Paris has a special place in my heart, and wherever my heart goes, my wardrobe follows. When it comes to fashion, most would agree that French style is the cream of the crop. I’ve studied the essence of French dressing with a fine-tooth comb, reading fashion literature and eyeing the wardrobes of French editors and modern-day fashion muses to pinpoint the quintessence of French style.
I’m fortunate enough to have visited Paris a handful of times, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt through people watching, it’s the power of understated garments. In recent years, we’ve been graced with a slew of indie fashion brands, from Rouje to The Frankie Shop (a brand gaining considerable traction this year).
Among the classics—berets, trench coats and ballet flats—lie the subtleties of French dressing that bring the je ne sais quoi, so to speak. Ankle-skimming jeans, pointelle vests and slingback flats are some of the modest heroes that make up the foundations. Although French style lends itself to monochromatic dressing, a French wardrobe is incomplete without an injection of colour, whether that’s via accents on a floral slip dress, a rouge lip or a parakeet-toned dress, like the ones shown below.
Wrap dresses, short-sleeve blouses, cropped knits and embroidered stitching are among designs you may associate with French chic. When it comes to accessories, the same aesthetic applies—bags are small but statement. The French aren’t opposed to embossed monikers or monogram prints. France is the home of Chanel and Jacquemus, after all.
If you’re as passionate about the fashion capital as I am and the people in it, here are eight looks I think will get the stamp of approval from the French style setters we so fervently admire.
1. Fine-Knit Cardigan and Jeans
Style Notes: French women wear light knitted cardigans and jeans throughout the year. Paired with slingbacks and a basket bag, your outfit is complete. PS: Knits make adequate tops when there’s an unpredictable forecast.
2. Vibrant Tea Dress and Flats
Style Notes: A button-down dress always looks great come rain or shine. With the Pujka dress, leave a couple of hemline buttons undone for extra movement in the skirt.
3. Minidress and Ballet Flats
Style Notes: Leg-baring styles are synonymous with French dressing. Luckily, there’s not much to do here, as a monogrammed bag is all the accessorising you need.
4. Embroidered Blouse and Denim Mini
Style Notes: I love the juxtaposition of rigid denim and voile. This outfit pairs perfectly with espadrilles and an oversized basket bag for market days.
5. Printed Skirt and Fitted T-Shirt
Style Notes: Tuck the fitted T-shirt into the skirt, or tie it in a loop at the waist with a hairband.
6. Button-Down Dress and Slingbacks
Style Notes: You can always rely on a shirt dress. With slingbacks and a ’90s-style bag, you’re set for the day.
7. Embroidered Dress and Ankle-Tie Sandals
Style Notes: An embroidered cotton dress is perhaps the most summery option. It’s also effortless whilst looking considered. For the sandals, you can tie the ankle strap high or low.
8. Floral Dress With Slip-Ons
Style Notes: Floral dresses are the epitome of French dressing. They can be worn with many styles of footwear, but take advantage of summer days and wear them with sandals.