Who doesn’t adore the innocent looks of Audrey Hebrun, Audrey Tautou, Mia Farrow or Leslie Caron? This guide covers the key elements of this iconic style genre and how to achieve an authentic gamine look at any age without looking like a fashion victim.
Gamine is the French word for kid. Originally, Gamine Style was a variation of the Romantic Style. It referred to a quite simple, sweet, gentle, naïf, childlike, innocent, charming and adorable way of dressing in general. This means that gamine style can work with any shape. The association of gamine style changed when Audrey Hepburn became the gamine style icon. Today gamine refers to a slim, boyish, doe-eyed gal who has innocent and mischievous childlike/youthful appeal rather than the way of dressing. No wonder that some people call a more androgynous wardrobe gamine, while other people use the term for a girly, romantic wardrobe.
Gamine often is used to describe an adult woman who regardless of her age has a youthful (or childlike) appearance.
Beauty is in the contrasts. Thus, gamine style looks best on a boyish frame as the feminine qualities of the clothing stand out. Natural gamines need little details. They are cute, fun, snappy, funky, quirky, tomboyish already.
If you lack that body shape, you can have the look too. Of course, it needs more efforts.
Gamine clothing has clean shapes. This means it is unfussy with interesting small-scale details. The following is a list of the head-to-toes key pieces of this personal style to get you started.
Button-down shirts or blouses (buttoned all the way up) in pastels (soft pink, tea rose pink, mint, light yellow, baby blue) or white, graphic T-shirts with bows, flowers, butterflies, etc., boat-neck tops, pastel polo shirts, striped red-white or blue-white sailor shirts, pastel cashmere shallow V-neck, crewneck sweaters or turtleneck sweaters, striped buttoned turtleneck sweater. More on wearing nautical shirts in all seasons.
Short cardigans, school-girl blazers, cropped fitted jackets, hoodie, double-breasted cardigan, indigo smock jacket, brown leather biker jacket.
Mini, knee-length or midi-skirts in tulle or flowing fabric, sailor skirts, bubble mini-skirt.
A-line, tunic, and baby-doll dresses, LBD’s with bows, ruffles or flowers, belted safari dress, striped tunic, small floral print midi summer dresses like the one in my Apricot dress review.
Dark blue jeans, black denim, denim shorts, capris, pedal pushers, ankle-length pants, tailored wide-leg pants, thin military pants.
Trench coats (see this post for what to look for in an authentic trench coat, opens in new tab), wide collar coats, capes, pea coats (see this post for how to identify an authentic pea coat, opens in new tab).
Berets, balloon hat, straw sunhat, Derby hat with bow, flat cap, striped knit hat.
Small, short earrings, pearls, charm bracelet, analog watch like in my Nordgreen watch review, stainless steel diver’s watch, alligator impress cuff, delicate pendant necklace, small rings with small stones.
Small, Chanel-like quilted bag, chain shoulder bag in light colors or tan, duffle-style handbag.
Ballet flats, Vara-like shoes with bow, kitten heels, sandals in a light color, cork-heel platform sandals, sling-backs wedge sandals, ankle boots, loafers, high-top sneakers, black pumps with less than or equal to 2.5 inch (5 cm) heel, ankle-tie espadrilles, brown wedge boots.
Basic brown leather belt, skinny red belt.
Graphic print scarf. Learn how to style the scarves (opens in new tab).
Note that gamine prints are small and evenly spaced with low contrast.
A pixie is the most popular hair cut followed by long hair pulled up neat in a ponytail or a ballerina-like crown. When worn down, the hair is pulled back by a head band or head scarf. Romantic hair accessories like flower barrettes or bows are favorites of the gamine gal as well.
The makeup is sweet, rosy and modest. Typically, the cheeks are rosy, and the lips are light pink or nude, but glossy. The goal is to look cute like an innocent little girl. Thus, there is no eyeshadow. However, there is a lot of mascara for long curly eyelashes like a little girl. Recall kids have large eyes as compared to their other features. The eye brows are full, pronounced and well shaped. To finish the look, keep your nails nude and short.
Famous style icons are the young Jackie Kennedy, Twiggy, Olivia Newton-John, Judy Dench, Debbie Allen, Susan Sarandon, Sofia Coppola, Michelle Williams, Halle Berry, Audrey Tautou, Emma Watson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Rihanna and Natalie Portman.
Heroines in movies with gamine style are Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany or Sabrina prior to her Vogue internship.
Fashion bloggers with gamine style are Miroslava Duma, Leandra Medina of Man Repeller, Susan Blakey of Une Femme d’un Certain âge.
Various brands and designers offer gamine style clothing (among other things). The following list bases on some of my favorites. Note that I am not affiliated with them, and I also did not receive any payment for mentioning.
Dior, Givenchy, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chloé, Thakoon, Moschino, Burberry, Marni, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Gucci, Miu Miu.
Jason Wu, Diane von Fürstenberg, Kate Spade, Rodarte, Vera Wang, Lanvin, Alice+Olivia, Betsey Johnson, Phillip Lim
GAP, J. Crew, The Limited, Banana Republic, Zara, Nine West, Ralph Lauren, Boden.
Accessories: Forever 21, Juicy Couture, Happiness Boutique, Cate & Chloe (read my Cate & Chloe vip box review).
Be aware, not all their garments are gamine!
Photos: G. Kramm
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