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Being chic is as much a state of mind as it is a fashion statement. Being confident in what you wear and showcasing it with flair will make people notice you. French chic style has a decided breeziness, mixing function and form to create an elegant but unpretentious impression. Think Coco Chanel and her iconic, yet simple suits, or Audrey Hepburn's casual elegance in the classic thriller, "Charade." These are the looks that transcend trends.
You needn't go into a shopping frenzy to update your look to French chic style. In fact, fashion-forward Frenchwomen buy less, but stick to quality items. While a designer coat or little black dress costs a pretty penny, not every piece has to be from the latest collection. Go through vintage and consignment shops or find well-made basics from less-known designers. Invest in simple but striking pieces such as a trench coat, premium denim, a fitted blazer, body-skimming tank tops, a cocktail dress and knit sweaters.
Even the most beautiful dress or blouse falls flat when it fits improperly. Shop by how the piece looks rather than its size. While you may not have the budget for custom pieces sewn to your measurements, consider saving part of your fashion budget toward the services of a good tailor. Issues such as sleeve length, hems, fit across the torso and fit around the waistline make your clothes drape better over your body to create a flattering silhouette.
Too much jewelry, belts, scarves and ornate footwear drowns you in accessories and diffuses the impact of your outfit. Think of your accessories as focal points, drawing attention to a part of your body, face or ensemble. The classic French look entails knotting one or two scarves at your neck, or wearing long strands of pearls. A well-crafted leather bag and sexy yet sensible shoes complete your look. That's right: Skip the sky-high stilettos and go for pumps, slingbacks, ballerina flats or shoes with a kitten heel.
It takes a certain amount of effort to look this effortless. French chic style requires clothing and accessories in perfect repair. Distressed clothing, even artfully done, does not fly in French fashion. Learn how to work a needle and thread. Wash clothing on gentle settings and hang them to dry to keep their color and elasticity intact. Add flourish to your finishing touches with pieces such as cherry red stockings, a classic French beret in a nontraditional indigo, your grandmother's vintage brooch or a flowing capelet.