Sitting on a bench in a white dress in Luxembourg Gardens

Advice On How To Dress Like A French Woman

Are you curious about the secret to a perfect French wardrobe? French women are renowned for the way they dress and how they look so effortlessly put together yet always stylish. Want to know the secret? It’s not anything special, but it might change the way you look at how you dress.

What’s the French Woman’s Secret

The secret to a perfect French wardrobe is all in how you carry yourself and live your life. But, what could this possibly mean?

On a recent trip to Paris, this is what I learned from Cecil, a beautiful and very elegant French woman who works at the hotel we stayed within Saint Germain-des-Prés.

One morning I came downstairs and Cecil was sitting at her desk in the front hotel lobby. Once she saw me, she proceeded to get up from her chair, walk around the desk, and stand right in front of me. I nervously caught her eyeing me up and down and became very nervous.

She looked at me and said, “this outfit you will be wearing 5 years from now, it’s very classic and timeless.” I excitedly gave her several Merci’s and said I look to French women for outfit inspiration. By the way, I was wearing this white dress, belt, and Hermès sandals.

Cecil shook her head no and said we are not that way anymore. Maybe we once were but the younger generation doesn’t dress appropriately anymore.

You Shouldn’t Dress Casual

I proceeded to ask her what she meant. Cecil told me that the younger generation now looks to America for the fashion and well, we dress too casual.

I clarified with you mean, yoga pants and athletic wear.

Cecil said yes, she doesn’t understand why someone would wear athletic wear outside of working out. She then told me the best quote I’ve ever heard.

To dress casual in one’s life is to be casual in one’s life, and that is unacceptable!

Cecil

Cecil then went on to discuss the way one should express themselves regarding fashion, food, and how they live. You should always want to live elegantly and with sophistication she said.

For instance, you will never see a French woman walking around in yoga pants and a hoodie, that just doesn’t exist in their culture. Even though the younger generation looks to America for fashion they haven’t jumped on the athletic wear train yet and probably won’t ever.

What you will see though are women who look very much put together in a simple and classic way. Cecil was dressed very stylishly in black trousers, a navy sweater, a skinny black belt around her waist, and kitten heels.

What Do French Women Wear

French women wear clothes that are stylish, versatile, comfortable, and timeless. They follow these rules when it comes to dressing.

  • Neutral colors
  • Minimalist basics
  • Always quality over quantity, something our culture struggles with
  • No logos
  • Clothes that fit properly, visit a tailor if needed

Simple items like wide-leg jeans, a basic tee with loafers or white sneakers, and a beautiful handbag.

They don’t wear clothing that has labels all over it or lots of bright colors either except in the Summer mostly in the form of dresses or skirts.

One of my favorite things to do in Paris is to sit and people watch while taking pictures of all the amazing outfits walking around. I found everything from stripe tops to designer handbags to jeans, to blazers, black pants, and classic flats. I took all of these pictures while out in Saint Germain.

All of these women are dressed very simply, elegant, and stylish. These are all outfits we could be wearing 5 years from now.

What do you guys think? Are you guys in favor of dressing less casually like Cecil? Or, do you prefer more casual?

Want to know more about French Wardrobe Essentials?

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2 Comments

  1. I live in Florida and I admit that often very casual us all I can muster. I know how sweaty I’ll get just running errands in an air conditioned car. But I do try to wear nicer shorts, a good looking hat and nice shoes. Big believer in caring for and cleaning my shoes, even sneakers. I adore the worn, jeans cut offs but I keep them at home. When I go to lunch or dinner or out I tend to dress less casually than most because I like to at least try to look nice. Also, I have few purses/bags but they’re all high quality and I take care of them.

    1. Hi Marianne, oh yes, my brother lives in Florida so I understand how muggy it can be there. However, sounds like you are already doing amazing things with your wardrobe. I love the idea of cleaning shoes, that’s such a terrific reminder. Also, the higher quality bags/purses are so key. We are so used to buying and buying that it’s so nice to have less but with higher quality.