This is part of a series where I’m interviewing authentic French women so we can get their thoughts on fashion, life, and being effortlessly chic. Check out the first post if you haven’t, and get your cup of coffee ready to learn from the author of Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic, Isabelle Thomas!
A French Woman’s Guide to Being Effortlessly Chic
Isabelle Thomas, a Paris based author & personal stylist, combines her love of fashion, along with her sharp and trained eye, to help others craft an image and a wardrobe they can love and present to the world. Whether she’s giving trainings, hosting style shops, or writing for the International press, Isabelle is constantly giving advice and inspiring those around her to take pleasure in their dressing.
As a personal stylist, you probably go through a lot of wardrobes. What are the first things you would toss?
At first, I would get rid off the bad conditions clothes (white t-shirts and shirts that became grey, wool that looks over worn, over worn shoes etc), clothes that belong to another time, to another you or a younger you. Body and mind are changing, so should the clothes. I could toss expansive clothes that haven’t be worn because they don’t look like you and I could keep clothes that never have been worn but you can wear them now with new shoes, skirts or shirts… I help you make new mix. But don’t forget: when you toss, don’t through away, better to give away.
What’s your biggest fashion mistake? Biggest fashion win?
My biggest fashion mistake is probably a very high heels shoes… It’s a fantasm but it’s not me! My wardrobe is full of fashion win! Colors prints and full of colors are my winners. Colors always win.
What’s the best fashion advice you were ever given?
Don’t pay attention to the weather forecast, the diktat or the gender, just have fun and follow your mood.
How does a French woman have fun with her wardrobe if and when she gets tired of neutrals and basic pieces?
I don’t recommand famous french basics. For example, the little black dress could be very boring. The white shirt is not a fashion standard if you have no style. If you want to have the french style, you have to forget about the rules and the fashion diktats. You have to master the mix and match: vintage and new brand, expansive and cheap, being simple and bold at the same time… Basics should be twist by more excentric pieces (example: leopard derbies with classic 7/8 denim stone washed denim or classic man tweed jacket with a rock band tshirt)
Related: 9 Must-Have French Girl Shoes
If someone only has enough money for 3 high-quality items, what should they buy?
A pair of white jeans, a man navy coat and flashy shoes.
What should someone spend on basic items? More investment items, like a purse?
It is better to invest in quality and long term shoes because good looking shoes change and upgrade your style like a chic jacket or an elegant and simple coat. Beware of high adge brands: when you buy a name, you don’t always buy style.
Related: French Girl Starter Wardrobe
What should we look for in quality clothes?
Fabric is the more important: fabric makes the clothes fit and look stylish. Keep it simple: when the clothes is too « busy », something is wrong. Beware to the finish and the buttons. Every details matter.
Do you have any affordable high-quality brands you recommend?
Les Garçonnes, Valentine Gauthier, Marilyn Feltz, Mode Trotter, APC, Maisons Standards, Laurence Bras, Roseanna, Chloé Stora, La Botte Gardiane, Gordana, Amélie Pichard…
I find it interesting that not every Parisian lives and breathes neutrals! Does anything stick out to you as interesting in this interview? Did you learn anything about being effortlessly chic?