Have you ever seen a woman so pulled together, to call her beautiful, stylish or pretty just doesn’t cut it? You’re not sure of what to compliment, there’s not one thing casting her spell. It’s a certain je ne sais quoi. In English, this translates to: ‘I don’t know what’.
For a phrase with an unsure translation, it’s not surprising je ne sais quoi fashion has various interpretations. Publication Who What Wear asked French women to describe what it means to them. Most depicted women who meticulously prep their appearance, yet seem as though they’ve carelessly applied makeup and thrown together an ensemble.
This vibe is what every female can hone. It’s not about your physical traits and neither does it imply skimpy clothing. Below I’ve defined how you can achieve a je ne sais quoi fashion using my own definition.
Je ne sais quoi uniqueness
Thanks to social media and apps like VSCO, being “basic” has become cool. Instagram is awash with Notting Hill houses, flower walls, Gucci belts and silk camisoles. The lines have blurred between inspiration and copy. So many of us are choosing to replicate what we see on IG, almost turning our style towards costume.
At my most insecure, I told myself: “I have no style and no good taste.” I went on Insta and Pinterest to mimic popular trends and styling suggestions. And prior to this, I kept up with celebrities to steal their aesthetic. I went through a Marilyn stage of wearing red lipstick everyday; I purchased outfits magazines suggested Audrey would wear. When Kim Kardashian became popular, I emulated her contour and baby pink gloss.
Happily, I put my identity in a box and let dust settle over its cover. But je ne sais quoi is about self-awareness. Owning your attitude and feeling comfortable enough to not follow others and blend in to conformity. Appreciate your quirks and push yourself to dress in a way you’ve always dreamt.
Je ne sais quoi is confidence
How do you create confidence? According to Forbes, standing up for yourself is a helpful step. During my early twenties, I soaked in criticism like a sponge. If someone told me to change my hair or outfit choices, I agreed without hesitation. Several times I adjusted my aesthetic after listening to people’s opinions. I ended up with a complimented look and wardrobe that I couldn’t relate to. I may as well have given myself a new name and took on a different persona.
Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn – Orson Welles
One photographer I worked with said my look is too sweet and innocent. They made me practice stronger poses, suggesting I wear darker eye shadows and lipsticks. So on my next photo shoot with a different photographer, I tried to look edgy. My ‘trying’ showed a confidence drop – the final photos looked awkward.
To find confidence, it’s good to ensure you have alone time. And in addition, an analytical mindset to query what’s really you. The more you challenge yourself to find new interests, research new designers, artists and people, the more wisdom you’ll bestow in understanding who you are and what you’re about. I put together this helpful post: 5 Must-Read Tips to Build Confidence in Women.
Je ne sais quoi is passion
Passion to embrace your identity. Stand up and say – this is me. It’s not about quitting your job and heading to Broadway or a street corner to sell art. Unfortunately, reality plunges at us and in a hectic, fast-paced world, passion can be hard to find. Whatever you do, bring your creativity. I for instance, keep editing my routine cooking. I’ll experiment with spices and mix up my sauces to create new flavour.
Find a book you can’t put down; make a breakfast that’s interesting to eat. Swap regular porridge for overnight oats or buy a different topping. These little modifications can stop us from mundane gluttony. Overtime, small switches can slowly build passion and put you out of your comfort zone in other areas. It can encourage you to be continually curious.
But if you’re already feeling brave, why not do something wild? Put yourself out there and take on your minuscule fears – blind dates anyone?
Je ne sais quoi is change
To have a certain something, you have to know enough about yourself to understand what your ‘thing’ is. By actively maintaining change, you can start to figure what is and isn’t you. Je ne sais quoi is not about trying to look sexy and beautiful. Although that’s how many define the term.
It’s a certain something that reflects on confident and content individuals. Maybe those who also possess mystery – a little intrigue.
What do you think of je ne sais quoi fashion? How do you define the words and is there a particular person you think emulates it? Do you instantly think of a cliche, chic French woman? If you loved this, read: Getting Comfortable with Your Sense of Style