How to add French style to any wardrobe (part deux)

Last week we talked about the first steps to adding French looks to your closet. We covered building the foundation of your wardrobe with basic, classic pieces of high quality, and highlighting natural beauty with that signature fresh French face. Today we’ll talk about adding your own signature to each outfit by adding accessories that flatter you and express your own personality.

How To Accessorize Your French Look

Choose understated elegance over glitzy glamor

The stunning Catherine Deneuve, refined and graceful in black with an elegant swath of green silk and a jade dropped earring.

Sparkle is lovely in moderation, but true French style always allows its wearer to outshine whatever she’s wearing. For fancy occasions, overlook the eye-catching, blinged-out cocktail dress and instead select an elegant LBD (little back dress) like Catherine Deneuve’s classic one-shouldered sheath above.  To that, you can add a gorgeous scarf in your perfect signature color, a jeweled brooch or a simple multi-strand pearl necklace to catch and direct the eye and the light to your face, making you the magnificent focal point of your ensemble, rather than the other way around.

Accessorize impeccably and carefully edit

Smoldering French beauty Brigitte Bardot used scarves for a pop of color against her face by wearing them around her neck or head.

Having built a foundational wardrobe of classic neutral pieces that compliment your body and coloring, you’ve created a canvas on which you’ll paint the individual gorgeousness of you.   View curating your collection of accessories as a life-long process, not a day trip to the mall.   No matter where you roam, always be on the lookout for items that are unique, of high-quality construction and materials and will flatter your own coloring and features. Look for natural fibers like silk, wool, cashmere and leather for scarves, bags and shoes.  Be leary of costume jewelry and opt again for a “less is more” approach here.  Precious metals and gems maintain their luster and last forever.  In the end, though initially pricey, quality pays for itself.

accessories: mood a la mode

Pay careful attention to how each piece works with or even against your clothing to convey mood in your outfits.  Pearls sing of classic beauty when worn with a basic black blouse and trouser, but paired with a striped t-shirt, a faded jean and a leather jacket, they tell the story of a confident woman who isn’t afraid to break a rule or two.  A silk scarf around your neck with a pencil skirt and ruffled top says sweet and demure, but worn as a head band with a cashmere sweater and sleek black cigarette pants it becomes flirty and whimsical.   A quintessential part of French style is tossing in one bright, playful, unexpected element to an outfit, like a pair of combat boots with a flirty skirt, or funky polka dot tights with an outfit that is otherwise quite sleek and elegant.

 Wear accessories sparingly, always remembering that you should remain the star of any look.  Coco Chanel once once suggested that as you walk out the door each day, you should stop, take one last look at yourself and remove one thing.  Editing your look creates elegant, understated perfection and allows you to shine.

What ways do you add the unexpected to your wardrobe? How do you infuse your personality in your look?

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  1. Will you come to my house and help me? I’m the WORST at accessorizing!!!

  2. Love it. And I’m glad you threw the Converse shoes in there. 🙂

  3. Loved this! I want to accessorize more but it scares me. I think I could pull off some of this though and I do love the pictures. =)

  4. Once again, you nailed it. A good collection of scarves can double your wardrobe. Love the blue shoes, too – fun!

  5. So, my extra long strand of freshwater pearls or the 24K yellow gold hoops that I want for Christmas are never out of style? That would be great news.

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