french girl style wardrobe staples

French Girl Style: 10 Wardrobe Staples

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French girl style is known for being effortlessly chic and elegant. A lot of that effortlessness can be attributed to French women owning quality, wardrobe staples that make it easy to get dressed in the morning.

10 Wardrobe Staples for French Girl Style

Since my first trip to Paris, I’ve made it a mission to adopt the easy, chic, minimalist style of the classic Parisian, much like I’ve done with other French lifestyle topics.

One of my favorite things about French fashion, in general, is the preference for quality over quantity.

While this applies to many of their shopping habits, beyond clothing, it’s a particularly game-changing habit to have when you’re curating a wardrobe.

When shopping, if you let your intention be to gather statement pieces for your closet, you will create a wardrobe full of reliable, foolproof styles you can always turn to and those pieces will remain timeless no matter the year you’re in.

Moreover, many of those pieces can be worn over and over again, in various combinations, making your wardrobe not just stylish but functional too.

Here are 10 wardrobe staples every Francophile needs to adopt the ultimate French girl style:

(1) The Classic Pair of Blue Jeans and the (2) White Button Down Top

classic blue jeans and a white button down top image

While these are technically two different pieces of clothing, I often pair them together like the typical Parisian.

This is one of the easiest outfits to select when I’m looking for something casual and chic, but don’t want to put too much thought into it.

Plus, nothing is more wonderful than finding a pair of blue jeans you love, which I’ll admit, isn’t always easy.

My favorite cut of jeans includes a cropped hem at the ankle and, while not “skinny,” an overall slim fit often referred to as the “cigarette” cut.

I also prefer high waisted jeans and love tucking a classic white button-down into them like the one showcased here.

When you’re looking for a white button-down, it’s important to consider what your use is for the button down. This is why I will often keep stock of two types: a relaxed fit and a slim fit.

A relaxed fit button down top is great for a casual chic, weekend look, while a slim fit button down is more polished and better suited for a more professional setting or tucking into fitted skirts and pants that aren’t as roomy.

(3) Chic ballet flats

pink ballet flats image

As a petite person, I adore wearing heels, even if they’re only a couple of inches.

The reality is, however, that walking in heels all day isn’t always practical. Many Parisians share this sentiment walking along the unfriendly cobblestone streets of Paris.

A comfy yet chic pair of flats becomes a must for any woman on the go.

While it’s common to see many Parisians, especially younger ones, sporting chic sneakers, I still think a ballet flat is more versatile than sneakers and can easily go from day-to-night, if needed.

(4) A Structured Hat and (5) A Leather Belt

Structured hat and belt image

When I was younger, I thought I was not a hat person. But over the years, I’ve learned that everyone can look great in a hat.

A wide brim fedora like this, or a wide brim Panama hat in the summer, look universally appealing on all women.

There’s also just something quintessentially “French cool girl style” about it.

As for a belt, wearing a simple leather one like this black belt with a brass buckle is a really easy way to add some extra style and polish to a simple outfit.

For instance, wearing this belt with the blue jeans and white top shared above really just pulls the whole look together and gives it that finished touch.

(6) Little Black Dress

little black dress image

Every woman should have a little black dress in her closet.

A black dress looks flattering on every woman, and the solid color makes it a naturally easy choice to make when you’re debating on what to wear to a formal gathering or night out on the town.

I have a short sleeve one like the one shared here for the warmer seasons, and then a go-to long sleeve one for the cooler seasons.

It’s slimming, goes with everything, and is always a comfort to have when I can’t figure out what else I want to wear!

The important thing to keep in mind when you’re shopping for the “LBD” is to pick something that’s not just chic and stylish, but something you personally feel comfortable and sexy in.

I’ve worked with clients before who tell me they own a little black dress but never wear it because it’s strapless and they’re self-conscious about their arms, or it’s too short and they don’t feel good about the length anymore now that they’re into their in their 50’s.

In those situations, I tell them to donate the dress and find a new one because the whole point of a little black dress is to be a foolproof, safety option you feel great about falling back on when you need it.

(7) A Scarf…or Ten!

I don’t think I have to convince you how popular a chic scarf is among French women, but here it is, just in case you didn’t know!

A pretty scarf can be found in almost every French person’s closet.

I myself have about 10 scarves I love to rotate through. Some are cozy yet light, like this pink one I wear during the spring and fall.

I have other ones that are even lighter and a bit gauzy for summer evenings.

And then, of course, I have very big, thick ones for the cold winter. Similar to a belt, a scarf can not only be practical, but it can also be really great for pulling a whole look together and adding that polished, finishing touch.

You will feel très sophisitque wearing one!

(8) A Trench Coat

burberry trench coat image

While there is a proper coat for every season, one thing I noticed living in Paris was that every French woman owned a trench coat.

It’s probably because it’s rainy most of the year in Paris. It’s also why most of the French really do splurge on this item and spend a healthy amount when shopping for one.

A properly fitted, durable trench coat, such as the one I’m wearing from Burberry, can last over a decade when you take good care of it.

It’s also easy to throw onto a variety of outfits and is, of course, practically useful, rainy day or not.

(9) Cross-Body Bag

Speaking of practical, let’s talk about this French girl style wardrobe staple. A cross-body handbag is an absolute must in France.

Most French women own one for the pure convenience and safety of wearing one, walking around the city.

When I purchased a cross-body bag at the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, I admittedly bought it because I just thought it was so beautiful and chic.

I’d soon come to realize that it became my number one, go-to bag for everyday wear. It was just big enough to carry my wallet, phone, a lipstick, hand sanitizer, and my keys.

A lot of women love to carry around their large tote bags in the States for the sheer convenience of being able to dump everything they can into the bag.

But I have to say, tote bags just don’t have the same elegance and sophistication a smaller, structured bag does.

(10) Dainty Jewelry

The minimalist approach to jewelry is probably my favorite style cue to take from the French.

While I love pretty jewels as much as the next woman, the reality is that I’m not a big fan of fashion jewelry or heavy jewelry.

Instead, I love wearing and layering dainty pieces like the ones showed here because I can often wear them without feeling weighed down by them while I’m going about my day-to-day routines.

I also find that when you’re wearing less, the pieces you are wearing often stand out more and show their true beauty.

I’d often see a French woman sitting in a cafe next to me wearing a simple bangle on her wrist or gold strand around her neck, and I’d find myself admiring the jewelry and how elegant the woman looked wearing it.

Adopting French Girl Style at Home

There are so many other items I would consider wardrobe staples to have in your closet, but I wanted to be able to just share the very, very essential ones with you.

If you’re struggling to refresh your wardrobe or create one that you feel confident and excited about, you should apply for a call with me via my Atelier Parisienne coaching program.

I work with women of all ages, as a personal lifestyle coach, to help them tackle their wardrobes and finally create a closet full of pieces that are perfect for them and make them feel happy and beautiful wearing them.

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  1. SO CHIC…glad I already own most of the pieces you reference! Makes for easy, effortless dressing!

    Merry Christmas!

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