French women have a reputation for being some of the most stylish women in the world, and for good reason. There’s a certain effortless or “je ne sais quoi” (so cheesy and cliche, but I had to say it) about them from their polished but natural approach to beauty, to their fashion choices. Everyone has their own idea of what french dressing means. While mainstream media may portray them as typically donning a striped sweater and beret while riding a bicycle with a baguette in the basket, there’s so much more to their style. The key to capturing their easy elegance comes down to selectively choosing high-quality, timeless garments that can easily mix and match. Clothing that can be dressed up or down and that is always impeccably crafted out of stunning fabrics. Here is my take on french dressing and these are the 12 pieces you need to give you that Parisian mademoiselle look that is always so alluring.
FRENCH CHIC BUYS
1 // Silk Button Down Blouse – Etsy
A button down shirt is inarguably a closet staple. They can be worn at the office, casually tucked into a pair of cut-offs and worn open as a laidback outerwear piece. Try it in silk for an elevated feel that is oh-so-french.
2 // Cigarette Trousers – Brandon Maxwell
Sure, we all love a great pair of jeans, but a classic black pant is a must. While I believe in having several pairs, one that is structured, one in a drapey silk fabric, and a cropped version for summer, no one can go wrong with a pair of cigarette pants. They are universally flattering and look amazing whether you are at work or play.
3 // Classic Black Handbag – Chanel
I hoard handbags and have a ton of trendy styles that I like to pull out and parade around on occasion. That being said, a black luxury handbag is like the holy grail of accessories. Like shoes, when it comes to handbags it is best to splurge on a quality, timeless piece that you can wear with anything and treasure for years to come. And the epitome of french luxury? Why, Chanel of course.
4 // Striped Boatneck Sweater – Michael Kors
It’s pretty much impossible to think of french style without thinking of stripes. Embrace the stereotype. Stripes are classic, especially in navy and white. Snap up a lightweight cashmere version that you can wear with trousers, a skirt, or tossed over a LBD when it gets cold. The neckline is optional but a boatneck is always flattering and feminine.
5 // Nude Flats – Tabitha Simmons
As much as we may all love our heels, a great pair of flats is a non-negotiable. Whether you are strolling through the farmer’s market or window shopping with a friend, flats are comfortable, cute, and are a french girl’s best friend. While black is classic, I prefer nude for summer. Bonus: nude shoes instantly make your legs look longer.
6 // White Slip Dress – GHOST
The thing about french dressing is that there always seems to be a focus on simplicity. Look for streamlined, elegant pieces that eschew excess embellishments like this crisp, white slip dress. Besides the fact that slip dresses are having a major moment right now, this particular piece can be worn in a million different ways. I would wear it with a denim or leather jacket. Feel free to top it with a blouse or sweater and wear it like a skirt.
7 // Bright Pumps – Shoe Box
Neutrals are classic and are always our friends, but every girl needs a bright pair of pumps to inject a much-needed pop of color into our wardrobes. Choose your favorite color, but pink is trending big time right now and is so fun and feminine for summer.
8 // Silk Scarf – Tory Burch
Nothing adds instant polish to an outfit or screams Parisian elegance like a luxurious silk scarf. Seriously, even a tee and distressed jeans looks put together when a pretty scarf is knotted around your neck. This pretty floral print is classic and can be worn just as easily with casual weekend attire as it could with a beautiful dress.
9 // Lightweight Trench Coat – Harris Wharf London
When it comes to outerwear, trench coats have always felt so french to me. They are polished but effortless. I prefer a version without buttons that you can throw on while running out the door. Choose a lightweight cotton or linen version for summer. Stray away from easy black and pick an equally classic tan style. It will go with everything and never fails to look fresh.
10 // Leather Watch – Daniel Wellington
Sure, we all have our phones to check the time, but where is the fun in that? There is something about wearing a beautiful time piece that seems much more sophisticated and ‘adult’. Don’t skimp on quality. Invest in a style that you will want to wear with everything. Gold, silver, and titanium versions are beautiful but there is something about leather that is so elegant. Leather is also one of those rare materials that becomes more and more beautiful as it ages (if treated well!).
11 // Straw Hat – Bebe
The summer accessory that we all need to add to our closets? The straw hat. It’s classic with a rustic vibe that makes me think of days on the beach in the South of France. Wear it with a simple white dress (see above) to a barbecue on the beach or with a pair of patchwork jeans and a crop top to a festival.
12 // Little Black Dress (obvi) – O’Neill
It’s impossible to talk about french fashion or wardrobe essentials without giving a shout out to the ultimate classic – the LBD. Whatever the occasion, this iconic piece is always elegant and looks stunning on everyone. Holly Golightly had the right idea in Breakfast at Tiffanys. This slip-like style looks beautiful when worn to a formal affair, with heels and simple jewelry, or casually, with a pair of slides and a cardigan.