Being a British girl living in France has definitely shaped my personal style choices. Since moving from London to Paris in 2013, my wardrobe has changed irrevocably. However, as an outsider, I still have the advantage of being able to hone in on what's happening from a distance.
This means that I'm still removed enough to see how Parisian women are adapting their vibe every few months. I can spot what they're adding to their classic repertoires and I can see which styling ideas head towards style Siberia. I can also tell when a trend that's taking off back in the UK really isn't going to cut la moutarde with my French fashion comrades.
With Paris Fashion Week drawing to a close, every European person with a heart that beats for clothes has started focusing on autumn. For French women (as you'll no doubt have gathered by now), this seasonal shift does not spark a wild closet clearout or complete sartorial turnaround. Many will be digging out their trusty favourites, but don't be fooled into thinking nothing new is allowed to enter the mix. Would the world of retail really thrive if no one here was buying an updated piece or two?
I've gone through the A/W 18 list of trends and cherry-picked what will and won't be adopted by the girls in the City of Lights. This not only offers you a cheat sheet to looking more French this year (you're welcome), but it also serves as a good indicator of what's worth investing in, because goodness knows Parisian ladies choose items that are well worth the money.
French Girls Won't Wear: Camouflage
French Girls Will Wear: Animal Print
Camo clothes worn outside of the army have always been divisive, and I, for one, have never been on board. Despite the reputable likes of Marques'Almeida reinventing the print and Victoria Beckham sporting it earlier this year, I'm steering clear of it this season. I think there's a better way to reveal your wild side, and that's with animal print.
French women are known for their feisty, nonchalant attitude, so it's no surprise that animal prints are such a hit. And while the trend isn't a new autumn phenomenon, it has showed up on the runways in various exotic forms. Don't be afraid to mix and match animal prints or double up—I'm currently into leopard with mock croc.
Unless I'm booking myself onto a polar expedition or hitting the slopes, I will not be reaching for an excess of protective layers this autumn. In fact, you can spot a tourist right away by the way they wander around Paris in outdoor gear like they're about to embark on a hike. Bulky outdoor gear is a big no in a chic city like Paris, where trench and belted wool coats reign supreme as cold weather cover-ups. Instead, I'll be keeping warm in faux fur for the foreseeable future. It's just as cosy as a padded style, but far chicer and therefore more likely to be on trend for longer.
French Girls Won't Wear: Neon Shades
French Girls Will Wear: Autumnal Browns
Contrary to popular belief, French women wear a lot of colour, but their limit stops at neon. Wearing unnatural, bold colours taken from the '80s and '90s (which could possibly blind passersby) are the antithesis of what I would coin French style. Instead, I'm taking my queue from '70s Chloé and bundling up in autumnal layers of chocolate brown, chestnut, rust and camel.
French Girls Won't Wear: Blanket Scarves
French Girls Will Wear: Chic Capes
The pyjama trend was never one I felt comfortable walking around outside in, and so is the "blankets as coats" trend. But the cape is something I can buy into. This beige number is the classic trench with a twist. Layer one over denim or a tonal outfit et voilà! And who doesn't want to cruise the streets feeling like a superhero rather than looking like you just dragged yourself out of bed?
French Girls Won't Wear: Tartan
French Girls Will Wear: Silk-Scarf Prints
I'm going to leave tartan to my Scottish cousins and fancy dress parties and opt for the silk-scarf print that hit the runways in February, inspired by the French foulard. Foulards are to the French what Chelsea boots are to the Brits; it's a piece worn by young and old alike. Retro silk-scarf prints have been refashioned into shirts, skirts, trousers and dresses by the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Gucci and (old) Céline. I'm teaming mine with a knitted polo and ankle boots.