French Women Secrets to be Stylish with a Limited Budget

Being chic and stylish doesn’t always means spending a lot of money. People often think that most Parisian women literally ruin herself doing shopping at Dior, Vuitton or Chanel… Well, I’ll tell you a secret: that’s not the case – except for the very tiny percentage who can afford it :-).

Then, how manage the other French women? (a very large majority)…

From my own experience of juggling with a limited budget, here are my best « foxy » French woman’s tips

 

1- We buy high brand clothes or accessories in vintage and second-hand shops

Paris is full of good vintage and second-hand shops. For those who are planning a stay in Paris, I gave good addresses in this post or in my Shopping Insider’s Guide. Still, if you’re not visiting Paris, here are some good online addresses you can trust:

 

Shop luxury fashion at Vestiaire Collective: a huge choice of very good brands for women, men, and kids. Their difference from another second-hand online site is that they have a strong policy about quality and authenticity:  » all items are authenticated and checked before reaching the seller, thereby eradicating the risks of purchasing counterfeits, mis-selling or mispricing items ». Prices might be higher than on eBay, but no bad surprise: you know what you’re buying.

Vestiaire Collective

Seen on VestiaireCollective website

VideDressing: another good and trustworthy second-hand online store. Their policy is different: here you have the right to change your mind. You can return the item you have just bought and be reimbursed. Since recently they get an English, Deutch and Italian version of the store.

 

2- We find unique and different pieces among little creative brands

No need to underline that Paris as a Fashion Capital is the perfect place for new creators to start! The great advantage when you discover one of them is that:

– they are not too expensive (I some of them :)…)

– you won’t see their clothes or accessories worn everywhere

– They usually use specific colors, shapes or fabrics that will instantly give you a different style

 

Here again, thanks to the Internet you can find some online. Here is a good selection:

Sézane: clothes, shoes, and bags: very good French Style basics

French dressing

picture from Sézane

 

Valentine Gauthier: ecological and creative collections

valentine01

 

MySuelly: high-quality bags and shoes

Sac-Jade-de-My-Suelly_portrait_w6742215601993-07BO-mysuelly-sacjoseph-01-0980-1024

Petite Mendigote: easy to go bags and accessories

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Dress chic like French woman

Karine Arabian : whole collection of quality and creative shoes

Parisian chic

Patricia Blanchet: Exclusive designer shoes at affordable prices. I love it! just have a look on her e-shop!

chic like french woman dressing chic

MellowYellow:  not too expensive and very good collections

 

French dressing chic

 

 ST1 Leonor Mataillet : very delicate semi-precious jewerly

French chic

pictures from St1 Leonor Mataillet

simple and elegant French chic

 

3-We subscribe to famous brands newsletters to be aware of their promotions and sales

Many rather expensive French brands as Maje, Claudie Pierlot, The Kooples, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sandro regularly send to their subscribers promotions and pre-sales notifications. That can be very useful to be informed about good deals.

 

4- We are members of bargain marketplaces and buy clothes from last year collection

Except if the cut or the colors became totally out of fashion, who really bother to have the last year dress of a famous brand. That’s why bargain marketplaces are very successful in France.

Some of them became international, as Vente- Privée or ShowRoomPrive (only in European countries) or BrandAlley (in UK)

 

5- We buy designer capsule collection in large retail stores

Famous low prices retail stores launch them more and more often:

Ines de La Fressange in Uniqlo, Kate Moss in TopShop, Valentino, Maison Margiela, Isabel Marant in H&M…

My only advice for this solution: be there waiting long before the store open and stay very patient among the crazy crowd of fashionistas inside. I am not very fond of this solution. Just like sales: you’re about to buy anything but the good thing because of the rush and the few time allowed to you before everything has just disappeared…

Each seasons, online stores as « LaRedoute » or « Les 3Suisses », also sell designer capsule store. Check on their sites.

 

6-We find « gold nugget » among  popular French retail store

They are rather cheap and very popular:  you can find them everywhere in France. Still, some offer good opportunities for the little pieces you won’t wear too long. Stay careful of the fabric (not too transparent), the cut… but as it’s not too expensive you can take more risks…

Why not checking their webstores:

For clothes: Etam, Naf Naf, Promod, Pimkie, Kookai, Sinequanone, Caroll, Camaieu, Balsamik…

For shoes: Minelli, André, Eram, Jonak, Cosmo Paris, San Marina, Bocage…

And you? What are your own tips to be chic and stylish on a budget?

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for your tips, Cecile!

    One thing I always try to do is to budget for alterations to make sure clothes fit perfectly, particularly on the shoulders. A bargain is wonderful, but it’s worth the little extra expense to make sure it fits and flatters your figure.

    • You’re so right Anna! And if you have a good tailor, you can even personalize it with few details that make a difference…

  2. I love this blog! I am learning so much. I have noticed that the French (most Europeans too) wear lots of neutral colors. I have become a fan of neutral colors of late because it makes my wardrobe work that much harder for me. I was wondering what the French philosophy is on colors that may be neutral but aren’t the most flattering against their skin tone. I look great in camel and navy but I find black to be harsh against my pale skin. Yet I love the chic and casual look of black motorcycle jackets and the like. What do you think Cecile? What would a (pale) French woman do? ;)

    • That’s true Sondra: we wear a lot of neutral colors in France: navy, camel,
      beige, black, white… The thing is that they are really easy to mix
      together and even with other colors… We usually keep colorful ones for
      accessories (scarf, belt..) or for tops. If am not certain that wearing
      a black leather jacket will be a problem with your pale skin tone…
      The contrast should be really nice. Still, if you feel not confortable,
      why not wearing it with a colored top or a scarf… That will enlight your
      face and give a little twist to your jacket. Hope that will help you!

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