Timeless French Styling and Clothing tips

To start the new year with good resolutions, I think it would be a good idea to share with you tips and tricks that I learned from my own experience and from my Mum and my Grand Ma (“Mamie” in French).

tips about styling

Me with my Mum in Elba island…

My Mum always been a huge fashion lover. She has a strong sense of dressing the right way, she always knew what were the best tendencies to follow and I remember her, well before Pinterest even exist, pinning fashion pictures in different notebooks that she kept with her to get inspiration.


tips about clothing care

My Granny few years ago…


My Grand-Mother was totally different…. Her dressing closet was pretty empty but she always opted for very good quality clothes. As she was born in a time when people were rather savvy (1917, one year before the end of World War I) she was raised with strong rules to take a good care of her goods. When I was a child, she used to repeat me the same advices all the time about how to keep my stuff in a good shape… At this time, her advices sounded to me a little obsolete (and boring I must confess). I realized today that she was SO right. Nowadays, we throw away so many things. Too many things, right ?


So today I compiled my best Mum’s advices (for styling) with my grand mother’s ones (for clothing care and organization) plus one or two from my own experience… I hope it would be useful!



– Dressy occasions aren’t the time to play with trends, so know your silhouette and stick to it to always look your best.


– Snap clip-on earrings onto flats for an instant evening shoe, or onto shirt collars for DIY embellishments.


– Shopping for a wedding dress or another big-event outfit? Head to the store with makeup on, proper undergarments, and your hair semi-done to get a better sense of how it’ll look.


– Panty lines are not okay! Every woman should invest in nude, seamless underwear.”



tips about styling

 – Chic up a sporty puffer vest by cinching the waist with a skinny belt


– Revamp an old coat by swapping out the buttons and having a tailor replace the lining with something eye-catching, like a pattern or a bright color.


– When you’re shopping for a jacket, coat, or blazer, pay attention to the fit around the shoulders. While a tailor can tweak pretty much everything about the fit of a jacket—from tapering the waist to shortening it—they can’t change the shoulders. Make sure the seams sit perfectly at the bony tops of your shoulders.


– Unless they’re cropped or tapered, pant hems should just graze the tops of your shoes and be from 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch off the floor.




bague Goutte Léonor Mataillet

Ring « Goutte » Léonor Mataillet

– Marquise ring shapes help to create the illusion of longer, more slender fingers, even on small wide hands. Pear or oval stones are also flattering.


– Still look chic while showing some skin: If you’re wearing a miniskirt or shorts, cover up on top. If your top is skimpy, go for full-coverage bottoms




tips about styling– Wear your new real leather jacket in the rain to break it in. Water will soften up the leather and allow it to stretch and crease at specific points on your body.


– Never, never, wear white socks with black or dark shoes (same for men)


– If you can’t fit two fingers underneath your bra band comfortably, it’s probably too tight.


– Everyday bras should be replaced every three to six months, as that’s when they start to lose elasticity and support. (do the same for pants)


– Don’t underestimate the power of a well-fitting, stylish winter coat.

picture from Gérard Darel

– Want to make your legs look longer? Try pumps the same color of your skin (or tights) which give the illusion that your legs extend a few extra inches.



– V-neck sweaters and tees give the illusion of a longer torso.


tips about styling

– Pile on good accessories -scarves, sunglasses, hats, statement jewelry -to instantly transform even the most basic outfit.


– If you’re unsure about an impulse or sale purchase, leave it at the store. If you’re still thinking about it when you wake up the next day, buy it.


tips about styling

Tulle skirt + jean shirt: it works!


 – A modern trick to looking like the most effortlessly stylish girl in the room: pair dressy bottoms (a tweed or alpaca pant, a leather skirt, a velvet or silk pants) with a worn gray crew-neck sweatshirt, a jean shirt or a simple T-shirt.

