As I get older (ah, me) I find myself turning again and again to more minimalist styles. It’s not something that anyone who knows me would ever put with my name – I’m certainly no ‘minimalist’ – I love and live big, but when it comes to style… I think I might be a convert. And French style, in particular, has got me thinking. It’s chic, smart, an evocative mixture of tomboy and feminine with more than a hint of girl boss ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe. So here are some mindfully made wardrobe essentials for emulating la fille française and a taste of that Paris trip you so desperately want to book… don’t worry dear reader, we’ll be sipping our café again on the Rue St Germain in no time at all…
1. Bicycle Chic
One image that has become synonymous of French style is the girl running errands dressed casually on her bike. For this look, I’ve pulled together some straight-legged blue jeans, a classic Breton striped shirt and comfy yet chic flat-soled trainers, as well as a little ring for your finger to wink at you over the handle-bars whilst you’re loading your basket…
2. Café Style
One of my favourite things to do in Paris when I lived there was to enjoy a milky café latte on my local terrasse before heading to work. It was Autumn and a fresh almost sorrowful crisp breeze tousled my hair and made my nose sting with the smell of rotting leaves. I pulled my coat tighter around me and headed out…
Monki, Monsoon and H&M are my preferred big high street fashion brands for mindful fashion. Monki has come to my attention recently as they have pledged to ensure all their materials are either sustainably sourced or recycled by 2030. Their cotton is already 100% sustainably sourced and their stores all run off renewable energy and offer garment and textile recycling. For me, this is a step in the right direction and earns their Aviator Jacket a place on my list.
3. Belle At The Boulangerie
Mmmm I can almost smell those warm steamy baguettes as they’re laid on the shelves for early morning shoppers to take home to their families. But what to wear to pick one up? Sensible yet eye-catching, you never know who you’re going to meet along the way… it is Paris after all…
4. Picnic By The Seine
A floaty summer dress, a rattan bag and a pair of lace-up espadrilles are all you need for the exquisite ‘picnic by the Seine’ vibe. Here are some affordable mindful essentials:
A simple black linen-blend dress, perfect for dangling your legs over the river and sipping champagne. This style also comes in equally chic white or a quirky lemon and green patterned – whichever one you choose, the style is so classic and easy to wear you could pair it with so many kinds of shoes and bags you already have in your wardrobe, but here are some recommendations.
A pair of lace-up wedges. This is a must for a summery French wardrobe and I’m lusting after these black espadrilles from Boden so badly! I really looked into the ethics behind the brand before choosing these and I have to say I’m impressed by their transparency. You can read about the makers behind the clothes in great detail here. For my American readers, I recommend Matisse Footwear for some equally well-priced, mindfully made espadrilles and wedges.
For the baguettes, cheese and charcuterie you’re planning on nibbling on this picnic, grab an oversized woven market bag from The Little Market and get packing. This one is hand-woven from palm fronds and trimmed with cognac leather in Ghana by the women artisanal cooperative Bolga Basket Weavers and seeks to empower with every purchase. For my UK shoppers, take a look at what I found here.
To complete this effortless, breezy summer look, don a pair of plain gold hoops – nothing too big – like these ones from my new go-to handmade in the UK brand Oh My Clumsy Heart. For something similar in $, you can also check out these on ethical marketplace ABLE.
Enjoy your picnic! 😉
5. A Glass of Vin Rouge
And finally, we round off our day with a street-side glass of vin rouge. What better way to style-watch as people pass by? One thing I’ve noticed about ‘chic’ looks is that no one ever looks overly done-up. It’s always minimal make-up and toned down block colours. So that’s what we’re having for our look of the evening – and I thought we’d splurge a bit on this one…
And a little rouge of colour to make the outfit pop next to your wine!
Hope you enjoyed our little trip!
In Love&Light, MM XOXO