Jan 29th, 2017, 11:13 PM

Less is more: The Golden rule of French Female Fashion

By Danielle Gregoire
Image Credit: mechelepellebon.com
“Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” – Coco Chanel

Walking around the streets of Paris I noticed something missing, it was the flash of bright jewels I am accustomed to seeing in my hometown-- Miami. I wanted to explore why such a lavish city would not show their extravagance through one of the most transparent signs of wealth: jewels.

Image Credit: manreppeller.com

French women have a reputation for being posh, statuesque, dressed head to toe in black, with an ethereal beauty that is not taught but inherited. Simplicity is fundamental. The French are self-indulgent, stylish with beautiful fur coats, designer handbags, and expensive tastes in food and wine, but do not grant those same ideals toward jewelry.

Image Credit: Thexoereport.com

They house some of the best jewelers in the world such as Chaumet and Fred, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier; but are modest in their tastes. This discretion caught my eye. I thought that jewels would be embedded into French society since it is the home of the most spectacular jewel: the Hope Diamond. 

Image Credit: josephmcleangregory.com

I was curious about this lack of adornment. Back in mid-evil Europe there were sumptuary laws forbidding commoners from wearing such jewels. This right to opulence was only reserved for the royal family and nobles. It was not until the time of Napoleon that a civilian could adorn such splendid gems.

So, what happened between the time of Napoleon and now? The Second World War put a halt on jewelry production, making such swanky pieces unattainable. During this time fashion icons, such as Coco Chanel encouraged the public to mix costume jewelry with fine jewelry already owned. 

Image Credit: Senatus.com

But that was 70 years ago. We are in a different era, where these exquisite gems are easily accessible. Why aren’t they more apparent? A girl can’t leave the house without earrings on! I have been trained to feel naked without them. The difference is French women are taught to look effortless. There is an ease in French style.

Image Credit: Vogue.com

The standard is to be “cool” without looking like you are trying. Big jewels are regarded as gaudy and it is improper to talk about wealth, let alone wear it like a neon sign. However, in Miami men and women wear their finest jewels for any occasion. Our Golden rule is to light up every room you enter. The French on the other hand are taught to be confident without the glitz and glamour of a gem. 

Image Credit: Ellecandada.com