Blake Lively decodes French fashion

At last, the essence of Parisian chic: explained


Do you remember a world before Blake Lively’s lifestyle blog, Preserve? A mystifying place it was, too, full of torment over such questions as: ‘Just what IS the new afternoon latte?’ (it's office yoga, duh); or ‘How can I be SURE my other half isn’t using my cereal spoon?’ (simply invest in the site’s ‘Mr & Mrs Spoons’, a snip at $25. Marriage saved).

And the latest burning issue of the modern age to finally be put to rest by Blake? The secret of French style, mes amies.


‘Paris is so mysteriously perfect,’ says the site. ‘Do French women really wake up with ready-to-wear bedhead? And do they actually shamelessly snack on bread, cheese and sweets without ever stepping into a gym?’

Pray enlighten us, Blake. It is, she writes, all down to that ‘Parisian je ne sais quoi.’

Wait. Just. A. Blimmin’. Minute. ‘Je ne sais quoi’ means ‘I don’t know’. We looked it up and everything. So the fact that ALL French women have perfect hair and a preternaturally quick metabolism comes down to ‘I don’t know’?!

Panic not, Blake would not leave us so adrift. Non, she offers us a way to capture that French ‘je ne sais quoi’ for ourselves: by wearing clothes by a fashion illustrator called Daphne van den Heuvel, who’s based in The Netherlands (shush). Her pieces are to be sold by Preserve, naturellement.

As an example of the subtle nod to La France, we’re offered – zut alors! – a stripy top! And what’s this? A stripy maxi dress, too? Oui, c’est vrai! For, according to Blake, stripes were ‘a very fashionable uniform for French seamen in the 19th century’. Because if there’s one look we want to be channelling right now, it’s antique French seamen.

And so, there you have it: the secret of French style is a Breton stripe. We can only hope that Preserve branches out into accessories soon, so we can get a beret, baguette and string of garlic to really complete the look.

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