I always love to see how French children are dressed at school. They look as if they are all taking part in a photo shoot for the Cyrillus catalog. This might not be the most child-friendly way of dressing your little mini-me’s, so give it a try before they decide for themselves. Here are some tips on how to turn your kid into a French style icon.
French children are supposed to adapt to the world of adults. The same goes for their clothing. Take a closer look and you will see that they actually wear the same clothes as their parents, just a few sizes smaller; a family tradition which is beautifully illustrated, for example, by the mother-daughter collection from Tartine & Chocolat in this article’s picture. In this way, the French transmit taste and style from generation to generation, leaving us foreigners with only one option: to observe and copy. Many golden-rules-in-style that exist for adults are also true for children.
This is what I keep in mind while shopping for my sons Mathis and Jim:
1 No primary colours. Of course, this would not be French without an exception. Some primary colors are “allowed”. To make it easy, stick to those used by Le Petit Bateau. (like the yellow color of their iconic raincoat)
2 Unisex clothes are very common for the younger ones, especially baby boys who are dressed in cute collars, girly colors, shirts with smocking… Some even make their baby boys wear dresses, out of tradition though, not yet for gender neutrality reasons.
3 Avoid trends and hypes. As it goes for yourself, make sure you buy clothes that will not be outdated 6 months later. Go for classics instead of fashion items. I always ask myself, would I have bought this a few years ago? The ideal places to find these for a reasonable price are the second-hand shops, especially in the 15th and 16th arrondissements. I personally buy clothes from this beautiful second-hand webshop: www.iletaitplusieursfois.com.
4 Choose quality fabrics over basic ones, like linen, wool or sometimes even cashmere. No, don’t even start about clothes not being easy to wash, this is not the priority at all! (Honestly, I only get these unwashable cute clothes as a gift, but I love them.)
5 No dominant prints, texts or logos. They make it difficult to combine and after three generations you might get fed up with the “My Daddy’s the Best” slogan. (Of course, you can have one horrible Spiderman or Elsa shirt which your children can wear as a treat).
6 The accessories count as much as they do for adults: bags, hairpins, shoes, socks…make sure they match, but also use them to make the look more personal.
7 Share and transmit clothes. On the first day of his life, Mathis wore a beautiful little grey gilet, borrowed from a friend. Jim has just left for school wearing an Aigle coat from a cousin. It might feel strange at first, but really do ask friends and family if you are looking for a specific piece of clothing. Clothes with history and a story to tell are so much more valuable. My son Jim is so proud to wear his older cousin’s jacket, and so is my wallet!
By Renée Koudstaal.
Renée shares her Parisian lifestyle on her blog www.lestyleparisien.com with all kinds of insights she would have loved to know when she arrived in Paris 20 years ago.
Photo by Balzac Paris / Tartine & Chocolat