Trends come and go, but style remains the same forever. France is surely the nation that has a widespread style philosophy, and their ladies have all the attributes making us mortals envious about them. Numerous books have been published about them relying on the same principle – French women are living perfection on Earth.
Why is that so? Are there any secret French wardrobe tips? All the articles and books can tell that French women don’t get fat, they have perfect kids and mastered the quintessential effortless chic approach to clothing. Were they born with it (Maybelline jingle somewhere in the background… sigh)?
We think it was rather learned from their equally fabulous mothers since it is all about traditions when it comes to their style and beauty culture. Also, somehow they end up as cheaters, as it is surely impossible to look so good and effortless in less than five minutes, as they tend to describe.
Anyway, we think it is definitely possible to learn and master the joie de vivre look they always manage to evoke and bring out. Just have a few cues, and do your work (but we do not promise it would be solely five minutes)!
How Do You Dress Like a Parisian?
Believe it or not, there are certain style aspects common among women in France. Here’s a short summary of these commonalities:
- Parisians tend to look for timeless high-quality clothing. Shop less, but shop better!
- Clothes should be comfortable. Your capsule wardrobe should not only be stylish but also practical so that you can wear it often.
- Wear clothes appropriate for your body shape. Yes, you must know your body shape, and choose the right cut. Clothes should fit you perfectly. That relates to the point above.
- Avoid flashy colors and extravagance.
- Appreciate the simplicity. Wear minimalistic, simple clothes. Don’t overload your outfit with delicate pieces.
- Wear neutral tones. If you want to dress like a Parisian girl, your clothes shouldn’t be in more than three colors. For an elegant night outfit, wear only two colors maximum. And remember, that all black is your always-safe outfit.
- Avoid showing off and brand exposure. Again, it’s all about subtle details, simplicity, and modesty. Modest dressing is key; it’s not tasteful to show off one’s wealth.
We think you get the point. All of the tips are related to each other. Let’s explore some of the French style examples.
This is How To Dress Like A French Woman
1) Brigitte Bardot style inspiration
A nice, black one-piece is the way French women would go for a laid-back vacation. Sure, they do love bikinis, but this one is a classic for sure!
For the added impact, throw on an oversized masculine white shirt (or grab one of your bae’s?) over the swimsuit. Nothing counts as more effortless than that! This outfit is perfect for all your planned Instagram activities on the beach (that moment is not very French, but oh well…).
2) Oversize is the key to success
Yes, looking French is the key word, but if you sometimes have the question “What is French actually?”, go for oversize, since it is the safe way to go French!
French women love to look masculine; it is their specialty. In the end, masculinity is the new femininity, eh? But then again, we have to retain a touch of femininity in every outfit.
The oversized coat is the bearer of androgyny on this girl, but the underneath makes the difference. Wear it with sassy shorts and a cute basic top and add your personal touch with something intricate like these socks!
3) French eccentric attitude
When it’s modest and minimalistic and conducted with a less-is-more approach, it is flamboyant as it could get! But, the French love to look flamboyant too. When we say flamboyant, we mainly mean looks and outfits relying on the idea that the flamboyance is achieved with a lovely vintage, masculine item.
Overalls are a nice way to try this, as they are versatile in a limited manner and this way you won’t have to think what to wear top and bottom wise!
4) A take on the white shirt staple
Nothing screams Parisian chic more than the white shirt – make sure you pick the best instance of it! Chantilly lace or pure chiffon, it does not matter, since this baby is the feminine counterpart of the masculine French staples. Add a tailored touch with similar high waisted pants and make a contrast!
Of course, the accessories should always be avant-garde. Pick a pair of statement, futuristic glasses, and prove you can evoke your inner editor in chief of Vogue Paris!
5) The suit approach
The black is essential, and the white one too – but the one that truly screams “masculinity” is the pinstripe one.
Channel the eponymous style of the likes of Caroline de Maigret (add the bangs if you want) and rock this pinstripe suit! Yes, you got it right. Chick French style is all about masculinity that in the end looks incredibly feminine!
