French Fashion for Kids {day ten}

{day ten} French Fashion for kids

 

Until a few years ago, I didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘French fashion for kids’ that distinguished it from other clothing styles. Then I had kids and got given a few items of clothing by French friends and family and boy is it different. To clarify, I dress my girls in cheap and cheerful British clothes that are lovely. But the clothes I got from France… Wow, they were stunning and the style was quite different, as were the prices. If you can afford to spend money on a new wardrobe for your kids every time they have a growth spurt, you might want to check out the list of websites below and feast your eyes on the gorgeous items (and not only kids’ fashion, but also accessories, toys and gifts).

 

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I love the detail on little French dresses

Generally speaking, whilst you can of course find kids clothes in supermarkets, kids clothing seems to be a bit more upmarket. The following two sites also sell adult fashion, shoes and homeware (a bit like Next in the UK).

  • La Redoute is possibly the most well-known of French brands; they have a UK site and a US site.
  • Les Trois Suisses: these guys apparently aren’t bothered about selling outside France and Switzerland, as is their right of course.

The following four brands are quintessential France:

  • Petit-Bateau: these guys have a classic French style, and are home to the iconic yellow waxed raincoat and the Breton navy and white stripes.
  • Vertbaudet sells classic French clothes of excellent quality. One of the things I most like about French kids shops is that they use the full range of colours for both girls and boys. They have a US site and a UK site.
  • Sergent-major is another well-known kids clothing brand, as is
  • Jacadi, who currently have a kids collection called ‘Parisien chic

 

These next few are smaller, lesser-known brands, with their own original style:
  • Gaspard et Zoë is particularly quirky and original
  • La Queue du Chat is organic and fair trade, and so gorgeous
  • French Blossom caters for the whole family and the home, and gathers French designers in one market place with very original results.
  • Catimini also has a wide range of children’s clothing.
French newborn vests stand apart in that they tend to close at the front kimono-style with pressure buttons, unlike older-baby versions, which just have buttons between the legs.

Online Boutiques

French stores and designers also do this thing where they create members-only websites to access special deals on small retailers. Tendre Deal is such a site. There is no static online shop that you can access all the time, instead, independent brands are introduced within a limited-time window at reduced prices before closing and moving on to the next.

Orchestra is another member-only shop. I was gifted a dress from that shop and it was of exceptional quality and definitely different from my girls’ regular clothes.

 

baby wearing beret

True or False? Some say French babies are born wearing a beret

For more kids clothing websites, you can visit this place.

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How to dress like the French {day three}

{day three} how to dress like the French
French women are so fashionable! French women look so classy! French women make it look effortless! French women make the rest of us look so frumpy! French fashion is so timeless and classic! OMG Chanel!

 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read these or similar words in magazines and articles over the years. It’s all that people can say about French women and fashion. What it fails to tell you is that it describes one particular type of Parisian woman who loves fashion and has loads of money. This ‘French women are fashionable’ thing is another enduring stereotype that doesn’t really live up to the reality, or the reality outside of Paris at least.

 

My one-woman experience is that I suck at fashion; I have a long history of sucking at fashion and I don’t know any French person who either cares or knows about fashion in more than the most basic ‘let’s not go out in my PJ’s’ kind of way so I’m not going to be much help. This may be because I grew up in a provincial town (i.e. anywhere other than Paris) to parents who couldn’t afford to clothe me in labels; or that my sense of style just, well, sucks. I don’t care. I like my jeans and t-shirts and Converse, dangly earrings and all the colours.

 

So whatever French fashion style advice I’m going to give you now, feel free to ignore it. I won’t leave you in the lurch however, and recommend that you read and see the work of French people who are much more knowledgeable, talented, and who actually care about fashion, such as:

 

Le Blog de Betty

Garance Doré

The Cherry Blossom Girl

Et Pourquoi Pas Coline

Miss Pandora

 

Now that I’ve warned you that you should not be taking fashion advice from me (ever), I’m going to give you fashion advice. It’s a topic I thought should feature in a series on how to be more French (arf), but instead of telling you what I have learnt (nothing), I’m just going to tell you what I think other people mean when they talk about French fashion, and it is this:

 

If you want to look classy, keep it simple, keep it streamlined and don’t overdo it with colours.

 

Forget combining different patterns and colours. When people think French fashion, they think of actresses like Audrey Tautou and Marion Cotillard, and they are describing that red-carpet classic elegance they seem to exude. Most of the time, they are wearing simple black outfits, a simple hairstyle and understated jewellery. The key to classic French elegance, as far as I can see, is understatement.

 

See what I mean about ignoring my advice? This is Chanel Spring/Summer 2015, and ‘understated’ is the worst possible descriptor for these, ahem, things.

Classic French fashion embraces black, white, navy blue, cream and grey. You can enhance your clothes with colourful jewellery but not too much. If you are going to wear colour, keep it to one thing and coordinate it with monochrome e.g. colourful top, monochrome bottom and jewellery. Choose block colour and accessorise with monochrome bag, shoes and jewellery.

 

If you want to look casual French, wear a scarf. In fact, if you’re a man, wear a simple v-neck or polo-neck jumper and a scarf and there you go, instant French.
Was this advice helpful? I would love to know (for future reference), so tell me in the comments!

 

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