I saw an article a little while back in Grazia which had Vanessa Bruno advising on how to achieve that French Je Ne Sais Quoi when dressing. There were a few basic rules from the article which I thought I it would be fun to road test to see if I could achieve this bit of ooh la la la. You can mark me at the end and it's okay to give me extra credits for effort. I'm not proud.

French Chic - The Rules Part 1.

  • Avoid Clashing Prints
  • Experimenting with keeping it tonal
  • Wear a silk blouse like a T shirt
  • Go easy on the heels
  • Draw attention to the decolletage
  • Show some flesh
  • Never be too perfect. 

I've taken 4 of the rules above (the purple ones) and provided one outfit which I think covers them all off. I was lazy and then I got busy. On a good day, I would have taken all the rules apart and given you an outfit offering for each rule but I've just found out I have a Christmas fair to do in a day or so (Hello Sue - I was just calling to remind you about the Christmas fair - are you all set and ready? Yep - lying with my all limbs crossed) and there's not enough daylight to take any half decent pictures these days, that is, if you take your own pics, without a tripod, in a mirror. So you just get one outfit.

Let's discuss the rules.

* Avoid Clashing Prints. 

Piece of cake - this one's not too hard - nearly every jumper and quite a number of my tops are plain. In the article, they have a picture of Emanuelle Alt in a white blazer and black skinnies, black tee and black pointy shoes. I get the jist.


Photo Credit : 
Miami Vice but in a good way.

All easy on the eye and nothing screaming at you. No print, no clash.

* Being Tonal.

VB (Vanessa Bruno not Victoria Beckham) says colours are good but you need to be tonal. They quote khaki, grey, brown, camel.  Cool - I have a lot of those colours in my wardrobe.  I also have grey, black, white and navy. I think I can safely classify that as tonal. We can work with this.

Photo Credit : learni.st
Yup - that's tonal. Zzzzz (whoops did I really nod off there).
Slaps oneself awake.

Again - easy on the eye, pretty and not in your face. Fair do's but a bit snooze (the above pic that is).

* Never be Too Perfect.


Photo Credit : Fashionising.com
I think I prefer the dark side.

Quite self explanatory - don't look too put together, hair a little messy, slightly scuffed boots, not too mitchy matchy, leave something a little out of the mix. I normally do this everyday just by having bed head.

* Wear a Silk Blouse like a T Shirt


So they have Clemency Poesy modelling her little shirt and making it look so cool and effortless. 


Photo Credit : StyleBistro.com
I swear she's wearing a cotton shirt and not silk but that's the pic in Grazia! 

This is where I go digging in the depths of the spare clothes boxes - I have silk shirts. I used to wear them a lot when I was working but obviously as a SAHM, it's not what I immediately think of wearing on a daily basis and certainly not treating it as a tee. Cooking splashback, chocolatey fingers, snotty noses equals hell for silk garments. But for the purpose of this exercise, I have unearthed a silk shirt.

So armed with said shirt and a few accessories, here we go with my interpretation of the rules ....

We start off with a basic navy silk shirt which is yonkers years old - actually about 15 years old from Jigsaw but still looks okay current day - due primarily to the cut of the shirt which hasn't dated (what a lucky girl am I!). I put this with some blue jeans and added a black studded belt for a bit of interest. The belt used to sit more on the hips when I wore my jeans slightly more low waisted but the kind Timpson shoe man popped me in some extra holes so I could carry on using the belt with my more recent slightly higher waisted jeans (essential for minimising muffin tops and bagel bellys).


Jigsaw belt (yonkers old)
Jigsaw silk shirt (even more yonkers old)
New Look jeans (a bit little yonkers old)

I stuck on the H&M pointy heels which I picked up recently to inject a bit of new life in to the wardrobe. I think after so many years in the wilderness, pointy shoes are having their moment again and it feels quite refreshing to see them on my feet. I'm probably very behind with this trend but hey, I got there didn't I? Eventually. This is the basic outfit so far.


H&M Suedette Heels (not yonkers old at all)
The finish and styling on the shoes is pretty good actually.

