Timeless, simple and chic: when it comes to style French women just do it differently. From classic Breton stripes paired with a smudged red lip to basket bags and vintage-inspired tea dresses, scroll on for 11 easy ways to nail nonchalant French girl chic.

It’s not as hard as your think to master that laissez-faire attitude of cool French fashion girls. In fact, when it comes to French style, it’s about streamlining your wardrobe, paring back your look and investing in fewer but better pieces. A great black blazer to elevate denim, Breton stripes that never go out of style, or charming vintage-inspired accessories like scarlet Mary-Janes or Jane Birkin vibes baskets. Add to that dishevelled locks and barely-there makeup and you’ve got yourself the inherently cool nonchalance of French girl style.

Great Denim

Denim forms the foundation to so many classic French girl looks, whether paired with a masculine white shirt and black blazer or vintage tee and sweet neckerchief.

The key here is shape and colour. Look for vintage, unfussy shapes from straight legs and a high waist to leg-lengthening flares. For bang on French girl vibes a mid-wash denim always works – think vintage 501s and you’re on the right track, but if you can’t get your hands on any pre-loved, & Other Stories do great understated denim shapes, as do Parisian brand Rouje.

For style inspo, Brigitte Bardot and Françoise Hardy will forever be our favourites, but look to modern influencers such as Camille Charriere and Emmanuelle Koffi for endless styling ops.

The key here is shape and colour - vintage, unfussy cuts and a worn-in mid denim.

 

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Breton Stripes

Even if it feels a little obvious, classic marinere stripes will always add some Gallic charm to your wardrobe. Keep things modern with oversized shapes and luxurious chunky knits – Toteme do great investment striped jumpers – or interesting details like a half-zip sweater. Whether worn with denim or leather pants, Breton stripes are a failsafe, hard-working piece to invest in.

 

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The Classic Black Blazer

With endless styling options, a classic black blazer can pull together a look even if you're wearing a simple white tee and jeans combo. Size up so the look doesn't look overly done.

A Pair of Mary-Janes

Ballet flats are a prerequisite of any Parisian woman’s wardrobe but if you want to take things up a gear, there’s one brand that’s forever being spotted on the feet of France’s most stylish women. Enter, Carel and their signature Mary-Jane shoes. The sensible block heel, rounded toe and traditional three strap buckle give the shoe a girlish charm but pair that with quintessentially tousled hair, vintage denim and a red lip and you’ve got yourself a timeless, cool look.

The brand have been spotted on the likes of Paris-based musician Louise Verneuil and Instagram star Emmanuelle Koffi, as well as our own Alexa Chung, who’s basically made a career of dressing like an honorary French girl.

 

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Masculine Tailoring

Whether it’s a classic crisp white shirt with a snip of lace bra underneath or wide-leg, tailored trousers paired with box-fresh trainers, masculine tailoring is a foundation of many a French woman’s wardrobe.

Think classic, grown-up pieces that will forever stay in your wardrobe.

Whether it's a crisp white shirt or a pair of wide-leg tailored trousers, think classic, grown-up pieces that will forever stay in your wardrobe.

The Classic Trench

Though the classic trench might conjure up reference to British heritage brands like Burberry and Aquascutum, it’s very much part of the French woman’s everyday wardrobe. Wear oversized and open with denim, ballet pumps and a cashmere knit for a look that winks to laissez-faire.

 

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Cute Knitwear

From cherry prints on white mohair to cute details like frilly collars and cuffs, knitwear is where French girls add a little fun to their look.

On the high street, & Other Stories (again! they seriously nail French girl chic) always bring out an array of cute knitted cardigans and jumpers each season. While bonafide French brand Sezane are the masters of sweet, feminine knits, from ballet-inspired wrap cardigans to sexy low-backed sweaters.

Vintage Style Dresses

A silk tea dress with a lace trim or scarlet polka dots with raffia espadrilles are the way to do French girl frocks. Pair with undone hair and lived-in makeup à la Jeanne Damas.

 

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A Chanel-Esque Boucle Jacket

Call it the Chanel effect but a copped bouclé jacket in a monochrome colour palette screams Parisian chic. Obviously the real deal would be nice, but on the high street look to brands like Zara – every season they do a great selection – or French brand, Claudie Pierlot for something a little more investment.

 

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Basket Bag

Make like Jane Birkin and swap your black cross-body for a charming basket bag this summer. Whether paired with a pretty white dress in Provence or with jeans and a blazer in the city, it’s always a failsafe for nailing that understated French girl vibe.

The Frilly White Blouse

We’ve said it before but there’s never not space for another frilly white blouse in the wardrobe. We’ve had our eye on the Chalsie Joan Anna Blouse ever since spotting it on Louise Verneuil, perfectly styled with straigh-leg jeans and scruffy bangs.

 

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From Breton stripes to perfect denim, shop our go-to French girl pieces below…

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