Here Are The 5 Things Every Woman Should Have According to Inès de la Fressange

Not a francophile?  Prefer bangers and mash and the English countryside?  Check out Amanda Brooks’ top 5.

In the episode of MR Chatroom with Inès de la Fressange, the French model-cum-comedienne expounded upon several important things for all American girls to consider.

First: if you’re in Paris and only have the capacity to learn four words, let them be, “tu as tellement raison.” This means, you are so right, and according to Fressange will immediately make those nearby assume that you’re both fluent and highly intelligent (ostensibly for thinking the other person is intelligent).

Second: you don’t need to have a lot of stuff, just a few really good pieces. Which, of course, leads us to the mother lode of advice in the form of a list of five things Fressange believes every woman should have, punctuated by precisely why she should have them:

1. Good jeans, which she calls, “the quite boring thing that no one wants to buy but it fits everyone.” For wash, Fressange prefers “dark blue denim or a really light pair, but it’s hard to find the perfect one — Uniqlo makes my favorite.” She also recommends that you find a pair that’s tight and short. “Suddenly, you’ll look like Audrey Hepburn.”

2. A navy sweater — not black. “It’s boring, but you wear it every day.”

3. Black flats, “because you’re dressed up immediately and it’s safe for the majority of looks.”

4. A blue men’s shirt — “White shirts are boring, so let’s say a man shirt in light blue! If you’re blonde with huge boobs, you won’t look so sexy, and if you’re tiny, it looks nice too.”

5. A leather jacket, but here’s the catch — it should be “a little bit too tiny — especially for me because I always dress up like a man and it’s a little bit boring. To find a little tiny leather jacket [makes you look] a little bit rock and roll.”

As for what you definitely do not need? “No way the little black dress. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Want more style tips you crazy Francophile? Ask a French Girl like Isabel. Or look to Parisian street style for inspo.

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  • Oof. I’d be so bad at being French. My heart is far too fickle and my eye need quirky color combinations and my soul is fed with polyester. BUT, I respect very much the woman who can wear this wardrobe and still feel as if she’s lived her sartorial life to the fullest. An exercise in restraint that has little to do with consumption.

    • Lina

      You complete me. As in: I have only the boring things, and you have all the fun things.
      Can we be friends? Or a good-cop-bad-cop team maybe?

  • Kelsey Moody

    Need to try Uniqlo denim! This makes my wardrobe feel better

  • Jessica Peterson

    May I wear that outfit every day for the rest of my life, please?

  • xyz

    Flat don’t make you look dressed up, especially not ballet flats. They look like socks. Navy is ugly. Jeans don’t match with many things and often look lazy. Would not follow this advice.

    • Leandra Medine

      i think when she said “dressed up” she meant feminine. as a woman who takes many of her style cues from masculine men, ines seems to wear ballet flats to counter all that other stuff

    • earlyholo_scene

      “Navy is ugly”.

      For some reason I find this to be one of the most hilariously random, meaningless things I have ever seen on the internet.

      • And “Jeans dont match with many things…” pretty much goes against every piece of fashion advice and/or denim editorial ever created ever.

    • What the hell do you even wear if you dont like any of those things? Straw?!

    • Senka

      I would disagree. I for example, find loud colors and typical american club outfits not too aesthetically pleasing. But that’s just me. No right to deem it ugly, right? Black, navy and beige is classy, elegant, mature and very beautiful to me. Trying to hard isnt. Ines, Emmanuelle, Garance and other French ladies know how to dress. majority of the rest of the world doesn’t.

  • I just bought one of the shirts from her Uniqlo collection. It quickly became one of my favorite pieces.

    • Sugarsheet

      ++ I have mine for 4 years, it still looks like brand new! uniqlo’s quality is great

  • kaitlyn conway

    you guys have made me completely obsessed with this woman and her clothes in a matter of two days!! idol

  • Elena

    “The little black dress doesn’t mean anything.”, I´m not really agree with this one… She is a very elegant lady, but concerning style I think I trust more people like Gabrielle Chanel rather than Ines de la Fressange.

    • Sugarsheet

      Don’t forget, Karl chose Ines in the 80’s for representing CHANEL…

      • Elena

        I know, she is very Chanel (Karl is not Gabrielle though). I just think saying the LBD is nothing is not the best advice… Anyway, everyone has a taste.

      • phlox

        Didn’t she and Karl fall out in the 90s? The details are so murky!

