French Style Fashion Essentials – Spring & Summer Version

We’ve always been smitten with French style when it comes to fashion. That effortless attitude that is casual yet oh-so-chic. And today, we’re sharing the 10 essentials you need to achieve that quintessential French style for spring and summer!

As I’m sure you know by now, I’m a bit of a Francophile 😉

I love French interiors, and I consider my home to be at least somewhat French-inspired. But along with French decor and design, I also love French fashion style! And when I say French style, I don’t mean Fashion Week in Paris or Chanel handbags, though those are fun, too. No, I’m talking the chic, everyday style of fashionable French women.

Americans have been mesmerized by the style of French women for decades. They have a certain confidence and nonchalance that just screams chic. They’re often in casual clothing, yet they seem effortlessly cool.

And they never seem like they’re trying too hard. Simplicity is key. Minimal make-up and accessories and a “less is more” mantra are the norm. 

They create a wardrobe of basics that will take them from the mercurial, rainy days of spring to the warmth of a summer afternoon. Things you can layer or mix and match are key to feeling and looking pulled-together.

Here’s to the quintessential French girl and her je ne sais quois!

 
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Great White Shirt

All French women seem to have a basic, borrowed-from-the-mens-department white shirt. Here you can go with a button up, or something slightly more feminine, but you definitely want it to be timeless.

It’s great to have a white cotton one for casual days, and a silk one for when you want a little more oomph. But if you’re only going to buy one, then I would say an all-cotton one is the way to go. My personal favorites are the white shirts from J. Crew (like this one or this one). They are well-priced and always look good, but I’ve also sourced more options below.

Leila Yavari via French Vogue.

 

 

Flattering Jeans

This is the one spot I would suggest spending a bit more. If you don’t have a basic pair of super flattering jeans you love to throw on, get yourself some stat! Because when it comes to the ‘per wear price’, there’s hardly anything you’ll get more wear out of than these.

A medium wash, straight jean is the French girl favorite. You can do slim or straight, but I wouldn’t do anything too trendy (like flares or heavy distressing) for this. Again, you want timeless. And flattering!

Via @pepamack.

 

Via Marie France magazine.

 

 

Trench Coat

A trench coat is actually a year-round staple, but it’s especially essential in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Since spring weather is frequently unpredictable, yet not as cold as winter, a trench coat is a stylish way to stay warm and dry. 

 

 

Ballet Flats

French women do not run around on their cobblestone streets in heels. Flats are a French style favorite, and they are for me, too. I practically live in my flats!

They are more chic than a sneaker, yet nearly as comfortable. And they go with everything!

french style jeans flats blazer

Via Ines de la Fressange.

 

 

Striped Tee

If you think wearing striped tees in Paris is cliché, you thought wrong! Sometimes called a Breton tee or “marinière,” a striped tee (or sweater) is a seasonal staple. 

Generally, French women don’t tend to wear a lot of prints in general, but stripes are an exception to the rule. One of my favorite stores, Sézane, even has a whole section on their website devoted to the tee!

My recent favorite is the perfect example, and priced so well!

french style striped tee denim great handbag casual chic fashion

Caroline de Maigret via Bloglovin’.

 

 

 

Oversized Sunglasses

I’m pretty sure the French invented this look! Oversized sunnies connote mystery, something French women love to exude. And, they protect your eyes from sun damage, reducing signs of aging, so it’s a win-win, right?

french style denim white blouse basket bag oversized sunglasses chic fashion

Via Maria Bernard’s Instagram.

 

 

 

Straw Handbag

Whether it’s a straw market bag for collecting fruit at the farmer’s market, or a cute little basket handbag, there is nothing more summery than a straw bag for summer, no matter where you live.

french style basket straw handbags farmers market street style fashionVia Adenorah.

 

french style straw bag handbag black top denim cute casual chic fashion

Via Lucy Williams Instagram.

 

 

Summer Dress

A simple summer dress is such an easy, breezy way to get ready on a hot summer day. I don’t wear dresses a lot in general, but I love them in summer!

First of all, they are much cooler (hello breeze!) which is perfect when you don’t feel like wearing much of anything at all. A wrap style is universally flattering, but you could also go with a slip dress style here. Either way, a dress in a small floral print or solid is a springtime classic.

french style wrap dress easy casual chic summer style fashionJeanne Damas via The Man Repeller.

 

 

White Sneakers 

There was a day when the French weren’t big on athletic shoes, but that’s no longer the case. Simple white sneakers are a spring and summer staple, worn by both men and women. As with most aspects of French style, the simpler the better, so no big logos or branding.

And a classic sneaker in canvas or leather can be worn with everything from jeans to dresses and is a seasonal essential (this pair are my favorite, and very popular in France!), but I’ve sourced other great options below).

