Scrolling through the Instagram feeds of French trendsetters like Jeanne Damas or Anne-Laure Mais, it's easy to see there's just something so effortless about the way they pull off Parisian style. As a native Californian (and current New Yorker), I feel a bit like an actress in costume when testing the waters of French-girl style. The outfits that look easy on a native feel contrived when worn by someone attempting to look the part.
Instead of simply trying to re-create the French look from head to toe, I figured I would turn to an expert to help me integrate the French aesthetic into my own style. So I reached out to Mélanie Viallon, chief creative officer at Les Lunes, to serve up some advice. Viallon lives in Paris, but is constantly travelling to the U.S., meaning she's especially qualified to compare and contrast fashion trends.
Below, she evaluated five photos from my Instagram and relayed ways to incorporate a bit of Parisian flair into my look without totally abandoning my signature style. With any luck, her tiny tricks may just come in handy in your own quest for that je ne sais quoi we all aspire to achieve. Check out her tips, and then shop a few of our favourite French girl–inspired pieces now.
"This is a very French look. The picture could have easily been taken at Les Jardins du Luxembourg, although a real French girl would also be holding a recyclable cup of tea, possibly even taking a break from shopping at the local market.
"The straight top tucked into the high-waisted pants feminizes the silhouette while keeping it simple and noticeable. Navy and white colours are also always a great choice for a classy French Riviera look."
Switch to longer sleeves for autumn.
"This is the perfect, timeless outfit to wear while stopping to contemplate a beloved city. The '40s-style scarf is perfectly wrapped, and I love the retro spirit of your '60s sunglasses. My only comment is a French girl would have added an old sautoir necklace over her basic white tee."
It's impossible not to fall in love with these '50s-inspired sunglasses.
The official necklace style of French girls.
"Walking down a French street, you'll find the skirts here are a bit shorter. We would balance the candidness of the shorter bottom with a mustard shawl elegantly wrapped around the shoulders. The mules could stay the same, as they're very '80s and remind us of crazy years in fashion when so much was created."
Layer like a French girl with this cosy wrap.
We're loving this pretty ruffle detail.
"Still in love with white high-waisted pants, as they're very French, especially here with a Vichy cropped top. I would have also loved to see a white triangle bra in lace under it and let the lingerie become the accessory of the look, the eye-catching question mark. Le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is full of this kind of style and is the place to be during the summer, as it's like a private garden for all Parisians."
Let this lacy bra peek out from under a simple white top.
French girls love this jewelry brand.
"Love this look! The shades of blue denim give it an easy-going, French country–chic look that could work anywhere. Adding a citrine shawl would make it even more French."
Throw on a simple T-shirt, and you're ready for a day out.
This scarf would look great with a white tee.