Essentials Of A French Wardrobe

Essentials Of A French Wardrobe

French women are some of the most chic and timeless-dressed women, and most of us wonder how to emulate their classic and elevated style. The French philosophy is pretty simple when it comes to dressing and is one you can achieve anywhere you live. You don’t have to be French or live in Paris to dress like a French woman. Today, I am sharing the effortless essentials of a French wardrobe, which are timeless and simple.

French women rely on certain pieces which they consider their hero pieces. They choose to invest wisely in quality items that will last for years to come. They are not into trends, don’t buy something just because it’s on sale, or worry about what everyone else is wearing.

The pieces they buy are crafted from quality fabrics, versatile with other pieces they own, and reflect that effortless French girl vibe regardless of age. Here are the essentials of a French wardrobe and pieces to think about adding to your closet as we head into a new season.

Essential French Wardrobe Jackets

Essentials of a French wardrobe to have in your closet to look stylish and chic.

Trench Coat

The ultimate iconic coat for all seasons, especially during fall and spring. You can wear a trench coat with jeans, work pants, and even dresses.

The trench is so classy in either camel, black, or even navy, and you can buy a short or long version depending on what you want. A trench coat is part of every French wardrobe essentials list for good reason.

My favorite trench coat is the Scott Trench from Sézane but other places to get a chic trench coat are MANGO, & Other Stories, and J.Crew.


My favorite piece of clothing on the French wardrobe essentials list is a blazer. A blazer is chic, polished, also incredibly versatile. You can wear it during the day with jeans and a T-shirt and dress it up at night with pants, a silk camisole, and heels.

French women like to wear blazers in neutral colors such as black, navy, and grey, so keep these colors in mind when choosing a blazer. A blazer is also one of those investment pieces because you can wear it for years to come and it will never go out of style.

Buy a blazer like the Willa from J.Crew, the Christie from Sézane, or investment blazers from Sandro or Veronica Beard.

Leather Jacket

A black or brown leather jacket is another French wardrobe essential for that chic, cool girl French vibe. This jacket is simple, edgy, and makes a statement. Wear it with straight-leg jeans, a T-shirt, and ankle boots for the ultimate French girl look.


Wool Coat

During the winter season, you will find French women wearing wool coats to stay warm while looking stylish.

Go for a beautiful long black winter wool coat. Other options would be a gorgeous camel wool coat or navy, the Parisian woman’s choice of color.

Essential wardrobe pieces to have in your closet to look like a French woman.

tweed jacket

Chic, stylish, and elevated a tweed jacket can add polish to any outfit instantly. These days there are so many tweed jacket options you can add to your capsule wardrobe.

Wear a tweed jacket casual with jeans, a silk cami, and ballet flats or Mary Jane’s. You can also dress up a tweed jacket and wear it over a dress or with a slip skirt.

Try a tweed jacket from J.Crew, or MANGO for the ultimate French wardrobe essentials.


Essential French Tops

Button Down Shirt

One of the most basic French wardrobe essentials you can own is a button-down which is incredibly versatile and a staple in any French woman’s closet. Go with a white, blue, and stripe button-down for the most versatility and options.

This top can be worn with jeans, pants, skirts, and shorts in fabrics like cotton or silk. A button-down is also one of those classic French staples you can wear year-round under sweaters, blazers, and jackets.

Striped Shirt

Nothing is more French than a striped shirt. You will see them everywhere and French people of all ages wearing one. You can wear this iconic wardrobe staple in various versions like a crewneck, button-down, or even a sweater.

My favorite stripe tops are from Sézane and an affordable one from J.Crew.


Cashmere Sweater

Elegant and elevated, cashmere sweaters are a must for any French woman during the winter season. You can layer a button down under them, wear them under a blazer, or by themselves under a jacket.

Go with neutral colors such as black, navy, or cream for a classic look. Some of my favorite cashmere pieces come from Jenni Kayne, Everlane, and VINCE.


The French love their knitwear especially during the winter season when a cardigan comes in handy for layers. You will see them wearing cropped, vintage, ribbed, and neutral cardigans.

French women consider knitwear one of the key French wardrobe-essentials. A popular cardigan is the Gaspard from Sézane, which I own in several colors as well.


A turtleneck is one of those winter wardrobe pieces that is stylish and warm. You can layer it under a blazer, wear it with trousers, or even jeans and pointed ankle boots for a chic and polished look. My favorite turtleneck is the Jacob from Sézane due to its lower neckline.


Essential Bottoms

Woman walking wearing jeans and a blazer for what to pack for paris in the fall.

Straight-Leg Jeans

French women and Parisian women, in particular, tend to stick with straight-leg jeans in blue with no distressing or holes of any kind. Wear the jeans with a blazer, t-shirt or sweater, and flats or boots.

A few favorite straight-leg jeans are from Madewell, Levi’s, Everlane, and AGOLDE.

