French Girl Style, Lesson 2: The Color Palette

7
9146

What rhymes with boring and is super-French? Neutrals.

I know, I know… I’m TRYING, GUYS.

I know you’re thinking, “Amanda, maybe you shouldn’t aspire to be a French cool girl.” To which I would say, maybe I also shouldn’t build a karaoke stage in my basement, but here we are.

I’m not going to lie, I love color. At least I think I do. My closet screams color. BRIGHT color. Like, that neon green that maaaaybe glows. But if I look a little closer, these pieces are ones I wear maybe once or twice — and then never again. The real winners of my closet are *wait for it* the neutrals.

But how do we make neutrals not boring? Spoiler: I think neutrals are boring. Also not a spoiler.

Exploring French Girl Style: Can A Neutral Color Palette Be Interesting?

So, why do I even have all of this color? After some soul searching, I’ve realized that I like attention. Also, anyone who has ever met me could have told me this. And Shopping Amanda thinks that standing out means wearing color. Which, in one way, it does. But is this helpful if I don’t actually wear said color? No.

Color + not wearing color = nothing.

So, can an outfit really “stand out” without bright color? Let’s dissect some images and rank them from one to…take a picture of their outfit without them noticing for future reference (aka a solid 10).

This is a black skirt + a white tank top. Oh, she threw on her boyfriend’s shirt because she was cold. Oh, she just grabbed a bag really quick…just whatever was available. Effortless French girl style.
Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/anoukyve/

Let’s talk about this. This is a black skirt and a white tank top. Oh, she threw on her boyfriend’s shirt because she was cold. Oh, she just grabbed a bag really quick…just whatever was available. Oh, she threw her hair back because it was in her face. She slept in that jewelry.

But do we stalk this girl? YES, WE DO. She looks amazing. And, yes, she stands out. And I hate that I don’t know why still. But this is why we are here.


Here is a great example of the classic French red lip. It is a thing, I believe, because they are always in neutrals. Something needs to shine.
Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/fatoundiaye_actrice/

Here is a great example of the classic French red lip. It is a thing, I believe, because they are always in neutrals. Something needs to shine, and here, it’s the lip and the necklaces. Does the red lip count as color? Yes, and noted. Also, I’m here for the return of the statement necklace.


What I'm trying to learn is, is it that French women give off a "not trying" vibe? This woman "threw on" black + white, a straw bag, flats, & a coat and looks effortlessly chic.
Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/annelauremais

This French gal popped out of her house to go grab a baguette and threw on black and white, another straw bag, some flats, and a coat. All neutral. And I’m obsessed. Is it that these women give off a not trying vibe? Let’s see another image…

The difference here is that we can tell she tried. Her hair is sleek, & she is in neutrals from head to toe. Another form of French girl style.
Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/lydiajanetomlinson/

The difference here is that we can tell she tried. And I still love it. Her hair is sleek, and she is in neutrals from head to toe. I am just as obsessed, and would definitely pretend to be looking at my phone while secretly taking a picture of her and sending it to my friends.


My Take On French Girl Neutrals (As Someone Who Loves Color)

I wanted to build my own neutral, standout outfit, and I wanted to work around this new Mara Hoffman midi skirt that I’m obsessed with. I was going with my son to practice opening his locker at middle school (sob). So, obviously, I needed a look.

I actually like the messiness of the Mara Hoffman skirt, but it wasn’t working with the shape or wrinkles of the Everlane T-shirt. It was too much mess. Also...boring.

skirttee | sandals (my fave minimal sandal brand)

OK, this is a mess. But this is where we begin. I actually like the messiness of the midi skirt, but it wasn’t working with the shape or mess of the Everlane T-shirt. It was too much mess. Also…boring.

**The plastic barrier behind me is to keep baby kitties in this room. We foster them, and it’s probably the cutest and best thing of my life.**

Next.

The fit of the rag & bone tank top works better, with more contrast in silhouettes, paired with the Mara Hoffman midi skirt. Glasses & bag were added for interest. Still not right, though. I’m still bored.

skirt | tank | sandals | bag | glasses

The fit of the rag & bone tank works better, with more contrast in silhouettes. Glasses and a bag were added for interest. Still not right, though — I’m still bored.

Next.

I couldn’t resist the blue Birkenstock slide sandals with the olive Mara Hoffman midi skirt.

skirt | tank | similar sandals | bag | glassessimilar jacket

OK, we’re getting somewhere. But if you notice, the first chance I got, I broke the rules of this entire post. COLOR. I couldn’t resist the blue Birkenstock sandals (here’s a similar pair) with the olive skirt. To me, it’s interesting.

Also, I added a jacket. I love a layer, but it’s still 90 degrees in Philadelphia. So. It’s not practical.

Next.

The navy of the Athleta racerback tank made me feel less exposed than the white top, + a bit more put-together. I balanced it with casual sneakers & clear glasses.

skirt | tank | sneakers | bag | glasses

Even though I like the previous look better, this is where I landed. I also forgot to fix my resting blogger face AGAIN. The navy of the Athleta racerback tank made me feel less exposed than the white top, plus a bit more put-together. I balanced it with casual sneakers and clear glasses. Also, I wore almost no makeup (VERY hard for me) and a messy ponytail.

But as I went around the middle school, I felt awesome. Like, super-neon-color-standout awesome. And all of these pieces, I could wear a billion times with a billion things.

So, what is it about these neutrals that make them stand out to us?

How do we, regular human women, make them not boring?

I think it’s CUT and interest. We find cool cuts in neutral colors of tops that we love. Or we take classic cuts and put them together in interesting ways.

The Lesson? You Can Stand Out In Neutrals (But Interesting Cuts Help)

Neutrals aren’t cool because they're neutrals; they're cool because they're easy to match w/ every other neutral in your closet. Which then makes more outfits, which equals sustainability.

featured pieces: button-down | cropped blazer | satin blazer | denim jacket

Is color bad? NO. In fact, I think my blue Birks make that one outfit. Do French women wear it a lot? No. Do we have to be French? Yes. I mean, no.

Wear what makes you feel good. Obviously. But in terms of creating a sustainable wardrobe, I’m looking to you FW. We haven’t cracked the code yet, and that is the goal. But we are one step closer. Neutrals aren’t cool because they’re neutrals; they’re cool because they’re easy to match with every other stupid neutral in your closet. Which then makes more outfits, which equals sustainability.

Stop making sense, French women.

Our next lesson to explore together will be shoes and accessories. Buckle up because THAT sounds like a wild ride.

I love bright colors, but the winner of my closet is a neutral color palette. In this style lesson, I work a midi skirt into a great French girl outfit.

Xo,
Amanda

Hi, Pinners! We made this just for you…

I love bright colors, but the winner of my closet is a neutral color palette. In this style lesson, I work a midi skirt into a great French girl outfit.

Back to top