I'm Channelling French Girl on the Beach With These 10 Items

I’ve dedicated a decade of my life to writing about French style, but one subject I’ve admittedly overlooked is swimwear. For me, swimwear has never held much allure—I put this down to living in Britain, where many of us only require swimwear whenever we take a trip abroad. The fact is I would always rather spend my money on dresses and bags and sandals over a new swimsuit or bikini I’d only wear for one 14-day streak each year. However, after not being on holiday or in an exotic climate in over three years, for once, I’m excited to begin assembling my beachwear wardrobe for this summer. This brings me back to the focus of this feature: What do French women wear to the beach?

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @vikilefevre

Photo:

@vikilefevre

Which swimwear trends really matter to French girls? Let’s find out… 

I’ve analysed the Instagram feeds of every French person I follow to find out which swimwear and beachwear trends they prioritise, be it on holiday or simply visiting the coastal regions of their home country. Needless to say, their take is a chic one and goes way beyond bikinis and cossies. Instead, they assemble entire looks around going to the beach, carefully choosing the perfect cover-ups, accessories and jewellery, resulting in an impressive array of French-girl swimwear trends to try. Which will I be copying and pasting into my suitcase? Scroll on to find out. 

1. Bucket Hats

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @juliesfi

Photo:

@juliesfi

Style Notes: You might assume that the first and only hat the French would grab for a beach trip is the straw hat, but lately, bucket hats seem to be the outfit topper of choice—particularly when worn in tandem with the next item on my shopping list…

Shop:

This will go with a multitude of swimwear options. 

2. Linen Shirts

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @andi_mun

Photo:

@andi_mun

Style Notes: One of the linchpins of French style is dressing with ease, and what could be simpler than throwing an oversized linen shirt over your swimwear?

Shop:

I own this, and it’s perfectly oversized already—no need to size up. 

3. Basket Bags

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @emmanuellek_

Photo:

@emmanuellek_

Style Notes: What could be more French than a basket bag? I know it sounds cliché, but this is one French-style stereotype that French women generally love to wear and carry, beach trips included. 

This Arket option will appease minimalist dressers. 

4. Statement Sunglasses

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @frannfyne

Photo:

@frannfyne

Style Notes: One of the easiest ways to give your look edge and serious style cred is with a pair of statement sunglasses—a hack French women regularly employ to further elevate their swimwear. Look for interesting shapes as opposed to bright colours to keep your aesthetic chic. 

Rectangular sunglasses with rounded edges are very much having a moment. 

5. Gingham Checks

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @jeannedamas

Photo:

@jeannedamas

Style Notes: At the risk of generalising, when it comes to prints, I find that French women gravitate towards a handful in particular. Stripes, florals and polka dots are up there, but the most prevalent, and perhaps the most appropriate, is gingham check, which radiates Gallic-girl charm. If you want to emulate French style on the beach, this is your fast track. 

6. Shorts Sets

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @vikilefevre

Photo:

@vikilefevre

Style Notes: If you want to look on-trend at the beach or pool this season, then it goes without saying you need a matching short-and-shirt set in your life. Linen textures will always be considered timeless, but I'm starting to see more and more teddy towelling fabrications coming through, too. 

Shop:

I’m obsessed with this specific shade of orange. 

Drawstring shorts are always so comfortable. 

Influencers can’t stop wearing Deiji Studios’ incredibly chic sets. 

Part of Who What Wear’s sustainable clothing collection, this gorgeous two-piece is available for a limited time only. 

Such a great colour and fit. Run, don’t walk. 

7. Classic Black Cossies

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @pomelokiwie

Photo:

@pomelokiwie

Style Notes: Although they all have very different personal styles, almost all of the French people I follow on Instagram own (and love to wear) black swimwear. They're undisputedly chic. Look for silhouettes like one-shoulder straps or interesting fabrications to bring the basic to life. 

Shop:

The tie-waist detail feels bougie in the best possible way. 

You can’t go wrong with Hunza G. 

8. Layered Medallions

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @claire_most

Photo:

@claire_most

Style Notes: While I’d never advise wearing your finest of fine jewellery to the beach or pool, French women like to accessorise their swimwear with elegant necklaces; coin medallions seem to be the thing right now. 

Shop:

I own a Missoma pendant just like this and get so much wear out of it. 

This looks like you could have picked it up on your travels, which is always appealing. 

9. Triangle Bikinis

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @tamaramory

Photo:

@tamaramory

Style Notes: A common stereotype about French people is that they're classicists, only ever wearing wardrobe basics. While this certainly isn’t always the case, it seems when it comes to bikinis, the style most French women I follow prefer is indeed a classic—the triangle bikini. 

Shop:

Brown and earthy tones are trending in swimwear right now. 

One to bookmark if you are DD+ like I am. 

10. Headscarves

French Girl Swimwear Trends: @lenafarl

Photo:

@lenafarl

Style Notes: The last thing you need to concern yourself with on a beach trip is worrying about how your hair looks. Cue a silk square scarf, which French women use to protect their locks and their scalps from the sun’s harmful rays. Handily, it also looks cute. 

Shop:

Tie this around your bag strap when it’s not decorating your hair. 

I love this blue colourway, but the red iteration is equally beautiful. 

Related Stories