas?
My quest—to find out how they do it. My best source: Ines de la Fressange, 60 year-old French model, fashion icon, and author of Parisan Chic.
Ines de la Fressange declares: “It has been said regarding French women, ‘First you see the woman –then you see the clothes.’ It is not about a label you are wearing. They seem to know what they like and what they look good in–and what they DON’T.”
“Parisian Style is an attitude, a state of mind.” –Ines de la Fressange
She adds, “A Parisian..breathes the l’air du temps (what is fashionable at the moment)…always with the same aim: fashion should be fun.”
In Parisan Chic, Ines presents a Six Point Guide to dressing like you were born with Parisean DNA.
- Outfits are out. Coordination is a crime—mix it up. Knowing how to mix styles and labels is essential. A clever mix of chic and cheap hits the jackpot when it comes to dressing Parisienne.
- Bye bye bling: The French woman seeks chic and demands quality. Her definition ofl luxury? A brand that guarantees good taste rather than an all too obvious price tag.
- Explore J’adore -The Parisian loves exploring new labels. She mixes cheap with chic. Her wardrobe is a clever mix of affordable buys…and a handful of luxury pieces. (It is impossible to tell if her outfit came from Gap, H&M or Hermes).
- If it Feels Good, Wear It. “The secret of great style is to feel good in what you wear.” The Parisian knows her shape, what suits her, and what matches her lifestyle. IF YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE IN IT, GO HOME AND CHANGE.
- Worship no idols: The Parisienne takes inspiration from everywhere–even from the street.
- Beware of Good Taste. Who knew that black and navy were made for each other? No one until Yves Saint Laurent gave us permission to boldly go where no one had gone before. Some rules are meant to be broken.
Ines echoes a familiar theme: “(For French women) Their style is effortless because they know themselves.”
It reiterates what Janna and I say in our book, QUINTESSENTIAL STYLE: Cultivate & Communicate Your Signature Look. That is, the better you know yourself, the easier it is to discover your quintessential style.
You don’t have to be French to be stylish…all you have to do is know what works–and what doesn’t work–for you and your lifestyle TODAY.
And always keep in mind:
“Fashion should be fun.” …Ines de la Fressange
to be continued…