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How to look chic the French way

Spring is with us, or it was meant to be before I started writing this on one of the wettest mornings we’ve had in ages. When I think of spring, I always think of Breton tops, red lipstick and ballerina flats; in short, I think of all French clichés. Transcending fad, there’s something very magical about the way Parisian women in particular look and dress, which is why so many books have been written about French style and how to achieve it. Here are a few tips to have you looking chic, Parisienne-style, in no time:

Never, ever, wear leggings or sports­wear for anywhere except the gym: If you took a quick look around our towns and villages on the weekend, you would think that the tracksuit were our national uniform and that the minute we are born, we are each handed one regardless of whether or not it will see the inside of a gym.

A Parisian man or woman wouldn’t be caught dead taking out their rubbish in a tracksuit because they believe that the only place that one should wear clothing they consider to be sloppy is the gym.

Never buy something just because it is fashionable and always tailor whatever you have: French women understand the value of dressing for the body they have rather than the body they want and in fact, you rarely see them with dresses or skirts that are too short or too tight. They are always on the lookout for classic pieces that will stand the test of time and whether they buy a piece from Zara and H&M to mix in with their vintage pieces or not, they will always make sure that they fit their body shapes perfectly. What they will do is look at what the current trends are and then maybe choose one piece or two which they know will look good on them to add to their collection.

French women dress for the body they have

Don’t overdo the makeup: French women prefer spending all their hard-earned cash on skincare rather than makeup and in fact, French skincare is considered to be some of the best in the world. I once knew a born and bred Parisian lady who said that thick foundation aged the skin and that it was far better to take care of what was underneath than try to mask any imperfections.

Many French women let their mouths do all the talking with brightly coloured lipstick. They also favour their hair looking clean but undone – think Catherine Deneuve rolling around on a bed. The trick is to look healthy and effortless.

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