AW14: Be French Chic Without Chanel

Fran, currently on her year abroad, gives us an insight into trends across the Channel…

Everywhere I look I see woolly scarves, fluffy coats and sleek oversized handbags. Autumn 2014 has hit the streets of Valence and the girls look fierce.

When asked, my go to phrase to describe French fashion is ‘cool and comfy over cosmopolitan and Coco’, and the recent burst of this season’s laid back power dressing goes a long way in proving it spot on.

Walking around town boyfriend coats are proving far more ‘French’ than berets. Young French women absolutely hit the nail on the head when it comes to creating an outfit that works at the office whilst also being the perfect fit for after work drinks with the girls.

So here’s my top 5, a little list of items I’ve complied that could help you create the perfect French street style- Notts won’t know what’s hit it!

1.The staple scarf

My housemate and I have agreed that we’ve seen more variations of scarves in the past two months than in the rest of our lives put together. To be honest though, who can blame them? Who doesn’t love looking cute and being toasty, especially when you’ve had to drag yourself out of bed for a 9am.

2.The all-purpose shoe

My decision to buy a pair of Dr Marten’s 1461 before moving to France was a good one. I practically sleep in them. If anything, the French prove that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for class. Chelsea boots are a step in the right direction but- boy is my mum going to be proud- you’ll appreciate a good sole when it starts to get chilly. Buy something classic, chic and comfortable. If you’re making them look fab with jeans and also a cute dress you won’t regret spending a bit extra.

3.The fit-all bag

In my opinion, the perfect bag looks like a Marc Jacobs and works like a Mary Poppins. I love anything I can have across my front for security, but also adds to my outfit. Zara have some amazing bags this season, classic cuts in bold autumnal shades that fit A4 (a teachers life for me) and more importantly, are durable. My tan H&M shoulder bag is a less pricey version and is an absolute lifesaver for every occasion- you won’t see me without it. 

4.The accessories

Nothing ties an outfit together like accessories. My favourite two pieces have been a blue semi-precious stone choker and a chunky rhodium ring, both from ASOS marketplace. It seems like if you’re in doubt less is more on the jewellery and the make-up front. There’s not a foundation line in sight; illuminator, long natural lashes and pencilled eyebrows seem to be the products du jour. Lipstick seems to be the only exception with Kiko (a cheaper Italian Mac) advertising a lot of very neutral peach shades, as well as dark plum lipstick tones for this autumn.

Ultimately, whack on whatever makes you feel your best, if you don’t feel like it or just don’t have the time- don’t worry: ooze that cool French ‘I’m not bothered’ vibe, it gets them every time.

5.The coat

And finally- no autumn wardrobe is complete without a killer coat. My dark green teddy coat from Redherring has so far been the perfect fit for every outfit this season. It might look super cute and cosy but it’s also ideal for the power dresser. What’s better than a showstopper that also feels like you’ve left the house in a little duvet cocoon? So, don’t be worried about buying a chunkier coat this season, big on top and small on bottom seems to be with the way all the French are rolling these days. Just remember: be cool not cold!

So that’s it, you’re all set! I found a really good advertisement for a cute shop called Mim that perfectly summarises the French style this season.

Be bold, be beautiful, be classy and most importantly be comfortable! Go get ‘em, ladies- give them a bit of that je ne sais quoi!

Edited by Nicole Jones

Image sources:

Doc Martens photo: Author's own