Summer French Fashion

We had such fun “studying” french fashion during our summer travels. What we saw, once again, is the timelessness and the Je ne sais quoi (literally, I don’t know what) of French fashion: that indefinable, elusive quality that the French have. The secret seems to be in HOW they wear it.

Sexy is never trampy or vulgar (think Audrey Tautou in the film “Priceless”), they can show flirty insouciance without being detached or cold.  


This summer we saw a lot of stripes and polka dots, which like many French statements can not be assigned a year or decade of fashion, instead they represent the quality of timelessness: practical yet chic, never stuffy or rigid;  simple yet not dull;  interesting never gauche. The stripes depict classic “maritime” France, not a year or decade, but a way of life. The polka dots say plein de verve; vivant, (full of zesty, fire, life!).

Shopping in France

Note the men’s fashion also works with prints, polka dots (see button down shirts in photo above), sweaters with collars:

Man walking in Jardin des Tuileries with his “sac”, he has no worries of being perceived as effeminate because he is comfortable with self. 

Another timeless French style is the military jacket, which was a way of life for centuries, and will always be in fashion. Popular French actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg is often seen wearing this popular look:

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Napoléon Bonaparte


We saw classic French fashion everywhere, even on the 75 yr. old Bernadette, owner of a phenomenally successful B&B in Provence, sporting her striped tee, a “pull-over” casually draped over the shoulders, a classic bonnet (practical yet chic), just to drive to a neighboring village. Stopping along the roadside to eat cherries, we add our obvious American denim look, also practical, but more stereotypical. just not the same chic…!  Then at the table, she’s got a simple vest  in naturelle colors, common sense, but the layers say chic.

Timeless fashion


As in the “Beauty of the Real” by Mick LaSalle, French actresses are the paradigm of self-assurance, of showing the “real you” through fashion: have conviction in who you are and what you wear, important to be yourself (not what magazines are saying is in…!!).

Vanessa Paradis for Chanel

Take Vanessa Paradis, who is classic Chanel, but mixes it up, timeless plus the addition of her own personality…Her Je ne sais quoi, self assurance is just sexy!!

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