For anyone who’s ever wanted to get that effortless, but oh so chic French girl style, look no further than the famous French actress of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Brigitte Bardot.
Brigitte Bardot, born in 1934, grew up in a strict French family that didn't show much affection. Brigitte was sent to Catholic school and began taking ballet classes at a young age.
At 14, her mother had her begin modeling hats for a friend, and one of the pictures would end up on the cover of Elle and attract the attention of Roger Vadim (much to the dismay of her parents, who didn’t like Vadim’s rebellious character). But it was Vadim, who after marrying Brigitte, would help to get her roles in many French films, and ultimately launched her career with the movie he produced, And God Created Woman.
Brigitte, through the years, would struggle with being in the public eye and with finding love, as she often found that men were in love with the idea of the Brigitte Bardot she portrayed on film as a sex symbol of the era. She would ultimately retire from acting forever in the 1970s. Later in life, she would marry Bernard d’Ormale, whom she remains very happy with. And she has spent a lot of her time in her later years working as an animal rights activist with the foundation she started in France. Brigitte Bardot said, “I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.”
As a famous French actress in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Brigitte Bardot’s style would help to set the stage for the classic “French girl” look that so many women want to achieve. With her blonde hair, big smile, and French accent, Bardot certainly knew how to dress in order to make herself charming and alluring.
Choose Waist-Defining Dresses
Brigitte Bardot certainly knew the power of a killer dress. Whether the dress was simpler or bold with lots of detailing, Brigitte always chose dresses that cinched in at her waist. This cut on a dress is very feminine and can be dressed up or down, depending on accessories and the fabric of the dress. For a more casual look, go for a sundress in an A-line cut. If you’d like to dress more formally, look for fabric with a satin finish or a dress that is more structured (perfect for the office).
Embrace Bow Detailing
Whether on her top or in her hair, Bardot often took advantage of this feminine accessory to add a touch of youthful playfulness to her look that was key to her image. Look for tops that have a bow at the collar or a women’s necktie/bowtie for a similar effect. We’ve seen this done in modern times on the likes of Gossip Girl character Blair Waldorf, who also had impeccable style.
Another way to get the look is a way Bardot often did as well — in the hair. Make sure you get lots of volume as Bardot’s great hair was a big part of making the simplest ensemble look chic. Bardot was doing it long before Ariana Grande’s modern spin on the look.
Rock Headbands and Hats
Accessories were a key part of Bardot’s wardrobe and helped to make a simple outfit something spectacular. In the summertime, Bardot was known to rock a floppy straw hat. Go as small or as big as you want (Bardot once famously wore one with the largest brim I’ve ever seen). And when the weather starts to cool down you can switch over to hats in darker colors from a beret, to a Stetson, to the newsboy/baker boy hat that has in the modern era become a trend many times (my advice is if you like it, wear it, regardless of if it’s the look influencers on Instagram are wearing at the moment).
Wear Ballet Flats
Ballet flats were a favorite of Bardot, who favored the French brand Repetto, which actually began making the shoe at her request. The shoe is a classic. For a Bardot look, wear it with pants cropped at the ankle and a sweater. Perfect for fall or a summer night that’s on the chilly side! This look is so simple but is a classic that you’ll see on the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, or Kate Moss (who I feel really emulated Bardot).
Master the Smoky-Eye and Nude Lip
It would not be a Bardot look without her signature makeup look. She really found what worked for her and stuck with it. Go for some smudged grey shadow on the lid, use a black eyeliner over a brown, and top it off with black mascara. A coral blush high up on the cheeks with a bit of bronzer (not a true contour) is perfect for getting that sunkissed feel, as if you’re Brigitte Bardot on the beach at Cannes. For lips, go for a very pale pink, and you should have that ‘60s look that Bardot wore so well.
Brigitte Bardot’s look is something that’s been emulated time and time again, and because of that, it still fits in very well in modern times. (Don’t believe me? Look no further than the lovely Kate Moss.) And because her style was centered on looking almost effortless while at the same time being very chic, if done purposefully your wardrobe and style can develop that same chic feel without feeling like it's overly contrived. The perfect place to start? Invest in crewneck sweaters, cropped pants, and ballet flats, and from there make it your own.