EFFORTLESS: How to Be a French Girl



Nothing makes me feel worse about myself than an article about how gorgeous, effortless and sexy French women are and how us American women are actual dog meat. It makes me feel so terrible, because French women DO seem so perfectly undone and chic, and the best I can hope for is to cobble together the American version of that. But that’s not nothing! I’ve studied hundreds of articles detailing the allure of these women, and I’ve compiled it all into four steps, simple enough for even the most basic American to follow:

1. Be Mysterious

Every article about the allure of French women makes sure to celebrate their mystique. They apply their makeup to appear bare-faced; they style their hair to look as though they’ve never even combed it; and they never, EVER, let a man know they’ve spent any time grooming at all. How the smoke and mirrors are practiced after marriage is beyond me, but that just brings us back around to the beginning: French women are MYSTERIOUS. My mother didn’t teach me the art of mystery, and her mother certainly didn’t teach her. I’m so completely American that I will tell anyone anything about myself within seconds of meeting. My husband will always know exactly how long it takes for me to get ready and whether or not I tried. He also then has to listen to me complain all night about my stomach hurting because my jeans are too tight. Would a French woman do that? NEVER! The only solution is for me to have my makeup tattooed, sleep without moving and stop talking altogether. So mysterious!

2. Pout Your Mouth

Beautiful pouty lips are the unmistakeable sign of a French person. We’re starting at an obvious disadvantage here – their language is round and fluid and ours is flat and lateral. Throw in the clenched jawline of days spent racing around drinking giant sugar coffees, and you have some serious catching up to do. Start by relaxing your jaw so much your cheeks hollow and sink in between your molars, then say the word “boulevard.” Stop at “boul” and FREEZE. Walk around all day like that, trying not to speak until it starts to lock into place. You’re looking at one to two years before anyone thinks you maybe once spent a summer visiting your aunt in Provence. So chic!

Image by Anjali Pinto Image by Anjali Pinto

3. Dress Stylishly, Accessorize Thoughtfully, Avoid Clichés, Don’t Try too Hard

According to every article ever written about the glory of French women, this is the quintessential difference between us and them. Some of them are beautiful, some are not (just kidding, they are all beautiful), but they always dress better than you, because they are FRENCH. If you’re ever in Paris, just opt for head-to-toe black and try to disappear. All of the articles you’ve read over the course of your life have done their work and made you feel like a lowly troll anyway, so the damage is already done. Don’t even try to look good – the MOST effortless!

4. Eat Everything, Stay Skinny

Look. I don’t need to lay this one out for you. You will never read an article about French women that doesn’t celebrate their magical ability to eat only cheese and bread and cream while never gaining a pound. Do the same. But don’t ever talk about it. Leave that to American reporters!


By now, you should be feeling really knowledgeable and also really bad about this thing you have no control over. Do I wish I was a French girl? I mean, obviously (OBVIOUSLY). Are they wonderful? YES. Do we need to be always comparing ourselves? No, because they are better. They are the best at being sexy and effortless and gorgeous. MEANWHILE, earlier this evening I took a personality quiz and scored a 100% in complexity (pretty sure it was all of the definite yesses I marked for questions like “Are you easily annoyed?” and “Will you keep working until everything is perfect?” and “Are your feelings easily hurt?”), which I think is the most American thing ever. I do, however, never brush or blowdry and rarely do I wash my hair. A couple more years with my pout exercises, and my complexity will be the sexiest!


Ugh, you guys, life is SO BUSY. It’s hard enough finding the time to slice an avocado, toast bread, assemble the two together, make your bed, climb into bed without spilling it or your foamy cappuccino, style your legs with the toast and coffee and your NY Times prop, take fifty pictures of the complicated setup, filter your top five pics, crop and then post to all ten of your social media channels, let alone EAT IT.

Because of all of this super important life stress, I find it’s best if you can combine as many tasks as possible into one – like sleeping in a kimono and then wearing it the next day to run errands and look busy and important. Kimonos are great because they’re so silky and comfy and also SO VALUABLE on the festival circuit [this is where young people go to dress exactly like their grandmas in the 70s, but without clothes], making you look younger, and thus, SO RELEVANT. Typically worn open over a denim waistband and see-through bikini top, we ladies of a certain age may make everyone else feel a little more comfortable by opting for a slightly more sophisticated styling. I like to wear mine wrapped and pinned a million times over another complete outfit. The look is TOTALLY EFFORTLESS.

Images by Shelby Allison
Images by Shelby Allison

Here’s a simple diagram, so you can create your own carefree middle-aged kimono festival look at home:

Like I said, the whole thing just screams EFFORTLESS, and you’ll probably only have to readjust the pins once every twenty minutes. Ohmigod, you’re so interesting and V COOKY BLOGGER FASHION GIRL.

EFFORTLESS: Jackets on Shoulders NOT Arms in Jackets

On Molly: H&M Blouse, Micheal Kors Leather Jacket, MAC Lipstick.  All images by shelby allison. 
On Molly: H&M Blouse, Micheal Kors Leather Jacket, MAC Lipstick.  All images by shelby allison. 

