Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5 Style Tips for the South of France

Before arriving in France, there were two things I obsessed about: learning the language and finding French-friendly clothing.  In short, how could I find an impossibly chic outfit which said anything but I'm new here, struggling with your language & culture, and maybe, just maybe, I like to wear sweatpants when I'm at home. For many the idea of coming to France, at once thrilling & oh-so-sophistique, sends us into a bit of fashion-induced panic.

I've watched enough Dior & Chanel commercials to understand that I'm haute-couture leagues away from a lifestyle which would require me to ever wear a bustier (ever) or many of the other fabulous items these size nil French fashionistas sport.  Nonetheless, we all like to look our best, moi included, so I did spend an inordinate amount of time combing the discount racks at Macy's searching for clothing that I thought looked French.

And while I did find quite a few Audrey Tautou-worthy tops & skirts, I could have saved my depreciating dollars because the South of France style is much closer to California relaxed-casual than anything I've seen in Paris Vogue.

Apart from the fashions I've seen in Nice (where the above photo was taken & which merits a fashion category all its own: Riviera Rocker), dressing in the South seems to follow a few simple rules: keep it casual, less is more, and you can accessorize almost anything with an over-sized beach tote. That being said, here are the five essential tips for making a fashion splash in the South of France:
  1. Wear some white (trousers, dresses, those flowing blouses that manage to look amazing with a   belt wrapped around them). It may be cliché, but relaxed cotton is all the rage from the Riviera on down.
  2. Pull on a dress (shorts & bermuda shorts for men). Light, cotton dresses are quite popular. Throw on a pair of comfy sandals & you're set for the day.
  3. T-shirts & tank tops c'est bon. Again, think casual...& hot. As the temperature rises, you'll be thankful that you stuffed a few stringy tanks in your suitcase. 
  4. Don't forget your grab-bag of accessories. It is casual, but people do like to spice it up a bit as well. And, if you're going to anywhere near Aix-en-Provence, be prepared to turn up your fashion meter a few notches.
  5. Keep it simple.  There's no need to stress about what to wear in the South.  Throw on what's comfortable & can keep you cool whether lounging near the sea or cruising through a hill town.  Somehow the French look great without really trying & it seems everybody's too busy enjoying themselves to take too much notice. 

More Info about How to Dress in France:


  1. Love it!

    Yes, dressing in the South is far different and, in my opinion, much less stressful than if you were living in Paris.

  2. Can't tell you how much i loved your blog today. Seems as though sometimes we think it 'll be more complicated than what it really is: dressing.

  3. Thanks for the comments! Yeah Tanya, I agree, "less stress" are the key words in the South. Not sure my wallet could keep up with the Paris fashions (although I'm a fan from afar..).
    Kenya, for sure nice to find something uncomplicated in this throwing on a tank top & flip-flops & heading to the I plan to spend many of my weekends this summer! xx

  4. I like your tip for wearing white. It is true actually of a lot of southern european areas - spain and italy too - they often wear white, which looks so cool and elegant. I guess it isn't so popular in the city as it can get dirty!

  5. Flat sandals are key! I have a pair of neutral classic Tropeziennes, and you just can't go wrong. Great tips :)

  6. I am living in the South of France and sadly I see a lot of Ugg boots, heavy eye make up and smoking. I saw a mullet haircut on a young boy at my son's school and I felt quite depressed. Fasion here seems to be very 70s. I haven't been here long and so far I am a little bit disappointed.

  7. That is very true, there are some odd fashions in the South - see them often myself. I think it depends also on the cities - we have quite the mix of high and low fashion here, but places like Aix-en-Provence seem to be S of France style personified.

  8. What you did is really amazing! I've always dreamed of traveling the world. Thanks for the tips! I am studying abroad in Anger, France right now, I would love to hear about how you transitioned to living in France. Did you get homesick at all after moving? Any suggestions for enjoying our trip as much as possible? Thanks!

  9. Fashion seems much more important these days.. yes it is true that in certain countries knowing what to wear is less stressful.