I added a jacket (making like Ms Alt) ......


Mango Jacket (yonkers months old)

Tonal

... and added a bag.


The watch doesn't quite go but that's good (remember the rule of never look too perfect).
Okay - I totally forgot I was wearing my watch.

Denim, tweed, leather, suede(ette) - lots of textures.


My sister's Chanel bought in the 1980's.
She doesn't really use it but there's no reason why I shouldn't.

And all together we get :


Ta dah! I feel like a right proper mademoiselle!


So what do you think of my interpretation of the rules? Am I wearing the silk shirt like a t shirt? Am I being tonal? Am I adhering to the rule of no pattern clashing? And the not looking too perfect. Did I pass? Did I get extra credits for anything? Or do I need to try harder next time? Do I sound like a rather enthusiastic puppy begging for biscuits? 

I have to say, I didn't try that hard as it was a relatively easy ensemble to put together but the hardest thing to apply would be wearing the silk shirt as a tee - I'm just too scared of it getting spoilt or getting grease marks on it. Hence it was perfect as a work shirt but not for every day rough and tumble. Anyway, this was just a bit of dressing up fun after all I'd look a bit daft dressed like this doing the ironing. And nice as it is to wear pointy shoes, my feet are freezing ... it is November after all.

Part 2 coming soon ... daylight permitting.

42 comments:

  1. I think I'm the master of the last point... correction I'm confusing never being too perfect with making no effort. Lately and it shows. REALLY NEED TO CHANGE THIS!
    I think you look amazing by the way. I really love that tweed jacket - so chic - the perfect piece to throw over all those silk "t-shirts".
    About the silk shirts... they never look so effortless on me. I think I have determined that it's my boobs. Everything looks so matronly on me :(

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    1. Oh I can definitely join you on the last point - I quite often need to try harder but it's easy to not make any effort when you're squirrelled away at home. That's why I like big coats - button them up and no one needs to know what bad things lurk underneath. I'm afraid silk does tend to cling to the body so they're not very forgiving - I find even with me, I can suddenly look almost buxom which the Grumps would find very funny. And that little Mango tweed jacket seems to go with everything. It's not lined and it's not brilliantly made but it just does what it needs to do.

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  2. I think you did a good job of interpreting the rules and pulling it off as your own look. I always find that wearing a silk shirt like a t-shirt really depends on the weight and the cut of the blouse in question. I've been trying to follow this french mantra a little bit more lately - I think there's a reason why they always look so chic ;)
    x

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    1. I do very little in following the rules actually - I just get dressed in the morning and see what's warm currently. If I thought a little more about what I bought, the whole wardrobe would be a bit more cohesive and it wouldn't matter what I wore, it would all work (a bit like yours). But my downfall is the comfy jumper and the snuggly fleece which I confess to being drawn to when you get cold chilly mornings a la UK style. It's all coming out now :o(

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  3. 10/10! Excellent job and extra credits for making me laugh .. 'specially about the watch! Great post, can't wait for Part 2. (Get you! Chanel bag, no less!!!)

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    1. Thanks - I actually quite like how that turned out. It's amazing what you don't know lurks in the depths of your own wardrobe. The Chanel bag - my sister keeps offering me it and I keep saying no but for the purpose of the post - just the once won't hurt and it finishes off the outfit quite well.

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  4. Just having a coffee and catching up on your recent posts and I thought this one was brilliant! Loved the way you added your fun commentary and the result is definitely 10/10. The Chanel bag is gorgeous too. Well, maybe I'm on the right track with the lack of pattern in my wardrobe and all my camel, beige, grey - tonals!!!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. The rules are not that French - they're probably just common sense but hey you can build an article around anything and I can do a post around their article so we all win. It's a strange thing, this "French style". I think it's really the French who truly have it.

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  5. Thanks Sue for noticing that I wasn't ard. Kinda heartwarming you know?
    Ok, back to being cool. ;p

    I like this post...Rules to French dressing!

    I think you are kinda adhering to it.

