Style and Styling

French Girl Summer Style Grows Up

Happy day, Reader Dearest!

I have a little problem.

With lists.

Lists everywhere!

On my phone. On my computer. On scraps of paper on my desk. On the refrigerator. On my nightstand. On my bathroom mirror.

You might say I have a obsession with lists.

Like every obsession, there’s a love-hate element to my lists.

I love checking things off my lists.

I hate being told what to do by lists.

You know Must-Have lists raise my hackles, right? My inner teenager comes flying right back into being.

“You’re not the boss of me…”

Lists that break down things into elements? I LOVE those! Or lists I customize to work for me? More love!

Which leads to me saving inordinate numbers of lists on Pinterest… (Here’s my Pinterest!) Recently, I pinned an article called The 8-Piece French-Girl Summer Wardrobe from Who What Wear-UK. (I seem to pin the UK platform more often than the US version… Sorry, US.)

Here’s Their List (For French Girl Summer Style)

  • Cat Eye Sunglasses
  • Printed Midi-Dress
  • White Blouse
  • Sassy 1-Piece Swimsuit
  • Straight Leg Jeans
  • Espadrilles
  • Basket Bag
  • Mini-Skirt

Obviously, this isn’t a wardrobe on its own. The idea is to add summer flair to the basics in your wardrobe. But what if you aren’t French? Or a girl? Well, I’m neither. I’m certainly older than girl and not really interested in trying to look girl-ish. Feminine, yes. Modern, yes. Young? Not bothered.

Dress image from Oldnavy.com. All other images from Nordstrom.com

Which begs the question…

What Here Works for Me?

THIS is the crux of my list obsession. What on any list does work for me and what doesn’t? What can I learn from it? Let’s just say I was amused.

I have Cat Eye Sunglasses. Mine aren’t white, but they rock. I love a great white blouse. I own a vibrant magenta 1-Piece swimsuit. The cut isn’t sassy but the color certainly is! Straight leg jeans are my faves. If you follow me on Insta, you’ve seen my Levi’s 501 Originals styled hundreds of ways. Espadrilles are high on my list of summer shoes. (Although, I prefer the buckle versions to tying around the ankle!) I love a good basket bag. I’ve had since high-school and when I found my double strap shopper, I actually jumped up and down in the store. (Hubby was not embarrassed. Bless him.) Six out of eight are personal faves? Maybe there is some French girl in me after all!

So I went browsing for the other two…

And the line between girl and woman became very clear. If you prefer, between fille and femme. Why does femme sound better than woman? Maybe it’s just me. Does it sound better to you?

What I’d Change

I love a dress. I really do! But a printed midi? Everything was floral and felt old-lady. I may be 59, but I don’t feel old in any way. How about swapping that printed dress for a printed skirt? Now THAT feels better and totally in line with my Spring/Summer Wardrobe Inspo! Pair that with a white tee and the espadrilles? Ageless!

All images from Nordstrom.com

I don’t love a mini-skirt. For me. It’s not so much age issue as proportion. It’s hard to get the proportions right in a mini-skirt when bare-legged. It’s like getting the proportion right in shorts! I’d have to go for indecently short (NOT me) OR all the way down to the knee, at which point it’s no longer a mini! A shorter dress, though? THAT’S a win for me. None of the proportion issues. And it still has a fun vibe. Hm. Maybe I’ll shorten the white shift I was thinking about consigning… Although, that blue dress has been on my radar since my trip to NJ last month! I’d wear it with flat sandals or chunky heels. Even tennis shoes on the right day…

These two swaps are small but make all the difference in wearability!

Some of my FG Summer Pieces in action! Beachy style rather than city style this day…

Another Experiment?

Do these eight look like the seed of another wardrobe challenge to you? I can see quite a few of these pieces ending up on my Spring or Summer Daily Dozen. (What’s a Daily Dozen? Another list!)

How About You?

Are you a list maker? Loather? Or both? What kind of lists do you make? Where do you keep them? Any apps you love for lists? Do you find wardrobe lists helpful? How do you use them? Have you ever worked out your Daily Dozen? What of WWW’s French Girl Summer Style appeals to you? What would you leave out? Or swap in? Do tell! I love to hear from you even more than I love a list…

Stylishly yours,

8 Comments

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I like how you describe Italian style as feminine, more colorful and more individualistic!! That sounds like what I’m wanting in this stage of life!! I buy less color now that I’m heavier in these last ten years!! I do try!!!

  • Kathleen McDermott

    I make lists for grocery shopping and doctor visits – sometimes for an appointment or event that requires steps to be performed in a certain order and time frame (like my hip replacement😐). No lists for wardrobe. I’m a freestyle shopper, always keeping an eye out for “gems” (perfect pieces for my style & wardrobe at a good price). The list above doesn’t seem French to me. I think it applies to any girl or woman who experiences summer. Exceptions for me: Cat eye sunglasses don’t appeal, no on miniskirt at 68 and no ankle lace-ups (annoying and fussy), no high heels of any kind (2” is super max for me, and rare). I’ve always had multiples of all the items on this list in my wardrobe as they are standard female summer wear. I share the concern with “feminine” (my style) vs “girlish”. I will never give up florals, pastels, lace, eyelet, ruffles, tucks, pleats, etc. I think it’s all in the balance. I’ll wear a white eyelet ruffle-neck blouse with well-fitting jeans (key) and sandals or ballet flats, and I don’t look like mutton dressed as lamb. Your posts are always so analytical (love) and thought-provoking, and I really enjoy reading what other ladies have to say.

    • Liz K

      Spot on, Kathleen! It’s all about the balance! I’m not one for a mini either… This summer’s style must will simply pass me by! Glad you’re a fan of my nerdly what-can-we-learn-here approach. Thank you!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I’m a list maker from way back!! I would keep cat-eye sunnies. not white!! ai would love the white top, printed midi skirt and espadrilles but mine would be flat with a ribbon closure!! I would love them to be heels just not able anymore!! When I’m seriously shopping I bring a list!!! No other way to cover my bases!! When shopping for accessories I bring a list more vague but this allows me to think outside of a box!!

  • Lydia

    Who What Wear is a trip to read!! Their lists can be fun but so often they’re just bizarre. I was reading one to my husband this weekend explaining that I was going to need platform sandals, a bucket hat and chunky plastic jewelry if I can go anywhere this spring. 😅
    I’m with you on the “girl” fashion- I feel like I’m turning that corner in my life where I’m too old to dress like a “girl,” however that looks. But anything French I’m a sucker for!! I love that timelessly feminine style, though the florals can be a fine line to walk between cute and timeless and really, really dated looking on anyone who’s not 17. I am *not*, however, a fan of the French style lists that tell you to buy a black blazer, black dress, black shoes…

    • Liz K

      I can do the bucket hat, but I’m just not a platforms/flatforms femme! You had me LOL-ing with your list! I love black on the right woman and in good doses, unfortunately, that’s not me anymore. Sigh. It was a good run while it lasted. Florals are tough. I find mine need to be very abstract, ditsy and realistic prints just look old-lady. I’ve been gravitating more toward Italian style vs. French; it’s feminine, more colorful and more individualistic. Perfect for this season of life!

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