French Fashion Essentials – Fall & Winter Version

Looking for the secrets to French fashion? Today we’re sharing the essentials you need to achieve fall French style yourself!

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 fall version of one of my most popular posts, French Fashion Essentials.

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 fashion staples are things like blazers, trench coats, heeled boots, and classic sweaters. 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!

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French Fashion Essentials – Fall Version


Trench Coat

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! 

french fashion winter trench coat jeans loafers street styleVia Fashion Jackson.


trench coat jeans Chanel heels chic French fashion look

Via Bloglovin’.


Shop trench coats 



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, if possible. If that is too high, there are beautiful, classic blazers made from synthetics that can be very affordable.

chic French winter fashion with jeans and boots black outfit street style

Via Marie Claire.


black blazer with jeans street style outfit of the day

Sophie Pera via Style du Monde. 


Shop black blazers 



Stack heeled Bootie

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!

turtleneck with black jeans and boots winter street style

Happily Grey via Bloglovin’.

solid black outfit chic French winter fashion street style

Victoria Tornegren via Marie Claire.


Shop Stack Heeled Booties



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 black, camel or grey.

clean and simple camel v neck sweater with jeans chic street style

Ines de la Fressange is the epitome of chic!


black crewneck sweater and slacks fashion outfit ideas

Via French Vogue.


Shop Crew and V-neck sweaters 



Leather Jacket

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!

black leather jacket white blouse jeans french fashion street style

Caroline de Maigret via Vogue.


French fashion winter fall style black leather jacket jeans blouse chic street styleThis outfit is perfection! Mary Orton via Instagram.


Shop leather jackets 




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 them in another color 😉

black peacoat slacks and loafers fall winter fashion outfit ideas

Columbine Smille via Instagram.


French winter fashion ideas white turtleneck with black pants and flats chic street style

 Via Who What Wear.


Shop classic loafers



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 chic.

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, too. 

gorgeous all black outfit coat crossbody bag jeans and boots winter French fashion ideas

 Via Emma Hill.


white turtleneck black overcoat and jeans street style winter fashion ideas

Via See Anna Jane.


Shop Wool overcoats 




I love turtlenecks! 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 perhaps a camel, and if you want to add some color, get another in a pretty shade. 

chic black turtleneck with black jeans and flats chic fashion style

Via Who What Wear.


chunky turtleneck cropped jeans and red handbag chic street style

Love the pop of color from the red bag! Via Who What Wear.


Shop Turtleneck sweaters 


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 yet never over done or like they’re 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!


Shop Fall French Fashion Essentials


je t’aime,


French Fall Fashion Essentials graphic on Maison de Cinq



If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out some of my other fashion posts below:

The Innate Style of a Classic Leather Jacket 

Plaid Blazers: A Versatile, Stylish Must-Have

50+ Fabulous French Farmhouse Finds at Wayfair

French Fashion Essentials – Summer Version


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  1. What about the frayed hem jeans! Brand?

  2. Renewed with Grace says:

    I love everything you write Sheila regardless of the topic. You are so inspiring. I am trying the travel capsule for our current Scandinavian Fall vacation. It’s challenging and of course I’ve bought more along the way but it’s where I’m headed with my entire wardrobe. We will return to summer in full swing so I’m holding this one for whenever winter might come to our sub tropical home haha. The chic easy style of the French woman has always drawn me and I adjust it for our climate and you have given me so much to think about. I have 2 winter coats I rarely get to wear and were even too heavy to pack so that’s sad.
    I’m heading over to your summer blog now. Thanks for all the inspiration you provide.

    1. Oh I love hearing that! Thank you so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it. And i love that you love French style as much as I do! It also sounds like you already have some of that effortless style yourself. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Loved the post! Can you do a post on classic white shirts…those with great drape or a great look. Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Jan! And I’ll try to do that – white shirts are such a classic!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. l live in Ontario, Canada. I love the look of the fashion combinations. Comfortable, but elegant. Keep the styles coming.

