I Used to Think These Shoes Were Frumpy, But French Girls Changed My Mind

Like Pimms and lemonade, or strawberries and cream, there are certain combinations that are synonymous with summer—espadrilles and bare legs being another. For the longest time, however, I avoided them at all costs. This is likely due to my 5'3" frame, and convincing myself that the chunky wedge sole made me look frumpy and disproportionate. Ridiculous? You bet.

Lately, though, I've been on a quest to find a pair of summer shoes better suited to the city than flip-flops and a million times lighter than closed-toe shoes or trainers. As such, I turned my attention to espadrilles once again. Hellbent on giving them another go, I knew exactly where (and who) to turn to for inspiration.

Despite being Spanish in origin, these are beloved by the French almost as much as ballet pumps (most Gallic girls wear their espadrilles round-the-clock), so I set about to style them in similar ways. What I learned was that espadrilles can give any outfit an air of effortless cool and that they go with just about everything you can think of—from straight-leg jeans to ditsy print wrap dresses.

Brands like Iris & Ink, Office, Aldo and Spain-based Castañer have all perfected the espadrille this summer with styles so chic, they're enough to tempt us out of strappy sandals any day of the week.

Scroll through the gallery below to see five inspired ways French women wear their espadrilles, then shop our current favourites for yourself.

Style Notes: Mini hemlines make for a sultry take on the characteristically casual shoe. Just add a pair of statement sunglasses and an elegant bun for the sleekest summer ensemble. 

Style Notes: No Brit girl should ever be far from a pair of jeans, even in the height of summer. This is a sentiment shared by French women, too, who wear their rope-wedges with vintage blues, floral shirts and basket bags. 

Style Notes: If mini hemlines just aren't your thing, try a midi skirt instead. If you're petite like me, then you'll appreciate a style with a front or side split, as the subtle flash of skin stops them from swamping your frame. 

Style Notes: For warmer climes, try a pair of linen trousers and a relaxed t-shirt for an easy dinner look. Just keep your trousers cropped in length to show off your trademark espadrille tie-straps. 

Style Notes: The only thing French girls wear more than espadrilles is wrap dresses, so why not don them together? If your frock features a bright hue, keep your espadrilles and accompanying accessories on the muted side for a polished finish.