How to create the perfect Parisian capsule wardrobe for spring with Penny Goldstone, Fashion Editor at Marie Claire

Image Credit: @pennygoldstone

The secret to looking chic and feeling fabulous this season comes down to just seven essential pieces… 

The in-between seasons, spring and autumn, can be the hardest to dress for. One minute it’s glorious sunshine, the next you’re battling heavy showers and the temperature goes from tropical to baltic and back again all in one afternoon. Parisians manage to make their spring style look just as chic as any other season though, and it’s all thanks to their carefully curated wardrobes. To look effortlessly stylish at this time of year, it’s more important than ever to have go-to classic wardrobe staples, things you can just throw on that instantly make you feel good, and a collection of basics that you can layer on top of each other should the mercury suddenly drop. 

To channel the French look and make spring dressing easy and enjoyable, there are a few key items you need in your capsule wardrobe, according to French style guru Pénélope Goldstone (@pennygoldstone), who also happens to be fashion editor at Marie Claire.

 “My top five pieces for a Parisian-style capsule wardrobe are an oversized blazer/ suit, a white shirt, straight leg jeans, a well-cut trench coat and a midi dress, either knitted or silk that you can wear in the daytime but dress up in the evening, and a pair of classic pumps ”she says. On top of these essentials she also loves linen shirts, a long-sleeved floaty dress, a midi skirt and chunky sandals.

Jeanne Jeans£75, Styled with Grace White lace Blouse £80

Bernadette White Shirt£55

Sula Knitted Dress£95

Fleur Dress £95

Aline Skirt £69

If you find yourself opening your stuffed wardrobe each morning and uttering the words men the world over roll their eyes at - “I’ve got nothing to wear” - then you probably need to go back to square one and sort yourself out a capsule wardrobe. We’re not suggesting that you throw all your clothes out, but that you rearrange your clothes so that everyday essentials are at the forefront and invest in some pared-back but elegant focal pieces for the season. 

Talking of seamlessly taking an outfit from day to evening, this is something that French women do particularly well. “It’s all about switching up the accessories,” says Penny. “If I'm wearing a dress during the day, I'll opt for chunky boots or flat sandals and a leather tote bag. For the evening, I'd swap those for heeled sandals and a smaller bag, like the Bottega Veneta Jodie which is my go-to.” 

Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie  £1,888 

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The real trick to looking elegant all the time is to avoid the temptation to buy trend-led pieces and instead to invest in classic pieces that have those special little extra touches - think fabric covered or brass buttons,  broderie anglaise trims etc. (which incidentally is what the Aurélie collection is all about!). 

“Parisian women in particular tend to steer clear of trends and focus on timeless pieces that work for them,” says Penny. “At Fashion Week, you won't notice many bright colours or bold prints, or faddy items. Editors and influencers tend to focus on a neutral colour palette of black and beige, and love a bit of masculine tailoring. Oversized is always chic.”

Inspired to start a spring capsule wardrobe? Here are the foundation pieces you need from Aurélie’s spring ’23 collection…

1. Valda Blazer £95

2. Jeanne Jeans £75 

3. St Germain Trench coat in Navy or Beige  £165 

7. Emily scoop knit top, £55

Et voilà, simply add some ballet flats from our pick of the best French shoes, a classic handbag and you’re ready for whatever weather spring sends our way.

April 16, 2023 — Lucy Robinson

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