The Chic List: ‘Why I taught my wardrobe French’

As normal life slowly trickles back, travelling has become a thrilling possibility once again.

Suitcases excitedly dragged down from attics, up from cellars and out of cupboards, dusted off, and packed for that much dreamt about adventure away from home.

A prospect which, for what feels like an eternity, has seemed as distant as a trip to the moon.

Heading for a coffee in Paris in a Celine jacket, Frame jeans, Arket vest top, Jil Sander shoes and Gucci bag

Our surroundings have such a huge influence on how we dress and present ourselves to the world. And, for me, a large part of the pleasure of travelling is dressing for your chosen destination. A kind of fashion metamorphosis takes place whenever you step off a plane or train to somewhere new.

As I write this – PCR tests, double-vaccination certificates and all the other palaver permitting – I’m hoping to be back wandering round one of my favourite cities, Paris, very soon. Oui, oui, oui!

As a long-term admirer of the French, the gold-star achievers in chic, I am planning on packing nothing less than my A-game.

Parisian women love to look at other women and what they wear. It’s part of their culture and a rite of Parisian passage. But, as an outsider, there’s nothing more scary than walking into a brasserie packed full of fashionably glamorous locals.

Unapologetically, the women turn to give everyone who sits down for their salad niçoise the once over, sweeping their eyes up from your shoes to the tip of your head, and back down again. Pointy flats, good blazers and my favourite jeans, large vintage Chanel sunglasses and some sexy black dresses are all going in the suitcase for an attempt at the Parisian version of me.

This me is completely different to, say, the Greek island version or the Tuscan version, which are much more laidback and like to waft around streets in long linen dresses and kaftans.

Adapting our dress to different cultures is why when we shop abroad – for me, another absolute joy of travelling – some things bought can seem unlikely choices when we return to rain-swept reality. But if you take them back to where they came from, they slip seamlessly into your wardrobe again.

Is there anything more satisfying than unearthing something unique to bring back home? Over a year and a half of travel deprivation has only made me more determined to hit the ground running, straight into an away-from-home version of my style. And to roam the streets, museums, shops and markets again.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

Bag, £280, Dragon Diffusion,

A leather version of the Jane Birkin basket. What’s not to like?

Dress, £99.95,

I adore this apple green shade.

T-shirt, £25,

A perfect black tee for your basics collection.

Necklace, £135, Eliou,

This simple gold chain will go with everything.

Jeans, £195, Frame,

Effortless, soft and by my favourite denim brand.

Jacket, £89.99,

With its tie-front, this linen blazer is a go-to for easy-breezy dates.

Follow me on Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe