The concept of French girl style is incredibly appealing to women around the world and it’s no surprise why: The French have an uncanny ability to dress in a way that is practical yet undeniably chic from head to toe.
At FGD, we love French girl style, obsessively stalk Instagram for the latest Parisian fashion trends, and share the looks that most inspire on Instagram. So of course, we decided to put together a comprehensive guide to French girl style. Enjoy!
Why French Girl Style?
You may wonder why we always hear about French girl style, and not Spanish style, or some other country’s style. Well, the answer to this question lies in France’s rich history of fashion culture.
Fashion and France have been synonymous for decades. The country is known for producing more of the most celebrated talents in the fashion industry than anywhere else in the world. Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy are regarded as three of the most influential fashion designers in the world – and all hail from France.
Many of the basic wardrobe classics we take for granted were first popularized in France. Bi-annual fashion weeks in Paris set the trends for designers around the world in the seasons to come each year.
French girls idolize icons of years past just like Americans do. While we look to Jackie Kennedy for style advice, the French look to Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, two women who had an enormous influence on French style during the 1960s.
It’s no surprise that a country with such an illustrious history in fashion still celebrates the idea of curating an elegant and classic wardrobe. From a very young age, French girls are taught how to dress and while not everyone is fashion-obsessed in France, it’s extremely common for French women to have a strong sense of good style compared to other countries, without even realizing it.
These are a few reasons why so many people admire and seek out French girl style.
What is French Girl Style?
French girl style is hard to define, but if I had to, I’d say it’s about effortless elegance. It’s looking put together, without looking like you tried too hard or spent hours in front of the mirror. It’s confidence in what you wear and, of course, who you are.
What I love about French girl style is that it values comfort, but not too much the way we do in the United States. The French girl wants to be comfortable, but not to the point that she will go out in sweatpants and sneakers. For the French girl, jeans and ballet flats are comfortable enough to be chic without sacrificing style.
French girl style is about effortless elegance, and French girl outfits typically highlight one statement piece, instead of being comprised of two or three statement pieces each of which compete for attention.
You might see a French girl wearing a simple tailored button-up shirt, with a casual black pant or blue jeans, a solid-colored ballet flat, and a statement scarf by Hermès, or a statement leather bag by a local French designer. Sometimes it’s the shoes, sometimes it’s the jacket or shirt, but each time a French girl wears a look-at-me piece, it’s typically only once per outfit.
How to Get French Girl Style
French girl style is absolutely attainable – even for Americans. A great way to get started with French girl style is by adopting the 5-Piece French Wardrobe philosophy. Build a closet of reliable basics to create a solid foundation for each outfit. Don’t follow trends unless you really believe they will last, and don’t be scared to invest in quality pieces. These are just a few of the cardinal French style rules that Parisian women tend to follow.
In essence, French girl style is simply about enhancing the beautiful and confident woman you already are.
French Girl Style Basics
So what are the wardrobe “basics” for a French girl?
A Little Black Dress – Perfect for so many occasions, the little black dress is a wardrobe staple in the French girl’s closet.
A White Oxford Shirt – A simple white Oxford shirt can be paired with everything from jeans to corduroy pants to linen pants working from season to season. Invest in a good quality oxford shirt that fits you well! Figaret is a classic Parisian brand.
A Black Silk Button-up Shirt – Slightly more dressy than the Oxford shirt, the black silk button-up shirt adds a touch of elegance and class to the French girl’s outfit. It can be worn from work to drinks and then to dinner!
Straight Leg Jeans – French girls love, love, love their jeans! The American brand Levi’s is a favorite, but not just any pair. French girls prefer vintage Levi’s 501 jeans which tend to have a high-waist, straight leg, and cropped cut just above the ankle. The Re/Done Stove Pipe Jean is a favorite. You can also shop Re/Done at Nordstrom, Shopbop, Matches, and Net-a-Porter.
A Plaid Blazer – You can’t walk down the street in Paris during autumn and not see a French girl in a plaid blazer! Whether it’s fitted, oversized, or masculine, the plaid blazer is an essential part of any French girl’s wardrobe.
A Marinière Top – Stripes are a quintessential part of French style. Did you know that the style actually came from the shirts the sailors of Bretagne used to wear in the north west of France? Marinière means sailor in French, and thus, the Marinière top is a blue and white striped top – a basic that French girls love! Saint James is the brand of choice for the Breton shirt.
A Beige Trench Coat – Paris, along with the northern part of France, is known for its continuous gray skies and frequent rainfalls! Parisians have taken to wearing a beige trench coat to keep dry, and surprisingly, their brand of choice for this wardrobe staple is the English brand, Burberry!
Of course, there are many more seasonal basics that French girls keep in their wardrobes, but these items will give you a great start to French girl style!
Designers & Brands French Girls Love
Isabel Marant is the most popular designer that casual-chic French girls adore. Marant popularized the blazers that so many French girls wear and her designs embody the effortless cool Parisian look. While Marant’s main line may be out of reach for the average person, the more affordable Étoile by Isabel Marant line really put the style in French girl wardrobes across the country!
Vanessa Seward and Sonia Rykiel are two more famous French designers with longstanding influence in the contemporary high-end French fashion world.
A.P.C. is a favorite among the minimal French style crowd. Known for its clean lines and androgynous silhouettes, the brand has gained a cult following since the 80s.
Contemporary French online brands such as Sézane have slowly made successful launches in the United States.
Sustainable fashion is becoming really popular in France as well, with brands like Reformation leading the way. Buying vintage is perhaps the most chic Parisian way to update your wardrobe without harming the environment!
French Girl Style Inspiration
French girls, along with the rest of the world, love Instagram and many use it for their daily outfit inspiration. The French Instagram influencers to know for an effortless, chic look are: Jeanne Damas (@jeannedamas), Sabina Socol (@sabinasocol), Anne Laure Mais (@adenorah) and Leia Sfez (@leiasfez).
If you’re looking for a mix of different French girls with awesome style, then please follow our account, @FrenchGirlDaily!