French women have a knack for elevating whatever they wear with their classic style principles—even a piece as polarising as shorts. Shorts are generally considered to be one of the more divisive items in fashion—I admittedly used to avoid wearing them, telling myself they wouldn’t “flatter” my petite-and-curvy stature.
Thankfully, I’ve worked through this issue, and this summer, I’ve actually really enjoyed wearing shorts. Still, though, years spent avoiding them means I’m basically starting my shorts-styling journey from scratch. I decided I’d turn to some French women whom I regularly rely on for outfit inspiration to see how they style their shorts.
What I found out was that shorts, in many guises, are an integral part of the French aesthetic. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—there is something quite effortless about them that loans them to the I-didn’t-try-too-hard vibe Gallic types have largely perfected. So how do French women style shorts? Scroll on to find out.
1. Blazer + Longline Denim
Style Notes: French women love to wear denim, so denim shorts feature heavily in their summer outfit rotation. Although shorter pairs are certainly prevalent (more on those later), I’m partial to Sylvie’s longline pair, which she’s styled with a blazer and T-shirt to create a chic all-black outfit.
2. Bright Shirt + Safari
Style Notes: Safari shorts—cotton styles with large pockets—already look elevated. Paired with a satin shirt and tan sliders, however, they look even more sophisticated.
Style Notes: For off-duty errands, I’ll be copying and pasting this look from Anne-Laure. Who knew boxer-style shorts and a sweatshirt could look this cool?
4. Oversized Shirt + Cycling
Style Notes: French women know their way around wardrobe basics, such as the white shirt. I love how Ellie has given hers a high-low styling approach with cycling shorts and a basket bag.
5. Cardigan + Floral
Style Notes: Not everything in the French woman’s wardrobe is minimal—most pieces, however, are classic. Take this outfit from Léna—although it features a yellow cardigan and floral shorts, the choice of a muted butter hue and a versatile ditsy floral makes it utterly timeless.
6. Trench Coat + Leather
Style Notes: French women know how to carry their favourite items with them from season to season; here, Camille proves shorts have a lifespan longer than the summer by pairing her leather pair with a trench coat and knee-high boots for chillier days.
7. Matching Set + Earrings
Style Notes: Franny knows that if there’s a matching top to your shorts, investing in it will make for an easy but wholly chic outfit solution. I’ll be following her lead with this & Other Stories set.
8. Breton Stripe + Loafers
Style Notes: That’s right—French women really do wear Breton stripes on the regular. Don’t they look especially good with black denim shorts?
9. White Blouse + Denim Cut-Offs
Style Notes: While we’re on the subject of denim shorts, let’s take a moment to appreciate the simplicity of Sabina’s white-blouse-and-denim-shorts combination—a look that’s ideal for beach days and city nights alike.