And last, but not least:

-« There’s nothing cooler than sticking to a signature style you know looks good on you. Slaves to fashion are never chic! »




Dressing closet organization

– Always organize your clothes going light to dark from left to right in your closet. Your eye will follow the color and thus help you stay organized.”

– Store tee-shirts and sweaters in piles in the same tones or colors : the blues, the whites, the pinks… it will be easier to remember what you already have or not to match with a bottom.

– Cut down your closet by 25% by asking yourself this one question: “If I were shopping right this second, would I buy this?” If the answer’s no, out it goes!



Clothing care tips

– Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand. To dry it, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds.

– Wash new jeans twice before taking them to the tailor. Why? Because jeans will always shrink in length when washed.

– Never put your swimwear in the washing machine, and always hand dry. The machine will damage the suit and it will lose its elasticity.

– Never put a garment on immediately after ironing, as this can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Instead, let it sit for five minutes to set the press.”

– To stretch tight shoes, fill two freezer bags with water and place into each shoe. Let it freeze overnight. As the water freezes, it’ll gently expand your shoes.

– To remove watermarks from leather boots, add a few drops of vinegar to a bowl of cool water and scrub the stains with a soft bristle brush until stains are no longer visible. Let dry overnight.”

– Always dry-clean coats before storing them, and place on cedar hangers inside cloth garment bags. This preserves the fabric and keeps moths away.

– Never dry a wet shoe with heat. Crumple some newspaper sheets into balls, put them into the shoes and let it dry naturally in open air. Heat will dry out leather and the lifespan of the shoe will be cut in half.”

– Invest in silk or satin pillowcases to keep your hair from breaking during the night. (They also keep your skin looking smoother than rough cotton cases!)




tips about clothing care

Removing stains with natural products


Remove a grass stain

Method # 1: Rub the stain with an old toothbrush and toothpaste. Immediately wash machine.

Method # 2: Soak the stain in pure white vinegar for 30 minutes, then wash.

Method # 3: Rub the stain with alcohol at 90 °.


Remove a stain of foundation

Method # 1: Rub the stain with a cotton soaked in alcohol at 90 °.

Method # 2: Rub the stain with cleanser. Rinse. If the stain is still there, use soap. Put in washing machine.


Remove a stain of lipstick

Pour over the stain half white vinegar with water. Leave for a few minutes then scrub and wash.


Remove a stain sludge

Rub the stain with a garlic clove soaked of soap. Rinse.


– What about you ?

– Do you have special tips or tricks you inherit from your relatives or that you just learned from your own experience ? Feel free to share it in the comments below!!



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10 commentaires

  1. Thanks Cecile. The tips were practical and necessary for maitaining a well groomed appearance.

  2. Thank you for this post, Cecile!

    I like the French idea of ‘quality over quantity’ – a few, well-chosen, top quality garments are better than a cupboard full of rubbish; and I do agree about accessories. Good accessories can ‘lift’ an inexpensive garment, but cheap accessories will ‘kill’ the most expensive dress.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    • Totally agree with you Anna: cheap accessories will just kill any outfit!!
      Thank you for this wise comment.

  3. Me again, Cecile!

    Here’s a request for a future post. Have you got any tips on wearing scarves? I love them but never quite get them to look as good as French women do. What’s the secret?

  4. Hello Cècile,

    I can’t find the exact post, but somewhere you mentioned that we should never wear flesh colored tights. As black or dark opaque tights cannot be worn with everything, what should we do if we have older legs with issues such as spider veins? I often use a natural colored spray on my legs that blurs imperfections.

    • Hello Jazmin,
      Yes it’s true that we avoid wearing them here in France. They look a little outdated.
      You can easily wear dark color tights in most occasion. They don’t have to be completly opaque though.
      A 20 or 25D black tights is really elegant and easy to wear with most colors.
      If you feel like it you can also try bold colors as red, pink, green or royal blue. It will give a touch of « fun » to your outfit (but in that case, choose them opaque). And if you really need a flesh colored one, stay only on « tone on tone » and « matte » effect ones…

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