She stood out from the crowd. I spotted her in the distance, on a road close to where I live, as she strolled along hand in hand with her man. As she drew closer I could better see what she was wearing: a simple well cut coat, tailored cropped trousers, classic shoes with small stacked heels and a scarf softly draped around her neck. She was simply dressed and yet she looked totally stylish and totally chic. As I passed her by I could hear her speaking in French to her companion.
French women, particularly Parisians, do seem to have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and the seemingly effortless knack of combining clothes in a way that makes them stare-worthy to those like moi not blessed with their innate style skills. In search of style inspiration I often dip into Parisian Chic, a style/shopping guide, by Ines de la Fressange. The main lesson I have gleaned from her book is that ‘brilliant basics are the key to a great look’ she lists her magnificent seven basics as: a trench coat, a navy sweater, a tank top, a little black dress, a man’s blazer, jeans and a leather jacket. I am also very struck by what she says about accessories ‘The Parisian builds her look around fabulous basics, so accessories are the key to her personal style. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall or small, slender or curvy – accessories are the easiest things to adapt to your shape. And if you invest in quality accessories, you can go for more affordable clothes – nobody will notice. Accessories are all-important!’
I will be in Paris for part of next week. I am looking forward to sitting in cafés sipping grands crèmes and watching the world drift by; hopefully I will spot many examples of chic Parisians in their native habitat. I am also going to try to hunt down that oh so elusive prey a *perfect *navy blue sweater.