The Decision Is Final: French Women Always Have the Chicest Party Outfits

This year marks my first December of living in Paris, and naturally, I’ve continued to partake in my favourite pastime of people-watching and deducing how French women dress. This November, I’ve turned my attention to evening wear and end-of-year parties. Partywear dredges up thoughts of dresses clad in weighty sequins, glistening adornments and towering heels and whilst French women do appreciate bold party styles, their outfit references are typically understated, give or take.

French women's style makes for the ultimate inspiration during this season but you needn’t hoop on a Eurostar. Allow me to be your eyes on the ground, with the addition of Instagram, to bring you all the inspiration you need. Although we always look to these women for their basics—it's the party outfits we're most interested in right now. And rightly so considering brunches, dinner gatherings and after-dark soirées are filling up our diaries this year. 

So whether you look to Anne Laure Mais for how to wear the sheer maxi dress outside of the home or Anne-Victoire Lefèvre for the art of dressing with simplicity, here are six French women–approved party looks you can re-create with ease.

1. Sheer Floral Dress + Heeled Sandals


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

Style Notes: I've spotted many French women wearing noughties-style slip dresses and clothing with sheer elements. If you're easing your way into this style, pair it with a slip underneath. 

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2. Going out Top + Straight-Leg Jeans


(Image credit: @saraloura)

Style Notes: A great going-out top will elevate even the simplest of jeans. Like Sara Loura knows statement jewels will make a simple look party-ready.

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3. Mini dress + Embellished Sandals


(Image credit: @juliesfi)

Style Notes: If in doubt, bring out the mini dress. Julie Sergent Ferreri shows how to do it right with the statement Taller Marmo and mules. Also, all hail the return of the sparkly strap just in time for party season.

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4. Maxi Dress + Clutch Bag


(Image credit: @aidabadji_)

Style Notes: Ah, the humble maxi dress. Ready to be worn all year round, no matter the occasion, it's the do-it-all dress French girls love to wear. Make like Aïda Badji Sané and keep the look simple and sleek with minimal accessories. 

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5. Knit Dress + Shearling Jacket


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

Style Notes: Knitted dresses are here to stay. They're an integral part of any French girl's wardrobe, and it's no surprise they work after dark with a fuzzy shearling jacket and slicked hairstyle.

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6. Wrap Dress + Heeled Sandals


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: Stylish and clever, French women know how to take a day dress and turn it into an evening look. Add accessories to elevate the look further.

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Next Up: We Went Street Style Spotting in London — These 7 Winter Outfits Wowed Us

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.