On a recent trip to Paris I was invited to a party to celebrate the arrival of US brand Shinola in the capital. Fashion parties in London are one thing, but in Paris? The question of "what should I wear?" becomes a much bigger deal.
Why? French girls are just too cool, in every way. You only have to walk 10 steps down Paris' famous shopping street Rue Saint Honore to be reminded that yes, these guys really are fashion experts.
So - when I arrived at the party (in a basement not far from Chanel and Balenciaga), I sipped champagne feeling confident. My little black dress and super high heels would get me through a night out in Paris in style, wouldn't they?
How wrong I was. As soon as a group of Parisian cool kids walked in, I felt the urge to swap my heels for flats and find something with a cut-out.
On the plus side, it was a great lesson in how to dress for a party without looking like you've tried. At all. Here's what I learned:
1. Apart from the small British contingent, no one at this party was wearing heels. Why? You can have more fun in flats and best of all, they make dancing so much easier. (P.S the dance du jour in Paris? Jumpy 1980s disco moves were everywhere.)
2. Once you've ditched the heels, you can be more daring with your outfit. A backless, skintight jumpsuit doesn't look so try-hard when teamed with trainers.
3. A leather biker jacket is a staple. Taking it off is a sign that you're ready to party. Properly.
4. Hair should be worn down and kept fuss-free. It adds to the effortless thing and can fly around in a nonchalant sort of way when dancing.
5. Makeup isn't essential but colour-popping lipstick is French girl for "I'm making a statement".
6. As for the guys? French men still love skinny jeans. And now they're rolling them up to ankle length, to show off their shiny Autumn/Winter boots.
Want some French fashion inspiration? Here's a few of France's coolest girls: