What it Means and How to Get It
By Aonika Laurent Thomas
Americans seem to have a never-ending obsession with French culture. Its food, its cities, its je ne sais quois. We dream about Paris and romanticize France’s coastal cities, and we are in awe of its effortlessly chic people. It appears as though they just woke up that way, but could that be true? How do they do it? As an American who’s spent a little time in the City of Light and a lot of time observing and consuming its fashion, I have come up with a few theories of my own.
First, they don’t care that much. What I mean is, they don’t care what you think. Really, they don’t. Americans are obsessed with pleasing, measuring up, staying current, winning. The French trust in the classics, adopt the new only when it suits them, and figure they win no matter what.
Second, everything matters. A stylish Frenchman will never wear something cheap or poorly made. Quality is everything. This doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, though it often does. The French are not afraid of buying fewer things of higher quality. They’ll wear it season after season, and then their son will wear it, and their grandson after that.
Less is more. Oh sure, the French gave us flights of fancy in Christian Lacroix and Christian Dior and the incomparable Chanel, but it’s the French girl in a white shirt and distressed jeans that really captivates us. It’s Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, forever.
They aren’t overly fussy with their hair, or their makeup, or their manicures. The French are polished and well-groomed, to be sure, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a can of hairspray in a Parisian pied-à-terre. Get a good haircut, and use a minimal amount of product. Keep brows full and natural and don’t even think about a gel manicure. With that, we wish you bon chance!