French women are often celebrated for their effortless style that is built around some recognisable pieces. I’ve written many stories for Who What Wear breaking down the essential items to craft a Parisian wardrobe for yourself, and they inevitably include French-girl favourites that we see on repeat (wrap dresses! Basket bags!). But of course, not all French women dress alike.
One style subset that has made an impression on me lately is the French woman with the minimalist wardrobe, built around clean lines and smart tailoring. It’s a way of dressing that hits on the trends in a subtle way, but the looks are refined and classic, with pieces that can be worn season after season. If you find yourself gravitating toward this modern way of dressing, you’ll enjoy what’s ahead. I’m breaking down the essential items needed to create a French minimalist capsule wardrobe—and the stylish women who are putting it on the map.
Bags have architectural shapes and geometric designs—like these leather styles from The Row and Danse Lente.
We've long coveted The Row's impeccable arm candy.
One-strap bags are fast emerging as 2018's need-to-know arm candy.
In the world of denim, skip skinny jeans or any ornamental styles. Instead, stick to super-classic shapes like straight-leg jeans.
White jeans aren't just for summer—pair them with a rust-coloured knit and leather biker for an easy autumnal outfit.
Light wash denim will always look the part with tan accessories.
The high waist, the ankle-grazing length, the soft hue—there's nothing about these jeans we don't love.
Satin Slip Skirts
Slip skirts have been everywhere over the last few months and have certainly landed themselves in the closets of French minimalists.
The brand's leopard print skirt reached cult status, but we love the daisy print version just as much.
The dip hemline will make this skirt even more flattering on petite girls as the short front will balance out your shorter stance.
An easy way to tap into this style is with a neutral wardrobe color palette. Stick to shades of white, tan and black (with the occasional rust or red).
Consider a chic white shirt your starting point.
When it comes to shoes, choose simple slide sandals finished in leather. Hermès makes a classic version, but you can also find affordable versions at Zara. Buy now, and set aside until your winter holiday or, if you're not jetting off any time soon, until spring.
Easily the chicest pair of sandals you'll ever own.
These sandals have been reissued more times than we can count.
Thin Ribbed Knits
Ribbed tops and dresses prove to be the ultimate layering pieces in the minimalist French-girl wardrobe.
If you add any hue to your wardrobe this season, make it rust.
Tuck this top into fancy skirts for the perfect high-low balance.
Another essential? A sharp-tailored blazer—for wearing with matching trousers or on its own.
Look for double-breasted styles for heightened sophistication.
Contrast this blazer by layering a tan belt over the top and pairing with your favourite jeans.
Still in need of some French style inspiration? These women can certainly help with that…