Ah, French-girl style. If we had a croissant for every time there has been an article turned dissertation written about the nuances between French and American women, well, let’s just say no one would be mistaking us for French. And while the subject may often turn to the symbolic appeal of a marinière or whether or not Caroline de Maigret washes her hair with any real frequency, the complex breakdown between French-girl anything and American-girl proclivities remains a hot topic.
The nation’s street style stars always look so effortlessly elegant, and the je ne sais quoi factor is real—how do they make skinny jeans and a T-shirt look like the world’s most fashionable outfit? To shed some light on French style secrets, we connected with Vouge In Vines founder Hannah Harden to find out what she’s identified as key differences between American style and that of her countrywomen. Her recent Parisian excursion should help us fill in any grey areas between the two styles.
For starters, “French women buy less, but spend more on fashion,” Hannah explains. “We have so much opportunity in the US to discover and purchase merchandise, that we often purchase without truly needing or wanting something” French fashion has a history associated with quality and wealth, causing French women spend more money on staple pieces.”
Fast fashion is very big in the U.S., but in France investment shopping is a way of life. French girls are masterful at mixing high and low, while many Americans shop with a quantity-over-quality mindset, mining bargain shops for frequent wardrobe injections.
So, which of the two archetypes possess the greatest desire to keep up with the trends? If you ask the fashion blogger, who recently lived as a Parisian for a day, she’ll explain how American culture is more trend influenced because our identity as a country is so diverse. “We are a true melting pot of different cultures, styles, and aesthetics. We can be easily influenced by all the different trends being thrown at us!”
During her time in France, Hannah also found that that French women are more subtle with their statement pieces. American women are more favorable of large jewelry and embellishments, while Frenchies like to keep it simple. The American push to keep up with brand-new trends means that we’re more likely to spend less on our accessories; well-aware that we’ll likely want a replacement within 12 months.
Not to mention, Hannah found Purse life in Paris rather impressive! “A large distinction I noticed between French and American women’s purse choices is that French women tend to choose more neutral and subtle colors in their purses, leaning towards mid-size handbags with a boxier shape,” she says. “American women seem to favor brighter colors, unique shapes, and a more diverse size range.”
And since French girls tend to spend a bit more on their bags, they also tend to have less. American women tend to buy bags in an array of sizes and have the ultimate bag wardrobe, with a different one for every occasion. Overall, Hannah finds French women to be more detail oriented in their every-day fashion. “Americans tend to dress down for their daily outfit, while French women always look very presentable, sophisticated and put together all the time!”