Two Women - Birkin/Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg was there first. Way before I became aware of Jane Birkin as a style icon, I thought Charlotte was the epitome of cool, even though I wouldn’t have used these words. In her movies, she had a very distinct way of being, and she also looked different. By no means is she a classic beauty. What she is is charismatic. 

Way after becoming aware of her as an actress (The Little Thief was a very early favorite), I started paying attention to her style. She really sticks out in her simplicity, yet she always looks deliberate. She looks as if she’s figured out a long time ago who she is, she’s comfortable with that, and sticking with it.

Most photos of her are in denim and a tee, sweater, or classic coat (trench or peacoat). Denim is either the skinny or the flared variety.

For evening she picks sharp, tailored blazers and most of the time micro-minis (she has amazing legs, like her mother). That’s the only time she’s a bit more designer-y, and usually, she picks more edgy designers like Nicolas Ghesquière and Anthony Vaccarello. So while she does have incredible style, it is so laissez-faire and reduced, that it’s almost interesting that she’s a fashion icon.

Jane Birkin, on the other hand, has been a major fashion influence for the past 40 years. While most of her clothing choices are also quite simplistic (denim, and an ocean of mini skirts/ mini dresses to show off her amazing legs, tees, some boho blouses thrown in), she does set quirky/outrageous accents.

The basket for example, not your typical urban purse.

And of course the inclination towards nudity – two dresses come to mind: the black see-through and the white crochet dress.

What both women have in common is their endearing naturalness, freshness, and simplicity. They just exude complete self-comfort. Both of them stick for the most part to a handful of staples:

Charlotte:

  • Denim (skinny or flared)

  • Solid Tees (boyfriend cut)

  • Un-precious accessories (boots (cowboy, biker), simple belts

  • Classic coats: Peacoat, trench

  • Neutral color palette: black, navy, white, beige

  • Evening: micro minis, sharply tailored blazers


Jane:

  • Shift mini dresses (white/boho, t-shirt style)

  • Flare denim (high-waisted)

  • Solid Tees

  • Boho blouses

  • Casual boyfriend-shirts

  • Quirky accessories (basket, mid-thigh-high-high boots)

  • Statement pieces (fur coat, hello nudity pieces)

  • Feminine but simple jewelry (a necklace with pendants)

  • Knee-high boots

 I think another way to go about looking at them for style, is to not take it so literally and rather look at the underlying attitude. What are the few pieces that are actually me? What are the absolute most flattering silhouettes for my body, and what do I feel most comfortable in? No easy answers here, but I think once you’ve managed to find them, you’re very more Birkin/Gainsbourg-style, even if your look is completely unrelated to theirs.

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