Throw on some sneakers to look more casual!
6) The statement coat
When the fall arrives, the easiest way to look tres chic is to put on a coat that will leave all other people thinking it is your signature!
No matter what you wear underneath, there is no doubt you would look chic in an overall manner. When a piece like this orange clad coat takes reign as the column bearer of the outfit, you will surely be the fashionista in town!
Edgy sandals or boots are the perfect complement to a similar ensemble take.
7) Crochet your way to paradise
No matter if it’s summer or fall, crochet is for all the romantic souls that want to channel the French vibe. Especially when you want to achieve a contrast like this lady! There is a certain cup of bravery here since you really need a leap of faith to pair wool knitwear with crochet.
But then again, is there anything more romantic than this kind of ensemble? It looks edgy and fresh at the same time, just like a summer breeze.
8) The American take on the French look
Say hi to its French majesty – Le Mariniere. It is definitely the epitome of a genuine French touch in the world! Most of us have it (or are supposed to). Being super versatile, it can be implemented in a sophisticated manner or in a contrasted sporty way.
Since it belongs to the basics bulk (although it is symbolic), accessories make a difference here. This girl nailed it with a statement bag. You can go either with that or a statement necklace.
9) Le French plaid
Who said French bloggers couldn’t do the American girl crop top? This lady proved the game to be quite the opposite! Although by now you might think French style screams “Masculinity”, it can add a certain flick of femininity to itself.
The bottom of this look is signature Caroline de Maigret – plaids and vinyl loafers… while the top is certainly all about the va va voom vibe. See, French girls also love to embrace the American cult trend – the bare midriff (they want to show those gained abs!).
10) Maternity effortless chic
Forget about mom jeans for a moment and pursue a romantic appeal of the navy and white combo! Mom-to-be silhouettes can be tricky most of the time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a fashion-forward belt to emphasize the waist!
As a true Parisian, add the flair of “the oversize touch” and go for collarless short coats as outerwear, chunky summer bags, and a pair of oversize sunglasses of course!
11) Quintessentially chic
Summer is all about avoiding black (even for classy French women) and embracing the breezy, pastel tones. Add the signature Mariniere print to a light blue denim casual dress, and you’re ready to roll!
Straw accessories make the perfect follow up for any summer ensemble. Tip – go for a full straw accessory set up with a straw tote, straw hat, and straw clad espadrilles.
12) The basic of the basics
Many women are afraid of the white shirt as they mistaken it to be a part of formal business attire. What a misconception, we have to say.
The white shirt can be the epitome of casual ladylike appearance. All you need to do is add your touch to it! Tie it loosely around the hips, or make a knot at the front. Even the black trousers – white shirt combo would look casual with a touch like that.
13) The noir vibe
The dark ensemble is the thing chic ladies go for when they want to take the no-fuss approach to styling. Have a few cues! They love to add the rock chic vibe with dark clothing. It is not always about asymmetric biker jackets, sometimes it is more about the essentials in a deep color (well, it is not always black).
Hint – tie your dark trench coat loosely around the waist to reveal the lightness underneath. Going black is great, it can lead to style monotony if it is worn in a monochromatic way all the time.
14) An overachieving look
Moulin Rouge is in Paris too, so keep in mind the va va voom impact besides the less is more approach when it comes to dressing French.
The leopard short coat is an essential according to the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, and it is not a new thing for Parisian ladies either. It is a great touch of print when paired with an all black ensemble, but if you really want to feel like a true seductive vixen, pair it with an underwear dress!
15) 50s effect
This is a good example of a retro street style outfit. Floral retro blouses are the way to channel Catherine Deneuve circa 50s or 60s. So, forget about plain staples for a moment and engage the vintage florals! Opt for little less mundane black trousers (a bow on the waist is a nice touch) and combine them with a similar vintage blouse. Frenchies are known for their admiration towards the vintage times.