  5. Absolutely love each outfit you selected and thank you for curating each piece! I have several of these pieces, but sadly the dry cleaners seemed to have lost my trench coat belt :(. I think I can still wear it open but looking for a new one too! Yes, to the comments on scarves and big bags. I would add fun sunglasses. As I’ve ” matured” 😉 I find I can’t do high heels or narrow toe boxes anymore, though I love so many of those looks. It’s a challenge to find supportive shoes that can carry off the French look, but I’m trying!! Style and comfort can go hand and hand and life is a series of adjustments!
    Thanks for the inspirational post that gets me so excited for sweater weather!

    1. Oh thanks JC – so glad you found some inspiration! And boo to the lost trench coat belt, that’s a bummer! I’m sure you look wonderful anyway – it sounds like you have a great sense of style!

      Happy fall to you!


  6. I totally enjoyed this post! Lots of fabulous looks and I am set for the coming Winter now! There was not one look I didn’t love!!!

    1. Aww I love hearing that Tonya – so glad you enjoyed it!


  7. May I say I think we can add scarves to the look, either inside the coat, big ones over the shoulder…. and bags!!!!!

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I realized I only subscribe to decorating blogs but I thoroughly enjoyed (and needed) this. I’ve been trying to pair down my wardrobe but didn’t have a real plan. I also didn’t realize how much I love french fashion! I’d already started buying a lot of your suggestions so this has given me a huge motivation to push forward with goals. Sometimes I opt for comfort and warmth but it’s sooo nice to see how easy (and inexpensive) it is to have a pulled together, stylish look at any age (52 in my case). More posts like this one PLEASE!!!!

    1. Beth, waking up to your comment absolutely made my day!! I love that you were inspired by it, and even more excited that you’ve discovered French fashion!! It is easy and achievable for sure, more so than most realize! I’ve gotten such a great response from this post that I’ll definitely be doing more fashion going forward. But definitely check out some of my previous fashion posts (I listed a few at the bottom of this post).

      And thanks again for your kind comment!!


  9. Love this post…fashion that’s classic, sheik, and wearable!

    1. I couldn’t agree more Eileen! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


  10. A really nice collection of French fashion essentials. Good job!

    1. Thanks so much Linda – I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


  11. I have always loved classic simple elegance for fashion. These are wonderful outfits! Thanks for sharing! I love the capsule wardrobe approach. I’ve tried it a bit this fall/winter but havent quite got all the pieces to make it fully work. I’m looking forward to aiming to do this for spring/summer. Possibly you could share a post on the French look for those seasons when the time is right? Thanks again!

  12. Cheryl Jardine says:

    Love the post and I’m also from Canada and wear turtleneck sweaters all winter – french style is simple yet so elegant. Going to go back and read the spring one now. Thanks so much.

    1. Aren’t they just the coziest thing?! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be Diane Keaton as I get older and just wear them everyday, haha!

      So glad you loved the post!


  13. I love this post! Such classic clean lines, this is exactly the way I want to dress for winter. Please more help on dressing.

    1. Thank you Sue! I’m so glad you found it helpful! I’ll definitely throw in more fashion again 🙂


  14. French woman may not wear puffers (neither do I) but then they never had to contend with -20 – 30 degees Celsius either. I have a nice winter coat that has a fur (faux) trimmed hood for the dead of winter, and as it gets warmer then change to my nice black coat. To me living in Canada in the dead of winter, I would rather be warm than fashionable.

    1. Haha, yes, that is very true!! When it’s truly freezing, down is the way to go!! You do have to dress for the weather, but when temperature allows, it’s sure nice to see people wearing overcoats. (here in CA everyone wears puffers, even when it’s 70 outside!) When we visited Chicago I saw so many working people in beautiful coats and they looked so elegant! (but like you said, it was more like 30 degrees, not 30 below!)

      Thanks for stopping by!