Posted on: January 12, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

One of the reasons French women’s style is so aspirational is because it’s unwavering, which is refreshing considering the landscape of fashion and its fast-paced nature. For millennia, French women have demonstrated fail-safe and effortless combinations that have inspired the way people dress worldwide. There’s no effect like it. Whether it’s the timelessness of Breton, androgynous blazers or ballet flats, if French women wear and sartorialists pay close attention.

Since my early teens, I’ve been an observer of French style from afar but it’s only since moving to Paris, immersing myself in the French culture and living amongst locals that I’ve picked up on a few key points. Although there’s a foundation to French style (namely easy wearing and chic styles), French women also adapt, interchange and dabble with trends more than I had anticipated. I’ve chalked some pieces to fun fashion stereotypes that are seldom worn here (the Beret, for example), whilst also deducing that some of the latest trends (lingerie slip dresses and pops of red) are being celebrated across the city.

Take the scarf coat. I’ve seen French women wear Toteme’s exact iteration on many occasions, or, the generously sized tote bag. Although the diddy-enough-to-tuck-underneath-your-arm baguette bag was popularised by Parisians, its antithesis is making waves here, and it’s certainly big enough to house a baguette, or three. Since moving to Paris I’ve been privileged to live amongst the women whose style I admire the most and I’ve delicately measured the longstanding trends with their newer variants, to ascertain their appeal. As with French style, nothing has an expiration but some contemporary styles have the same longevity as the styles loved for decades. Keep on reading to discover these pieces.

Style Notes: French women adore mini bags, however, lately there’s been a transition to oversized totes and holdalls, or the “sac de jour”. Following in the wake of contemporary designers such as The Row (which is favoured by French women), I’m witnessing a surge of open totes bags which are big enough to house more than your day-to-day essentials. Currently, there’s an added recurring theme and that’s suede.

Style Notes: French women are connoisseurs of  straight-leg jeans and ankle boots combination and I admire the efficiency (after all, what better shoe to pair with jeans?) While that’s a genius ensemble, knee-high boots are raising the bar for occasionwear dressing at present, and in particular, the pointed variety. As hemlines shrink, boots are noticeably taller.

Style Notes: A common misconception about French women is that they’re averse to colour, but if anything I’ve been inspired to wear a wider range of colours since moving here. This effect has travelled worldwide with the effect of the red accessory. In Paris, it’s red, pink, blue and everything in between. There are no rules. Whether you’re drawn towards a tonal look or a simple bright accessory thrown over the shoulder (as Julie demonstrates). If in doubt, start with muted and earthy tones that veer on the side of tonal and there’s no shortage of sage green, brown and aubergine hues this season.

Style Notes: Fluffy Angora and Mangolian knits will forever have a place in French women’s wardrobes, however, there’s an evident shift towards chunky, closed-knit cardigans, as spearheaded by Khaite. When French women inherit trends, they’re well-considered and timeless and this cinched-in hip-length cardigan is a style you’re sure to squeeze ample wear out of.

Style Notes: It’s no secret that French women admire noughties silhouettes and over the past few years, there’s been a transition from classic necklines to those with more intrigue—whether that’s an asymmetric style or taught bandeau, the “going out” top quota has surely been met.

Next Up: I’m A Brit Living in Paris – 5 Jeans Outfits French Women Wear Every Winter 

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