    I like the Chanel bag :D

    I can't wear for Part 2, Sue. More..more..more!

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    1. Now you're scaring me for part 2. Part 2 is much of a muchness - when I get round to it. No Chanel handbags for your delectation though.

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  6. Haha I always look at these rules and think, what's so french about this?

    French or not, I think you look great, and true to your style!

    I enjoyed the "tonal" tip though - I love the idea of working one colour, though I haven't a clue exactly where to begin.

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    1. You have absolutely every idea of where to begin - I love your simple dressing and your clothes choices. I know the weather has a lot to do with what you feel comfortable wearing but even your everyday outfits look gorgeous - you sit in my Minimalist chic camp of bloggers (that's actually meant as a compliment).

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  7. Extra points for being so darned funny, for sure. I actually love that silk shirt on you, it should definitely find a permanent home in your closet. That said, Clemence is most definitely wearing sturdy solid cotton in that photo (come on grazia, get it together! ha!) so it seems like you could go cotton and still be strictly speaking following the rules (since the french girl is doing it, right?). While I actually hate fashion rules, and hate being told how to dress, the truth of the matter is if I looked like Clemence or Emanuelle everyday, I'd be pretty damn pleased with myself. One thing though, I'd love to see this exact same outfit but with black jeans instead of light blue. I think that'd still count as tonal, no?

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com

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    1. Absolutely spot on about the black jeans - they were in the wash and daylight waits for no man at the moment. Good - I'm glad you spotted about the shirt as well - it did look like cotton to me so I thought I'd just point it out and I'm glad you picked up on it. It's funny how people invent rules - but I love how rules are open to interpretation anyway. Would be fun to see how everyone else would put an outfit together based on them. And it doesn't hurt to look like any of those French gals would it? I give you 11 marks out of 10 for picking up on the jeans.

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  8. Hourrah tu es une vrai fran├žaise .
    I think French ladies look chic because they never go extreme, understand what suits their particular body shape, are skinny and have that "just got out of bed look"!
    Great post, can't wait for part 2....

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    1. Non non! Je ne suis pas une vrai Francaise. J'aime les big jumpers and comfort too much to be une Francaise. I think a lot of us apply those rules to what we wear on a day to day basis anyway - it's a bit like going to a clairvoyant - you hear the words and your mind makes them fit. Part 2 is not that exciting - believe me!

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  9. Hi
    Saw you over at Marlene's blog - love reading yours now too!
    I love how you put together this simple yet totally chic outfit. I definitely give you 10/10. Each piece is something that everyone has, somewhere and it's always the simplest things that look the best and even the smallest re-mix can result in a very chic look.
    Thank you for sharing this and looking forward to part deux!

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    1. Hi, thank you for popping over and it's nice to meet a fellow petite blogger. I don't think even Marlene could get over the fact that I was smaller than her. I was just joking on the marks out of 10 - you'll get to know not to take me too seriously if you read any more posts.

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    2. Someone's shorter than me. You don't know what that does to my self-esteem :P

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  10. Love French style but it's too damn cold at the mo, I just want to wear 40 layers. You interpreted it really well, although I feel it's quite close to your normal style anyway Sue.

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    1. Do you know what Trea - I don't actually know what is French style. Take the first picture of Ms Alt and she actually dresses no different at times to Ms Moss and she's a Brit. I just played around a bit with the first look because I just had some clothes which fitted the bill. My style this year is all about the boyfriend jeans which is why it's quite close to what you are used to seeing me wear. I can't stop wearing them - the only thing that bugs me about them is I can't tuck them in to a pair of Uggs. I even turn up the chinos too. However, next year ... what will be my next fad? And you're right - it is rather cold to be running around in a pair of courts .... it's November!

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  11. You look fabulous - I find myself being too matchy matchy sometimes - I like prints too so maybe that's where I'm going wrong. OCD with the hair doesn't help either. Ms Alt is my ultimate icon - I adore how she dresses - I want to be her best friend.

