my stylish french girlfriend – isabelle thomas

by Sharon Santoni

Today, as part of my stylish french girlfriend series  I am lucky to have Isabelle Thomas on the blog, a successful fashion stylist and creator, who met us in Paris for some photos last week and kindly answered a few questions.

Isabelle is extremely accomplished.  She has several books on styling, including Paris Street Style and So Shoes, and she writes a professional blog called Styliste Personnelle  and a more personal site called  Mode Personnel(le).

We met in the heart of Paris for our photos and I loved her outfit that would suit women of all ages.       Come with me to read what she shares with us.


Hi Isabelle, thank you for being here today, first of all, can you explain your job?

I am a personal stylist and journalist. I help and accompany people who would like to find a style that feels true to them, beyond fashion and age. It’s a question of silhouettes and personality. I go shopping with them  or visit their wardrobe, creating new outfits – a form of shopping in their own dressing rooms!

I give style advice on my blog Mode Personnel(le), which is for women over the age of 35. I encourage them to try colors, prints and search for treasures in their closet, to have fun with clothes.


I write articles on how to make fashion your own, notably each month for Glamour magazine.

I have also published 3 books on French style along with photographer Frederique Veysset – the famous Effortless Chic – which has been translated into twenty languages. The best known in the US is “Paris Street Style , a guide to effortless chic” (Abrams) and “So Shoes” (Abrams).

book covers isabelle thomas

And then I collaborate with brands, notably in the creation of capsule collections.  In fact I just created 7 new pieces for “La Redoute Madame”.

isabelle thomas on the quais in paris

How long have you lived in Paris?    Since I was 22. It has been a long time!

What did you eat for breakfast? Some almonds, dried apricots, a kiwi for minerals and vitamins, plain yogurt and toast with butter, honey and jam for pleasure. Plus, a huge bowl of chicory coffee.

What do you do on a Sunday? I I get out of the city for the fresh air. I have a small cabin lost on an island in Picardy … If I’m lingering in Paris I can walk, stroll, find an exposition or a film… test a good brunch.

 woman with jewellry on wrist and leopard print shirt

Best working outfit?      When I’m coaching a client as a personal shopper, we might pass through boutiques for half of a day so I wear flat shoes, but elegant, of course ! I like a good printed suit, plaid or floral are two of my favorites, fun and strict at the same time. I’m also a fan of onesies, I have about 15.

What brands are you wearing? I like mixtures, especially not wearing a total look from any one brand. I like to mix, for example, something not very expensive with designer clothing., something new with something old, or vintage. I love to buy from Asos, it’s like going on a mission, I know I will find something.  And I really like the young French brands like Mode Trotter, Heimstone, Fete Imperiale, Laurence Bras, Carolina Ritzler, Marilyn Feltz and Roseanna.

Which arrondissement do you live in? I live in the 13th arrondissement on the waterfront. I get to look at the Seine every day.


Do you have advice for how to wear accessories like a French woman? Clothing and accessories say a lot about us… the person we are, it’s a form of expression. Even if we are discreet, we must not be afraid to create a personal allure with outfits  that make us feel at home. Style evolves throughout life. Don’t remain frozen for 10 years… it’s not healthy for the figure or the morale. At 50, we don’t want to look like our daughters or our mothers. We must find our own style, our mode personnelle. When we are timid, it is sometimes more simple to experiment with fantasy through accessories, bags and shoes. Furthermore, shoes set the tone for a silhouette. The same pant suit will tell different stories when it is associated with colorful sneakers, classic pumps or boots. Again, it’s fun to shift. For example, wearing rocker boots with a waxed pencil skirt.


Who is your role model? I love the timeless elegance of Lauren Hutton and I have fun with the looks of Leandra Medine.

What are the three things you love most about Paris?     The very different atmospheres between one neighborhood and another, the 6th being so chic and the 3rd being so bobo. The aperitifs on a terrace. Fashion, fashion, fashion… the multitudes of tiny boutiques and the big stores.

isabelle thomas walking along seine

Best place to meet friends for a drink? The terrace of Petit Suisse in front of Luxembourg in the summer to take advantage of the last rays of sunshine.

Favorite park or garden? The rose garden at Parc de Bercy.

