French style is timeless, chic, and somehow effortless. How does the average French woman look so put together? A large part of French style is knowing what works for you and sticking to it. No trend will make a French woman wear a garment that doesn’t suit her. Instead, she will turn to something from a season past that gives her confidence and allows her natural beauty to shine.
That being said, there are a few staples that you’ll find in most French closets. These pieces are timeless and can transition from season to season easily. You could call this a capsule wardrobe, but one for the ages. When looking for these must-have pieces, look for quality and craftsmanship. After all, you’ll be wearing these for a long time if you buy high-quality pieces. The French woman doesn’t trifle with fast fashion — she buys pieces that last.
Using these key items as your base, you can accessorize with statement jewelry, classic scarves (hello, Hermés!), and bold lip colors, all while looking like you spent mere seconds composing your stylish ensemble. Start with the right fashion vocabulary, and your sentences will flow. Trés bien, no?
Cashmere is one of those fabrics that, like wool, is timeless, elegant, and comfortable. Snag it in a bold hue or go with basic black or camel and wear it with literally everything.
Can you have a classic wardrobe without a white oxford shirt? Absolutely not. We especially love the tunic styling, with tonal buttons on the sides and a shirttail hem. This blouse could mean business or invoke wearing your lover’s shirt after a rendezvous. Ooh, la la!
There’s a reason that the wrap dress is a classic. This simple style is flattering on everyone, and when done in a classic print with a twist like this abstract animal print with voluminous sleeves, it makes a statement. Pair it with the black ankle booties for a casual look for cocktails during the apéro hour.
A jacket is a must for most outfits to look complete, and every French closet has three — a structured blazer, a masculine blazer, and a trench. This fits the structured bill.
When a more masculine look is needed, this blazer is perfect. The oversize fit once again hints at a borrowed jacket from your partner, especially when thrown on over an airy blouse.
There is no piece more key to French style than this. The trench coat works with any outfit, no matter how formal or casual. It cinches at the waist to define your figure or hangs casually open to give a peek at the outfit underneath. This piece should last for years, so invest in the best that you can afford.
One of the keys to French style is buying clothes that fit well, whether they fit off the rack or taking them to your favorite tailor. (Yes, you should know and love your tailor!) Opt for a pair of lightweight slim-cut trousers with a bit of stretch. Pair with a silky blouse and a bold red lip for a classic look.
French women prefer classic denim with no stretch at all. Good denim makes your body look good through sheer force — something that Lycra just doesn’t do. But, if you require a bit of stretch, go for it!
If you’re strolling the streets of Paris or rushing to your 3 p.m. meeting, you need a shoe you can feel comfortable in while looking put together. Enter the ankle boot!
When you’re running around the city, you need a bag that holds it all and looks put together. This hobo bag with classic turn-lock hardware is a perfect choice. Wear it as a crossbody or use the shoulder strap. The pebbled leather will last season after season.
Header images via J’Adore Couture and The Middle Page