I'm a Brit Living in Paris—4 Timeless Outfits I've Spotted French Women Wearing


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

I’m approaching the seventh-month mark of living in Paris (dare I say it, am I Parisian?) and between brushing up on my French and embodying a Flâneur, I’ve been paying attention to the fashion forecasts and the elements that truly constitute French fashion. Currently, we’re in the thick of winter. The chill has firmly settled and while this city has my heart regardless, the cold is something I’m less fond of and dressing for it can present a challenge.

I like my attire to feel inspired regardless of the seasons and no one strikes the balance of looking uniform in easy-to-pull steps quite like French women. From September onwards, French women's style becomes attuned to the cold, though it still boasts the same effortless appeal. I’ve bore witness to the seasons change and how French women adapt their clothing choices to the weather. As we’re well aware, French women's style has become a much coveted aesthetic and one of the most aspirational aspects is the laid-back temperament of it. Winter calls for a pared-back essence that all women emulate with proficiency and through my observations I’ve deduced just how simple the styling elements are – from co-ords to "one fell swoop” outfits like a maxi dress. The aforementioned pieces become the winter equivalent of tea and slip dresses.

Many of this year's trends are uniform pieces that are preexisting in French women’s arsenals. Straight-leg jeans, column skirting and cropped knitwear is my most observed style. French fashion is the cornerstone of my style and I love gleaning tips from the French women I know both in real life and online. While they all have their way of interpreting French style, they all have one thing in common: simplicity. You may be surprised to find you own many of these pieces, so keep reading for inspiration on how to put the simplest of pieces together, the French way.

1. Scarf Coat + Maxi Dress + Boots


(Image credit: @ruerodier)

Style Notes: The scarf coat has taken the world by storm and I've seen many French women inherit the style. It takes very little styling. Simply pair it with an elongated dress, weather-appropriate shoes and a vintage-style bag. In just a few steps, your winter outfit is sorted.

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2. Almost Matching Knitted Co-ord + Loafers


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: The thing about French women is they like to match, but not too much, so don't be afraid to mix and match co-ords from different labels.

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3. Bodysuit + Straight Leg Jeans + Boots


(Image credit: @andi_mun)

Style Notes: Andi's outfit is a simple ensemble you're probably well accustomed to seeing in France. The addition of burgundy boots elevates this look to new heights.

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4. Brown Leather Jacket + Longline Cardigan + Polo Neck Maxi


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Style Notes: Granted, it's a popular colourway this season but French women have been flirting with warm tonal looks for quite some time. During the winter, you'll find them clad in burgundy and woody browns. In this look, Franny layers an oatmeal cardigan with black and brow hues.

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This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Freelance Fashion Editor

Avalon Afriyie is a freelance writer and storyteller based in London. She specialises in sustainable fashion, health and the narratives of marginalised communities. She has a background in fashion show production and styling, having previously worked on The Clothes Show and with the Lyst Group. Since graduating in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in English and contemporary media, she’s worked as a feature writer for an independent publication and a contributor for Quill’s creator network. She now marries her passion for words and style, writing for some of the most esteemed fashion and lifestyle publications, Who What Wear UK and Stylist. Avalon also provides copywriting services, creative consultancy, and visual media for independent businesses, including travel guides, interviews, press releases and blog posts. Her work has been featured on Lush, Contiki, Youswim and Ohne. She spends her days writing to her heart’s content for business and pleasure, shooting on film and dreaming of residing a stone’s throw away from the ocean with her love and a pup (clad in a sweeping frock, of course). She’s currently penning ideas for a book of personal essays and free verse poetry on love, life and the stages in between.