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French Girl Style with Image Matters

Super stylist, Jane Sumner, advises Muddy on how to nail the effortless and chic style!

I love French women’s style. Mysterious, masterful, tres chic. When it comes to effortlessness, no other nation gets it as consistently right. Think Bridget Bardot, Jane Birkin, Audrey Tautou and my personal girl crush, Francoise Hardy!

As well as adopting their relaxed attitude to getting dressed, there are certain style tips you can take and tweak to incorporate into your own wardrobe and bring in a certain je ne sais quoi to your whole look. To advise me and a friend (Grand Muddy got in on the Masterclass at the last minute), I called in the help of stylist Jane Sumner at Image Matters. She specialises in creating the confidence that comes with knowing you look your best and are dressed appropriately for every occasion (both personally and professionally). I thought she’d have an extra edge on the French side of things as she is also a style consultant for Captain Tortue, a range of tres chic French clothing for women and children. There are a few collections within the range (Miss Captain, Little Miss Captain and Captain Trend), so there’s something for the petite, the classic and the more on trend. Jane rocked up to Muddy Mansions with all of her rails and gave us a few key pointers to chic style!

Evolving style, you don’t always need a whole new wardrobe, you can have a stylish, basic ensemble of pieces

French women apparently have much smaller wardrobes than us and have a few key pieces that they mix with a range of basics. All of Jane’s range of clothes complemented each other both style and colour wise. And when she advises, she mixes pieces that go with what you already have! Sorting out a few key items you want to keep from your existing wardrobe. It isn’t always about buying new, it is using the existing in different ways!

Love leather – a leather jacket is forever (as are most investment pieces – especially coats)

The leather jacket is a great investment piece as it gets better with age. Jane advises clients on the cost per wear formula, especially with items you wear a lot, like a leather jacket or a coat.

Captain Tortue leather jacket. Just add smile

Speaking of which, we all loved a coat Jane brought, see below, but I was the only one who ended up buying it, ha ha!

I think what is demonstrates about the Captain Tortue collection is that it really does transcend age. Grand Muddy in her 60s could carry it off as well as a teen, and I think that’s a great draw about the range.

Dog walks have never been so chic

Scarves rock (and can be used in the hair, around the neck, even tied on your bag)

Effortless style doesn’t have to be try hard, step forward minimal accessorizing and reliance upon that go-to classic, a scarf. If there’s one thing French women always do that elevates their style a step above the rest, it’s wear a scarf.

It doesn’t always have to be black. Grey, taupe, navy and teal all work like black (they go with everything)

Jane got the ladies trying all sorts of alternatives to black, and they both suited the change in colours.

And what’s good about having Jane rifle through your wardrobe is that she can discover combinations you didn’t know you had and weed out those clothes that take valuable hanging space but are never worn. When that’s done, she can identify the gaps in your wardrobe that need filling. You can then go shopping safe in the knowledge that you are only buying items that you need rather than more of the same!

Jane offers a variety of services listed on her website but I love the fact she has access to all these clothes with Captain Tortue. The whole French vibe is timeless, and within the range it’s great they have different looks like folky and rock chic.

Price point wise, I’d say it’s on a par with Boden, and the quality really is good. Plus you know you’re not going to go to a party and everyone is going to be wearing what you are. Well at least I haven’t seen a dog walker in my coat yet : )

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