Effortless French Style – The Key Pieces

From when I was a little girl, I knew that when it came to effortless style, you had to look at French Women. French Vogue, and its incredible editors, have always been right up there when it comes to inspiration for looks that are cool and stylish, and yet never look like they are trying too hard. Ines De La Fressange, Coco Chanel, Clemence Poesy, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsburg, Brigitte Bardot and Vanessa Paradis all have that French girl style down to a tee, but you don’t have to be born French to have French girl style, Charlotte Rampling and the legendary Jane Birkin are proof of that. French style is not about fashion, but is about those few key pieces that your wardrobe needs, that you can wear, year in and year out.

The Perfect Bag

When it comes to the perfect French quality bag, you have to look to Longchamp. The brand has been producing beautiful leather goods since 1948. The family business has been at the helm of a success story for 4 generations and perpetuates its French know-how through contemporary and universal collections in harmony with its time.

Longchamp is all about the classic leather bag, whether it be a sophisticated shoulder bag, or a practical ‘girl about town’ cross body bag. This season it is about beautiful Spring colours, but, for the French, there is nothing more stylish than a neutral – classic black, go with anything camel, or the perfect for every season beige.

Longchamp is also known for its iconic Le Pliage designs, which may just be my most favoured bag of all ( I have two, and really need to add more to my collection). This season it seems Longchamp may be taking inspiration from Jane Birken with a Le Pliage basket style, canvas bag, a design which I’m sure that Jane would definitely approved of.

The Breton Top

Based on a style worn by French fisherman, the Breton top is the ultimate in French dressing.  It was Coco Chanel who first used this as a fashion item for women in the 1920s, and whether you choose to wear it with a pair of skinny jeans, a wide leg trouser, or with shorts on a Summer’s Day, the style is chic, effortless and the epitome of casual elegance.

See the style of Jane Birkin, Alexa Chung and another adopted French girl, Jean Seberg, to see how you should be wearing your Breton.

The Mackintosh

Catherine Deneuve showed a generation of French woman how to wear the classic mac in style in films like Belle De Jour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and almost 60 years on, that style is still enduring. Whether you button it properly, or just tie the belt at a raffish angle, the Burberry style mac is a style icon, for both men and women, and will still have that title one hundred years from now.


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