We often discuss French-girl style: Simple wardrobe basics and mussed-up hair are at the centre of that Parisian effortlessness. But how does it translate to handbags—one of the essential wardrobe accessories?
We tapped four French girls to weigh in on the bags we would never find in their closets and the ones they wear on repeat. It turns out that French girls aren't fans of oversized bags. When it comes to size, mini bags win out over larger styles. Those oversize shopper bags send the wrong message—French girls like to appear low-maintenance. On top of that, we also learned a few key rules. Stick to classic colours like navy or ones that can be found in nature such as terra-cotta and rust. Hues that are too bright or neon get skipped. Keep it simple. Anything that looks overworked with too many embellishments doesn't make the cut.
Go on to see what French girls have to say about the bags they love and the styles they'd never wear, and then shop their picks.
"To be honest, I would never get caught wearing something super fussy with lots of embellishment and crystals or a fuzzy face or something. (Yes, Dolce, I may or may not be looking at you.) Whereas a simple tote in a gorgeous rich hue (navy, terra-cotta, rust) will always be a handy piece to complete any getup. I love this Loewe one which is a twist on the classic shape." — Camille Charrière, blogger, Camille Over the Rainbow
"I don't like huge and/or 'manly' bags. I think the sexier thing you can do, when it comes to bags, is showing that you don't need to carry your whole house (or bathroom…) with you to be ready at all times. That's why I'm a huge fan of mini bags. There's the basket exception of course, even though they're big, they give this relaxed, laid-back sort of attitude. Insider tip: My baskets are almost always empty, and I actually just carry my mini bag with my things in them!" — Sabina Socol, social editor, L'Officiel Paris
"I don't like big bags. The only big bags I wear are my baskets to go to the beach or to the market. I am not a huge fan of It bags anymore. I prefer vintage ones for example. Obviously, as you can imagine, you will always see small bags in my closet. I love vintage ones with beautiful leather. This is my dream bag!" —Anne-Laure Mais, blogger, Adenorah
"Backpacks are everywhere at the moment but not in my closet. I guess for me it will stay a practical bag not an accessory I will buy to elevate my outfits. I love small and medium bags with classic shapes and colors that I can wear as a crossbody, a shoulder bag, or a purse. My Tiny Box by Little Liffner is the perfect example—it's timeless and versatile." — Sarah Nait, blogger, Sarah Nait
A small crossbody bag is perfect for date night.
SHOP MORE BAGS THAT ARE FRENCH GIRL–APPROVED
Just too good to be high street!
The fun handle adds a twist to this neutral bag.
A dark red adds a chic pop of color.
White works in winter, too.
A messenger bag is a timeless accessory.
French girls are carrying baskets well into winter.
Party bags come small too.
An heirloom piece to love forever.
The perfect basket bag for a picnic.
If you prefer structure, go for this sturdy option.
This has Instagram still life shot written all over it.
An everyday Parisian essential.
A scaled-down version of a French favourite.
Created by Italian girls, loved by French girls.
Next, what je ne sais quoi really means.
This story was originally published on Who What Wear U.S. and has since been updated.