French women have a timeless quality that's hard to put into words. It's a combination of not looking like they tried and somehow appearing perfectly put-together. It's not something that can be readily taught, but these 11 women make it look easy. Every one of the French women featured here is as chic as can be and over the age of 40. Not only that, but they also seem to get cooler by the decade.
The women we're calling out include actresses, fashion editors and former models, but there's nothing flashy about their style. They clearly have the fashion industry at their fingertips, but their classic aesthetics are indicative of French women in every field. Check out their cool confidence ahead and start looking forward to getting older.
Keep scrolling to see which over-40 French women inspire us, then shop pieces they'd surely love.
Caroline de Maigret
Carla Bruni is a songwriter, former model and former French first lady.
Marion Cotillard is an Academy Award–winning actress, a musician and the face of Lady Dior.
Emmanuelle Alt is the current editor in chief of Vogue Paris.
Vanessa Paradis is a model, singer-songwriter and actress who is a front-row fixture at every Chanel runway show alongside daughter Lily-Rose Depp.
Juliette Binoche is an Academy Award–winning actress for The English Patient and perhaps best known for her starring role in Chocolat.
Inès de la Fressange
Catherine Deneuve is an actress (having appeared in over 100 films) and one of Saint Laurent's original muses.
Shop French Wardrobe Essentials
Is there anything more quintessentially French than a double-breasted blazer from Parisian brand Isabel Marant? We think not.
No-one does a cotton tee quite like Petit Bateau.
Hermes for £135? Yes, really! Do as the French do and knot this little scarf around your neck.
The French are loyal to their skinny jeans.
Want the Parisian look in an instant? Get a pair of Repetto ballet flats.
Behold the sophisticated French outerwear style of choice—from A.P.C., no less.
This quintessential French print is trending again this season.
Technically pyjamas, but is anything chicer than going outside in sleepwear that looks like this?
It doesn't get more classic French than a striped top.
10 out of 10 chic French women have high-waisted wide-leg trousers in their closet.
This post was originally published on an earlier date and has been updated.
Opening Image: Getty