I love the French-Chic women. Their style radiates an air of self-assuredness, that indefinable je ne sais quoi that initially seems so elusive, and yet at the same time almost appears simple, uncontrived, perhaps effortless.
What is it about French women that makes it seem like they hold all the answers, when it comes to style? They shop at Zara, just like us. They sometimes forget to wash their hair, just like us. Their most prized possessions are the vintage dresses they bought while thrifting — just like us.
And yet, somehow, they all have that certain “Oh, this old thing? Isn’t it incredible?” confidence that takes the rest of us a lifetime to come into. But, you know what we’re good at? Pilfering style secrets. So, here you are the ultimate guide. De rien, mes amis!
Inès de la Fressange, the premiere model for Chanel in the 80s and currently the brand ambassador for Roger Vivier, has graciously decided to share these coveted Parisian secrets of style in her book Parisian Style: A Style Guide.
I must confess, I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take in her tips, ideas and expertise for more than just a few months, and upon the delivery of my copy, it barely left my side until I was finished.
First of all, while the cover alone is captivating and impossible to miss with it’s scarlet red jacket and gilded font, the contents are just as creatively and vivaciously presented. With the feel of a large Moleskine journal, ribbon bookmark and all, additionally all of the photography of shops, products and destinations are by Inès, as are the drawings and hand-written lists. The the layout as well is playful, easy to read and unpretentious unlike what one might expect due to the topic at hand.
Inès has clearly taken special care to create guide for all of us who are short on time and thus sometimes imagination, being sure to help us create a style that appears effortless, yet is full of great thought.
The Magnificent Seven are what is defined as the brilliant basics that are key to creating Parisian style in any scenario. Modeled by Inès’ daughter Nine, each of these items are demonstrated as part of a complete outfit in order to better exhibit how to incorporate exactly what she is suggesting must be in our closet:
The Magnificent Seven:
1. A Man’s Blazer
2. The Trench
3. The Navy (cashmere) Sweater
4. The Tank
5. The Little Black Dress
6. The Perfect Jeans
7. The Leather Jacket
While this may be where many style books cease in their guidance, Inès has only just begun. For each of the Magnificent Seven she shares more ideas on how to meld it into anyone’s wardrobe, a list of fashion faux pas, a lux celebrity style idea and a hall of fame reference which in the case of the navy sweater was Eric Bompard’s cashmere company. She is spilling the beans so to speak, sharing the secrets and letting us all in on where one can acquire the look of Parisian style.
And be sure, after sharing her tips on fashion, she continues on to accessories, the five essential bags, shoes, beauty, entertaining, and home decor.
Having lived in Paris for most of her life (although not born there, further proof that one does not need to be a born and bred Parisian to possess such style), she also takes her readers through her recommended shops, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, spas, and hot spots that would take more than a few travel guides to figure out when attempting to plan their next trip to the City of Light.
It is without reservation that I highly recommend Parisian Chic: A Style Guide as an informative, delightful and forever resourceful book that I am sure to pack for my next trip to Paris and have already begun to tweak my wardrobe accordingly – navy cashmere sweater, white jeans and ballet flats – my new go-to chic outfit. Thank you Inès!