How To Dress Like A French Woman This Summer

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Here are the French woman’s summer wardrobe essentials! Being French, I love to write about French summer style —check out my previous posts on the summer French capsule wardrobe, the French-girl style on vacation, or the summer French shoe styles—. Today, I wanted to dive a little bit into the French summer wardrobe by listing the ten summer wardrobe essentials that are in every French woman’s closet.

Regardless of whether or not you’ll be strolling the streets of Paris this summer, you can easily capture the French girl vibe with Parisian-style staples. Keep scrolling below to learn how to master the French look this summer with ten très chic fashion staples that should unequivocally have a place in your wardrobe. From the perfect linen blazer to denim shorts to charming canvas tote bags and chic white trousers, these pieces will emanate that je ne sais quoi all season long.

5 French Fashion Rules To Dress Effortlessly Chic This Summer

Before diving into the French woman’s summer wardrobe essentials, here are five fashion rules French women follow religiously in order to dress effortlessly chic in the summer season.

  1. First, when it comes to the summer wardrobe, French women stick to classic shades like navy, white, red, beige, khaki as well as earthy tones like tan and rust.
  2. In terms of prints, always go for timeless patterns like polka dots, gingham (“Vichy” in French), and simple florals patterns which will always be in style.
  3. French women, in general, don’t like to be over-sexy and tend to avoid summer dresses or shorts that are too short, too tight, or too revealing.
  4. In terms of fabrics, seek cotton, silk, or linen which are light and breathable summer fabrics that are perfect to wear when the weather gets hot.
  5. Finally, French women don’t dedicate their wardrobes to new trends but instead, they incorporate different wardrobe staples based on the season.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the French summer basics that will never go out of style and can all be worn together. If you have a thing for French style, keep reading to shop my selection of the best summer outfits from Sézane, H&M, Mango, Net-A-Porter, Reformation, and more.

The 10 Wardrobe Staples That Define French Woman’s Summer Style

1. White Tanks & T-shirts

White tanks and white cotton t-shirts are some of the staples of the French summer wardrobe. Indeed, a white tank is the prettiest thing you can pair with jeans, skirts, shorts, and everything else in summer. In terms of designs, prefer a well-fitted type of T-shirt. And, in order to get that très chic French look this summer, make sure to choose a plain T-shirt or tank top without any details —no pleats, flounce, or buttons—.

2. Oversized Button-Down Shirts

A white, light blue or striped button-down shirt is an absolute must for summer. This French summer staple is so versatile! Indeed, you can wear it at work, on vacation while you’re traveling, or over your shorts in the evening for a refined look. I really love oversized button-down shirts as they are so comfortable to wear and très chic in summer.

3. A Linen Blazer

It’s no secret that French women love to wear blazers! And the linen blazer is the perfect lightweight jacket for summer. There’s a major difference between summer blazers and your average wear-to-work-over button-down blazer. Indeed, blazers French women love to wear in summer come in fresh colors (opt for beige), are lightweight, made from breathable materials, and look good over just about everything in your summer wardrobe. From classic and tailored to trendy and forward, there’s sure to be a linen blazer you’ll love in the selection ahead.

4. One-Piece Swimsuits

The one-piece swimsuit is one of the staples of the French summer wardrobe. This shape of swimsuit suits all body types and is the most flattering swimsuit style for large and small chests. The one-piece swimsuit like this one from Eres is an iconic summer staple with a retro silhouette feeling particularly Parisian. Lean into Parisian chic by wearing it as a bodysuit and pair it with white pants and a pair of chic sandals. For more, check out my article on the swimwear styles French women swear by. By the way, Sézane’s swimwear collection is now available!

5. Bermuda & Bike Shorts

A pair of shorts is the item that gets the most use throughout the summer months. This staple of the French summer wardrobe is my go-to summer savior. I usually wear it with a pair of flat sandals and a basic white T-shirt for an easy, effortless daytime look. You can opt for a pair of denim bermuda shorts like @camillecharriere or black bike shorts with an oversized white button-down like @leiasfez. French women generally avoid wearing shorts that are too sexy, too tight, or too revealing. Indeed, French summer style is not about showing a lot of skin, but rather being very intentional about your outfit balance.

6. White Trousers

If linen pants are a beloved summer staple, there’s no chicer way to master the French summer style than a nice pair of white trousers —or white jeans. You can pair them with a white down-button shirt, a fitted knit tank, a lacey bralette, or a button-up waistcoat/vest. For a très chic look, drape a tailored linen blazer over your shoulders and finish with a sleek pair of sunglasses.

7. Silk Midi Skirts

Just like the slip dress, the silk skirt seamlessly goes from day to night, depending on your styling. You can pair it with a white fitted knit tank and a pair of espadrilles for a day look or you can wear it with a silk camisole and a pair of strappy heels for a très chic night outfit. Prefer a silk midi skirt in a lighter color for a day outfit, something like light pink, beige, or ivory would be perfect. You’ll be surprised to find just how elegant a silk midi skirt makes you feel.

8. White Dresses

A white dress has always been an iconic piece of the French summer wardrobe, perfect to wear for both workday and weekend. An elegant white dress, whether in crochet, eyelet lace, or broderie-Anglaise looks flattering on absolutely everyone and on almost any body type. It exudes French girl summer style and is such an easy, breezy way to get ready on a hot summer day. For a French look, you can pair your favorite white dress with a pair of strappy heeled sandals, or with espadrilles, and with a summery basket bag or straw bag. For more, check out the best summer dresses French women wear on repeat.

9. Canvas Tote Bags

Whether you’re preparing for a day at the beach, a long day at work or you need to carry all your daily essentials, a canvas tote is an essential part of French women’s summer accessories repertoire. Personally, I do love canvas tote bags! Be it for practical reasons of holding everything I need for the day —notebooks, laptops, wallets, the works— or simply for making my summer outfit look classic and stylish, these canvas tote bags are truly a French women’s summer staple accessory. For more, check out the très chic French designer tote bags to shop for.

10. Sandals

If you’re looking to add a few pairs to give your look more of a French feel this summer, here are the three options of sandals French women wear on repeat. First, slip-on sandals: these are an elegant and comfortable alternative to flip-flops and other rubber options. Then, if you’re looking for glamorous sandal ideas for further summer days, I’ll recommend shopping for a pair of strappy heeled sandals. Finally, if this summer you prioritize comfort more than ever but you don’t want to sacrifice style, opt for sporty-style or platform sandals. For more, check out the shoe styles that are on the feet of all French women this summer.

Which one of these French summer wardrobe essentials is your favorite? I would love to hear your thoughts! Please add your comment below.

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