As you may already be aware if you’ve read my books, French women don’t usually have an extensive wardrobe with row upon row of trendy clothes. What we do have is a lean closet containing highly wearable pieces, mainly of them classics.
You may be wondering, but how can they dress chic, with a paired- down wardrobe? What is their secret? How can I shop like them?
I’ll give you a few pointers today, on how to shop as a chic French woman would.
You may have been decluttering as this is spring cleaning time. (If not, not to worry, I'm in the process of creating my next ecourse on motivation to declutter). Write a list of which of your clothes need replacing. This way, you will not buy blindly.
Only replace what needs replacing. There is absolutely no need, you will agree, to buy another printed, low-crotch, loose pants, with elastic ankles no less, to replace those you got from a market stall last summer. They were not a good buy then, they will not be a good buy again. They are not French Chic. There is no need either to replace items you’ve hardly worn. Only replace pieces you wear regularly, that you love and that you look good in. Pssst, no need to replace your leggings either…
Buy clothes that you will wear multiple times. This way, their cost per wear is minimal.
This is one of my tips from How to Be Chic & Elegant about cost per wear.
In a nutshell, the more you wear an item, the less its cost per wear. Admittedly, there are exceptions, in particular evening/occasion wear. Having said that, you can wear your evening dress more than once. Yes, you can! Why wear your clothes only once? Especially, if they cost a fortune and you look amazing in them, wear them again. So what, if a couple of your friends saw you in it a few months ago? Wear it again, mon amie. French women do this all the time. Sans regret! They buy the clothes they love and they love to wear their clothes.
Consider what you already have. Buy clothes in colours and style that can be mixed and matched with as many of your other clothes as possible.
If you buy an item that you can’t wear with any other piece that you own, you may be faced with these options:
1/ you have to buy other pieces to wear with it (shoes/accessories/tops/bottoms/jackets) (extra spending)
2/ you wear it with other things you have but the result just doesn’t look good (oh dear)
3/ you never wear it (waste of money)
Don’t buy your clothes when you feel low. You may end up buying indiscriminately to make you feel better. Your choices then may not reflect what you normally buy. Think about getting yourself a nice tasse de café, a bar of chocolate or a green juice, instead. You'll feel better later and with not a huge amount of money wasted. This tip is on a par with the one that says ‘don’t do your grocery shopping when you’re hungry”.
Chic French women prefer to buy classics, of good quality, that will last for a few years. Don’t buy on impulse. Have a look first. Come back a week or two later. If you’re still sure you want it by then, get it. You should never regret investing in a classic piece.
I wrote extensively about this in my books but please spend time in the changing rooms. Try things on, make sure you they fit and suit you, look from all angles. Check that they’re comfortable to wear, when you sit down and move around. Lift your arms and legs. Move about. Don't only check if your derrière looks peachy :0)
There are many other things I could write about in this topic but I think I’ll stop here for now.
Do you already know what you will buy on your next shopping trip? Please let us know in the comments below.
Other posts you may enjoy:
French Women and Less is More: Fewer Clothes Mean Better Style
Why Chic French Women Wear Their Best Clothes Every Day
Ps: If you're thinking about decluttering your closet but can't get there, you may have excuses that need to be decluttered themselves. My new ecourse "The Excuse Blaster Challenge may be all the help you need. Check it out here!
I'm Marie-Anne Lecoeur. I teach women how to upgrade their style and think, shop & dress like a French woman in my Ecourses and The French Chic Academy
👠 "I am so proud of following your advice because I attended a function recently and a totally unknown lady came up to me and said how elegant I looked!!!! I was so happy, as you can imagine!!!! Thank you so very much for everything."
👠 "Love! Love! Finally a no non-sense approach to being chic, excellent tips, easy to do and understand, anybody can be chic!"
👠 "My closet is organized and I can put my hand on an item of clothing I'm looking for easily, thanks to your book"
👠 "I still need purging but thanks to you I was able to move in one wardrobe box instead of 3."
"Make every day special and beautiful"