Is there a better print than floral (especially the one pictured) to reflect that glorious era of French everyday fashion? We don’t think so.
16) What is it with the white shirts?
The white shirt is obviously a staple for the fashion forward pack (that has an appreciation for the classics), but there is a particular bond between that statement piece and the typical French woman.
What’s more the femininity – masculinity combo is accentuated with the proper styling of slacks as the bottom choice. Well done again!
17) French & American clash
So, you said that Le Mariniere is your top of the mind choice when you want to look French? Think again… These extraterrestrial women like making contradictory choices at some times. Yes, they do have their go-to pieces, but they like to express how creative they can get sometimes!
That is why they like to opt to wear French pieces (in this case the golden double-breasted blazer screaming “80s” and the Hermes bag) with American staples (black jeans and the vivid turquoise sneakers).
18) Focal point – bandana
This look breaks the stereotype that an ensemble has to be minimalistic and monochromatic to have a French twist to it. This one is on the opposite spectrum of minimalism but doesn’t compromise the level of being French. The scarf is tied in the bandana style (go for a more vivid print to complement the rest of the look).
Now, this lady isn’t afraid to wear color! Neither should you or anyone who is pursuing French style, since this outfit is both laid-back, bohemian, and stylish! All of that without being totally black (looks like orange is the new black in this case).
19) A bare midriff is the way to expose
A little bit of skin every now and then is not a strange thing for more provocative Frenchies, as they always know how to make the balance between sexiness and sophistication. Showing skin is a tricky affair, fashion-wise speaking. But, the midriff reveal is the safe choice that you know won’t look tacky.
Needless to say, it will become uber trendy if you pair it with something oversized, such as this vintage-look blue collar worker trench! Marvelous!
20) Unleash the girly side of French fashion
Red is the color of love, and love is the symbol of Paris. Follow the implication, and you’ll realize why these women love red.
Whether it is monochromatic or just a statement piece on your ensemble, glances will be streamed to you (especially the ones from men).
Hint – to achieve the frivolous, girly effect, find some accessories to follow. Make sure they have visible appliqués or embroidery!
21) Delicate reign
The gentle pink blazer adds the 60s touch to the look with the collarless design together with the poplin printed blouse underneath.
French footwear is a level ahead of sneakers in this case, so this lovely lady opted for catchy ballerina flats instead. What’s more, the wide brim hat adds a nice mysterious touch to the delicateness of the outfit.
22) The summer heat
And there it is, the ultimate accessory of a French summer (both modern and vintage ones) – the straw bag. Try to channel Jane Birkin, and you’ll realize it is essential!
The dress is a classic summer one, with a nice print to it. And the straw accessory complement is there – the hat of course!
23) Shades of camel
Besides black, guess what is the second color that is most frequent in a French woman’s wardrobe? You probably got it right, yeah, it is camel. Besides being awesome on its own, it gets super appealing when worn next to more shades of the sophisticated beige shade.
Don’t forget a print to make an impact! Although French ladies tend to avoid patterns that are extremely in your face, they always enjoy wearing a timeless print such as the houndstooth one!
24) The summer tartan
Forget about urban chic when it comes to thinking of going to places like Provence. In cases of going to signature summer places, there is no room for masculinity or clean lines. Femininity should exude from outfits in those times.
Go for a cute tartan dress, but if you still lack a little bit of city touch, go for your ballerina flats or loafers that you would usually wear with you go to cigarette trousers or favorite blazer.
25) Blank canvas lace
Now this one is the definition of innocence and femininity. Nothing can compete with Chantilly lace for achieving that kind of effect! Although it could look too provocative with just lingerie underneath (that’s how Italian women would do it with Dolce and Gabbana), the French girl always prefers to hide something.
Opt for a basic black underdress and emphasize the tiny waist you have with a black bow belt and you will certainly create a beautiful ensemble!
That’s it for now, girls. I hope you found it interesting and inspiring. Don’t forget that your femininity is what matters the most. Express it!