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To wonder how French (and Italian) women just know how to look stylish?

(78 Posts)
Salmotrutta Thu 12-Feb-15 21:41:31

What is it exactly? I think it's the carefully chosen accessories like scarves, jewellery and bags but I'm not entirely sure...

I look okay(ish).

I'm reasonably good with styles that suit me.

But what is that undefinable thing that continental women seem to do that makes them look so elegant.

Simple, not overly made-up but just very well-groomed.

I want to know how to do it!!

KiaOraOAotearoa Thu 12-Feb-15 21:47:41

I honestly think it's to do with grooming. Nails done (discreet colours, preferably clear), good haircut, minimal make up. Ironed plain-ish clothes, but fresh, well fitting and in a colour that suits.

Salmotrutta Thu 12-Feb-15 21:51:47

Yes! I think that's it isn't it?

Nothing overt or garish.

But - I cant reproduce it sad even though I do good haircuts and minimal no make up...

Lj8893 Thu 12-Feb-15 21:52:26

I know an Italian young woman, shes lovely but certainly does not look stylish. She tries very hard and her look is, errm, interesting but not stylish!

Charlotte3333 Thu 12-Feb-15 21:53:12

I think it's not caring about fashion and not buying cheap, throwaway clothes. My SIL is Italian and she's effortlessly beautiful with huge dark eyes and a fabulous figure. She wears darks and neutrals, nothing frilly or patterned, nothing high-fashion, and certainly nothing cheap. She always looks well-groomed and classy. She also puts stuff away depending on the season so her wardrobe isn't crammed full of stuff she can't wear.

It'd be lovely to be that way but I'm just such a lazy bitch.

Callooh Thu 12-Feb-15 21:55:02

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

hanginginthere1 Thu 12-Feb-15 21:56:31

yes I agree. They do seem to have a certain je ne sais quoi. They are almost always really slim too, which helps.
On a similar subject, I had cause to visit an affluent area of West London recently. It was teeming with older 45+, ladies, who also appeared to have that certain something. They just looked so stylish and groomed. I would imagine that they are wealthy, and can afford the best.
Does anybody else know what i man?

Callooh Thu 12-Feb-15 21:57:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MilkThistle187 Thu 12-Feb-15 21:58:39

There have been a couple of interesting threads on this subject in Style and Beauty. They were form a year ago roughly, well worth a read.

Charlotte3333 Thu 12-Feb-15 21:58:41

Absolutely. And buying less quantity and more quality does make sense. But then I look on the Next website and order 4 jumpers for £60 and shit up all my classy-lady plans.

KiaOraOAotearoa Thu 12-Feb-15 22:01:29

Look, if in doubt, a navy boat cut top never fails. With a pair of well fitting trousers, not skinny! As simple as that.
Clothes bought in italy fit me much better, they're cut nicely as opposed to 'that'll do'. And the shoes are not manolos, just normal WALKING shoes, as in, you can actually walk around the town in, but elegant. Don't know.
The clothes i buy here, I modify with my sewing machine, I want a certain lenght, or the neck scooped a bit differently, or taken in a bit, I just modify them a little.

My secret weapon remains really nice matching underwear though ;)

Purpleflamingos Thu 12-Feb-15 22:01:31

Expensive, classic clothes that fit well and last. Neutral colours. Accessories may be fashionable and colourful but that is all. Nails, hair and make up must be understated but done.
I actually think a lot of Italians try too hard.

ghostyslovesheep Thu 12-Feb-15 22:02:40

some do - just as a stroll round the more affluent parts of the UK and you'll see similarly groomed UK women

stroll round an Aldi 12 miles outside of Paris and you'll find normal looking women!

Salmotrutta Thu 12-Feb-15 22:03:03

grin Charlotte!

I don't live anywhere near Kensington Callooh...

I'm going to think about clothing colours from now on.

I have quite a few nice "pieces" that I try to buy co-ordinate colours for already.

That is my way forward I think.

<I will be stylish one day --when I'm dead-->

iwantgin Thu 12-Feb-15 22:04:50

I wouldn't say that ALL French and Italian women look stylish.

In the area of France that we have holidayed a few times recently the women doing their supermarket shopping looked as un groomed as anywhere else ?


odoneel Thu 12-Feb-15 22:12:43

As someone of Italian heritage, and has also married into an Italian family, I would say it's all about sticking to the classics, avoiding most colour, and spending most of your life thinking about your wardrobe ( after food and its presentation).There is a need for extended family to help out with the kids whilst you focus on all this stuff.

BriocheBriocheBrioche Thu 12-Feb-15 22:16:06

I've lived in France for a couple of years now and have noticed that there are just many unstylish people as there are stylish and groomed!

I have totally changed my shopping habits since being here. There are significantly less 'cheap' clothes stores offering fast/throw away fashion and the ones that are cheap are just awful.
I now buy a lot less and really evaluate whether what I do buy fits in with other items, whether it's a classic peice and whether it will last me. It's a fun way to shop but I enjoy the challenge!

In general id that people here spend a lot more money on hair/nails and dry cleaning to keep up the well groomed look!

When first arrived my mother in law was so shocked I didn't alway wear nail varnish that she bought me a UV lamp and shellac polishes!!!

LeSaor Thu 12-Feb-15 22:17:39

They care for their bodies, they tend to not be as overweight as British people. I'm not saying that being overweight means you can't look nice or elegant but I think the idea of elegant in general is related somewhat to being slender, it also helps that they wear heels a lot, they accessorise, they know how to dress for their body type. It's not really hard it's mostly more that they make the effort rather than them being inherently more stylish. And obviously it's not all of them, "French children don't" etc

Loletta Thu 12-Feb-15 22:18:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BriocheBriocheBrioche Thu 12-Feb-15 22:18:25

*a less fun way to shop

LeSaor Thu 12-Feb-15 22:20:02

Also as a general rule if you're in awe at how good someone looks without makeup they're probably wearing subtle/natural makeup which I'm going to say is a better bet than plain face. Nothing wrong if you don't like makeup but it does add a little to the image.

CrockedPot Thu 12-Feb-15 22:21:45

Seriously? I don't think your average French or Italian woman looks anymore stylish than anyone else. It may be true in Paris or Milan but having lived in Nantes and visited Italy on several occasions I would say this is a total myth. Some are stylish, but many more are head to toe C & A (still very much in existence a few years ago) and terrible hair cuts. And I do mean terrible. And weird shoes.

meandjulio Thu 12-Feb-15 22:24:24

Plenty of very unstylish Italian women IMO but they do it with conviction and as if clothes matter - I just don't believe that women in other countries go to the shops in their night clothes and slippers.

gobbynorthernbird Thu 12-Feb-15 22:28:42

This is the equivalent of thinking all English women look like Kate Middleton, or all Americans like Michelle Obama.

Salmotrutta Thu 12-Feb-15 22:30:49

I was brought up in a rural Scottish culture where make-up was regarded as being risqué. So I do tend to go with the "less is more" approach as I think make up should enhance and not blare out IYSWIM?

I dress smartly for work but prefer jeans etc. for casual.

This results in me feeling inadequate compared to the very well groomed local women when we go abroad on holiday.

I remember being very amused when we were in Italy once and a woman ( possibly local but maybe not) looked at my feet as she walked past with a very frowny look on her face.

I was wearing a rather nice pair of Italian sandals! grin

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