Clothes Dating back to the 17th century, Paris has been the epicenter of the fashion industry, bearing the names of notable fashion houses that have, and continue to guide, society’s sartorial choices for seasons to come. That said, it’s not too surprising that French women have mastered a dress code of their very own: embracing clothes not just for their look, but for the way they make one feel.
Classic at its core, French-girl style is a delicate balance between appearing put together, but not all too perfect. You know, that je n’ais ce quoi. While a French girl’s closet may be their very best resource for inspiration, us Americans too are gaining appreciation for that quality-over-quantity approach. While the nuances of French style may be hard to master all at once, these pieces will help you achieve the effortlessly cool wardrobe every woman is vying for.
1. Cape Coat
Trade in your outerwear for a cape that will instantly elevate your outfit. Layer it over a dress or jeans and consider belting it to show off your frame. The key to wearing it the French way? Aim for a slightly oversized, borrowed-from-the-boys fit.
Parisians love their scarves, especially the foulard— a lightweight silk version that you should tie loosely around the neck.
3. Round Neck Bodysuit
A seamless black base layer is indeed every French girl’s secret weapon. Accessorize it with layered pendant necklaces, plus a fitted white jean for that Parisian less-is-more approach.
Your wardrobe workhorse— a tailored blazer— is a French uniform staple that’s as versatile as they come. Try it with a slightly rumpled button down and your favorite vintage jeans.
Practical but undeniably chic, the ballet flat is a must in every French woman’s shoe arsenal. While the color options are endless, opting for a neutral hue ensures they’re ladylike and not girlish.
Leave it to Parisian brand A.P.C. to master the quintessentially French Breton stripe. A roomy 3/4 sleeve and scoop neckline shows a bit of skin and allows the top to fall just right.
The quest for the perfect jean is not an easy one, but a classic 501 will never steer you wrong. With the right fit (like this high waist, crop leg pair) you can turn denim into a sophisticated pant choice.
An everyday accessory for French girls, the versatile hoop earring can be worn day to night without the risk of looking flashy.
The ultimate French style muse, Jane Birkin, put the straw basket on the map. While a proper basket bag may not be practical for everyday use, this modern take is a great alternative for a similarly effortless accessory.
Not only should every woman have a little black dress stored away in their closet, this silky rendition is the piece that will help you master dressing for a night out, the French way. Show off your shoulders or pair it with a cozy shrunken cardigan and aforementioned ballet slippers for le weekend festivities.