The Problem With French-Girl Style, According To A Chanel Muse

455158042Photo: Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images.
No matter how many experts we speak with, street style images we flip though, and croissants we eat, we can never exactly put our finger on what makes French style so special. It's the sartorial mystery that will always be a bit je ne sais quoi — a quality that further fuels our fandom. But, there's one lady in particular who's been a long-time muse of ours (as well as Chanel's) and she's finally spilling her story.
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In Caroline de Maigret's How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits, our favorite messy haired, menswear-loving Parisienne is telling the world what it takes to possess a bit of her artfully disheveled beauty. In fact, she's nailed it so well, she even recently signed on to partner with Lancôme. And, you can bet we'd buy every ounce of whatever helps us capture her glow.
While her exact breed of effortlessness doesn't come bottled, she (thankfully) spilled a few tips that could help us achieve a bit more freedom, a bit more happiness, and — who knows? — maybe even a chance to be mistaken for a French woman ourselves.
The title of your book mentioned "Love, Style, and Bad Habits." What kind of bad habits are we talking about?
“The idea of bad habits is to be okay with what's not okay about your life. When I’ve had a hard day, even though I’m a mum, I want to get drunk with my girlfriends, you know? That’s what bad habits are. Like, It’s okay! I can do anything I want. I’m free.”
What’s the hardest habit you’ve ever had to break?
“Smoking.”
How did you get through it?
“I had an anxiety attack one month ago. One morning I woke up — I partied hard the night before — and I had no more voice. I was feeling so bad, and I knew it was the cigarettes. I knew. I realized like: Okay, I’m gonna die from that thing. I don’t want my son to lose his mum because I smoked. That’s why I stopped.”
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You just went cold turkey?
“Yeah. It was intense.”
Jumping to the style part of the book, is there anything about French women's style that you particularly don’t like?
“Sometimes French women are so scared of the faux pas that they’re not adventurous. I think sometimes maybe it’s a bit dull. But, I’m the same as them. I feel like I’m gonna make mistakes somehow. I don’t know, it’s unconscious.”
Do you mean you’re scared to make style mistakes or go outside of the box?
“No, but sometimes you’d rather not push it too much and take a risk, and that’s sad in a way. That could be the bad thing about French style. Not taking risks sometimes. But, we do in our real lives you know...with men."
Are there any risks you want to take but haven't yet?
“It would be nice to be a little bit more colorful...but in a good way. Saint Laurent did it, mixing pink with red. And, a lot of French women do it, but still, the color black does not make mistakes.”
I'm sure you're aware there are so many American women who want to dress like the French, but which American would you make an honorary French woman?
“I would say Jenna Lyons. She has this moderation in her style. She wants to show you a projection of her as a powerful woman, a smart woman, rather than a sexy girl. And, I think that’s very fresh.”
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