How to Channel That French Riviera Je Ne Sais Quoi This Summer
A post by Claire. Enjoy reading!
The elusive French vibe is just that – elusive; difficult to pinpoint, hence even more difficult to emulate. Women all over the world want to attain that perfect amalgamation of chicness and nonchalance that the typical French woman exudes on a daily basis, but they have it easy – they were born with it and it seems a bit paradoxical, an oxymoron actually, that one has to work that hard to achieve nonchalance. Still, like any other paradox, this self-contradictory process illuminates a truth. For instance, you can be born cool or you can work on it and eventually get to the cool place, and it is the same in this case too. You absolutely can attain that je ne sais quoi, you just have to learn the initial steps and soon enough, you’ll be able to fly all on your own and be mistaken for a native even in the breeziest and most ‘French’ place of them all – the evergreen Riviera.
If we want to get this right, we have to have an all-encompassing approach which starts from the face, and then we’ll work our way down to fashion. What you have to understand about French women is that their skincare regimen is fairly simple and to the point. They’re not as obsessed with youthfulness as most of the planet is and they’re not concerned with hiding their flaws, imperfections or even signs of aging. That being said, they do trust old and renowned skincare brands, mostly domestic such as Clinique, Darphin and Decléor, and they do take care of their skin. They always remove their makeup, use great lotions, moisturizers and oils, and it’s not infrequent to find them in spas. They do worry about their skin in the sense that they want to keep it healthy, but they are comfortable with aging gracefully.
Minimalism all the way
French girls and women in general, especially when at the Riviera, wear little to no makeup. Concealer is non-existent in their makeup cases as they don’t mind the dark circles; in fact, they believe they give women character. They groom their skin so they can walk around bare-faced and their only staples are a touch of mascara, sometimes a bit of liner (smudged) and either that perfect red lip or a simple nourishing chapstick. It is literally no-makeup makeup in its original form.
One of the reasons most French girls don’t color their hair or color it in a shade close to their natural one is simple – they want a hassle-free style that won’t have them running to their stylist every couple of weeks. Their hair is mostly cut in the most convenient way for easy maintenance as they don’t bother much with blow-drying, and time-consuming styling. What they care about is that their hair is nicely trimmed, voluminous and healthy, so they will often turn to amazing organic hair growth shampoo that will give them volume and hassle-free, amazing-looking strands. They let their hair dry on its own and either leave it as it is or create a quick and easy chic low bun. And don’t worry about loose strands. That’s nonchalance.
Let’s get you dressed
It may sound like a cliché, but times and trends change everywhere except the French Riviera, where things are the same as they were when silver screen icons frequented the destination. This means that, in order to exude those vibes, you definitely need a high-quality swimwear, perfectly fitting Breton top, Calvin Klein skirt, cropped trousers, basket bags and straw boaters – all the staple items that are the definition of Côte d’Azur back circa 1957. These are the crucial items without which you can’t even begin to build the rest of your style.
Search for inspiration
When you lack either inspiration or knowledge, turn to such icons as Grace Kelly, the woman who was the embodiment of the Riviera staple style even though she wasn’t French (another proof that you don’t have to be born with it.) Kelly would frequently enjoy yachting in ensembles consisting of white blouses and simple shirts which she would style up with high-rise mid-calf pants. This style, along with wide-leg pants and culottes, has never been more popular, so snag a pair or two and start channeling your inner Grace Kelly.
Some summer staples are the same everywhere
Certain garments are associated with summer regardless of where we are, and some of them are skirts and dresses. The kinds you need to ooze the elusive vibe we’re chasing are the breezy mid-calf, A-line, off-the-shoulder and midi dresses and skirts. They can follow the rules of minimalism and be all white or you can add a touch of trendiness with soft and gentle pastels. Top things off with a chic straw hat in a gorgeous sun-kissed hue, a few well-chosen structured and minimalistic pieces of jewellery and a pair of sunglasses with a timeless chic frame – avoid the overly trendy ones. Espadrilles are your go-to “daytime at the Riviera” shoes, so choose a comfy and stylish pair.
If at the actual beach
If you find yourself actually being at the French Riviera and not only copying the look and the vibe, you need to know that this is a beach like no other. You can’t just throw on a bathing suit and a cover-up and head down. First of all, accessories are paramount so first make a statement with a pair of poignant mustard yellow flats by Brother Vellies and then move on up. Retro one-pieces are timeless and that’s the look you’re going for – nothing too skimpy or, God forbid, metallic or shiny. A structured woven tote is a must, and along with your signature sunglasses, your look is complete.
Luxury evenings galore
If you’ve almost carelessly managed to dazzle during the day, it’s time to pull out all the stops and finish the evening on the same note and here you have two options. You can either take advantage of the back-in-style sultry slip dress or go with moderately sheer dresses, provided you have all the right undergarments that will still make you look upscale and classy. Peep-toe stilettos are a perfect companion along with that red lip and a bejewelled clutch. Everyone else will be just as overdressed at the Riviera so don’t worry about looking like you’re trying too hard.
Thank you very much Claire for this interesting post!