There's an intrinsic ease to French style that makes it so aspirational. With Paris being the home of many of the most iconic fashion brands and strict regulations on what is considered Haute Couture, fashion is in the country's DNA. As a result, many believe French people embody a sense of style that is seemingly effortless yet always on-trend. They rely on classic pieces with modern design details as well as great tailoring. Re-creating this can seem like an unattainable feat, but with these 10 wardrobe staples, it's easier than you think.
When I lived in France, I was desperate to assimilate—not just by learning the language, sipping wine and getting photos of my morning croissants but also by emulating French style. There's a mysterious feel to the way in which French women are able to always look stylish, as if all the outfit pieces were just thrown together quickly but harmoniously. In Provence, I decided to figure out which staple pieces will create that je ne sais quoi. What I found was the French wardrobe relies on great staples. Of course, trending items are added in here and there, but the foundations remain the same and, luckily for us, can be easily replicated.
Tailored trousers, Breton tops and basket bags are French wardrobe staples.
For summer, slip dresses and miniskirts are abundant. But come autumn, the slight temperature drop adds useful layering elements like cardigans and blazers. Delicate ballet flats finish a lot of classic French looks, and a basket bag on hand will have you passing as a local in no time. Just like us Brits, the French rely on a staple trench coat for unpredictable weather, and no one can deny the power and ease of styling a Breton top. These are just a few of the staples that French girls wear on repeat during the transition months from summer to autumn. For the full list, keep scrolling.
Style Notes: Sleek tailoring is a big part of French style, and a classic blazer can take a simple look from good to great. Oversized styles add a laid-back feel that's inherent to French style and have just as much impact over jeans as with a full tailored silhouette.
2. FLARED JEANS
Style Notes: Fun fact: Denim originated in France. If you're looking for the French girl's favourite cut, a flare style is always en vogue.
Style Notes: As a layering element or worn with nothing underneath, a classic cardigan proves its versatility. Matching to your accessories like Emmanuelle did also looks incredibly chic. Just pair with staple jeans.
4. FLORAL DRESSES
Style Notes: Floral dresses may seem like more of a summer staple, but in truth, it's easy to style these all year round. To take this from sunshine styling to crisp autumn days, simply add a cardigan or blazer, and enjoy your florals every season.
5. BASKET BAGS
Style Notes: While living in France, more often than not, I had a basket bag to hand for collecting a fresh baguette or filling with flowers from the local market. This style of bag is a favourite amongst our French fashion friends as well. Plus, they're useful all year round, from city to beach.
6. WHITE BLOUSES
Style Notes: French style often has a romantic feel, and few items show this as prominently as a classic blouse. Sweet design details like ruching and puff sleeves often feature and pair easily with all the other staples.
7. TAILORED TROUSERS
Style Notes: This is a staple that we're completely on board with. Tailored trousers have gained popularity in recent years, with wide-leg or slouchy styles being just as prominent as classic cropped styles. See just how easy these staples combine for a classic French look.
8. BRETON STRIPES
Style Notes: Breton tops are one of the few characterisations that are a reality. This striped style has been a classic wardrobe staple for years and has a nautical nod that has us daydreaming of the Côte d'Azur. Port side or not, a Breton top easily combines with your other wardrobe staples and looks instantly elevated.
9. TRENCH COAT
Style Notes: Autumn often brings unpredictable weather, with cooler moments and brighter days that call for the ultimate do-it-all coat: the trench coat. A lightweight waterproof will beat the weather while looking classically stylish.
10. BALLET FLATS
Style Notes: A classic pair of ballet flats is the sleek and minimalist way to complete any outfit, be it jeans, dresses or tailored trousers.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.