Coffee or tea? Coffee or tisane (herbal tea)…

Heels or flats? Both ! But not the in between… boyish shoes or super high heels.

Silver or gold? Gold.

Wine or cocktails? Wine.

Walk or run? Walk super fast !


Quintessentially French product you love? The traditional baguette. Good bread drives me crazy.

Favorite classic French brand? Dior.

Is it true that the French take their time? The Parisiens run constantly but they can pass three hours at a cafe lamenting that they never have time to do anything !

I hope you liked meeting with Isabelle, if you want to see more of her pictures be sure to check out her instagram at @modepersonnelle




Taste of France August 15, 2016 - 4:53 pm

Excellent interview! She makes a great point about not remaining frozen in time. And I love your GIF at the end!

Marta Cristina Mardini August 15, 2016 - 4:54 pm

Very nice! lovely. Thank you for sharing your tips! Lets all meet in Paris one day : ) !

Darina August 15, 2016 - 5:26 pm

Lovely interview! Very inspiring and good tips!

Jennifer Dealtry August 15, 2016 - 5:38 pm

Loved reading about your friend Isabelle but unfortunately two of the pictures don’t appear :
Woman in Paris by Seine

I wonder if there is anything you can do …

Sharon Santoni August 15, 2016 - 6:26 pm

Hi Jennifer

thank you for pointing out the problem, on my phone I see the same as you , but on the computer its working ok …. I’ll try to reload the site



Jennifer Dealtry August 16, 2016 - 1:46 pm

Thanks Sharon, it’s OK now!
Kind regards

Kate Dickerson August 15, 2016 - 6:10 pm

Thanks, Sharon. I love her style!! I need to order all of her books. They’ll go on the shelf right next to yours!!!

MArty August 15, 2016 - 6:16 pm

One of the pictures does not show. THe My French Country Home one.

Jeanie AlFuhaid August 15, 2016 - 6:29 pm

Thank you for sharing, Sharon! Now we have a new blog and new ideas to check out!

Emm August 15, 2016 - 7:21 pm

Nice interview! In the first picture, she looks as if she’s skipping along. I like the attitude of not remaining frozen in place, but of changing, moving, improving always.

Donna Lovold August 15, 2016 - 7:46 pm

Hello Sharon…enjoyed the article. I know what an arrondisement is, but what do the letters eme mean after a number, as in 6eme?

Sharon Santoni August 15, 2016 - 8:14 pm

Sorry Donna, I shall correct that. ’eme’ is the french equivalent of ‘th’ or ‘st’ for us, as in 6th or 1st

Off to change it now, its being on holiday thats making me lose my concentration



Susan B. ( August 15, 2016 - 10:38 pm

What fun! And I’ve had her book, “Parisian Street Style,” since it was released here, and love flipping through periodically for style inspiration.

Debra August 16, 2016 - 2:46 am

Thanks much. I really enjoyed this interview. I enjoy learning from so many perspectives of others. There is always good tips to use for yourself. Thanks again

Stacey Snacks August 16, 2016 - 4:20 am

My kind of woman. I love all of your chic friends….and you of course. We love au petit Suisse! Best looking waiter Jean from Normandy!

Dottie Monta August 16, 2016 - 6:48 am

Makes you want to plan the Fall possibilities with that pantsuit, even now (heels, boots, sneakers)!
What fun it would be to have her take my (rather large) wardrobe and re-combine it!
Alternative: I will be searching for her books to learn her styling tricks!
This is an attractive format, Sharon, interviewing your friends.
Love it!

Lora Krech August 17, 2016 - 1:51 am

The blog of Isabelle is in French. Does she post in English or write an English newsletter?


Stacy August 19, 2016 - 6:58 am

I liked Isabelle her approach to fashion is very practical and therefore her advice is timeless. This is a refreshing change from American fashionistas whose approach is often trendy and hard to apply since trends don’t last. I enjoyed the snippets of her personality that were revealed in the interview. She comes across as a confident and upbeat person!

This & That: August 19, 2016 - The Simply Luxurious Life® August 19, 2016 - 10:01 am

[…] and author Sharon Santoni has introduced her readers to a new Stylish French Girlfriend and you will want to be […]

Nancy August 19, 2016 - 2:33 pm

I second Lora’s comment above, does she only blog in French, is their an option to translate into English?


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