The Mancunion

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Are the British really more fashion-conscious than the French?

Can us Brits learn something from French fashion values?

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Meet Paris, a city home to fashion’s in-crowd – designers and models alike. Parisians are world-renowned for their effortlessly chic and beautifully refined style.

So it may come as a surprise to hear that out of 26 EU countries, Britain that spends more on fashion than France – coming in at 8th in a recent survey carried out by Eurostat. France however, ranked 23rd.  Whilst the average Briton spends £1000 a year on new clothes, the average French person tends to part with a lesser £600.

Although I do not believe this is in a bid to compete with our superiorly stylish French cousins, there are some lessons we can learn from their ‘less is more’ precept. French women tend to buy clothes of a finer quality, but less frequently. They look for luxury and transitional ‘investment’ pieces in order to curate a simplified yet ‘très-chic’ wardrobe. What is more, they turn their back on trends in favour of a distinctively individual look.

‘Fashion’s fade, style is eternal’ – Yves Saint Laurent

The viral trend of the ‘capsule wardrobe’ among fashion’s blogging community is perhaps an attempt to emulate this refined yet elegant Parisian style. An idea popularised by Donna Karan (founder of DKNY) in the 1980s, it has been snapped-up by Voguish millennials whom use instagram to share their collection with their thousands of followers. The concept however is simple: choose key interchangeable pieces made from high-quality fabrics.

Perhaps then, we should look to the French (think Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s) and their sustainable ‘buy better’ attitude to fashion. Say au revoir to trends and hello to timeless, beautifully tailored and well-fitted slim jeans, cashmere sweaters, blazers and (of course) the LBD.

Choose neutrals (black, navy, white, and nude) over colours to see you through the seasons and add a much-needed versatility to your newly-simplified wardrobe. When it comes to accessories: think minimal. Opt for one eye-catching yet elegant piece and don’t forget a daring red lip! French women are effortlessly sexy without showing too much cleavage or leg – so don’t shy away from a staple turtleneck. But, most importantly dress for yourself and feel good doing so. After all, fashion is about finding your signature look.