Via Sézane.

 

 

Espadrilles

The absolute, quintessential French summer fashion item! Espadrilles are timeless, and French women bring them back out every spring and summer. When I was in Provence last year, I saw them literally everywhere –  on men and women!

Plus, the cotton canvas makes them a cool and comfortable warm weather footwear choice.

french style straw bag denim tee shirt espadrilles summer casual chic fashionVia Style Lovely.

 

 

Simplicity is definitely best when it comes to French style. And in the summer time, that seems even more appropriate. Throw on a cute striped tee, flattering jeans and stylish flats, or just a simple summer dress, and you can dress with a maximum of style with a minimum of effort.  

To shop the French style finds below, simply click and scroll!

Shop French Style Essentials  

 

je t’aime,

Sheila
xo

 

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more French inspiration below!

French Fashion Essentials – Fall & Winter

How to Find French Farmhouse Antiques for Less!

50+ French Farmhouse Finds at Amazon

 

 

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23 Comments

  1. I loved reading this post as well as the one you did from the colder season. My problem is finding the clothes in larger and/or plus sizes (these women are all so tiny!). I’m not a shopper so I rely on posts like this to find one and done items to purchase. I hope you’ll do these every season!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Janet! And yes, I’m planning on expanding them and by next year I’ll have all 4 seasons so stay tuned!

      Sheila

  2. Michelle Hamric says:

    LOVE all of these French chic, yet timeless, Summer outfits. Thanks for sharing! You’ve given me some great ideas for my own Summer wardrobe.

  3. Love all the ideas! What is it about French women the draws us in? I love the simplicity of style and it makes getting dressed easier and fun. This was an amazing detailed blog post! Thank you.

    1. Aww love hearing that Lynette – and I couldn’t agree more! It made me want to go shopping too haha!

      Sheila

  4. Ethel Alderson says:

    I am having problems with white shirts needing to be ironed!
    Do you know of one that works from the dryer?
    Can anyone respond?

    1. Hi Ethel yes if you’re buying all cotton (or of course silk) then an iron or steam is needed. However, I have two suggestions that may help you. First, only dry them for 15 minutes or so then take them out and smooth out the wrinkles and hang them to dry the rest of the way. This goes a long way towards reducing ironing. AND even better is this wrinkle release spray I just discovered – it’s a GAME CHANGER! Here is the link if you want to try it:

      https://rstyle.me/+wPTALD-kNH-IEpgomP6SMA

      Hope that helps!

      Sheila

  5. Thanks for this great post! Can you recommend some solid jeans brands to look into?

  6. Lory Stevens says:

    Great article! Thank you so much for all the inspiration!

  7. Katy Grossman says:

    I’m so inspired by anything French so thanks for this! I’ll be buying some espadrilles stat!

  8. Great info, especially the espadrilles. They seem to have fallen out of favor for the most part stateside, but I have loved them for a very long time. Also please do a separate blog on French wonen do not walk the streets of Paris in workout gear, which is a great thing.

    1. I love espadrilles!! And I actually found several just this year which made me so happy! And yes, I couldn’t agree more about the workout and/or sweats thing – they are so much more elegant!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  9. Jane Porter says:

    I really like your blog. The styling ideas for summer are really inspiring!

    Keep sharing!!!

  10. Gearing up for summer, so I will go looking for a crisp white shirt, scarf and a straw bag. A chic black blazer too. Been stuck in the house for a week with the flu. Cabin fever has hit me!!

    1. Oh I’m so sorry you have the flu! But I’m pretty sure that online shopping is a definite cure 😉

      Glad you liked the post, and that you’re getting better! Thanks for stopping by.

      Sheila

  11. Oh I’m inspired to shop now!! Thank you for the great ideas…all so adorable!!

    1. haha! You know what’s funny?! I inspire myself to shop when I do these fashion posts! I just bought some espadrilles and a straw bag today:))

      Thanks for stopping by Karen!

      Sheila
      xo

  12. Carol Heartfelt Whimsies says:

    Love this post! To me, it seems French women don’t appear to “try too hard”. They seem to dress for themselves, not someone else. The vibe I get is “I’m comfortable in my own skin”!!

    1. Yes! That is so true Carol! They are so chic, yet also so simple. Less is more with them for sure, and I think that’s what makes them seem so put together!

      Thanks so much for coming over my friend:)

      Sheila
      xo

  13. Lou ann singleterry says:

    Love these tips! Am headed to France in about 3 wk and I don’t want to look too “touristy”. The strange thing is that the same items are essential stateside.

    1. Oh, you’re so lucky Lou Ann! And yes, I agree, all of these are classic, whether in France or here! I hope you get some cute items for your trip, and have a wonderful time!

      Sheila