I Dressed Like a French Girl for a Week—Here's What I Thought

Putting aside the obvious je ne sais quoi  cliches, there is something about French-girl style that gets me every time: Be it the '60s appeal of Francoise Hardy or the sultry stylings of Jeanne Damas. Of course, I primarily see Parisian fashion through the lens of Instagram, but in my opinion, these modern-day It girls can harmonise the contemporary with the timeless just as well as those Gallic girls of the past could. 

If there's one thing that has become clear through my many hours of style stalking, it's that these girls know how to build a uniform, and as a fashion editor, that's something I am constantly trying to perfect. While I could bookmark outfits till I'm blue in the face, this summer I wanted to put my dreams of dressing like a French girl into action and spend a week living in their kitten-heeled shoes.

What did I discover? Well, for one thing, I ended up showing more skin than I would in my usual London wares (bearing in mind I have been living in midi skirts and roomy smock dresses this season), and influencers such as Anne-Laure certainly recognise the power of a back-bearing halterneck or a figure-hugging slip. However, French girls do balance out these more feminine pieces with boxy jackets or longer hemlines, which suited me well. 

I also enjoyed the Parisians' love of a staple: think classic blazers, simple cami tops or white tees.  I often feel obliged to make every component of an outfit feel interesting, but this exercise taught me that a good basic can look just as chic as a statement buy—it's all about styling them with a bolder print or on-trend accessory, such as a strappy sandal (they can't get enough of them).

So yes, I'm still a French girl wannabe, and I'm definitely going to make like Jeanne and add a little more femininity into my summer wardrobe via a strappy cami or slinky slip, but for now, I'll be styling them with my trusty chunky Tevas rather than a kitten heel. But who knows? You might just see me out and about this weekend toting a cheeky baguette (bag). Scroll down to see and shop my Parisian-inspired outfits. 

1. Midi Skirt + Cami Top

How the French Girls Wore It

Photo:

@annelauremais

How I Wore It

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: As someone who usually opts for more androgynous tailored separates, this was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the flattering effect of the high-waisted midi skirt paired with the strappy cami. It was also so nice on a humid day in London thanks to the flowy fabric and arm-bearing top.

How the French Girls Wore It

Photo:

@leiasfez

How I Wore It

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: Aside from the fact that my blazer was longer than my shorts—cue people in the street thinking I was half-naked—this was a look I could definitely get on board with. It's has a good dose of borrowed-from-the-boys style with the blazer and white tee, but it also felt on-trend thanks to Topshop's fab denim shorts. Plus, it's such an easy one to re-create at home with pieces you already own (the blazer, shoes, bag and tee are all mine).

How the French Girls Wore It

Photo:

@camillecharriere

How I Wore It

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: The slip dress and baguette bag is probably the outfit I most associate with French girls this season, and I've re-created the look with Topshop's slip dress and an ASOS tote. Turns out I'm a little partial to the '90s appeal of this pairing, and while the dress might not be a style I'd usually wear, it looked pretty fab with the baguette, which I'll definitely be adding to basket this evening.

How I Wore It

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

Style Notes: So this is essentially an outfit I already wear to work on a regular basis, and despite being a summer minimalist, I have a bit of a soft spot for leopard print, especially when paired with a paired-back staple. To make the ensemble more Parisian, I added strappy heels, a vintage chain belt and a basket bag, and if I'm honest, I feel rather fabulous.