Looking for a simple list of French wardrobe essentials to add to your closet? These easy pieces are exactly what you need to throw together a stylish outfit in minutes!
Parisian women have mastered the art of timeless dressing with these French wardrobe essentials. Simple, but never dull. Classic, but never outdated. Effortless, but well put together.
The key to achieving that “je ne said quoi” aesthetic is by investing in classic wardrobe staples that mix and match with everything, and that stand the test of time. They’re items you wear often. You style them with your entire wardrobe. They look and feel good on you and thus, never become boring.
Here’s the perfect starter list of the best French wardrobe basics to elevate your style without overcomplicating it. Ready to get started?
This post is all about French wardrobe essentials.
Best French Wardrobe Essentials
1. Breton Striped Top
Also known as a “marinière”, the Breton striped top is what many think of when it comes to a French capsule wardrobe for women. Throughout time, the nautical top has evolved to include different stripe designs and colors, a definite French wardrobe essentials must-have.
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- Nili Lotan Striped Long Sleeve Top – Simple, classic, and very well-made top.
- AYR The French Fry – Keep things cool, calm, and collected with an airy fit and dropped shoulders.
- Boden Long Sleeve Breton Top – A semi-fitted top with a boat neckline, and longer hem if you’re tall.
2. Blue Jeans Are Always Part Of A French Capsule Wardrobe
Want to achieve that French woman aesthetic and look casual and chic at the same time? Skip the leggings and sweats. Do like a Parisian woman and style with your favorite denim instead. Find a style that isn’t too tight, but fits you well and you won’t miss those old leggings anyway.
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- Madewell The Perfect Vintage Wide-Leg Jean – Just wide enough to be comfortable and sleek without excess bagginess!
- rag & bone Peyton Mid-Rise Boot – Flattering mid-rise bootcut denim in comfort stretch.
- Outerknown Fillmore Boyfriend Jean – Described as super comfortable old-school straight-leg denim jeans…sounds perfect for a 5-piece French wardrobe.
3. Ballet Flats
Ballet flats are timeless and feminine French wardrobe essentials. They’re a no-nonsense shoe when you need to run out the door and still want to look polished. Wear them commuting, running errands, or for a casual dinner out. Find a comfortable pair that matches your wardrobe and you’re set for that French woman style on your feet.
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- A. Soliani The Como – Italian-handcrafted ballet flat, for a stunning French woman style; with an almond toe; absolutely stunning.
- BIRDIES The Goldfinch – Classy and comfortable ballet flat with a bow and a grown-up pointy toe.
- Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn Frankie Ballet Flats – Timeless, round-toe ballet flats for everyday wear. Glad to see Kelsi Dagger’s still around (where have I been lol?).
4. Add A Collared Shirt To Your French Wardrobe
If you don’t have a relaxed collared shirt to throw on with your blue jeans and ballet flats, you’re missing out on one of the most versatile French wardrobe essentials. A slightly relaxed or slightly oversized style will give you the perfect Parisian chic vibe we’re all trying to achieve.
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- The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens White Oxford Boyfriend Shirt – It doesn’t get more perfect than this slightly oversized, tailored shirt with no-gape technology!
- 11 Honoré Collection The Maeve Oversized Button-Up Shirt – Chic oversized shirt in crisp cotton poplin for plus size ladies.
- Everlane The Relaxed Oxford Shirt – Relaxed without being overly long, classic collared shirt for your French wardrobe basics.
5. Classic Cardigan
A classic cardigan is feminine and adds warmth to an outfit. However, you can make it playful and flirty by styling it as a standalone top, or even turn it around and wear a high neck with a low back. My favorite way to style a cardigan is partially buttoned and tucked into a belted midi skirt. It’s best to store knitwear folded up in a French wardrobe armoire or drawer as opposed to hanging, which can stretch and misshape the garment.
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- La Ligne NYC Mini Toujours Cardigan – Luxurious v-neck cardigan in a ribbed cashmere knit; love the color choices.
- Z Supply Brit Cropped Cardigan – Feminine beige knit with tortoise-shell buttons and cuffed sleeves. The ultimate “wear alone” style for your French wardrobe essentials fall.
- Mango Pocket Knit Cardigan – Oversized, v-neck cardigan with a cute front pocket.
