a lesson in French

I’ve recently discovered an old French saying: “Ça doit faire mal pour être belle”, which translates to, “It’s got to hurt to be beautiful”.

French style, from what I’ve recently learnt, is all about making something that takes effort – and that may hurt and be uncomfortable at times – look, well, completely effortless.

Right. Got it.  

I’m obsessed with anything and everything French.

From the language; the food; the wine and French champagne; the chic, timeless classics; the music – I’m currently listening to René Aubry while writing this post – to Breton stripes.

I love it all.

I’m Polish/Australian, but I think I really should be French.

Anyhoo … I digress.

Scouring the internet for something to watch and read, I recently came across Alexa Chung’s YouTube channel and her short 2020 series, ‘Franglais’.  

This sparked my petite French lesson.

Alexa’s ‘Franglais’ series (from what I can tell), includes three tutorials on how to be French:

‘How to dress the French way’ features, fashion journalist and podcaster – and “all-round blonde goddess”, according to Alexa – Camille Charrière.

So, what does Camille have to say about dressing like a French girl?

Don’t buy into the latest trends … just, because

First up, French fashion is trendless. French girls aren’t slaves to the latest fashion trends – they know what works for them; they invest in the timeless, classics.

Just because something is ‘in fashion’ doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.

I couldn’t agree more! I’ve seen so many women make the mistake of wearing something just because it was ‘in fashion’.

As Camille says, it’s about considering “how clothes make you feel”.

Denim is your uncomfortable friend

Both Alexa and Camille agree that, while denim is timeless, denim worn right is denim that’s not necessarily stretchy and comfortable.

Mind. Blown. I love my jeans because they are comfortable.

“I feel like [denim] is what I wear the most; I enjoy wearing it the most,” says Camille.

I hear you!

But jeans, she says “shouldn’t be stretchy”. This means that they’re going to be super uncomfortable – “No one is having a good time in jeans,” says Camille – but they both agree that it’s worth it because jeans that aren’t stretchy … “Oh my god, they look good!”.

What was that old French saying, again?

“Ça doit faire mal pour être belle.”

Embrace the imperfections

While we’ve become obsessed with Instagram filters and all-round perfection, Camille says that the French embrace the imperfections.

“Everything that’s a little bit imperfect we keep – we like,” says Camille.

Yes! F-OFF filters.

So, that’s a:

  • No to too much make up.
  • No to hiding all of your wrinkles.
  • No to hiding your imperfections.
  • No to looking perfect.
I’m with Alexa when she says, “I’m moving to France!”

Stop flashing the brands … or your gym wear

OK. I get it. You love your brands. You can afford the hefty price tag.

But enough with brand-tag show!

You might have designer this and designer that but as Camille says, “no need to be showing that off all the time”.

French girls “don’t necessarily want you to know where they got something from,” she says.

When it comes to French style, another thing French girl’s like to keep secret is how they stay in shape.

It seems that as much as they don’t like showing off the designer labels, they also want to make you think they get their svelte physique effortlessly as well.

Camille says that while French girls “go to the gym, they don’t talk about it”.

You won’t see a French girl wearing her activewear out and about.

It’s all about putting in the effort but making it look effortless.

I’m starting to see a bit of a theme here.

All about the stripes

Ah, it wouldn’t be a French style lesson without Breton stripes.

I am low-key obsessed with stripes – love them! I, too, have a collection of stripey tops and sweaters in my wardrobe.

In fact, a Breton stripes sweater I own may have been a little something-something that impressed my French beau, J when we first start talking.

It’s all about the Breton stripes.

N.B: Breton stripes hail from Brittany, a region in France, hence the name.

So, there you have it – a quick little lesson in how to be French.

As previously mentioned, the other YouTube videos in Alexa’s ‘Franglais’ series include, ‘How to date the French way’ and ‘How to get older the French way’.

The ‘getting older one’ is also a good one as there are tips on how to do a self-facial massage to reduce puffiness and water retention. I’ve been doing it daily and, well, I feel like I’m seeing a difference.

Anyway! Check them out and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, here’s to wanting to be French 😉

x G.

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