6 British Trends French Girls Have Adopted as Their Own

We talk a great deal about French style, and we talk a great deal about British style, but we talk very little about how the two aesthetics combine. Of course, boundaries of fashion aren't set in stone, but generally speaking, there are some pieces that feel distinctly more French and some that loan themselves more to British dressing. You might think these fall into cliché territory—berets for Parisians, Chelsea boots for Londoners, for example—thinking that only people from the countries where these fashion items originate wear them is silly. Of course, that's not the case. However, it got me thinking about which clothing French girls love to wear that has British heritage, and vice versa. Today, I'm going to explore the former.

Below, you'll find six examples of British fashion items and trends that French women have adopted as their own and embraced in their wardrobes. Not that Brits have ownership over them by any means; it's just interesting to see items that have a certain French sensibility about them actually hail from Great Britain. Scroll on for a fun little fashion history lesson with some French outfit flair thrown in.

1. Cardigans


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Style Notes: The cardigan has undergone something of a metamorphosis over the past few years. Previously an integral element in the grandparent starter kit, fashion as taken in the garment with open arms, preferring to wear it sans top. French women wear their cardigans regularly—they were clearly the cover-up of choice for the locals when I visited Paris this year—but the knit actually hails from Britain, having been modelled off a knitted waistcoat worn by soldiers in the British Army. 

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2. Tartan


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: Tartan has become synonymous with British style, dominating through the punk era right through to informing classicist Emilia Wickstead's most recent designs. Of course, its heritage lies in Scotland, where kilts made in different tartan weaves honour the country's legion of clans. French women? They wear it regularly by way of casual jackets, trousers and dresses. 

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3. Trench Coats


(Image credit: @aida.bdji)

Style Notes: Trench coats are deeply rooted in British fashion heritage, with Burberry being the brand most commonly associated with the staple. Still, living in a climate with a regularity of rain that's similar to ours, French women also have found the coat style comes in handy across the Channel and wear it on the daily. 

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4. Oxford Shirts


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

Style Notes: To some, it might just look like a blue-and-white shirt. What could be so British about that? Although the name might allude that it was crafted in Oxford, the Oxford shirt actually originates from Scotland and was made as as part of a four-piece shirt collection crafted by artisan weavers. Today, the only shirt still in circulation out of the four is the candy-stripe Oxford and is beloved by Brit and French people alike. 

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5. Corduroy


(Image credit: @juliesfi)

Style Notes: Corduroy is a recurring theme in French style, which we put down to the fact that Gallic women love to embrace retro trends on an unparalleled scale. However, corduroy was actually created in Britain in the 18th century. Hardwearing but versatile, it has been crafted in many ways over the years, but nothing feels quite so classic as a corduroy blazer or flared trousers. Oh, and what's this on Julie Sergent Ferreri? Corduroy and tartan? We rest our case. 

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6. Three-Piece Suits


(Image credit: @leiasfez)

Style Notes: Okay, how can we lay claim to tailoring—it's universal, right? It goes without saying that we don't hold precedence over any of the items on this list, but it might interest you to learn that the three-piece suit—the mighty fashion triad—was first designed in Britain in 1666 for British royals in a deliberate shift from the more fanciful regalia that had previously dominated. Now, fashion people wear blazers, waistcoats, and tailored trousers with mules and the latest It bag as a show of style prowess. And French women? They seem to be backing the look more than anyone. 

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Next Up: The 9 Most Expensive-Looking Pieces on the High Street This Week

Opening Image: @annelauremais

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.