6. The Tailored blazer Is On Every French Wardrobe Basics List
A tailored blazer is a true hero in a French capsule wardrobe. It’s a jacket that styles with ANYTHING…seriously. Wear it open, closed, or belted it never fails to add that element of sophistication to a look. A tailored blazer has enough structure to style with elegant dresses or upgrade a casual look when you’re picking up pizza for dinner.
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- Marcella Norah Blazer – Tailored double-breasted blazer, slightly oversized for an everyday look.
- Veronica Beard Classic Dickey Jacket – click here – Traditional style blazer that’s tailored and semi-fitted to last a lifetime in your Parisian capsule wardrobe.
- Sophie Rue Stevie Oversized Blazer – Elevated menswear style blazer in a beige-blush color to balance that masculine/feminine aesthetic.
7. Elevated Tote
Tote bags are often gathered and collected from random events–these are not French wardrobe essentials. Rather, an elevated tote adds something extra to your French casual outfits while carrying around your stuff. It’s multifunctional for errands, workwear, the gym, school, etc. Opt for a minimalist style in leather or faux leather to always look on point.
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- Fortress Charlotte Tote Bag – Minimalist, 17-inch, relaxed tote handmaid with high-quality Peruvian leather.
- Alexandra K Maxi Vegan Tote Bag ‘Nalu’ – An expertly crafted vegan leather tote bag that zips at the top (YES!) and is seriously drop-dead gorgeous!
- Rebecca Minkoff Megan Tote – This top-rated shopper tote comes in MANY colorways and has pockets and a stylish dog clip to keep everything secure.
8. Trousers Are Classic French Wardrobe Essentials
Whether you call them trousers or pants, a good pair of slacks (LOL) will always be part of a classic French capsule wardrobe. Opt for a pair in your favorite neutral color and wear them with tees, tanks, cardigans…everything! Trousers are not only for the office anymore and are actually very comfortable to wear!
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- RE ONA Suit Trousers – Comfortable-fitting trousers that look just as elegant as they are relaxed.
- NA-KD Mid Waist Straight Leg Suit Pants – Mid-rise style trousers with an ironed pleat down the center for a slimming effect.
- Anine Bing Carrie Pant – This flattering style comes in twill, linen, and silk options and has heavy pleating from the waistband.
9. The LBD Or “Little Black Dress”
Who doesn’t love a little black dress? She’s your answer to a wedding guest invite. She’s your answer to a last-minute date. She’s your answer to a corporate event. She’s your answer just because you want to look cute without trying too hard.
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- Likely Liza Dress – Sleeveless dress with a crew neckline and a diagonal slit across the chest – super cute and slightly edgy.
- Milly Cady Atalie Dress – Flirty little sheath dress with an A-line skirt, a v-neck, and little puffed sleeves.
- BABEYOND Embroidered Floral Cap Sleeve Dress – Vintage vibes in this lacey, cap-sleeve shirt dress with a swingin’ A-line cut.
10. A Parisian Chic Silk Scarf
Does anyone visit Paris without bringing or purchasing a silk scarf? Silk scarves are the perfect statement pieces to dress up any outfit. Not to mention all the ways to wear them. Whether you’re an avid vintage collector or scoring a budget buy, this is the best accessory for a French woman aesthetic.
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- Totem Beige Knotted Monogram Scarf – Neutral design that plays off the French woman aesthetic of stripes to match everything in your capsule.
- Celine Vintage Horse and Cart Silk Scarf – Beautiful vintage scarf with a horse and carriage print in teal, white, and camel.
- Jessie Zhao New York Silk Scarf of Cheerful Moments – A black scarf with colored animals and plants. The design is large, so it looks very stylish when tied.
11. Trench Coat
This list of French wardrobe staples wouldn’t be complete without the trench coat. A perfect shoulder-season piece for spring or fall, you don’t want to be caught in the wind or rain without one!
- Nili Lotan Tanner Trench Coat – Add this timeless trench to your wardrobe and you’ll never need to purchase another again!
- Aday Legacy Trench – You won’t mind the rain with the detachable hood and waterproof material of this versatile and packable trench coat.
- Modern Citizen Echo Oversized Trench Coat – Minimalist style that ties at the waist; seriously chic.
What’s your favorite thing about the French woman aesthetic? Comment below!
This post was all about French wardrobe essentials