How To Get That French Girl Style
Ah, that covetable French girl style! As Audrey Hepburn once said, 'Paris is always a good idea'. French women have long been lauded for their style, with the 1960s being a particular high point. We look back through the decades at the mysterious, coveted 'je ne sais quoi' and wardrobe staples it takes to get that effortless chic French girl style.
Say bonjour to our top 5 French girl style icons and learn how to get their look.
Oh, La La!
Iconic sixties chanteuse Françoise Hardy, doyenne of the ‘Yé-Yé’ Euro-pop music scene and ‘France’s most exportable female singing star’. Mod style icon, Hardy championed both masculine style and the famous silver futurism of Paco Rabanne.
Hardy says "the Yé-Yé look embodied the fresh, vibrant allure of the 1960s, but it was rarely exaggerated in a way that reads as too 'retro' today." The Crosby 'The Texas Tuxedo' t shirt is a homage to Hardy's love of double denim.
The Queen of the white jean with her eyelash-grazing fringe poking out from under her familiar baker boy hat, Françoise ruled supreme with Mick Jagger declaring her 'his ideal woman'. Our white 'The Hardy' Sunglasses pay tribute to her space-age '60s aesthetic. Pair our Agatha French flag ' tricolore' stripe jumper, or Loren 'Zou Bisous, Bisous' tee with white jeans for that French girl chic.
Once dubbed ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’, the original sex-kitten; actress, model, singer Brigitte Bardot became the poster girl for chic in the '50s and '60s. Bardot’s signature messy blonde beehive, nicknamed the ‘choucroute’ and winged eyeliner has become synonymous with sexy French girl style. Her gap-toothed grin and pale pink painted pout became a beauty look that defined a decade and is still widely copied today.
Brigitte is credited with many fashion firsts, popularising the bikini, pairing it with silk scarf hair ties or floppy hats. Her off duty ‘uniform’ of cropped cigarette pants and ballet flats is still shorthand for chic today. Our Brigitte trousers are an ode to her favourite slacks.
Hanging around the French Riviera with Pablo Picasso prompted a penchant for Breton stripe tees - check out our Joanie favourites, Picasso complete with paint brushes and Brett with a tongue-in-cheek French fries motif. She even had a neckline named after her, the off-shoulder 'Bardot' style she popularised - steal her style in Coco. B.B's controversial opinions have offended many in recent years but her image and animal rights activism endure.
"I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals." Brigitte Bardot
Okay, so not strictly French… Jean Seberg was an ‘American in Paris’, living over half her life in France as the ‘darling’ of French New Wave cinema. One of the great actresses of her time, her breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 classic ‘Breathless’ opposite French dreamboat Jean-Paul Belmondo cemented her as an icon of French girl style.
With her trademark blonde pixie crop haircut, and a wardrobe to die for, Jean in ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ is still our go-to inspiration for vacation packing! Minimal but utterly memorable, our Jean striped shirtdress being a particular favourite Seberg-inspired piece. One of the first to wear a slogan shirt, her 'New York Herald' tee inspired a million others. Our nautical faves Frankie and Emery fit the bill.
It’s impossible to mention Seberg’s style without mentioning Breton striped tops, the two are interchangeable. We have the de rigeur ‘La Marinèire’ style in spades, see our Sedgwick body and Brittany sweaters.
English beauty, Jane Birkin is another ‘honorary’ French girl to make our list! She may have been born in the UK but Jane gained fame and notoriety through her relationship with French sensation Serge Gainsbourg. Throughout the 1970s, Birkin personified quintessential French girl style.
Still just as stylish and as relevant as it was 40 years ago, is Birkin’s casual style, usually flared jeans paired with an unbuttoned shirt or knitted sweater - and that all-important basket bag. Replicate her style with our Fawcett jeans and Dietrich pants, paired with our Bonjour Pascal sweater or '70s-inspired 'Franglais' slogan sweatshirts, Zut Alors!, Sacre Bleu! or On y Va?
"My look is a cocktail. I'm not as nicely turned out as the French, but I don't care like the English." Jane Birkin
Actually Danish, but no top 5 list would be complete without doe-eyed sixties starlet Anna Karina (named by Coco Chanel no less). Karina was chief Godard Girl and one-time wife of the famous director, creating together some of the most iconic characters in French New Wave cinema, starring roles in Alphaville and Band of Outsiders among the most memorable.
Her modish on-screen wardrobes epitomise French girl style. Slightly more feminine than some of the others on our list, Ann Karina loved a girlish dress, favouring bold colours, in tights, berets and accessories, bright blue '60s eyeshadow and her famous dolly shoes. Our Fritha and Jade Polka dresses have just the right amount of 'Je ne sais quoi'!
The French Girl Style Starter Kit
Nail that French Girl look with our easy tick list…
- Breton striped tee ‘La Marinèire’
- Cigarette pants
- Red lipstick
- A ‘just don’t care’ attitude
- Winged eyeliner
- Oversized Sunglasses
- Little black dress
- Turtle neck
- Ballet pumps
- The ‘je ne sais quoi’
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