Fashion Diaries: English Girl Looks Like French Girl Wannabe

Fashion Diaries: English Girl Looks Like French Girl Wannabe

Why do we wear what we wear? SheerLuxe’s Fashion Diaries series asks Londoners to record their thoughts behind getting dressed. This week, Katie*, a 29-year-old personal assistant living in Fulham, stresses about what to wear for a weekend in Paris with her new French boyfriend…


“Tomorrow we will be in Paris”, Luc is saying. His mouth full of avocado toast. There, you will see a real breakfast.”

He makes these statements about everything. Nothing in London is the real deal. Everything is better in Paris, apparently. Bread. Coffee. Dentists. Doctors. The breakfast I made him. I hope I’m the exception.

Luc is a pretty good boyfriend but his Frenchness seems to be fuelling some sort of inferiority complex in me. He notices if I’ve had a manicure or not and he has lots of… opinions on my outfits. I think about the girls in his Paris circle and imagine them clad head to toe in Chanel, all modelesque and impossibly groomed. I’m going to need a new outfit.


I’m at work now, Luc caught the train with me half way. Some nights he stays at mine, but we don’t live together yet because we’ve only been together for three months.

I remind my boss I have to leave a bit early to catch the Eurostar. I tell her Luc is French and she says, “You must have a great collection of lingerie,” with a wink that makes me feel awkward. Do French women seriously wear nothing but matching lace sets all the time?

I Google the subject and learn Parisian women spend 20% of their annual clothing budget on lingerie. I read how one French woman would rather sleep in the spare room than subject her husband to an M&S nightie. My non-matching, M&S bra and knickers begin to burn faintly with shame beneath my Zara blouse and skinny jeans. I need new underwear too.


I’m sitting at work, pretending to fill in a spreadsheet but looking through Pinterest for inspiration. A Breton top? A beret? I might as well be carrying a baguette and an onion. Can’t look like I’m trying to be French. It’s not French fancy dress.


It’s my lunch break so I slip out of the office and onto Oxford Street. Maybe I should just buy a new shift dress and call it a day. Reiss always has nice ones, and I can wear them to everything – meetings, girls’ nights. No. Need to think French.

I go to Selfridges and head for accessories. The easiest way to add an edge to your outfit. I think I read that in Vogue once. YSL shoes, Chloé bag… definitely French, but way out of budget.


I should be on my way back to work by now but instead I’m sweating in a Selfridges changing room. Maje, Sandro, Claudie Pierlot – they sound pretty French. Must be French. A Chanel-like cardigan with white trims and pearl buttons is the top contender, it would look really chic with some ballet flats… but I’m not sure I’d ever wear it again and it’s almost £200.


Luc and I are on the Eurostar. The black lace Sandro dress I ended up panic buying actually looks pretty good, plus it has a cute ribbon collar in red white and blue. So patriotic! And subtle. I hope the Parisians appreciate it. I’m wearing YSL too, just a red lipstick, but I feel so chic even if Luc won’t kiss me while I’m wearing it.


We’re out for dinner with Luc’s friends and their girlfriends. I’m feeling very over dressed. They’re wearing jeans and all have tousled hair, smokey eyes and look impossibly, effortlessly cool.

One girl, called Joséphine (seriously), is wearing a shirt way too big for her, but it looks annoyingly good. She’s wearing grey skinnies, black biker boots and the best leather jacket. It’s almost intimidating.


Joséphine turned out to be nice. Everyone is nice. But they’re going in and out of speaking French and I’m drinking my wine way too fast – much faster than them. I’ve heard this about French girls. They eat cheese too but just the right amount. Nothing in excess.

I go to the bathroom and hurriedly wipe off my red lipstick, mess up my hair a bit, smudge my winged liner. I take off my bra and shove it in my black leather Karen Millen bag. Yes, that’s better. More French.

*All names have been changed.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily