How to Dress Like a Parisian: 5 French Fashion Staples For Spring!

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 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!

fashion staples for spring

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 almost 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Trendy patterns can feel outdated in a couple of months after the trend dies off.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 

The Trench

Collage image featuring trenchs titled "How to dress like a parisian trenchs"

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 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.

This lightweight option from The Drop is a sophisticated take on the classic trench silhouette. It comes in four timeless colors (a rich brown, a creamy ivory, an understated green, and of course, charcoal black). On a similar note, this stunning trench from Calvin Klein is a fantastic option if you want something a little more fitted.

Other options are this exquisite faux suede trench coat jacket and this raincoat trench, (which I own and wear all the time!) is perfect for outdoor activities.
This stylish and classic trench coat is the #1 best selling one on Amazon and is a great choice!


Collage image featuring blazers titled "How to dress like a parisian shirt blazers"

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 fashionable blazer by The Drop (which I own!) has a loose fit and a classic style. Similarly, this lightweight striped blazer is made of a stretchy fabric with linen and cotton 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 when you want to dress up but not feel too formal.

This Rumi blazer style 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!


Collage image featuring denim titled "How to dress like a parisian denim"

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 in almost every shape! These Lee regular-fit jeans are a classic option (my go-to jeans;-) that work 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, Levis 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.

Bonus Piece:

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 put together by savvy influencers. I just love the inspiration and have purchased several pieces for myself!


Collage image featuring dresses titled "How to dress like a parisian shirt dresses"

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 outfit 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 shirt dress that’s both casual and elegant.


Collage image featuring shoes titled "How to dress like a parisian shirt shoes"

Go with wedges, flatsor high heels, but choose 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 makes it a perfect shoe for summer walks.

For those who love the look but are not fans of high-heeled espadrilles… I’ve got you covered! You’ll love these White Mountain wedge sandals. The striped fabric teams up perfectly with the jute wedge, giving your outfit a chic nautical vibe instantly (perfect for spring!) These are extra comfy thanks to their cushioned insole and ankle strap.

Similarly,  these LifeStride shoes (come 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 fit. To continue with 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 colorful square-shaped silk scarf that has an Hermès look to it, or this stunning black and white 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 March 2024

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  1. Love this post!!! Much needed outfit ideas!

    1. I’m so glad that you found these ideas helpful!

    1. I know what you mean Barb! We get tired of our old pieces so that’s a good time to turn to accessories!❤️

  2. I like the ideas for clothes. Let’s face it.
    You’re creative in every aspect .
    Thank you for sharing your ideas…💛

  3. I find the one take away here if budget is tight, is to purchase a quality neutral blazer. If a rebel, try a fun color like bubblegum! Seek natural fibers like cotton, wool, or alpaca. As always, take good care of your clothing!

    Instead of jeans, pull on pants. (no zipper or buttons)
    Instead of a tired button down or boring white t-shirt, try a turtle neck. (it gives an overlook sleek appearance)

    PS. Other example: black turtle neck, black pants topped a lavender cashmere poncho with beautiful silver pin with black suede flats.

    PPS. Hey, Janet do ladies still enjoy hats?? 😉

    1. Some great ideas from you as well! Yes, ladies still do enjoy hats and I know that I personally have a few in my collection!

  4. Source for the white shirt with black tie please?

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t have a source for that one

  5. Oh my! Such an all-encompassing list, love it. Now if I could find clothes to fit my body. I’m not a shopper and since retiring a few yrs. ago I’ve slowly gotten rid of “work clothes” so the wardrobe is in desperate need of attention. Thank you for this.

    1. I am so glad that you liked this one CG and since I work from home I know the issue of casual but chic! Hope this helped.

  6. Thank you for this post. It’s great info. I have to disagree about high-waisted jeans, though. I don’t think they are flattering at all! To me, they will always be “mom jeans.”

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Lizzy! My 30 yr old very fashionable daughter has a pair of high waisted jeans. I think perhaps it has to fit one correctly to not appear frumpy.

  7. Great blog today. With Spring at our door I needed inspiration. The French do have it. I learned long ago to buy interchangeable quality. Thanks

    1. Yes, just look to the French who are so far ahead of us in style! Enjoy your weekend M