It's pretty much a fact that French women have style. Serious style. And no one represents that better than actress Marion Cotillard. The Parisian first captured our attention with her role in Tim Burton's film "Big Fish," and then went on to win over our hearts with each character she played on the big screen and each outfit she wore on the red carpet.
In honor of her 38th birthday today (September 30), we want to call special attention to the star's style. Arguably one of the best-dressed women in Hollywood, the brunette bombshell knows when to takes risks and when to play it safe. Since we could all stand to be a little more like Marion in the wardrobe department, we've rounded up a few of her best looks and figured out the rules we can derive from them.
1. Create visual interest by playing with texture.
2. The back of your outfit is just as important as the front.
3. If you're wearing a great coat, it doesn't matter what is underneath.
4. Don't be afraid to go bright when everyone else is dressed in black.
5. When in doubt, match your shoes to your lipstick.
6. Style is about function, too. (You need a place to stash chocolate, even in a ball gown).
7. Figure out which color looks best on your complexion.
8. Get on the best-dressed list by choosing classic garments and fashion-forward accessories.
More secrets to French style:
Emmanuelle Alt: Casual does not mean sweatpants
French women have low-key style days, too, but those days rarely include sweats or fleece. Instead, they do casual the classy way -- an oversized Oxford shirt and a pair of slouchy pants.
Audrey Tautou: Don't be afraid of layers
Tautou's dress looks stunning and elegant with all its ruffled layers.
Carine Roitfeld: When in doubt, black is always the answer
Neon, patterns and bright colors are great, but when in doubt black is always a timeless and chic option.
Catherine Deneuve: Natural beauty is de riguer
You'll rarely catch a Parisian in heavy foundation and thick eyeshadow. Instead, they keep it light and natural, playing up their best features with a swipe of mascara or a nude lipstick.
Carla Bruni: Choose an eye-popping accessory
To break up an all-black outfit, follow Bruni's lead and sport a bright necklace.
Vanessa Paradis: Style is all in the subtleties
Upon first glance, Paradis' outfit is pretty basic. A black blazer paired with a high-waisted skirt is hardly innovated, but when you look at all of the details, you realize how fashion-forward her look really is. The shoulder pads in the jacket, combined with the textured skirt and embellished top take this ensemble from ordinary to extraordinary.
Laetitia Casta: Push boundaries
A veil is a bold move when you're not walking down the aisle, but when paired with red lips and the right attitude, it can never fail.
Brigitte Bardot: Bedhead is always better
The French have perfected bedhead hair. And not only is it insanely sexy, but it's also insanely easy.
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Keep your "sexy look" classy
Gainsbourg is quite revealing with her low-cut shirt and tight skirt, but she balances it out to keep it sophisticated.
Caroline de Maigret: Develop a signature style
You can almost always see Maigret in long tapered pants and her blunt bangs.
Marion Cotillard: Invest in one classic piece
Instead of having stacks and stacks of clothes that you probably won't wear, invest in a few key pieces that look great on their own.
Lou Doillon: Tomboy style is always cute
As long as you have a confident and strong attitude, you can totally rock a t-shirt, jeans and combat boots.
Bérénice Marlohe: A good smoky eye always works wonders
Marlohe's eyes are perfectly dark-rimmed to create a sexy and alluring effect.
Virginie Ledoyen: Color block with a tasteful dress
Ledoyen's dress is both classy and unique.
Julia Restoin Roitfeld: Leather is a go-to fabric
Roitfeld's billowy pants could have been a little questionable, but the leather attributes keep them classy.
Virginie Mouzat: Mix looser shirts with tight skirts
Yes, the French are extremely sexy, but Mouzat shows us that balance is key.
Clémence Poésy: Bows make every outfit look ultra-feminine
You can add a sweet bow to a stiff tweed suit outfit to add a girly flair.
Inès de la Fressange: Don't take fashion too seriously
Fressange had some fun with the hot pink scarf she was wearing on this day.
Elisa Sednaoui: Bold prints work with pregnancy
Don't be afraid of fun and outspoken prints during your pregnant months. Sednaoui shows how great it looks.
Designers Tips on French Style
Sophie Donelson interviews Michael McKinnon, Robert Couturier, Joan and Jayne Michaels, Izak Zenou, Valerie Pasquiou, Laurent Fuchs and Carolyn Englefield at the Holiday House, which benefits Susan G. Komen for the cure.