man in blue and yellow floral button up shirt wearing black sunglasses

Style lesson from the French Guy

man in blue and yellow floral button up shirt wearing black sunglasses

Are you familiar with the fashion ruts? You know the one where your closet is overflowing and your clothes don’t spark joy? These are the feelings I’ve been feeling for the last few weeks. Uninspired by my current wardrobe (I have been on a 1970s-related kick lately), I wanted to try something different for spring. It’s the fashion challenge that can ignite my passion for dressing up.

One word immediately came to my mind when I thought about what my current wardrobe lacks: Minimalism. Do I own a lot of printed, loud shirts? Check! The Row has the same vibe, but I’m not an Olsen twin so I need to find a more realistic style inspiration. After a quick brainstorm, I realized what the problem was.

Moment: The French are the best at minimalism

French men are more casually cool than me, and have a greater sense of style. They have subtle clothes that make you look closer at the details. There are many stylish French men who have this idea down pat that I can turn to for inspiration. Below are four examples of notable ensembles I copied from French men like Stephane Bak and Vincent Cassel. What was the lesson I learned from mimicking their unique style? Below is the link to discover more.

Sebastien Tellier’s blazers in a casual style

When I wear a blazer that is more formal (like the one worn by Justine Woods, an Indigenous artist), I usually wear it with black pants and black shoes. Too obvious! Sebastien Tellier demonstrated that you can dress down an uptown jacket by pairing it with light-blue jeans, a baseball cap and still looking polished. This is something I could see myself wearing to Sunday brunch or to work. It’s effortless and stylish without being too difficult.

Vincent Cassel’s fine knitwear

Vincent Cassel’s outfit shows me that black pants and turtlenecks can be fashion statements on their own. His purple ribbed knit is a great pairing with his dressy boots and some killer sunglasses. I chose a Jil Sander vintage turtleneck from the Raf Simons era to create my own version. In bright pink and orange Although I confess, I struggled with styling this piece. But letting it shine, as a French man, is the best move. Merci, Vincent!

Stephane Bak’s take on head-to-toe black

New Yorker Stephane Bak is no stranger to all-black. Stephane Bak’s monochromatic styling takes monochromatic dressing up a notch thanks to his unique proportions and use of textures. This look was recreated by me mixing a puffer coat (by Everlane), with leather pants from Eytys and my favorite Indigenous Enterprise hoodie. What did you get? The result? A cool and easy-to-wear look that you can take with you everywhere. It doesn’t have be boring to wear all-black.

Eddy de Pretto’s polished double-denim

Double denim is sometimes called a Canadian Tuxedo, or Texas Tuxedo. But even French people love to wear jeans. Eddy de Pretto’s approach to double denim is more whimsical thanks to his bucket hat and striped shirt. He also wears low-top sneakers. It was remade with my most worn Levi’s jeans and an A.P.C. The jacket was paired with a Dhruv Koor shirt and my new Wales Bonner x Adidas sneakers. This look is my spring staple, as I am a diehard denim fan. C’est bien sur!

This experience was a masterclass in pared back dressing. This experience has taught me that even the most basic pieces in your closet can be quite interesting if you pair them with other unexpected combinations. Jeans, which I love to wear a lot of, are a French staple. It’s also my most-purchased item. I am also inspired to ditch my bold prints and embrace simpler clothes that emphasize silhouettes or cuts.

My closet is filled with tons of outfit ideas. I am inspired to get dressed up again. No, I won’t be wearing the Breton stripes or an expected beret. But you can expect me to look especially polished in the days ahead.

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