Fashion

How to Dress Like a French Girl

by Lyla Bhalla-Ladd

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French Girl style has remained a classic crowd-pleaser for every season and age. The soft, effortless ensembles evoke the European vibe we all want to achieve. How do they do it? The capsule wardrobe. 

Left: a Paris Cafe in the royal gardens with outdoor seating between trees and the buildings, Left: a woman standing in front of a french apartment door wearing a white button up and tan shorts
Top: Vrai Paris @javiernapi / Jeans outfit @kate.chernik
Above: Paris cafe in the Palais Royal gardens @alexandrine_ar / Button-up style @home.at.number35

The key to good style that is not curated by multiple stylists and endless funds, is a few high-quality pieces. The pieces must be versatile for both different ensembles and different seasons. Let’s go through some of the best pieces to help start building the French capsule wardrobe.

Linen

Left: woman sitting in a chair in a white linen button-up shirt reading a book with her head covered by a sun hat, Right: Paris flower shop
Linen shirt @issue27.pl / Paris flowers @thetravellingapartment

The best material to have in your closet. Keep linen shirts, pants, and dresses around Spring through Fall for simple pieces and layers. I love this classic blouse and this stunning button-up from Marc O’Polo. These long shorts from ASOS will be a great stylish addition to your wardrobe, and very breathable for summer.

Color

Left: Paris street with cafes and the Sacre Cœur in the background, a man plays a guitar, Right: a woman wearing green and pink patterned pants and a tan sweater standing against a stone wall
Montmarte café @inseinelyparis / Colorful pants @sy.b.illa

Don’t let minimalists trick you into thinking capsule wardrobes can only consist of white, black, and brown! While neutrals are easy to style, you do not need to abandon color in the name of convenience. Just try to stay away from bright neons, and you’ll be fine. While the all-black ensemble is a French staple, a bright sweater or accessory is no stranger to the French Girl aesthetic, too.  Try a pop of color in these NA-KD sandals, or this Zadig & Voltaire jumper.

A fantastic pair of jeans

Left: a woman standing next to a mint green vespa wearing jeans and a white blouse, Right: a rainy and overcast Paris street with a cafe and a biker
Jeans @ninanna_ / Paris streets @carolina.ldno

Straight-leg, cropped flare, wide-leg, skinny, anything you want- but make this an investment piece. Good quality denim will last you years and fit any season, allowing you to breathe in spring and keeping you warm in the winter. 

Here are some of my favorites:

We love these ripped Maje jeans, or

high-rise white Levi’s or,

classic Zadig & Voltaire straight-leg cut

Button-up shirts

The ultimate layering piece that will immediately distinguish your new style. Perfect paired with jeans and over a tank, or with a flowy dress- like this cotton one from Maje. I love this two-colored shirt from Zadig & Voltaire, or this classic blue striped one from ASOS.

Midi and Maxi skirts and dresses

Left: café Milou in Paris, Right: a woman standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and The Seine in a white and red patterned maxi dress with a baguette in her bag
Cafe Milou @inseinelyparis / Parisienne maxi dress @nolwennlemoigne

These are a perfect example of a year-round capsule wardrobe staple. Maxi skirts seem to be a Spring/Summer item, but paired with a knit sweater and a knee-high boot they make a chic fall look as well. This pleated skirt from SAMSØE SAMSØE would look great with brown boots, and this navy Ralph Lauren maxi is a classic French stable.

Blazers

Left: a woman standing wearing jeans and a white blazer, Right: a woman standing on her bike wearing a white button-up shirt in front of the Eiffel Tower
White blazer and jeans @ninanna_ / Linen shirt @liumelendez

Layer a blazer on top of everything. If it’s a weekend, roll the sleeves up. 

Try this light blue jacket for a lighter summer look.

Left: a woman wearing a linen tan blouse, and white linen pants in the streets of Paris, Right: a woman standing while looking at the Eiffel Tower wearing white pants and a brown coat and a brown hat
Linen shirt and pants @hanimoon_younik / French style @lapresqueparisienne

When it comes to mastering this chic, European style, remember not to overdo it. The pieces are simple and clean. You may not have the time to shop in Copenhagen for knits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like you do. 

Left: a woman standing in a field of red flowers, wearing a maxi dress and a sun hat, Right: two women walking down steps in Paris, wearing trench coats
Maxi dress @deareverest / French trench coat @deareverest

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Written by Lyla Bhalla-Ladd for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum GuideHaven In, and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Lyla Bhalla-Ladd

Originally from Washington, DC, Lyla is studying Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has just recently finished her year abroad in Paris where she spent her time running around the city tracking Paris Fashion Week runways and discovering up-and-coming ateliers. She loves Paris, and all things historical and classic. Now living in LA, she spends her free time scouting all that California has to offer in fashion and writing. View Lyla Bhalla-Ladd's Website

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