It is the ultimate fashion conundrum – how do we emulate the style of the French woman? From their effortless laid-back looks to their expert event dressing, they provide a constant source of inspiration (and envy). This is true for no one more so than Jeanne Damas, Instagram sensation and founder of Rouje – the brand all fashion editors are greedily filling their wardrobes with.
We caught up with Damas as the label launches its autumn collection to find out exactly what goes into dressing for this sartorially tricky season.
How much is Parisian style about attitude and in what way?
“I don’t know what the obsession is. It’s funny because when I go to New York or London, I tend to think that the girls are more stylish than the French. I think what people are actually obsessed with is the Parisian lifestyle. I think it’s more about that than us being more stylish.
“So I agree – it is more about attitude. If I think about my wardrobe – I always dress the same way – and if you think about Charlotte Gainsbourg or Jane Birkin, they also have a very simple straightforward uniform. It’s so much more about the details – about the way you wear your clothes, rather than what you’re actually wearing. I think French women tend to keep it simple. I’d say try the less-is-more approach, which is not always easy to get right.”
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt about style?
“To not try to be too sophisticated. Even if I am going to an event or a wedding, I try to just look effortless. The more effortless you look, the more chic you look.”
What five things do all French women have in their wardrobe during the winter season?
“A perfect sweater, a manly coat or jacket – it’s very important to mix masculine and feminine – a jumper dress (they’re so great because they are warm and cosy, but still feminine), a perfect jean and a great pair of boots.”
How do French women manage to stay warm and look chic at the same time?
“I love winter clothes. For me, it is all about choosing great materials and getting the right cut for your body – and then styling it right. For example, I love an oversized manly jacket, but I’ll team it with some girly heels.”
How do you choose a winter coat?
“I absolutely always buy in a bigger size. This is true for coats and also sweaters – I always take a bigger size because I think it looks far more chic if it’s loose fitted, rather than tight.”
What would you wear for?
1. A winter wedding?
“A velvet jumpsuit.”
2. For the office?
“A matching wool trouser suit. At the moment, I love tailoring when the top and the bottom are the same print.”
3. The Christmas party?
“A little black dress or maybe a wrap top in silk with jeans and heels.”
4. A family gathering
“My home is in Paris and my parents are there so my winter wardrobe doesn’t really need to change at Christmas.”
5. New Year’s Eve
“I think I will wear a lurex piece because I love that Studio 54,‘70s vibe and I’d wear it with big curly hair and hoop earrings. I think it’s a great style to channel for party season.”