Lessons Learned From the French: Five Fashion Tips that Save You Time and Money 

French women are iconic for their distinct and effortless style. Many Westerners assume that they spend a mini-fortune on creating chic looks, but this belief couldn't be further from the truth.

A typical French wardrobe centers on minimalism and timelessness. By adopting the following principles, you can easily create your own version of a versatile and undeniably stylish French wardrobe.

Focus on Quality

Fast-fashion destinations like Forever 21 and H&M may have low prices, but filling your closet with their pieces alone will cost you more in the long run. These stores rely on low-quality fabrics like polyester and spandex blends to keep costs down.

Unfortunately, these materials don't hold up to many washes and tend to look worn out after a handful of wears. By investing in high-quality clothing made of hardy fabrics such as linen and cotton, you can get more wear out of each piece and save more money.

When you break down the cost per wear of inexpensive clothing versus quality pieces, you may be surprised to discover that you are spending more on the former.

Fit is Key

Clothing should fit your body perfectly. If it doesn't, don't buy it. Be sure to try on items and scrutinize their fit.

If you can, walk around in the dressing room for a couple of minutes to get a better feel of the clothing. If you can't move comfortably or are constantly adjusting pieces, move on.  

Start With the Basics

Basics are critical because they can easily be mixed and matched and never go out of style. When shopping for them, try to focus on getting three items for each of the five main categories: tops, bottoms, jackets, shoes and accessories. Some ideas to help you get started include the following:


  • Short-sleeved cotton tee
  • Long-sleeved cotton tee
  • Fitted button-down blouse


  • Trousers
  • Boot-cut jeans
  • Skinny jeans


  • Wool pea coat
  • Trench coat
  • Leather jacket


  • Flats
  • Boots
  • Heels


  • Watch
  • Earrings
  • Necklace

Depending on the climate where you live, you may substitute items such as a pea coat for a classic fitted cardigan. When shopping for basics, look for classic pieces that never go out of style. For example, a high-quality pearl necklace and rose-gold watch will be wearable for much longer than their trendy counterparts.

Start with a Neutral Palette

As a general rule, no less than 70 percent of your wardrobe should be neutral tones. By following this piece of advice, you can easily create stunning outfits by mixing and matching neutrals with a pop of color or bold pattern. Plus, neutral colors are always on trend.

Think in Layers

The French are notorious for layering, but getting it down can be difficult. To start with, find your ideal basic outfit. Typically, this consists of a basic, lightweight short or long-sleeved tee and a pair of flattering jeans. From here, you can add a cardigan or a jacket when the weather is chilly.

By following these five fashion tips from the French, you can always look your best without breaking your budget. As an added bonus, you'll quickly master effortless style and become your own style icon.

November 17, 2015 by Amanda Brown
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