So for those of you who’ve only been subscribing for a short time, this fashion post may seem a little out of the blue, haha! But actually, I started my career in fashion (I was a stylist for almost 20 years), and I used to post about fashion much more often. So today, I want to touch on a winter version of one of my most popular posts, French Fashion Essentials.
I’ve actually been in a bit of a fashion frenzy the last couple of weeks. It all started with me organizing and purging my closet (something that I seem to get an urge to do come every new year!) This time, I really did the Marie Kondo thing and I got rid of things I had been holding onto for years. In the past, there have always been items that I kept for one reason or another – even if I didn’t ever wear them. The funny thing is, when you really purge everything you don’t wear, you can finally see what you actually have, and what you need!
So that led to me doing some shopping and really re-thinking my style and how I want to refine it. You all know I love French interiors, but I also love French fashion! A couple of years ago I did a post on French Fashion Essentials for Summer and it’s still one of my most popular. I had always wanted to do a fall/winter version on the same subject, so this seemed like the perfect time!
French women don’t own nearly as many items of clothing as their American counterparts. Yet they always look chic and pulled together. They work from a slew of basics, buying the highest quality they can afford. And they mix and match those pieces to create an endless amount of combinations.
With French style, simplicity is key and a “less is more” attitude. Their fall/winter fashion staples are things like blazers, trench coats, heeled boots, and turtlenecks. They do very little pattern and buy mostly solids of black, grey, brown, cream and camel. They create a capsule wardrobe of sorts – one that is perfect for a French fall/winter wardrobe!
French Fashion Essentials – Winter Version
One of my favorite items in a French women’s arsenal is the classic trench coat. I’ve always been a fan of them and I finally bought my first one last year. They are probably one of the only items that you could buy and still be wearing ten years later!
Via Fashion Jackson.
Classic Black Blazer
A simple black blazer is a must for not just fall and winter, but year-round. Buy the best quality you can, in a classic style and it should last you for years and years. This is something that you will wear so often that the “per wear” price should pay off. Go for wool or a wool-blend over polyester, if possible.
Via Marie Claire.
Sophie Pera via Style du Monde.
Stack heeled Boot
French women love their boots! And the stack or block heel bootie is the most popular. Here go for whatever heel height is most comfortable for you (I tend to like around 1-2″ or so).
A definite must for fall and winter outfits. And to me, they’re so much more versatile than a tall or over the knee version.
Happily Grey via Bloglovin’.
Jeanne Damas via Who What Wear.
Victoria Tornegren via Marie Claire.
Simple Crew or V-neck Sweaters
Simple, but essential to a pared down and sophisticated French winter wardrobe. Whether you do cotton, wool, or cashmere, try to stay with natural fabrics. They usually last longer than synthetics, with less pilling.
And it’s fine to have some “fun” or trendier sweaters if you can afford it, just make sure you have a few crew and v-neck basics in either black, camel or grey.
Ines de la Fressange is the epitome of chic!
Via French Vogue.
Of course you can wear a leather jacket any time of year, but it’s most appropriate in the fall or winter. And French women consider it a wardrobe staple. It’s great with jeans, slacks, skirts and even dresses.
Real leather is much less than it used to be, but if you can’t find one for a decent enough price, you can always go faux. Nowadays the faux are so good it’s hard to tell they’re not real leather!
Caroline de Maigret via Vogue.
This outfit is perfection! Mary Orton via Instagram.
Loafers exude French girl cool, and have been a classic for decades. Plus, they’re so much more comfortable than heels! And luckily for us, they are having a moment right now. I just bought my first pair and I loved them so much I went back and got another color 😉
Columbine Smille via Instagram.
Via Who What Wear.
Elborn Doris via Instagram.
Black Wool Overcoat
Obviously you need a winter coat, but unlike a lot of women in the U.S., French women don’t usually don a puffer. Their coat of choice is more often than not a classic black wool overcoat. Whether single or double breasted, long or short, it’s always a classic.
This is an item where I’d recommend spending a little more for a high quality coat. If you purchase a coat with a high wool content, it will not only be more elegant looking but it will last longer.
Via Emma Hill.
Barbara Martelo via Instagram.
Via See Anna Jane.
I love turtlenecks, in fact, I wrote a whole post all about them! They’re the perfect winter sweater. Casual, adaptable, and oh-so warm and cozy. I practically live in them all winter.
French women wear them in mostly black and grey, but they come in a million shades. Pick a classic black one, and if you want to add some color, get a second one in a pretty shade.
Via Who What Wear.
Love the pop of color from the red bag! Via Who What Wear.
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The French fashion sensibility runs along the lines of where I want my own style to go. I love their casual chic aesthetic. One that looks classic and understated and never over done or trying too hard.
Quality over quantity and an eye toward more pieces that can last many seasons is what I’m shopping for now. It’s actually so exciting to have less ~ but have things I really love and enjoy wearing!
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out some of my other fashion posts below!