How to Dress Like a Parisian: 5 Fashion Staples For Spring!
Trying to fine-tune your wardrobe and achieve that charming je ne sais quoi French women possess no matter their age?
Keep reading to see the ultimate five clothing pieces that define a comfy and chic French fashion style you can wear all year round, and then shop my personal favorites below!
If you’ve been here before, you probably know that I’m a fan of the french style, not just when it comes to home decor.
Today, I decided to share some of my tips and style ideas after spending years surrounding myself with French fashion influences.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s start with some general tips french women swear by.
1. Fit is everything.
Whether you love a fitted outfit or the over-size trend is more your cup of tea, there’s only one rule to make any style work; it has to fit you correctly. Always check for how the garment fits around your shoulders and neckline, and the sleeve length, and always make sure you’re wearing the correct bra size.
If you can’t find the perfect fit, visit your local tailor and make every piece in your closet work for your body, not the other way around! It’s really not worth it to keep those slacks you used to wear to the office 20 years ago unless you’re going to use them. Same thing with the jeans that you think you might fit into someday.
2. Add An Element Of Surprise
Add an element of surprise to elevate your outfit and make it uniquely yours. After observing French women and their fashion choices for years, I’ve noticed a trend that seems never to fail; there’s always one surprise factor that makes even the most basic outfit enter the chic category.
Whether it is adding red lipstick to a white tee and denim combo, a stunning designer purse, or a silk scarf, these add-ons can elevate a simple outfit and make it easy to look and feel stylish.
3. When In Doubt, Go Neutral
Keeping a cohesive color palette will help you build a collection of interchangeable pieces that seamlessly work together. I most always wear black and white tees with jeans or black slacks and then dress it up from there!
When picking your French-inspired fashion staples, go conservative in the pattern department.
Trendy patterns can feel outdated in a couple of months after the trend dies off. Stay away from trends if you want to achieve the French effortlessly chic look.
4. Comfort Will Always Be In Style.
Comfort equals elegance. This may sound cliché, but truer words were never spoken.
Feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin (and outfit choice) reads as instantly stylish, so don’t go against your intuition and enjoy fashion your own way.
5. Get A French Fashion Muse.
Emulating some of your favorite French women and how they put together their outfits, it’s a fantastic way to get inspiration and adapt those outfits to your daily street style.
Although Jane Birkin is British (shocker, I know!), she will always be the quintessential French girl in most of our minds. Along with Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Carla Bruni, and Isabelle Huppert, 73-year-old Jane is still the leading muse when we talk about French elegance. And the icon of all icons…Coco Chanel.
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
– Coco Chanel
I highly recommend researching some real French outfit inspiration online (if you can’t go to France) and studying!
5 Key Pieces To Nail The French Look This Spring – Dress Like a Parisian Girl
You need a trench coat or jacket if you want to nail the cool yet classy French fashion style! This iconic fashion staple is one of the most quintessential pieces when we think of a typical French closet.
A must-have for in-between seasons, this outerwear piece is equally fashionable as it is practical.
From tailored pieces to relaxed ones, there are many styles to choose from that will fit your body and lifestyle to a tee.
The Noa trench comes in three classy and timeless colors that will match pretty much anything else in your wardrobe. It also has a removable belt so you can work to create a more relaxed silhouette by taking the belt off.
If you like the trench but want something more vibrant, this open-front trench by Grace Atwood is simply stunning! It definitely has a more sporty-chic style but can easily be dressed up!
Other options are this exquisite faux suede trench coat jacket and this raincoat trench, (which I just purchased!) is perfect for outdoor activities.
If you’re looking for a modern spin on the classic trench, a trench vest like this is one is also a great choice.
This thought may seem like a no-brainer, but blazers are often taken for granted in American styles. We forget how incredibly adaptable they are and how sophisticated they make any outfit look. And…French fashion is all about the blazers!
Dress it down with distressed jeans, and elevate it with high-waisted silk trousers. Or throw it on top of your workout ensemble! I live in a year-round warm climate and still carry a blazer wherever I go. There’s nothing that a good blazer can’t fix!
Perfect to have in your closet as a key spring piece, this Ramona blazer has a loose fit and a classic style. Similarly, this houndstooth blazer is made of stretchy fabric that will keep you comfortable even on hot summer days while being stylish at the same time.
A blazer vest is an understated stylish third piece that’s ideal for those warm spring days where you want to dress up but not feel too formal.
This Rumi blazer vest in the stunning dusty sage green goes with almost everything and comes in other colors. I’m sure it will become a staple piece in your wardrobe!
A pair of jeans may be the essential clothing item to nail the all-American look, but French women know precisely how to Parisian it up!
Forget about the ripped, low-rise, white-washed denim, and opt for a classy pair that flatters your figure. As a golden rule, a fitted pair of straight-leg, high-waisted jeans make any body type look fantastic, and if it’s a darker wash, even better.
