This Is How to Create a French Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

French women are often celebrated for their effortless style that is built around some recognizable pieces. I’ve written many stories for Who What Wear breaking down the essential items to craft a Parisian wardrobe for yourself, and they inevitably include French-girl favorites that we see on repeat (wrap dresses! basket bags!). But of course, not all French women dress alike.

One style subset that has made an impression on me lately is the French woman with the minimalist wardrobe, built around clean lines and smart tailoring. It’s a way of dressing that hits on the trends in a subtle way, but the looks are refined and classic, with pieces that can be worn season after season. If you find yourself gravitating toward this modern way of dressing, you’ll enjoy what’s ahead. I’m breaking down the essential items to create a French minimalist capsule wardrobe—and the stylish women who are putting it on the map.

Modern Bags

Bags have architectural shapes and geometric designs—like these leather styles from The Row and Danse Lente.

Straight-Leg Jeans

In the world of denim, skip skinny jeans or any ornamental styles. Instead, stick to super-classic shapes like straight-leg jeans.

Satin Slip Skirts

Slip skirts have been everywhere over the last few months and have certainly landed themselves in the closets of French minimalists.


An easy way to tap into this style is with a neutral wardrobe color palette. Stick to shades of white, tan, and black (with the occasional rust or red).

Leather Sandals

When it comes to shoes, choose simple slide sandals finished in leather. Hermès makes a classic version, but you can also find affordable versions at Zara.

Thin Ribbed Knits

Ribbed tops and dresses prove to be the ultimate layering pieces in the minimalist French-girl wardrobe.

Modern Suiting

Another essential? Suiting with sharp tailoring—for wearing in a matching pantsuit or as separates.

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