One of my favourite places in the world is Paris. I love the beauty in the buildings, the feeling of a rich history full of interesting stories throughout the city and, of course, I love the feeling of a life with space for creativity and art.
Especially since having children, I tend to regularly fall into a rushed, busy, hectic lifestyle that isn’t particularly enjoyable. But there is something about Paris and France in general that encourages you to savour small delights and to prioritise creating and indulging in everyday beauty. Whether it is the architecture, the abundance of art, or the exquisiteness of rich, full-bodied food (prepared and consumed slowly, with great delight), or a combination of all of these things, there is something that I want to hold onto and bring into my everyday family and work life.
Unfortunately my credit card isn’t able to fund a quick trip to France for me and my family, so instead, for today, I’m starting with bringing a little bit of Parisian Chic to my wardrobe! With reference to some lovely French style websites for inspiration and our own travel photos, here are the essentials to adding a touch of French style to your wardrobe. These work well for any stage of motherhood (or of life in general!). Whether you need maternity clothes, breastfeeding dresses or just stylish everyday living clothes.
1. Invest in lovely ballet flats or loafers. Whether you’re pregnant or running around after children, or just concerned about looking after your lower back, stylish flat shoes are an absolute life saver. It is essential to have some that you love wearing all the time – they must be comfortable and suit your style.
2. Trench coats or jackets. Trench coats are very French, but I love any kind of tailored jacket. They are perfect for balancing any outfit, and they are shaped so you always look more put together. However, this is an item that can either last a lifetime or only one season, depending on what kind of quality the fabric and make is. I have expensive jackets from my past corporate lifestyle that I bought 8 years ago that I still love to wear (the pants are gone, but the suit jackets are fabulous for wearing over a pair of jeans and a t-shirt when I want to look more put together!). On the other hand, I’ve been guilty of buying an “on-trend” jacket that only lasted a couple of years before the fabric started to pill and look worn. The more expensive jacket actually ends up being cheaper per wear (divide the cost by the approximate number of times you’ve worn it), and just looks much nicer!
3. A range of neutral tops. The white button up shirt is very French, and coincidentally works very well for breastfeeding too! If you want to add a little more coverage, you could wear with a white crop top underneath that you pull up to breastfeed. A white maternity button up shirt is great for pregnancy and if it's made with soft and eco-friendly fabric that is even better (comfort matters people!!). Of course, the other staple is a range of good quality tops in neutrals like white, grey and black that can be layered under your jacket. Neutral tops are perfect for a minimalist or capsule wardrobe because they can be worn with everything, and are easy to mix and match.
4. Accessories This is a great area to change up over time and express your personality. Adding pops of colour, or sticking with monochrome or neutrals depending on your mood. Earrings, necklaces and scarves or wraps... just don’t overdo it. To stick with a Parisian style, less is more. As Coco Chanel once said ““Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. Of course she also said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different” so if accessories are your viva la difference, go for it!
5. Good quality dresses. Many people say the little black dress is a French wardrobe staple, but personally, I prefer to wear a bit of colour when I wear a dress, but to keep the mix and match minimalist approach working, I stick to colours that work together. Usually for me, that is a dusky cool colour (think dark blue or navy, grey or even a cool purple!) because those colours tend to suit me. Other people will find beige, rich reds or vibrant colours work well for them! Whatever you decide to do, make sure it keeps with your overall colour theme so that you can mix and match. You will get more wear out of it and it is likely to be something that resonates with you for a long time to come.
Viva La Difference. Above all, find your point of difference, and your wardrobe style and colour theme. Style is easier when you have a theme to work within.
Embrace your most fabulous you and don’t be afraid to express it. What are your favourite tips for a stylish motherhood?