How To Wear Denim Like A French Girl

How To Wear Denim Like A French Girl

Love that effortless chic, je ne sais quoi, style of your favorite Parisian It-Girls? From Brigitte Bardot and Françoise Hardy to modern day Jeanne Damas, blogger and founder of fashion label Rouje, when it comes to fashion inspiration many of us look to the French. My style is a trifecta of the places I’ve lived: American (my roots and love for bold color), British (my education and love of tweed and jumpers) and French (my whirlwind year in Paris and love for midi dresses and blazers). But when it comes to denim, French women have it down to an art form.

Blogger Jeanne Damas (Pinterest)
Françoise Hardy 1964 (Pinterest)

The key to wearing jeans à la française is you can’t try too hard and you can’t be predictable. French girl style is just a bit off beat and carries an attitude of ‘I’m wearing it, so it works’. Wearing denim like a French girl is about elegance without trying for perfection. In the words of Isabel Marant, “Always keep them surprised. If they expect flats, wear heels. If they expect heels wear flats”. Above all French girl denim must appear lived in, jeans that you could wear every day if you really wanted to. Black skinnies, cropped indigo flares or vintage wash mom jeans- it doesn’t matter which style you choose, but it has to fit well and it needs to suit you and your life. If the jeans are uncomfortable to wear or feel like you’re putting on a costume, then it won’t work. Remember the name of the game is effortless.

For my little homage to the Parisiennes, I went for light blue mom jeans, with strappy sandals and a green jumper with sheer polka dot sleeves. As fall turns towards winter, I could switch out the 90s heels for black croco leather boots and add a long navy coat. While it’s a fair amount of color for a French inspired outfit (rebellious American ways peeking through here)- I’ve kept the shades to rich jewel tones appropriate for autumn. Minimal makeup, vintage earrings and second day hair finish off the look. And on the advice of Coco Chanel- I took off one accessory before leaving the house: a blue silk Mulberry scarf I usually have tied to the handle of my burgundy Strathberry bag, but which would have been too much.

Some more French It Girl worthy denim outfits? Faded Black cropped jeans, a navy cashmere v-neck, leather loafers and a gray plaid blazer. White skinny jeans, a copper silk shirt, a camel coat and black leather boots. Indigo straight leg jeans, a white lace blouse, nude sneakers, a messy bun and red lipstick. Whatever black leather bag is closest, with a cross body strap and enough room for your phone, wallet and a small journal and pen. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself- I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re walking the streets of Paris. (Even if like me, you’re actually further afield- hello from Washington DC).


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