There’s lots to love about what we’ve come to think of as “French” style. When done well, it’s simple, chic, and more sustainable than perpetually chasing trends.
French-inspired fashion details
Simple, good quality basics that can easily be remixed are an essential foundation. But “simple” can be deceptive; it doesn’t necessarily mean plain or generic.
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One of the hallmarks of French style is attention to detail, specifically subtle details that make a piece more unique. Think: piping on a blazer, an oversized buckle on a loafer, multi-colored buttons on a blouse, fringe on a bag. But nothing so flashy or over-the-top that it makes the piece hard to style multiple ways.
It’s not always easy to find pieces with those “little extra” design details. For one thing, they add to the production price of a garment, so can be difficult to find done well at lower price points. And right now, so many retailers seem to be playing it safe with very generic styles and colors.
When I want to find some pieces with interesting but not overwhelming details, I look first at French and French-inspired fashion brands.
This organic cotton fabric is substantial but not stiff, and Sézane is committed to sustainability and transparency.
Texture is another way to add detail and visual interest.
Looks like a classic Little Tweed Jacket, wears like a cardigan. Maje Paris is more spendy than Sézane, but if you can find items on sale (or shop in France where the prices are lower), there are some decent values.
I’ve purchased a couple of sweaters from this brand over the last few seasons, and found the quality to be quite good. This one’s currently 50% off.
Amour Vert is a US brand with a French POV that was founded with sustainability in mind. What they do best, IMO, are printed tops (in silk and other fabrics) and sweaters.
While this silk blouse isn’t something you’d wear every day, it’s the kind of piece you could pull out season after season when you want to dress up a bit. Wear on its own or layer under a jacket.
This top is described as a sweatshirt, but it’s certainly more elegant than most with the ribbed fabric, boatneck, and button detail on the shoulder. I’d wear this as a lightweight sweater with jeans or other casual pants.
Ok, so maybe Madewell isn’t specifically French-inspired, but this herringbone pattern sweater coat is something I could easily see being worn in Paris. The stand collar, bone button and trim on the cuffs and hem are all nice details.
I’ll keep my eyes open as the Spring styles start to roll in, and update.