    • I think she meant it in a way that the LBD is nothing new. We know its a staple, but its nothing revolutionary. Its almost like a “duh” you should have a LBD so lets not talk about that.

    • Marta Millere

      Yeah, I’d think a LBD would fit in perfectly with the rest of her simple capsule wardrobe. Mah.

  • She does a perfect balancing act when it comes to many topics: masculine/feminine, self-indulgence/restraint. I may have to consider her tip and start substituting some navy and light blue for some of my black.

    Accidental Icon

  • Still searching for that navy sweater! I have a bit of a menswear look, especially at work, so a lot of this stuff totally works for me!

    • Natalie

      Uniqlo cotton cashmere mens sweaters. They make an excellent navy one and the mens’ cut is a bit slouchier and cooler. Plus you get them for under $50 and the quality is spot on.

      • I have a couple Uniqlo women’s sweaters, but never tried the mens department before! Might have to check that out!

  • Sugarsheet

    As a Parisian I can only agree with what Ines says. These are wardrobe staples every one should have for job interview, or in situation when you don t know what to wear!

  • I agree, anything French women tell me I listen too.


  • Kenns

    and don’t forget white jeans!

  • Daily Ortiz

    Inés de la Fressange is EVERYTHING! I need to try me some Uniqlo denim! I loved this article. I would add those wardrobe staples to my closet.

  • Hannah Climas

    I’m currently in the process of culling and updating my wardrobe as I attempt to move from Ph.D student to government graduate professional and articles like this are really useful (even if my budget is gloriously tight). Loving the idea of navy as an alternative to black, thinking about investing in a couple of good quality button-up shirts for the office.

    Not sure if a pale pink leather jacket is quite what the article was talking about, but I’m getting myself one for my birthday anyway!

  • Giselle

    I was so “french” and I didn’t even know it. Those items are pretty much the only things u can find in my closet.

  • You are right..

  • Cute But little Boring……

  • phlox

    Really? No LBD because it “doesn’t mean anything”?! Even though in HER OWN BOOK (“Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange, 2010) she listed it as one of “the magnificent seven” basics and styled her own daughter in one? Not buying this.

    Oh, and if you have any boobs at all you can’t do her little boxy-top routine. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

    (I do love her and those Vivier flats and her pink living room, still. )

  • Selina Moses

    No to the navy jumper. It’s boring, therefore I don’t wear it everyday, I don’t wear it at all. Yes to the jeans, black flats and blue shirts, so much better than white. And knowing me, I’d add a pale yellow shirt to the mix which is closer to white but much fresher. I’m fine with basics but not in drab colours. Give me mainly classic silhouettes with bright colours and I’m there. French fashion is lovely but too basic and uniform for my personal tastes

  • Dre

    Hehehe… There’s actually this show called kaamelot here in France, it’s a comedy skit about King Arthur and Perceval doesn’t usually understand complicated stuff in it and finds out that saying “C’est Clair” gets him out of almost everything. And people say it more often then “t’as tellement raison” (that phrase sounds more like you’re making fun of “Parisian chicks” )

    Also this is exactly what women wear in Paris, and why I don’t understand when people say that Parisian women are so stylish.. It’s so basic and boring, my sister keeps buying the same stuff all the time and it kills me each time ^_^’

  • I really need to pay attention to men’s styles more–not just for my spouse but for myself. I love the idea of integrating masculine pieces. Leandra does it so well–like, unsettlingly well–that it feels unapproachable. But the blue shirt seems like a good place to start. 🙂

  • I’m in love with her style! Ankle length jean, button downs, and a jacket Perfect 🙂


  • Marta Millere

    This is so great — this is exactly how my fabulous tall & thin Latvian mom dresses. Such an inspiration 🙂

  • Cherryblossomgirl08

    I think I’m the only person alive who doesn’t really care about “French style.” It just comes down to trying very, very hard to pretend that you’re not trying at all. Zzzz…Give me Sao Paulo style, Mexico City style, Nigerian style any dayyyy.

    • Vltava

      I completely agree. To me, the style that Ines de la Fressange’s preaches sounds boring. Certainly not the ‘epitome of fashion’ many describe it to be…more like the epitome of basic bitch.

  • Sophie

    I don’t want to wear anything that is “boring”!! Which is a term that is ubiquitous among these options…

  • I am blonde with not quite huge boobs and I appreciate Inez’s advice because if there’s anything I worry about it is looking “so sexy” that it’s a problem.