If anyone can help you achieve ultra-chic French-girl status on your wedding day, it's Gail and Lauren Crispin, the mother-daughter duo behind The Mews Bridal salon. Specializing in French bridal couture, no one does it better than The Mews and no one knows French-girl fashion better than Gail and Lauren.
That's why we picked their brains on all things French fashion and of course, we are passing along their secrets to you! Thanks to them, achieving that certain "je ne sais quoi" that we all strive for has never been easier.
Meet the Expert
Gail and Lauren Crispin opened The Mews Bridal in 2007, specializing in French bridal couture. Now with two stores in the U.K. and one boutique in New York City, The Mews Bridal is recognized as the exclusive provider of Parisian bridal designers for British and American brides.
But before we dive into their six simple tips for brides-to-be, we have to tell you about The Mews itself. We like to think of the salon as one of the best kept bridal secrets in America. It's a little slice of Paris in the heart of New York City so getting access to the cream of the crop in French bridal couture is not a transatlantic flight away.
The salon is the exclusive home to some of the coolest French bridal designers on the block—Rime Arodaky, Laure de Sagazan and Delphine Manivet to name a few. As Lauren describes to Brides, "The French have an unparalleled attention to detail—a standard of work they completely set for themselves. Every intricate detail is executed with a precision and passion that reflects everything they stand for. But besides the quality, what draws us to French style is the way they marry elegance with ease."
OK, now are you ready for your French-girl moment? Read on for Gail and Lauren's expert tips to nailing Parisian bridal style. Whether you're drawing inspiration from French brides of the past (remember Jane Birkin's free-spirited ensemble?) or the present (Zoë Kravitz won the bridal game in 2019 with this look), the steps are similar and they are all revealed below.
1. Don't Be Too Put Together
What's great about French fashion is that one never needs to try too hard. In fact, the secret lies in the details. "The look is [to] always have one thing undone," Gail says. "The French woman has always had an air of sensual mystery about her."
According to Lauren, "undoneness" can come through effortless hair. "Look chic yet nonchalant," she shares because, at the end of the day, your look should scream, "I woke up like this!" So ditch complicated updo in favor of loose waves. Doing so might even help you spend less time in the makeup chair or more time sipping mimosas with your 'maids!
2. Avoid Diamantés
If you can't already tell, French girls are pretty easy going—or at least dress like it! That means sparkles, jewels and other flashy embellishments have no place in their wardrobes, especially a bridal gown. "A Parisian bride would never, ever wear diamantés on a wedding dress," explains Lauren. "Let the fabrics shine instead."
Consider a delicate gown made with traditional French Calais lace—a material all the designers carried at The Mews use. The intricate detail from a beautiful fabric like that is all a French bride needs to stand out.
3. Make A Simple Switch
While more and more brides are opting for a second look, Gail and Lauren suggest that it doesn't need to come from a completely new outfit. For Lauren, something as simple as changing your earrings or throwing on a lace jacket (particularly this one from Rime Arodaky), is all you need.
4. Keep Your Makeup Minimal
If French women are notorious for one thing, it's their idea of beauty. "I love that the typical French girl doesn't care much about makeup," says Gail. So do as the French do and don't fuss too much about perfecting your wedding day makeup.
However, if you do find yourself in Paris (hello, romantic engagement-moon!), there's no shame in visiting a French pharmacy. Whenever Lauren is in town, she does just that. "I always stock up" with anything she can find, revealing her secret.
5. It's What's (Literally) Underneath That Counts
While you probably don't need an excuse to buy lingerie for your wedding night, doing so is something French women "swear by," claims Gail. "This makes you feel good."
Be sure to wait until after your first dress fitting to shop for lingerie. Resist the urge to purchase beforehand as your wedding gown will determine what works best underneath it!
6. Dress For Yourself
Last, but certainly not least, dress for yourself! Part of what makes French fashion so idyllic is because the women are unapologetically themselves. "If we've learned one thing from Parisian style, it is this: great style is about dressing for yourself, and yourself only," preaches Lauren. "French women are very independent when it comes to fashion. They care very little about what others think of their style."
Famous Parisian brides like Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Hardy & Jane Birkin continue to be iconic today "because they were original," says Lauren. "As a bride, you should be your own muse." Now that's a mindset all brides should embrace!