Are you as obsessed with French girl style as I am? There’s something about that messy-elegant, casual-fancy French look that makes you feel so put-together yet also “au naturel.” With no-makeup makeup, slightly unkempt updos, stunning silhouettes, and effortless clothing choices, I love embodying the elusively beautiful French girl style in our everyday looks. And doing so is easier than it seems!
In this article, I'm going through everything you need to know to become a French “it” girl with minimal effort and a whole lot of class, ready to take on the streets of Paris right in your own hometown. I'll give you eight French girl style rules to live by, with the eighth rule giving you a run-down of all the wardrobe essentials you’ll want in order to take your sophisticated style to the next level.
8 French Girl Style Rules
What French Style Is
What French Style Is NOT
- Fast fashion
- “Hot and trendy”
French girl style is about accentuating your natural beauty. It’s not just a “look.” It’s a lifestyle that focuses on investing in feeling good and looking good in a way that will stand the test of time.
French Girl Style Rule 1: Less is more.
In general, French women prefer quality over quantity. European closets are smaller than we're used to in America. Most Parisian women only have a little bit of space to work with—and they make the most of it! When you’re trying to curate your own French capsule wardrobe, you need to seriously consider what each piece is going to bring to your closet. If it’s not going to add immense value to your life and wardrobe, it’s not worth having.
Rule 2: Invest in quality, timeless pieces.
While Paris is the hub of trending fashion, most French streetwear has actually remained pretty consistent for the past few decades. That’s because French women prefer to purchase high-end, quality pieces that are going to stand the test of time. These top-notch pieces aren’t just more sustainable, but they also are made to fit and feel better than fast fashion or cheaper pieces.
French girl style is about feel as much as it is about look, so they’ll always pick something that’s both comfortable and luxurious over something itchy and scratchy. High-end materials like cotton, silk, cashmere, and wool feel more luxurious on the skin.
Moreover, quality designer silhouettes are made with the feminine form in mind (rather than just what’s “hot” at the moment). That means that those “comfortable” pieces aren’t just for home—they’re made to enhance your natural beauty and features too!
Want to find pieces that will last in your closet for years to come while looking and feeling great? Ask yourself these questions:
- Could I wear this item every day? (Or at least once a month, for fancier items?)
- Is it comfortable?
- Do I feel unstoppable and gorgeous in this?
- Is it made of high-quality, sustainable materials?
- If I buy it now, will I still be able to wear it in a month? Six months? A year? Five years? A decade?
- Does it fit my style and match the other items in my wardrobe?
Here’s a style tip that will change your search for timeless fashion gems… Purchase items from vintage and secondhand stores! If an item has made it to a consignment store like Current Boutique, it’s already lived a full life and it’s been through a thorough cleaning and inspection process. It’s already proven itself to be able to endure physically… and if our designers at Current Boutique are approving it, you know it’s also passing our Timeless Taste Test too to make sure that everything we put on the shelves offers high-quality, long-lasting style that can last for years to come. If you’re new to buying preloved fashion, check out our article 11 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Consignment Stores.
Rule 3: Emphasize neutral tones.
When you think of French girl style, black and tans probably come to mind first. The Parisian look includes a lot of beige, black, white, navy, camel, grey, and khaki because these neutral colors are versatile and timeless. Neutrals never go out of style, and they’re easy to mix and match. If everything in your closet is neutral, you can constantly create new outfits out of just a few pieces! Of course, you’ll still see French women in bold colors, especially red, but you’re more likely to utilize neutrals as the palette for everyday wear.
Here are three simple guidelines when it comes to French girl style colors:
- Only wear two colors per outfit. This keeps your look simple and streamlined.
- If you don’t feel like mixing and matching, throw on an all-black look. Black is always sophisticated and stylish.
- Don’t be afraid to incorporate more color into your style, but use a pop of color to accentuate rather than to build the outfit. Neutrals should be your base.
Rule 4: Focus on fit.
The French style is all about clothes that fit well. Even “baggy” clothes are worn purposefully in a way that emphasizes the silhouette of the outfit. In fact, a lot of French women take their clothes to tailors or purchase from tailor boutiques to ensure the right fit.
The goal is not to just wear form-fitting clothing; rather, you want to find clothing that highlights your unique body type. The most timeless pieces are going to be those that fit you well, not those that are mass-produced for the "general public."
Rule 5: Keep logos to a minimum.
French girl style is less about the logo of a brand and more about the quality of the designer. You want the overall outfit presentation to look classy and sophisticated, and flashy logos can take away from the elegance of the look. Purchasing luxury designer clothing is more about the fit and feel of the clothing, so try to select quality items with more discreet branding.
French girl style incorporates a lot of designer clothing because designer clothing is so high-quality and made with fit, feel, and sustainability in mind. That means that buying a designer piece secondhand is a great option because you can get these quality goods at a fraction of their original ticket price.
Rule 6: Timeless is greater than trends.
