We’ll admit it—we have a thing for French style. This probably doesn’t come as a big surprise, as we’ve investigated everything from the swimsuit styles French girls avoid to the surprising outfit in their closets to the affordable denim they love. In other words, we’ve done our research narrowing in on how they achieve that je ne sais quoi, and now we’re diving into their summer wardrobes.
French It girls like Jeanne Damas, Sabina Socol, and Anne-Laure Mais seem to line their closets (and suitcases) with many of the same items and follow a few of the same rules. The guidelines are pretty straightforward. First, keep your palette neutral. Stick to classic shades like navy, white, and red, as well as earthy tones like tan and rust. You’ll have a hard time finding French girls wearing anything too jarring like neon. Next, when wearing prints, go for seasonless patterns. Much like an It bag that’s often associated with the time it debuted, prints can look tired after a few months. You can avoid making your outfit look like it’s dated by wearing prints like polka dots, gingham, and simple florals, which will always be in style. Last, you can never go wrong by following the lead of Jane Birkin. Whether it’s emulating her basket bag, cropped hemlines, or layered necklaces, she’s a constant source of inspiration for French girls.
Keep reading to see the eight pieces that define French summer style, then shop our favorite styles from Rouje, Réalisation Par, Reformation, and more.
A pair of cat-eye sunglasses with a woven hat is a simple way to take French-girl style to the beach.
Cat-eye sunglasses are an effortless way to nail a vintage look. Match a pair of retro white sunnies with a timeless statement blouse.
Wear these retro-influenced sunglasses with high-waisted jeans and a white tee.
White shades are an easy way to lighten your look.
These make any outfit pop.
A long summer dress with a bold pattern doesn't require a lot of accessories. Do it the French way—throw on a red lip with a simple bucket bag and you're good to go.
A sophisticated dress with simple hoops is a timeless look. To modernize your outfit, throw on a pair of white sneakers.
Gingham feels instantly French.
Available in sizes 0 to 22.
Jeanne Damas designed this dress herself.
Available in sizes 34 to 42.
Throw on a worn-in leather or denim jacket, depending on the season.
Available in sizes XXS to XL.
Add a woven bag into your warm-weather wardrobe. French girls take this bag everywhere from the city to the beach.
Wear your bag with Levi's and a modern blouse. This fashion-forward ensemble is guaranteed to make a statement.
At first glance, it may appear to be perfect for a picnic, but our editors love this bag for many occasions.
Forget digging through your purse—a structured bag makes finding your belongings so much easier.
The contrasting handles make this a unique pick.
Tuck in a solid-colored shirt and add basic shoes for a minimalistic look.
Trust us—we know it's easy to get stuck in a fashion rut. Find a cool vintage tee in the back of your closet to pair with high-waisted jeans.
This French brand knows a thing or two about wardrobe basics.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
Wear this pair as is or cuff twice at the ankle.
Available in sizes 8 to 22.
These are Cindy Crawford–approved.
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
Channel your inner Jane Birkin. French girls are opting for vintage styles this summer, especially in their swimwear.
One-pieces are both flattering and sophisticated.
Minimalists are losing it over this bikini.
Available in sizes XS to L.
Wear this retro top with cat-eye sunglasses.
Available in sizes 38 to 44.
Mix and match these bottoms with different colored bikini tops.
Available in sizes XS to XL.
Tuck a well-fitted blouse into a high-waisted miniskirt to show off your figure.
Don't be afraid to wear a skirt that adds a pop of color. Pair it with a neutral top and strappy sandals for a casual look.
We can imagine Fraçoise Hardy wearing this style.
Available in size 40.
Wear this skirt with a breezy white top.
Available in sizes 14 to 24.
Wear a pair of mules with a classic denim skirt this summer.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
A floral blouse is flawlessly complemented by a gold pendant necklace. In fact, French girls wear their necklaces with essentially every outfit—it's their daily staple!
Invest in a diamond pendant.
This brand is an It-girl favorite.
Layer this simple pendant with other gold necklaces.
A gold necklace can easily be worn with all styles of jewelry. Mix and match with statement earrings or layer with other gold chains.
Espadrilles were basically made for summer travel. Pair yours with a lightweight cami for exploring or with a tailored dress at a café.
When headed to the beach, wear your one-piece with a silky skirt and espadrilles.
Wear these ankle-tie espadrilles with a printed midi dress.
Available in sizes 36 to 41.
These neutral wedges are incredibly versatile.
Available in sizes 35 to 41.
Think of these as your versatile everyday pair.
Available in sizes 5 to 10.
This post has been updated by Anna LaPlaca.