The bootcut style is coming back for a very logical reason: it looks amazing on almost every shape! These Lee regular-fit jeans are a classic option that works great. My advice? Try to go for mid and high rise, always and at any age.
If we’re talking iconic pieces, these Levi’s women’s classic bootcut jeans are IT with over 12K ratings! With a wonderfully mixed blend of cotton and spandex, these are comfortable but keep their shape after many washes. Plus, Levi has a great shade range!
With a stretchy fabric that’s both soft to the touch but sturdy enough to hold its shape through time, Brandolino’s signature straight cut jeans are another fabulous jeans option to nail your french-inspired outfits.
Not a fan of constricted styles when it comes to pants? Go for a pair of knitted culotte pants!
The stretchiness of a knitted fabric is deliciously comfortable, and it adds a relaxed polish to an everyday outfit.
These bootleg yoga capris pants are a great example! Even though they are designed for exercising and yoga, the finish makes them an excellent option when running errands. The heavy fabric gives them a nice shape while keeping comfort at its highest!
Another alternative for comfy and knitted pants is the pull-on loose-fit cropped sweater pants from The Drop Store! If you aren’t familiar with The Drop Store, it’s Amazon’s new shop to find all the latest in fashion and put together by savvy influencers. I just love the inspiration and have purchased several pieces for myself!
The ideal balance between flattering your body and feeling comfortable has a name, and that’s a shirt-dress!
If you live in warmer weather, the best fabrics for these dresses are linen, silk, viscose, and poplin. You can layer your shirt-dress when the colder season approaches, wearing it with tights and boots. This clothing item is one of the most functional ones to have in your closet.
One of my favorite dresses when I want something classy, comfortable, and feminine is this woven shirt dress. I find this fit and flare style is universally flattering and it can be paired with a variety of accessories. The 3/4 button cuff sleeves, tie belt, and pockets are tailoring details that make this dress a wonderful option if you want a comfortable but elevated look.
This dress by Amazon Essentials makes it so easy to put together a lovely in no time! This shirt dress is a modern twist to the classic sporty dress. To add a french-inspired aesthetic to it, pair it with flat sandals and a crossbody bag made of organic material or a macrame tote bag.
Another option for a shirt dress with a summery feel is this Calvin Klein shirt dress that’s both casual and elegant.
Go with wedges, flats, or high heels, but chose to wear espadrilles if you really want to make your outfit have that French vibe. Espadrilles are picking up momentum in the states right now, but they’ve been the go-to shoe style of French women for decades! Can you blame them? Comfy, versatile, and incredibly chic, espadrilles are a must.
The Mindra espadrille sandals from Lucky Brand have a gorgeous wedge with a memory foam insole that makes it extra comfortable. The frayed edges and toe bands add a bit of rustic-glam appeal while the comfortable wedge height and memory foam insole make it a perfect shoe for summer walks.
For those who love some comfort but still want to wear heels… you will love these White Mountain espadrilles with a jute bottom and higher rope wedge. All the colors to choose from are lovely but the natural ones and the white and blue striped pair Francophile stole my heart!
If you love the Espadrille look but most options are too high or uncomfortable, I got you! These LifeStride shoes (comes in lots of colors!) are a mix of the espadrille look with the comfort of a loafer. Personally, I love the elastic bands, it really makes a difference if you need that extra bit of support.
Espadrilles, not your style? I get it and although a lovely style it can be difficult to wear if you need a wider fir. To continue within the French-style inspired shoes, I would recommend going for something like these lovely H-Band Slide Sandals. We’ve seen this pair endless times on the chicest of French influencers and it’s easy to see why!
This sandal style is super comfy but polished. It gives a relaxed effortless flair to a glammed-up outfit, especially during a summer night out. But, you can pair it with boyfriend jeans or linen pants and you have a winner outfit for everyday life!
Here is where to add some color and trend!
“The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”
– Coco Chanel
We can’t forget scarves if we’re talking about French-inspired style! A scarf has the ability to take any regular sporty outfit into a sophisticated athleisure one. The best thing about scarves is that there are tons of different styles, sizes, fabrics, and patterns to choose from! Pick one that resonates with your own personal taste and bonus points for we mature ladies – scarves hide the neck!
Although I always recommend going for something timeless, scarves also allow us a more budget-friendly way to add color and trends to our closets!
Adding a little color to your spring outfit is easy with this stunning square-shaped silk scarf or this colorful one! There are beautiful colors to choose from, but I’m personally loving anything with a floral print.
If you want to bring a relaxed look to a night-out look, this lightweight shawl in a meshed style is probably your best bet. This stunning one has an organic summery texture that’s just the prettiest.
For something that you will wear for years to come, opt for the ultimate classic and get a Lauren Ralph Brooke Silk Twill Scarf. You can wrap it up in your bag handles, use it as a headband or add a glam touch to your everyday outfits in a refined way.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read this Fashion Essentials For A Stylish Spring You Can’t Miss!
This post written in 2020 was updated in April 2022