You know it’s a racket, but you click anyway. You already know what it’s going to say: Showing less skin is ultimately sexier than wearing something too short or too low-cut, and a natural beauty look is more appealing than obvious contouring. Blue jeans, an off-the-shoulder top, a little red lipstick, and off you go into the evening. Life is good when you’re a French Girl.
The effortlessly chic French woman is one of the most persistent tropes in our lifestyle landscape. Sixty years after a young, unapologetically sexual Brigitte Bardot danced her way into the pop culture canon in the film …And God Created Woman, publications like Vogue, Into the Gloss, and Who What Wear now publish a steady stream of articles on the supposedly superior and increasingly specific ways that French women dress, do their hair, eat, exercise, and fall in love. “The One Piece Every Chic French Girl Has in Her Winter Wardrobe.” “The Color Combo French It Girls Always Wear.” “How to Do Valentine’s Day Like a French Girl.” “How to Wash Your Hair Like a French Girl.” Even the New York Times has investigated French women’s daily habits (“Aging Gracefully, the French Way”).
Some of these articles are written with a dash of knowing humor, because our French Girl obsession has become something of a joke. (Last year, The Cut skewered its ubiquity in a post titled “97 Things You Can Do Like a French Girl.”) In fact, there are times when it seems like our French Girl may not even exist. Maybe she’s just the product of a media pile-on, each story laying the foundation for the next until she’s a commonly accepted fact.
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