Simplicity. The Key To French Style.


French style

I’ve been travelling for work a lot recently. Which means I’ve had a stack of time to think – the only upside of delayed flights is that they provide valuable thinking time!

Top on my list of ‘thinking topics’ has been how the French dedication to style forms the foundation of all that that they do. I couldn’t come up with of a part of daily French life that is not underpinned by style. From food to fashion, from decor to shopping everything is touched with stylish flair.

And of course when it comes to personal style, from my perspective, French women are unrivalled. I’ve studied their style for years and I’ve decided that I’ve finally worked out the secret to fabulous French style.

It’s simplicity.

As a rule, French women don’t do fussy or overdone. No frilly skirts, no heavy makeup. And while you know they’ve made an effort, you never get the impression that they are trying too hard.

Everything seems simple and easy.

There are so many ways that simplicity equals French style but here are a few examples that illustrate my thinking.

Simplicity. The key to fabulous French style.

  1. Unfussy outfits in neutral colours. I’ve talked before about the fact that French women’s style is almost uniform-like in nature. Slim jeans, understated top, well cut blazer, flat shoes and a scarf and that’s it. Simple, comfortable and classy.
  2. Easy care hairstyles. Shiny, sexy, unfussy hair is a French woman’s trademark. They seem to have a knack for getting a great cut and avoiding too much product.
  3. Low key eye make up coupled with a perfect red lip. Nothing more to add. And it always looks polished.
  4. Fabulous underwear that not only make a woman feel special but also make her outer garments sit better.
  5. A quality handbag – sometimes vintage – that goes with everything. Saves mucking around with multiple bags and it always looks good.
  6. Short, buffed fingernails. Another way French women look well groomed with very little effort or cost.
  7. Fine, understated jewellery. The kind that can be worn everyday and that looks good with everything. Perhaps some would say boring but I word ease springs to my mind. And who wouldn’t like more ease in their life?
  8. Signature fragrances. So many French women commit to just a single fragrance, one that becomes their own. A demonstration of stylish simplicity.

I’ll be exploring these ideas of French style and simplicity in coming weeks. But in the meantime, I’d love to know your tips for simplifying style. Please take a moment to share them in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.


About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.


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3 thoughts on “Simplicity. The Key To French Style.

  • Jan Leishman

    Simplicity has always been in the forefront of elegance – think Wallis Simpson and Jackie Kennedy. Here in the south of France, it’s difficult to be elegant in the heat – but some do manage. Imagine the simple style of Jean Shrimpton at the Melbourne Cup in 1965 – sleeveless shift, bare legs, minimum make-up and beautifully conditioned hair worn loose. However, there is also a lot of bling, lace and frills here that defies simplicity but breathes summer and St Tropez. Style is more a cool-weather thing, though I’m sure those Parisian girls are about to show us how, now the holidays have arrived.

    • Janelle Post author

      You raise some really good points here Jan. The further south we go in France the more likely we are to see frills and colour. But in my mind, the French likely to successfully pull both off!!

      • Mel

        After quite a few holidays in the South of France, I can tell you that the younger french women wear very little makeup in summer, and their clothes are very uncomplicated. Older women don’t step out of their houses unless they are dressed and made up. Yoga pants don’t count. I often see petite older women still sporting heels – but as wedges.
        They also plan their day around the temperatures where possible. You’ll hardly see anyone out and about in the midday heat. But once the evening starts to cool down, then more people come out…