MyShingle Fashion: How To Dress Like a French Woman: K.I.S.S.

And so begins my next little mini-series for MyShingle! I’m calling it “How To Dress Like a French Woman,” because in this series, I teach you how to build and assemble a Lazy Susan so you have a great place to store your spices.

Er, wait, no, I seem to have gotten my note cards mixed up. It turns out, I teach you how to dress like a French woman. Surprise twist. You never saw it coming.

One of the several books I’m reading right now (I get bored with only one at a time) is about Audrey Hepburn, and, predictably, the author discusses her gamine style quite a bit throughout the book. And that got me thinking about how to incorporate Audrey’s style into our own, and how to wear it to work, to boot.

Again, these outfits are for more casual workplaces (often, the small law firms discussed here!) and for those days when you’re pulling a half-day and also running errands in an area where you might be seen by clients, so you need an outfit that pulls double duty and, unfortunately, isn’t half-comprised of yoga pants.

Ah, yoga pants. Fashion’s D student. (So unbelievably comfortable, though. But we must resist!)

Here’s what French women do: they keep it simple. They don’t load on layers, they don’t let things get needlessly complicated – they just keep it simple.

This in itself is simple enough. We can all manage this if we just turn off our brains for a second.

Instead of heading out to run errands in jeans and a gardening shirt, or that promotional tee from a local radio station, gussy it up a bit, while keeping it simple. That sounds completely contradictory, but I’ll illustrate it and you’ll agree that there’s nothing to it.

Here’s a great ‘keeping it simple’ summer outfit. I’ll be doing several of these. Keeping it simple many times over. Which sounds complicated. Ugh. This got really difficult really quickly.

Levi’s Classic Demi Curve Straight Leg Jeans ………. $44.99
Caslon Ruched Tee in Blue Cobalt ………. $29.50
Ballet Flats in Rose Pink ………. $59.90

I kept true to the jeans-and-a-tee-shirt look that is such a staple, especially in the summer months, but dressed it up a bit. Forget the slouchy promotional tees that are often only kept to be worn on Laundry Day. And forget grass-stained sneakers that are basically only for mowing the lawn or taking the dog for a walk. I kept true to this well established look, but gussied it up just a bit.

I went with a pair of straight leg jeans in a dark wash, slimming and flattering for just about every body type. These jeans are hemmed for flats, but if you’d like to wear these with heels, you’d want a pair hemmed for heels, like this pair, perhaps. But these jeans fit the bill nicely, and will make your legs look leaner as you go about your busy day.

When it comes to the tee shirt, I opted for one that’s a little more fitted, and not slouchy. This lightweight Caslon tee from Nordstrom worked perfectly. It comes in that great color, has a decent neckline (nothing plunging or too loose), with nice fitted sleeves and some delicate ruching to add some interest.

I opted for flats, and went with the ballet flats that Audrey loved so much and wore with just about everything. No one wore ballet flats outside of the studio before her – that was all Audrey. I picked these from the Limited in a pretty, pale rose pink. They add a light touch to the cool blue outfit, and are very comfortable.

And we put all this together while keeping it simple, true to the French style. French women love clean lines and a minimalist look, and we’ve achieved that here with our classic jeans and a tee look. However, we made the look sleek and put-together, while still comfortable and functional. And for under $200! You really can’t go wrong.

Voila! De rien.

Note: This post has generated some controversy, so much so that it prompted this post where you can weigh in with your thoughts.

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