Flare Jeans

Flare jeans are another option that is part of French wardrobe essentials. They are leg-lengthening and easy to dress up for a night out. Go with a dark rigid color such as these J.Crew Skinny Flare, these from & Other Stories, or this investment pair from FRAME.

High-Waisted Pants

High-waisted pants are an easy way to dress up a look for the office or even a night out. Wear them casually with a sweater or lace top during the day.

Switch out to a silk cami with a blazer and heels for the evening. My favorite pants to wear are those from Favorite Daughter and those from J.Crew.


Essential French Shoes


Loafers are one of my favorite French shoe styles to own and also to wear during the spring and fall seasons. They are another chic shoe option that tends to be more flat-style, although you can get lug sole loafers as well.

Ballet Flats

The ballet flat is about as timeless as you can get when it comes to a shoe. They are practical for walking those Parisian streets, a classic French wardrobe essential, never go out of style, and can be worn during any season.

Try ballet flats from M.Gemi, Everlane, Madewell, and Nordstrom.


Sophisticated and elevated are two words to describe the French girl shoe, slingbacks, which are a must-have French shoe style to own.

You can dress these up casual chic with trousers and a silk top. Or dress them down but still elevated with jeans and a blazer.

Mary Janes

Mary Janes or block heels are often referred to as the perfect French shoe style to own when you want an elevated heel plus comfort.

They are pump shoes with a strap across the top of the foot and come either with a tiny heel or flat. You can see more Mary Jane options as well as other French shoes to own in this post.


Sneakers have become a part of the French girl’s wardrobe essentials over the years. You can find French women wearing sneakers from VEJA, Stan Smith, Converse, and even New Balance these days, especially in Paris.



During the fall and winter seasons, you will see French women wearing ankle boots to keep their feet warm and stylish in various fabrics and colors. My favorite ankle boot this season has been the Axelle Ankle Boot from Sézane, which I have worn all season long.

Tall boots are also a French shoe style for the cold winter months when you want to still look elevated and put together. I love to wear tall boots with knit dresses and silk skirts and sweaters.


Espadrilles are another iconic French shoe style to own especially for the spring and summer seasons. Whenever I think of Espadrilles, it always reminds me of St. Tropez and somewhere in the South of France.

I own the Carina Espadrilles in both ivory and black and wear them all summer long with dresses and skirts.


Sandals are of course the ultimate style for the spring and summer seasons. They are classic and timeless, come in a variety of colors and styles and you can wear them with basically any outfit.

One you will find French women wearing during the summer season is the French brand, K Jacques St. Tropez. The sandals are sexy, comfortable, and still handmade in France.

Evening Shoes

A favorite pair of evening shoes I love to wear casually or dressed up are these Gloria Sandals from Sézane which are super chic and comfortable with the block heel.

Kitten heels are a stylish option as well for the evening like this pair from Inez, and these from J.Crew.

On my list for evening shoes is this iconic pair from Manolo Blahnik, which I try on every time I am in Paris. One day, I will add this French brand to my repertoire.


French Wardrobe Essential Accessories

Leather Crossbody Bag

Invest in a classic and timeless handbag in a neutral color. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a designer bag, by any means. French women carry quality bags that complement their overall look. Go for bags from Sézane, French brand A.P.C., or even places like J.Crew and MANGO, which have chic yet affordable options.

Tote Bag

The perfect bag to carry for work or school essentials is a tote bag. When you’re walking around in Paris, you’ll notice most women carrying their purses plus another tote bag of some sort. Brands such as Longchamp, Sézane, and YSL are all popular.


Packing for Paris in Spring with a market tote.

Market Bag

For the spring and summer seasons, a French market bag is one of these quintessential French things all French women own. Wear it with everything from jeans and shorts to dresses and skirts.

You can purchase some beautiful market bags at varying price points from ETSY, J.Crew, and GAP. Or go with a designer one from Loewe, YSL, or Chloé.

Variety of Scarves

A great way to add some chic to any outfit is with a silk scarf which has been a French woman’s staple accessory for years. They will wear them with a trench coat and jeans in the Spring and a wool blazer in the cooler months.

Minimal Jewelry

French women tend to pick jewelry pieces that are more timeless and classic versus costume jewelry or trendy pieces. Go with a delicate necklace, or simple pair of earrings, and don’t wear too much at one time.


French Essentials

French wardrobe essentials which are timeless and classic looking.

French Fashion Brands

Here are the French fashion brands I shop from for the best French pieces.

  • Sézane
  • ba&sh Paris
  • Sandro Paris
  • Maje

Brands With French-Inspired Clothing

These are brands I shop that carry basic French-inspired pieces such as button-downs, striped tops, great denim, blazers, ballet flats, tweed jackets, and more.

  • J.Crew
  • & Other Stories
  • Veronica Beard
  • Net-A-Porter
  • H & M

This article contains affiliate links, if you should make a purchase I will make a small commission, which helps to support this small business. Merci

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