elements of style

Jane Birkin: French Style Icon Encyclopedia

Jane Birkin: a master of French style even if she was born in London.

I don’t even love her vibe so much. What I love about Jane Birkin as an example of the genre is that there’s not much to see here on some levels: These aren’t prom queen good looks, you know? Which in my experience is the essence of French (via London) beauty: You just do the best with what you have. It’s more mystique and attitude than anything else. And anyone can have mystique and attitude. It’s the great leveler, attitude, and thank God for that.

To note: her long and/or layered necklaces (my fave is the one worn with the off-the-shoulder peasant blouse in the first color photo), simple outfits, the bangs, and how natural and easy everything looks. Candice Swanepoel for Victoria’s Secret, this isn’t.

I get that her allure is all about the pout and the big eyes, but my favorite pictures of her are at the end. I swear the percentage of photos in which she’s smiling — hugely — goes up and up and up as she gets older. Interesting lesson, there.

jane birkin

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This photo, of this T-shirt, is basically every T-shirt Madewell has ever made to corner the market on the “perfect French T-shirt.” jane birkin

Superior necklace game going on here. jane birkin

Serious collar-popping at work.

jane birkin

Very excited about the necklace situation here.

jane birkin

The bangs that launched 1000 Pinterest bangs pages.

jane birkin

#goals for breastfeeding.

jane birkin

Such a totally different va-va-va-voom style here.

jane birkin

Are those leather pants? jane birkin

This is a ridiculous use of a basket.

jane birkin

So I’m not like so super excited about the glasses here. But.

jane birkin with charlotte gainsbourg

How much happier does she look here than she does when she was younger? Also: love the incredible matching greige ensembles. Mothers + daughters FTW.

See our previous French Style Icon Encyclopedia entry: Emmanuelle Alt