Take it from Coco Chanel: Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.
The world has always desired to re-create French women’s classic elegance, enviably mixed with a breezy effortlessness. I’m told that it’s all down to attitude: Find your signature style and wear it with confidence.
But you need a solid capsule selection to start with, and the search can be daunting for our busy minds. I hope this assortment – a mix of edgy and bohemian pieces, feminine and borrowed-from-the-boys styles – will bring inspiration to your go-to style.
These looks translate well for the office and into the weekends. It seems my style leans towards versatility!
Despite having refined detailing, this breezy peasant blouse borrowed from the 70s never loses its carefree insouciance. Wearing it with fitted pants and pointed heels easily passes for a casual Friday go-to, while teaming it with ripped cutoffs and sunnies screams Parisian boho chic.
Few would argue that iconic tweed fabric is a wardrobe staple in Paris. This flattering sheath dress crafted in sleek flecked tweed has a distinct look that instantly identifies with the boardroom. I’d dress it up with a smart blazer and ballet flats (another French classic) for a team lunch.
A fitted boat collar blouse in monochrome stripes is a decidedly Parisian affair – Parisiennes understand too well that sometimes it’s the simple outfits that make the most impact. The shoulder-baring silhouette and fitted bodice leave things to the imagination. Style with a crisp midi skirt and strappy heels for date night.
Sticking with the Parisian theme, I tend to stay away from embellishments and short skirts. The midi offers the right silhouette to channel ethereal beauty, and its simplicity oozes a comfortable sense of style. French women do wear a lot of black and neutrals, but a modest dose of color with this sleekly tailored design makes quite the visual impact.
Looking purposefully unpolished is a French art form, and this slightly oversized sweater is a great vehicle to achieve that goal. I love that it’s a little slouchy and draped, striking a nice contrast with tight leather (preferably faux leather) pants. Finish with ballet flats for the weekend.
Classic quilts are a great way to add texture and dimension – and most important, a touch of French sophistication regardless of the dress code. However, wearing too much of this pattern can make you look overdressed. I personally prefer pairing this sleek, mini career with a pair of relaxed-cut, lived-in jeans to make sure the casual and ladylike elements are well-balanced. I wear just one quilted item at a time anyway, so this would be it.
French women can wear the same LBD for decades given the right accessories. Keeping it simple, I’d opt for minimalistic pearl accents, like this slim beaded necklace, which makes for a patrician accessory.
Trench coats are always a foolproof classic, but it’s the middle of summer over here so we’ll need something more realistic. One can’t pass as a Parisian without owning a wide scarf. This minimalist, quality edition comes in handy for those chilly summer evenings, and can transition all the way through autumn.
Hong Kong is a walking city, and flats have always been the footwear of choice. Stick to a classic style like these bow-accented ones: They’re comfortable, timeless and function very well for all the shopping and errands you’ll have or want to do while out and about.
Flat shoes are my best friend, but nothing says Parisian chic more than pairing sleek-strap skinny heels with a curve-accentuating full skirt. They instantly make the legs look longer, leaner and more graceful. The all-black color easily gives off a sophisticated and ladylike vibe. Just one thing: Make sure you won’t be walking around too much with these gems.