I Live in Paris—and These Are the 5 Ways French Women Are Styling Knitwear

Marissa Cox

Every month, Londoner turned Parisienne Marissa Cox of Rue Rodier will bring you her pearls of Parisian fashion wisdom and style tips straight from the French capital. A photographer, writer and influencer, we turn to the oh-so-chic Marissa on a regular basis for a truly unique take on her adopted country’s signature style. Whether we’re looking to her décor decisions, handbag purchases or chic hotel choices, we can all agree that being un petit peu plus Français could never be a bad thing…

With winter just around the corner, my current wish-lists are made up of cosy cable knits, ribbed polo necks and cashmere sweaters—basically anything that will prevent those icy chills. But big chunky jumpers and thicker layers aren’t always easy to pull off and I don’t want to end up looking like 1: a yeti, 2: the Marshmallow man in Ghostbusters or 3: Joey in that scene from Friends when he wears all of his clothes.

When it comes to knitwear, the French seem to have a knack of making it look more stylish than most. Perhaps it’s the way they style it, or the way it falls nonchalantly (or is it effortlessly) off their shoulders, whichever it is there is a thing or two to be learned. After all, French women are single-handedly responsible for making the cardigan sexy, despite it being invented in the 19th century by the Earl of Cardigan, who was obviously a man and a Brit. Here are my top tips on donning heavier layers that I’ve borrowed from the French, so you can stay warm, whilst not sacrificing on style.

1. Belt It

It’s all about balance—if you’re wearing an over-sized jumper, wear slim trousers—unless you’ve purposely gone for the over-sized look of course. But I’d advise you to wear it the French way (as you'll see at the likes of BA&SH) and throw jumpers over a skirt or dress and cinch it in at the waist with a belt.

Gucci Horsebit-Detailed Leather Belt (£315)

Givenchy Metallic Textured-Leather Belt (£340)

2. Wear Your Cardigans Backwards

Cardigans aren’t new, so what did iconic, Parisian-born brand Sézane do? They turned it around so that the buttons go down the back. Genius. It perfectly offers just the right amount of je ne sais quoi, whilst not giving too much away. And there are now jumpers that have been specifically designed to show off your back with pretty detailing.

BA&SH Jumper (£205)

Dolce & Gabbana Cashmere Cardigan (£875)

3. Opt for a Subtle Embellishment or Detailing

The French are traditionally not ones to play with colour and pattern, so the textured, cable knit or sweater with a knitted embellishment is a safer, chicer option.

& Other Stories Bobble Pattern Wool Blend Cardigan (£95)

Nanushka Eria Cropped Faux Pearl-Embellished Cable-Knit Sweater (£315)

4. Wear Your Cosy Jumper With a Short Skirt

Despite a reputation for being more open and free about their bodies, the French never show off too much at the same time (unless it’s summer and seriously hot) – i.e. it’s either legs or cleavage and rarely both. One common Parisian outfit is to wear heavier layers on top, with a short skirt. Team with a pair of long boots so you can hide your favourite slipper socks inside to keep your feet warm.

H&M Cable-Knit Jumper (£25)

Arket Tweed Wrap Mini Skirt (£79)

5. Make Your Cardigans Cropped Like Jeanne Damas

The cardigan has made a huge comeback in recent years, but you only have to watch Brigitte Bardot films or Inst-stalk Parisian It-Girls Jeanne Damas and Sabina Socol, to see why. If you want to dress French, get a cardy and make it cropped.

& Other Stories Ribbed Cropped Cardigan Top (£45)

Red Valentino Cropped Knitted Cardigan (£345)

Next up, see the 4 items I exclusively wear with jeans.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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