Last week I spent a heavenly few days in south west France with my beloved. We stayed in a small coastal town nowhere near the Cote D’Azure. It was very low key and casual, with oyster huts, a jetty and beachside cafes that were just perfect for people-watching.
British women frequently hear about French chic and how we should aspire to it, and I’ve often wondered if there’s any particular secret to their style. The women of this small town sported a simple yet elegant look: striped breton (mariniere) tops, light knits thrown over shoulders, straw beach hats and baskets, scarves looped around necks, simple shirt dresses worn with flats or sandals. As we cycled through villages and lazed in cafes, it dawned on me just what their secret is. It comes down to two words: ‘effort’ and ‘simplicity’.
Whether these women are meeting friends in a café, dining with their husbands, shopping in the market or just strolling along the jetty, they always make an effort. Every day. Their clothes are simple (no more than two or three colours) and coordinated. There is very little bling, no huge logos (other than a few LVs), no sweatpants, leggings or oversized t-shirts. And in fact, as the age bracket went up (50, 60 and beyond) the more elegant the look became.
French chic equals effort and simplicity. A divine, and achievable, combination.