Five Ways to Dress Like a French Girl

June 7, 2016

Five Ways to Dress like a French Girl | Alyssa Pacaut

French girls are effortlessly chic but you can be just a stylish by following these five rules.

Build a Foundation of Basics

First things first, you need to build up your basics so that you have great foundation. You’ve likely seen or read an article about the basics of a French wardrobe. It usually includes a list of basics like a white tee, trench coat, striped top, black pants, and ballet flats among other things.

While you don’t necessarily need to purchase these exact items, it helps to have a solid foundation of basics that  you can combine into an infinite number of outfits. Just make sure that you only purchase clothing that fits your lifestyle and taste.

Shop Less and Shop Strategically

When the French go shopping, they typically go with a purpose such as replacing a worn-out item or buying something for a special event. Similar to the One In, One Out rule, this style of shopping ensures that you always have space in your closet.

It also keeps you from “just browsing” and spending money on something cheap or trendy that you don’t really want. Not that I’m guilty of that but then again I’m not 100% French yet.

Know When to Invest

The French always seem to know when to invest in clothing. They won’t spend much on the plain tees and jeans that make up the foundation of a wardrobe, but they will spurge on a few key investment pieces each year.

Investment pieces vary from person to person but you could invest in a well-made pair of leather boots or a designer piece you’ve had your eye on for a while. Other items that typically land in the investment category include specialized clothing for fancy occasions and colder weather.

The key with these types of purchases are that they are made infrequently. You may love shoes but there’s no need to own a million pairs, and you only need a one or two good coats to get you through the winter. Most importantly, investing every once in a while usually means you will be spending less and therefore have more money for wine (huzzah!).

The Art of Repetition

Since the art of repetition is ingrained in the French, they don’t think twice about wearing the same great outfit again and again. Just think about Carine Roitfeld and her winning combination of a silk blouse, pencil skirt, and sky-high heels. Or try to imagine Emmanuelle Alt in anything but skinny jeans (I know, it’s hard).

They wear these uniforms because they know it’s flattering and makes them look good. They also wear it with confidence and have zero regrets about repeating an outfit. And when you think about it, why would anyone ever apologize for looking good?

Rules are Made to Be Broken

If this is all starting to feel a bit limiting, you will probably appreciate this next tip. Rules are great and all, but go ahead a break one every once in a while.

Only wear neutral colors? Buy the bright yellow sweater. Tend to stick to vintage styles? Go for something in a super modern cut. Shake it up and do something different, because in the end fashion should be fun.


French Girls are effortlessly chic, but now that we’ve cracked the code you can be just like them. A quick recap on what we’ve learned:

• Build up the basics in your closet so that you have a great foundation with which to work.
• Try to shop with a purpose and hone in on what you really need.
• Know that it’s okay to make an investment and spend money on a special item.
• Learn the art of repetition and don’t shy away from creating a uniform.
• Break the rules! Life is too short to be super serious about your clothing.

Zat ees eet! Now that you’re armed with the rules of French style (and also have the power to break them), you can dress with ease and go out into the world as a stylish woman.

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