Advanced French Girl Style

French Girl Style Prima Darling

This story was originally posted in May last year, but is just as relevant today.

There’s much written about French Girl Style, what it is and how to emulate it. No doubt there is a certain allure to FGS, though I think it’s been treated with way too much reverence for a style that at its core is classic. The secret sauce to FGS, which cannot be bought, is a comfort in ones own skin and undeniable confidence. One depends on the other and both must come from within. Other than that let’s break down the more rudimentary aspects of it, with a Prima Darling twist, by focusing on what I’m calling Advanced French Girl Style, or French Girl Style for Madam. I grant you that the frequently photographed ambassadors of FGS are Mademoiselles, but I contend that some of the leading purveyors of FGS are well into madam-hood. Here are three prime examples…

Emmanuelle Alt, the always-chic editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, is the queen bee of French Girl Style. Alt, who turns 50 today, has her style down to a science, slim jeans or pants, tee shirt or button down shirt, tailored jacket, and important shoe, usually a heel. She favors dark colors and neutrals and her jewelry is simple and classic; a Cartier tank watch, Hermes cuff, simple gold bracelets, and not much more. It’s a uniform of which she has endless variations. Despite the simplicity of the formula she always looks impeccable, polished and modern, befitting her position. During show week, while so many are dressing for attention in the latest runway trends, Alt continually stands out as the coolest person in the room.

So what makes Alt the poster child for French Girl Style? Let me list the ways:

  1. Attitude, her innate cool and nonchalance are key to FGS. You must never look like you’re trying too hard.
  2. Undone, perfectly tousled hair, a crucial element to FSG starting with Brigitte Bardot.
  3. Masculine pieces with a feminine fit worn with a sexy shoe emphasize the masculine/feminine dichotomy, key to FSG.                                                    
    The formula holds for evening as well.
    Happy Birthday, you are fabulous!

    At age 59 Ines de la Fressange, the model, designer and aristocrat is another FGS icon. Her happy and carefree personality informs her style of classic, menswear inspired pieces always paired with killer accessories.

    Rules to take away from de la Fressange:

    1. There’s an outdoorsy, sporty element to FGS, which requires comfort and ease of movement.
    2. Never underestimate the power of a few carefully chosen accessories.And finally the last rule for advanced French Girl Style perfectly illustrated here by the model and music producer, Caroline de Maigret.
    3. Keep it natural. Hair and makeup should look like it took five minutes to do (but of course it takes longer). 

      Hope this helps you find your own inner French girl regardless of age.