Have you ever wondered how French women manage to look so stylish all of the time?
I’ll tell you how to dress like a French woman in this article.
If you’ve ever gone to Paris or visited France, or even just seen photographs or movies of French women, you may have noticed that they have a distinct style.
Their style has this effortlessness about it. This gracefulness. This elegance is timeless.
Everything is really laid-back and subtle.
Before my recent vacation to Paris, I decided to simply look around, watch, and see what others were wearing.
I devised a formula that I’d like to share with you.
I went to Paris in springtime. So, while the formula for summer may differ slightly, this is the formula for spring.
In the winter, I believe the formula is pretty similar. You’ll most likely wrap up a little tighter.
So, let me go over the formula with you.
First and foremost, I’d want to point out how simple the tops were. There wasn’t a single ruffle in sight. There’s not a lot of texture, and there aren’t many prints. Tops that are quite basic.
There were a lot of black tops and a lot of white tops that I saw. That was the first step in the equation.
So, a simple white or black top.
Almost every woman on the street was wearing dark-wash or black jeans on the bottom half. When I say dark, I’m referring to a navy blue.
There isn’t a lot of distressing, fading, or weird jeans in this selection. These traditional dark-wash and black jeans were the ones.
I was particularly interested in the Parisians’ feet because no one wore sneakers the last time I visited. No one, I mean.
In fact, wearing sneakers was frowned upon at the time. As an American, you would stand out like a sore thumb if you arrived in Paris wearing sneakers. Clearly, you were a tourist.
That wasn’t a good thing to happen.
I knew heading over that things had shifted and changed, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself.
I observed a lot of women on the street wearing white leather sneakers that were more like street sneakers than running sneakers. White leather sneakers, to be precise.
So you have a choice of white or black sneakers. I’d guess sneakers accounted for about half of what women wore.
That completely blew my head.
There were also a lot of black ankle booties on the street, but they were pretty simple. They weren’t particularly tall; rather, they had a low heel, similar to a Chelsea bootie. There are a lot of them.
Then I noticed some ballet flats strewn about, but only about a quarter of them.
25 percent ballet flats, 25 percent ankle booties, and 50 percent shoes, perhaps.
That was a significant change.
The third layer was also an important component of this formula.
On the street, everyone was wearing a third layer. I’m referring to a jacket, blazer, or coat as the third layer.
I’d estimate 50 percent of the people were wearing Moto jackets. Moto jackets, specifically black Moto jackets.
So, instead of a white Moto here, a pink Moto there, and a gray Moto here, there was none. It was completely black.
Black Moto jackets are seen all over the place. It accounted for half of the third layer.
So you want to blend in, to appear as if you truly belong in Paris, as if you’re one of them? Put on your black Moto jacket.
The remaining 50% was divided between a trench coat and a blazer.
A black blazer, not just any blazer. I noticed a lot of tan trench coats, but also a lot of black trench coats.
There is a lot of black! I was a little taken aback.
I expected softer colors and more neutrals for spring, but the neutrals were grays and blacks. They weren’t beige or white in color.
The fact that I didn’t see a single white item was also shocking.
You know how white accessories are all the rage in the United States? There were no white accessories in sight.
I didn’t notice any white mules or handbags, other from the white sneakers.
That brings me to the handbag, which is an important component of the mix.
Many of them, I’d guess, were high-end bags like YSL or Chanel.
They were simple and compact! Not big, giant, oversized mom-bags.
They were all leather, and they were all lovely, and they were all high-end, yet they were all simple, traditional, versatile, and effortless.
When I was there, there weren’t many sunglasses because the weather wasn’t really pleasant. I did, however, browse around for sunglass styles and trends.
The frame is very classic, clean, and basic, and it is little large. However, we’re not talking about a huge gigantic frame; rather, we’re talking about a medium-sized frame.
I didn’t notice any jewelry at all. We’re only talking about one component here. It would be quite simple, with only one necklace. It’s all about minimalism.
Not large, clunky earrings.
It’s simply very, very clean and minimal.
Hair & Makeup
The same may be said for hair and makeup. I was really focused on the hair. The hair of the French women was stunning and immaculate. It’s not fussy, and it’s not overdone.
There were no barrel waves in the vicinity. It was truly carefree hair. Clean, slick, gleaming, and bouncy without being excessive.
Hair-wise, there wasn’t much going on.
The same goes for makeup! I’d say the only thing that stood out in terms of makeup was the occasional red lip.
They’d sometimes throw along a scarf as well. That was another significant difference I saw.
You couldn’t walk about without a scarf when I was there many years ago.
You’d get a strange feeling. Everyone was wrapped with a scarf.
Scarves were worn by about 30% of the people this time.
That caught me completely off guard. However, this is where you could inject some personality. So a red lip or a scarf could be worn.
How to Dress Like a French Woman
That’s how the French women dress.
If you’re going to Paris and want to blend in and look like a local, here is what to do:
- Wear a simple black or white blouse with dark blue or black pants.
- You can wear a pair of white or black sneakers, black ankle booties, or ballet flats.
- You can wear a trench coat, a black Moto jacket, or a black blazer.
- Perhaps a scarf, a red lip, and a pair of classic black frame sunglasses.
- You’re done with minimal hair, minimal jewelry, and minimal makeup.
I hope you found this information useful.
I’ve long admired the French sense of style and effortlessness, and I believe we can all learn from them and emulate their classic, elegant, sophisticated, chic, and effortless style.