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    1. To be honest - everything in this is matchy, matchy but I know what you're saying. I think Ms Alt has her signature look and it suits her bodyshape and everything. I would love a bit of extra height to give that leggy look but I'm a just a titch.

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  12. You look great...plus, I think you kinda pull off this French chic malarkey all the time anyway. You always look so effortlessly cool.
    Me...I'll stick to the English school of dressing...clash everything, don't be perfect, never blend in. :D

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    1. I love your English cool dress sense - I never know what you're going to wear next and that's the appeal but you definitely have something. I saw your tartan skirt on someone in London last weekend and it's fab but I could not wear it in a million years - too long and too full on me but I love the way it looks on you. I always thought I clashed things a little but obviously not ... maybe my style has changed in the last couple of years. I used to be known as the queen of clash unbelievably.

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    2. Ha, well....if you used to be known as the Queen of clash, I think your next challenge should be to show us that. Even if it is one off.
      As for the tartan skirt...it is extremely full!!! And I have a fat arse. So it's not perfect by any means. I wear SPANX to minimise the damage. LOL

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  13. You look terrific - love the blouse with jeans. And while I am not a fan of pointy shoes, you make them look fabulous. The only change I would make is to see if the bag's strap can be shortened - I like my bags to hit slightly higher on the hip than this one does. That said, it's a gorgeous bag!

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    1. Oh wait, I see you had the strap tucked into your pocket (am i right?). Ignore my comment then. That bag would make a fabulous clutch.

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    2. It's actually quite a short bag strap and doesn't sit on the shoulder very well which is why it's dangling off my wrist but yes, it does also make a fabulous clutch. The bag is lovely but I've never really appreciated it - maybe my eye is adjusting after reading so many blogs featuring so many lovely bags.

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  14. You look gorgeous, I obviously need a navy shirt in my life! Have you the Parisian Chic book? I drool over it constantly..... xx

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    1. Nop - I don't know about it. I will have to look it up. But I have a feeling that it will all feel very familiar - am I right?

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    2. Yes I suppose you are but it hammers home the importance of a good capsule and Ines and her daughter show that there are certain things you can rock at any age, imagery is divine, well I think so xx

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  15. Sue, you're mastering it. The look is great. Emmanuelle would approve it, I am sure
    What a fun post! I'd never thought about it, but, indeed, these are the French chic rules.
    Looking forward to Part II.

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    1. Thank you Sonia. I am just playing. I don't have a lifestyle for wearing things like pointy court shoes. I should however, throw caution to the wind (and when the weather is kind) and just head out in them just for the hell of it. It's nice to be a little different sometimes. You have to remember, we're a strange breed here in Yorkshire - Barbours and North Face are de-rigeur. Not pointy shoes and silk shirts.

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  16. Fantastic outfit and post. I've been stuck in a style rut and I'm trying to wear new outfits every day to break out of it...You have totally inspired my look today :)
    Thanks, I'll keep reading!
    Jane

    http://sickofmystylerut.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Hi Jane, I've just nipped across and you've pulled that off really well! I did a double take. Love your blog - I like your sense of humour.

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  17. You look fantastic! I love silk shirts, tonal dressing and a tweedy coat. This looks so polished and easy. Your Chanel purse is gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you Lindsay. I think I must have really loved the silk shirts way back then because I bought three of them, all in different colours. It's actually quite a comfortable outfit to wear which surprised me.

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  18. You never fail to get a giggle out of me. LOOOVE those tips. Hahaha.... I barely brush my hair so yeah... I can definitely do the "don't be too perfect" look. Thanks for the inspiration. I've been thinking of adding more over-sized silk shirts.

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    1. I think Equipment do a nice line in silk shirts don't they? But what colour would you get?

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  19. Cool collection, also loving your outfit, such kind of posts are always needed when you want to keep up with the latest trend or searching for new and unique styles, will share this with my sweetheart.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Timothy. Be gentle with the sweetheart and hope she doesn't take it the wrong way. Women are a funny breed and what seems like a nice suggestion and genuine interest suddenly ends up with you getting walloped over the head :o) We're a bit touchy like that.

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Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.

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