A lot of women of a certain age, my age, fell in love with street style seeing blown out flash photography of Kate Moss toppling out of clubs in slip dresses and fur chubbies or the occasional snap of Linda Evangalista running from show to show during NYFW in beat up jeans and a cardigan. Effortless, easy, the clothes they really wore. It’s obviously exactly the same today.  

Gigi Hadid via wheretoget; Miranda Kerr via Daily Mail; Olivia Palermo via Pop Sugar; Kate Upton via Daily Mail. 
Gigi Hadid via wheretoget; Miranda Kerr via Daily Mail; Olivia Palermo via Pop Sugar; Kate Upton via Daily Mail. 

Now we wear all our clothes completly effortlessly, in a totally styled way. Just wearing this jacket! But didn’t want to put any effort into it. So, I’ll just perch it on my shoulders. I can NOT be bothered to put my arms through these… what are these holes? 

God, yes, this is so much easier. Just keep your arms totally still and don’t carry or grab anything. Which you wouldn’t. Because that would take effort. Wearing your jacket not on your arms. Literally effortless. 


On Veronica: Monse Dress - Gilt; Manolo Blahnik Elia Sandals - Barneys; Jem Clutch - Mooi On Veronica: Monse Dress – Gilt; Manolo Blahnik Elia Sandals – Barneys; Jem Clutch – Mooi

About Monse, Visionary Imagery Magazine says “The brand thrives on sculptural approaches to the classic button-down shirt look and ranges from outfits for the office to evening gowns that ooze coolness in a nonchalant way.” Molly says “Wut.”

M: i have to tell you something

(Note: Five minutes later…)

V : i’m nervous! where did you go???

M: back! plane wifi… anyways.

V: thought maybe you were getting a warm towel or something.

M: no. a small plastic cup of lukewarm diet coke tho. OH and the seat next to me is open!!!

V: so VIP.



M: anyways that dress. the one i made you wear. i’m sorry?

V: i love it???


V: HOW CAN’T I???? You know why I love it? First, it’s completely BONKERS. Second, I get to do a leg thing. Third, it’s so great with those nutso shoes. Ugh. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I look kind of great??

M: you do look so great!

V: I would like to say that I DO NOT consider this ‘effortless’ as it’s been marketed. There’s nothing effortless about taking a button-up shirt, turning it into a dress, and then wearing it super tight across the shoulders with the sleeve cuffs tacked down. It’s, like I said before, legit bonkers. feel kind of great every time i look at it. they totally know how to put the ‘EFFORT’ in effortless, like wow.

M: to be FAIR Monse did not market this dress itself as effortless but their whole collection and brand (which contains sooo many other sleeve tangles) so i imagine they think this is too. what is it with people and button up shirts and effortless!? like, it’s so effortless to just thrown on a button up! we should deconstruct it! then reconstruct it in a MUCH more complicated way!

V: but hey, they did it. all I (you) had to do was throw it on with shoes and a purse (like like every other dress), and then do my hair and makeup for like two hours. DONE!

M: did you do the makeup and hair in this scenario or did you have people to do that? and strap on you shoes?

V: i think *probably* it was done for me. is that what you were imagining as you pasted these shoes onto my feet?

M: i was. so yes, then for YOU – EFFORTLESS.

V: literally NO effort.

Monse: Resort 17, SS 17, SS 16   Monse: Resort 17, SS 17, SS 16

More, from Vogue: “In their first three seasons, they’ve experimented with simple shirting, high-concept gowns, and unusual fabrications, but Spring ’17 was Monse at its most quintessential… less really is more. That didn’t mean the clothes were plain—every look had something special—but where they could have gone overboard, Garcia and Kim exhibited restraint. That’s key when “effortless” is your m.o.” More from Molly: “If you say so.”

EFFORTLESS: My Instagram Husband

When Molly and I discussed becoming advanced-age fashion bloggers, we knew that, first-and-foremost, we’d have to do a ton of research. We pored over the blogs and Instagrams of MUCH younger fashion girls, and learned that behind every successful blogger, is a man taking editorial iPhone pictures. These men are known as Instagram Husbands and Boyfriends, and they are responsible for the images that stir in all of us that perfect combination of envy and confusion.

Bloggers with Instagram Husbands (left to right): Alex of  the frugality, victoria of in the frow, Olivia of What Olivia Did, Erica of The Edited. images by their instagram husbands via Glamour Magazine UK.
Bloggers with Instagram Husbands (left to right): Alex of  the frugality, victoria of in the frow, Olivia of What Olivia Did, Erica of The Edited. images by their instagram husbands via Glamour Magazine UK.

Why can’t my life look like that? How does she look so good? Wait. HOW is there a random picture of this woman looking so good doing, essentially, nothing? WHO TOOK THIS PHOTO?

Obviously, she has one amazing Instagram Husband/Boyfriend, and so I immediately set to work, shaping my own husband into this very hip mold. Recently, we treated ourselves to a staycation at the trendy Hotel Lincoln in Chicago. I knew this was the perfect place for us to begin our new journey as Instagram Husband and Wife, and so I did what I’ve learned every other style blogger would do – grabbed a coffee and pretended to be super casual in front of the attached cafe, while the patrons looked out at me with their own mixture of envy and confusion …

We’re off to a great start.