The stereotype that French women exude this certain “je ne sais quoi,” confidence and mystique is alive and well for a reason. Partly so, because French women know how to dress! Now, this may be a bit of a generalization, but from the way I’ve come to perceive the sought after Parisian wardrobe, it is one that focuses on structured basics, diluted of color to create a monochrome palette.

These basics serve as the essential pieces to crafting a classy and timeless wardrobe. The idea is the simpler the better and one should not constantly be purchasing lackluster items that are the trend du jour and are certain to go out of fashion the following season [i.e. graphic tees, high-low dresses, bright neon crop tops]. Instead of spending funds on frivolous things, one can invest in better quality items that will last much longer.

I find that with this kind of basic wardrobe, it’s much easier to get dressed on the go if one is running late (me, always) as almost all the pieces can be styled together in many versatile ways (and if one is lazy/messy — whatever is on the floor from the night before will probably work!)

In an effort to simplify and create the foundation of a good wardrobe — one should have the following essentials:

  • Boyfriend Jeans (preferably of a medium-dark wash)

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*Gap – Sexy Boyfriend are great in quality and price, although the dark wash does not seem to be available online

*Seven Jeans are also great in quality, higher in price

  • Black Jeans (Straight Leg or Skinny)

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Notice that “leggings” are NOT the same thing as jeans and should only be worn when

a) Blouse or tunic covers your booty

b) Lounging around the house

c) Attending a yoga class

  • Booty Hugging Blue Jeans (Dark-Wash; Straight Leg, Bootcut, Flare or Skinny)

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*Hudson Jeans are one of my favorite brands, the material is extremely soft and amazing in quality and wash

  • Black Ankle Boots 

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  • Ballet Flats (Black)

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  • White Tee

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  • Black Tee/Top

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 15.57.26*Ann Taylor Loft has variety of basic tees and shirts (usually around $15-$40)

*H&M also has a great variety at good prices

*James Perse has amazing quality jersey tees and tops, although a bit pricier

My personal favorite is to throw on a flowy black top or tee over a sundress!

  • Cardigan (Grey, Navy or Black)

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  • Black Structured Blazer

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 16.10.13*H&M has a good selection of fitted blazers

*ASOS (one of my all time favorite sites) typically has a good selection as well, some a bit more funky than these

  • Well fitting Bra (Black, Nude and whatever else you fancy)

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  • Black Maxi Dress

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I found my favorite black maxi at Target last year for around $15.

Hint: (this can also serve as a skirt when layering!)

  • Leather Jacket 

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*Perfect to give any dress a bit of edge, or to pair with a pair of jeans for a night out!

  • Infinity Scarf (or scarves; also referred to as “Snoods”)

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 16.21.07Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 16.22.47*This can be the perfect place to add pops of color for cheap!

Also, it’s fun to pick up a scarf when traveling as a souvenir — that way it serves as a reminder, an awesome conversation starter and you can have a variety of colors and textures.

  • Striped Tee

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 16.35.19My all time favorite, I think I own at least 5 different black and white striped tops (oops).

What french inspired wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Breton inspired striped shirt?

In case you haven’t picked up on it, BLACK is your best friend. The way I visual a Parisian woman’s armoire is one consisting mainly of three (maybe four) colors: black, white, gray and navy. Does gray count as a color or is that just more of a shade between white and black? Whatever the case, these colors go with EVERYTHING! All black everything creates a certain mystique — the aforementioned “je ne sais quoi” can be attributed to this chic styling.

Now I’m not saying one shouldn’t indulge in a bright tee or colorful sweater, but I believe that these basics will help one craft the essentials of a timeless wardrobe, allowing one to always have something to wear without much of a fuss.

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Burned Velvet