The Myth of French Girl Style

Everyone on the Internet is obsessed with the elusive concept of “The French Girl.” She’s flawless, she’s impossible to pin down, and she’s probably Parisian. A smoker without a smoker’s cough, a devourer of pastries who never gains an ounce, she is a conundrum that has fascinated women for centuries.

That’s right, centuries. While we might look at articles telling you how to date like a French woman, how to dress like a French woman, or how to do your makeup like a French woman and think, “well, this is just the Internet being the Internet,” this frenzy a has a long and storied saga dating back to the nineteenth century and beyond.

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Did you know that it was Vogue that started the French girl fad? Not really surprising for a magazine named after the French word for style, but it’s true — beginning in 1892, the magazine was designed for wealthy New Yorkers who wanted to know what was in fashion over in Europe (read: Paris). A 1910 edition even included an article called, “How French Women Make And Preserve Beauty,” which is basically the 20th century’s version of Mireille Giuliano’s bestseller, French Women Don’t Get Fat.

In other words, don’t get worked up over the fact that you have to go to the gym every time you eat a croissant. Magazines have been selling us this idea for centuries. Besides, though you may never become French, you can live Frenchly 😉