French girl style focuses on practicality, not trends. Although there are a lot of trending pieces interwoven in Parisian fashion, comfort and sophistication reign supreme. Flats and low heels are more common than stilettos, and loose-fitting blazers are more common than ultra-tight blouses. You want to find outfits that look good but also let you live your life to the fullest. Focus on timeless, everlasting clothing that will serve your life, not just "hot" trends that will be gone by the end of the season.
Rule 7: Find your own style.
Again, French girl style isn’t about trends—because trends come and go. Instead, you want to find your own style that makes you feel good. Search for pieces that fit well, that make you feel good, that are comfortable, and that can stand the test of time. If you do that, you’ll start to create a wardrobe that’s definitely worthy of the high-end French fashion world.
Rule 8: Emphasize the basics.
French girl style is about pairing classic basics in a way that creates a polished and clean look. The French philosophy is about filling your wardrobe with timeless, quality basics and “essentials.” These pieces should be versatile, comfortable, easy to wear, and flattering.
So what are some of the go-to basics included in French girl style? Here are some of the essentials that you need in your French wardrobe:
Little black dress (LBD)
Every girl needs a little black dress that suits her style. There are no rules - you just want to find a dress in which you look good and feel confident. Go for any little black dress you like, but a short to mid-length black dress that can be layered easily is a French girl staple for day and night.
White button-down shirt
Pair a white button-down with jeans and flats for a casual out-on-the-town look, then throw on a blazer and stilettos to effortlessly transition to happy hour. A classic button-down shirt is also a great go-to top to look stunning in your Zoom calls (even if you’re still in your sweatpants).
Basic tee in white, grey, black, and/or beige
The basic tee is the simplest wardrobe essential that works for just about any situation. Throw on a well-fitting tee with jeans, skirts, blazers, sweaters, or anything else.
Silky camisole with lace trim
French style is full of silk since it’s so comfortable and chic. A silk camisole is an effortless wardrobe essential, perfect for layering on hot days and cooler mornings alike.
This striped top—usually in white and black or blue—is a French girl style essential. Stripes are interwoven in French culture, originally coming into fashion from the shirts worn by Bretagne sailors in north France. Maybe that’s why these mariniere (like the word "mariner") tops have such a nautical, naturally summery feel to them.
Straight leg jeans
We’ve all heard the news that Gen Z has canceled skinny jeans, and it’s probably for the best. French girl style always includes a pair of jeans, particularly straight leg jeans that suit all body types and always look trendy when paired with a tee or camisole.
A well-fitting blazer can transform any outfit, whether it’s paired with a t-shirt and jeans or a fancy ballgown. The perfect blazer is one of the easiest add-ons to make your outfit look refined and sophisticated, which is why you’ll often see so many French women sporting a suit jacket around town. Check out these 9 amazing ways to style a blazer for more inspo!
Another must-have layer is a cardigan. You can style it a million ways from casual to elegant, from workwear to happy hour attire. Like the rest of your French wardrobe, we recommend purchasing a high-quality cardigan that’s built to last. The best materials are merino, cashmere, or cotton, which are soft, breathable, warm, long-lasting, and more eco-friendly than other materials. We again recommend choosing more neutral tones for your cardigan so you can mix and match it with the rest of your closet with ease!
Beige or camel trench coats are a staple of the French girl style wardrobe. They’ve been in style for decades and will continue to stay “hot” due to the classic, timeless silhouette and neutral color. They’re great all year and can be paired with just about any outfit, able to elevate even something as casual as jeans and a basic white tee.
If you’re going to be meandering through the cobblestone streets of Paris, you need comfy footwear! That’s why loafers are so popular in French girl style. They’re practical and comfortable, while also being easy to style and match with any outfit. A black or tan pair of loafers is a must-have to match with the other neutral tones in your closet. And like everything else on this list, choose high-quality shoes that are sturdy and well-made—your hardworking feet deserve the best!
Neutral or black stilettos
But it’s not always about comfort. Sometimes, style wins out—and there’s nothing quite as chic as a good pair of stilettos! Still, not all stilettos are created equally. You want a pair with a good platform that will make your foot as level as possible without a harsh incline (so it's healthier and safer for your feet and legs). This makes the shoe more comfortable and easier to walk in. The way you strut your stuff with confidence is just as important as what you’re wearing, so make sure you feel good in your heels.
The right bag can change the entire look of your outfit. Rather than purchasing a lot of bags that you’ll use once or twice for a season, opt for one or two higher-quality designer bags with a timeless look that goes with everything in your closet. Leather bags that are practical for your daily life are the best long-term investment.
What’s your French girl style?
French girl style is all about finding timeless, gorgeous pieces that are also comfortable and practical. The goal is to accentuate your natural beauty and invest in quality clothing that will stand the test of time. Investment pieces are good for your wallet, your wardrobe, and the environment. Building a closet filled with the core essential pieces is going to make getting dressed a lot easier, a lot more fun, and a lot more refined and sophisticated.
The easiest way to start building your wardrobe with intention is by shopping second-hand. In consignment stores like Current Boutique, you’ll find quality designer pieces that have proven their sustainability both in terms of fashion trends and physical characteristics. Start browsing our store today to find your quality designer pieces at a fraction of their original ticket price!