Bonjour à tous,
This is my first blog post which I have decided to write on teen fashion in France. I hope you enjoy reading 🙂
How to be super chic…French chic
It is no secret that France is a leading country in the fashion design industry. Bringing us style icons over the years such as Coco Chanel, Emmanuelle Alt (French Vogue’s editor) and Françoise Hardy (often cited as Alexa Chung’s fashion inspiration,) France is well-known for its style.
Broadly regarded as the ‘fashion capital of the world’ Paris is home to the headquarters of major fashion brands including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent. The 2km long and 70m wide Champs-Élysées in Paris boasts luxurious boutiques, hotels, popular chains and countless patisserie stores. Heaven to the shopaholic!
Cannes Film Festival
The French Riviera is also widely associated with glamour. The Cannes Film Festival held in May annually makes the headlines with actors and actresses travelling from all over the globe to appear on the red carpet in designer outfits. Additionally, the towns of Nice, Monaco and St Tropez welcome thousands of tourists each year who are eager to browse the designer labels and department stores the region is known for.
But is the French style all about luxury? Do the French only wear designer labels? What are the fashion trends for French teenagers?
This is my guide about how to be ‘super chic’ and how to fit in as a teenager in France.
1. Be classic and simple.
The French love their neutral colours. Black and beige are colours commonly worn and white and navy blue are clear favourites. Despite the stereotype of French clothing being very expensive and glamorous, a good outfit certainly doesn’t need to be expensive or be composed of designer labels. Whilst it is true that some people do buy designer brands, it is a small percentage of the population and I’ve discovered that PRIMARK is VERY popular in France! Proof that great outfits and the French style can still be achieved on a small budget.
2. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal!
Unlike in Britain where we greet our friends by hugging or with a hand shake, the French ‘faire la bise.’ Une bise is a kiss on each cheek exchanged when saying hello and goodbye. It doesn’t only extend to friends and can be exchanged to people you have just met….as I found out at a party when I had to ‘faire la bise’ both to say hello and goodbye to over fourty people! EEEK! My personal space bubble was certainly burst and I must admit it did make me feel slightly uncomfortable as a typical Brit! Boys are not excluded either as both genders exchange the ‘bises’ – even male to male!
3. Confidence is key.
It’s true that the French whatever age seem to ooze a certain elegance and sophistication. They seem to have a knack for putting together and pulling off outfits. ‘French style is all about the attitude’ reports Garance Doré (well-known French fashion blogger) in the Guardian and I would agree. Being confident and self-assured goes a long way in aiding your overall image.
4. Sporty is the new in.
There has been a rise in the popularity of sports branded clothing for boys and girls alike. This is a style which has been adopted both in France and in the UK. Sports brands such as Nike and Adidas are often worn where branded t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and trainers are paired with skinny jeans and baseball caps. A casual look but very on trend.
5. Girls embrace the natural you!
There is so much peer pressure for girls in the UK surrounding make up. The pressure to have flawless skin, perfectly applied foundation, eyeliner and mascara etc means that it can be difficult to accept the natural version of yourself. For some, looking in the mirror without makeup can be tough and the impression society often gives us is that a face without makeup is unattractive. Therefore embracing the au natural look is something I really admire about the French style. Teen girls noticeably wear much less makeup and if they do they either focus on applying it to the lips or to the eyes. Their makeup is much more minimalist, discreet and I would argue contributes to a healthier mindset.
6. Comfort should override everything.
Due to the fact that French schools have no uniform it is essential that what you wear is comfortable! Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire stated in an interview with Elle last year that like many young people she tends to wear the same thing over and over again. She states that pairing her favourite jeans with different tops and accessories offers a wide range of fashion possibilities and ensures comfort at all times. Her message is to be creative and more importantly be comfortable!
The French dress code:
The only limitations on school wear are that religious symbols are banned. This is due to France being a secular state which means that the church and the government are run separately. It is also forbidden to wear inappropriate clothing such as short skirts and low-cut tops but this is harder to control and some girls do come into school in inappropriate dress. The debate about school uniform is ongoing. Whilst the no uniform rule allows for self-expression and comfort, there are downsides such as bullying, class divides and increased pressures to conform to style trends.
Que pensez- vous? Questions to think about:
- Which side of the school uniform argument would you and your class be on? Hold a classroom debate about the pros and cons of school uniform.
- Would you agree that the French are more stylish than the British?
- How would you describe British fashion?
To conclude, fashion innovations in France and French fashion designers have had a big impact on the world. Many aspire to master the classic Parisien chic look and France will always hold the reputation of being sophisticated and well dressed. However I think the biggest lesson we can learn from the French is their confidence when it comes to fashion. Lets be proud and confident in our own skins!