The legend of French girl style has reached the greatest of heights, and for good reason. Sartorially, we’re way beyond the cliche of the Parisian in a beret and a striped top, sipping café au lait at a sidewalk café, but there’s undeniably an effortlessly chic allure when it comes to French style. The French have an innate ability to look impossibly put-together while still exuding an air of nonchalance. So, how do they do it? The real key is timeless elegance, and French women achieve this by anchoring their wardrobes with simple, neutral pieces that are well-tailored and high quality.
Read on for the 13 outfit ideas that will infuse a dash of Parisian flair into your daily style.
A Trench Coat and Black Pants
The ultimate in classic outerwear, a trench coat can be worn in practically any weather, with any outfit. A high-end trench coat is an investment piece that stands the test of time because it’s trend-proof—and that makes it perfectly aligned with the principles of Parisian style.
A Turtleneck and Statement Skirt
In French style, the pieces are simple, but they can be layered in creative and interesting ways. Enter the turtleneck, which can be paired with all styles of pants, skirts, and dresses, and worn on its own or under vests, sweaters, and coats for a sophisticated outfit that also keeps you warm.
A Striped Top and Midi Skirt
A striped shirt may be so ubiquitously cited as a staple of French girl style as to be cliche, but it’s also an unfailing classic that's a wardrobe hero year after year. From a casual t-shirt to a striped sweater, this is another team player that works with every other piece in your closet.
A Layering Scarf and Chic Coat
Any walk down a cafe-filled sidewalk in Paris in the fall will show you that the French have mastered the art of an effortlessly draped scarf atop their attire. It not only adds visual interest to an outfit, but it lets the wearer sit outside with a glass of wine in any weather.
White Sneakers and a Slip Dress
Part of the mastery of French dressing is mixing casual pieces with more formal pieces so you never look overdressed or underdressed. A crisp pair of white sneakers that can be paired with skirts or elevated trousers instead of a fancier heel is the perfect example of this high-low type of styling.
A White Tee and Classic Jeans
No wardrobe is complete without a great pair of jeans, and that’s true of a quintessential Parisian wardrobe too. Jeans trends may be all over the place these days, but styles that stand the test of time, like a relaxed straight leg, are the kinds of denim you’d find a French woman wearing.
Jeans and a Sleek Blazer
Of course, the easiest way to look instantly polished is going to be a French staple. A blazer—we’d recommend a classic black or navy here—can be worn with everything from jeans to dresses, and makes any outfit look elevated and chic.
They’re having a moment this year, but ballet flats have been key to French style for a long time. The balletcore favorites make elegance comfortable, and their understated simplicity and versatility make them a wardrobe staple.
Pumps and a Mini Dress
A well-crafted pair of heeled pumps adds a touch of femininity to any outfit. They can be the finishing detail to a formal look, or lend a sexy edge to a more casual jeans and t-shirt pairing.
A Knit Cardigan and Midi Skirt
Buttoned up or left open, worn over a crisp blouse to the office, or draped over your shoulders for brunch, in a lightweight cashmere or a chunky knit—you see where we’re going here! A cardigan is a multipurpose wardrobe all-star for a French-inspired timeless style.
A Vest Over a White T-Shirt
You’re on to the theme now: a French wardrobe is all about basic building blocks. A streamlined white tee provides a clean, understated canvas for mixing and matching with other pieces. We suggest having multiple versions, including a crew neck, a v-neck, and even a long-sleeved variation.
A Classic Black Dress
For a dressier moment, any well-dressed French woman will likely have a black dress in her closet, whether it’s a simple one or a statement piece. Worn on its own or with added layers and accessories, it’s the fuss-free solution to a night out.
A Leather Jacket With Jeans and Pumps
For a slightly more edgy outerwear choice, a leather jacket balances a rebellious edge with an air of sophistication, much like the most stylish French women. Durable leather will only look better as it ages, so choose a style that goes beyond trends, like a traditional motorcycle jacket.
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