I'm a Brit Living in Paris—5 Jeans Outfits French Women Wear Every Winter

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(Image credit: @aidabadji_)

I'll admit, I'm a dress girl. To let you in on a secret, I'm the owner of a mere two pairs of jeans: my beloved raw hem vintage Levi 501s and an old ecru pair I'm yet to wear out of the house (shocking, I know). But, since living in Paris, I've developed an appreciation for denim and feel inspired to expand my repertoire of denim outfits.

As we gradually transcend seasons, light voiles are turned in for their denim counterparts and if there's one place you're guaranteed to find inspiration on how to wear jeans this winter, it's the wardrobes of French women. Jeans have long been a staple of the Gallic wardrobe, so much so that the Levis 501 have been termed the "French women's jean". Like Birkin's rattan basket, embroidered blouses and wrap dresses, it's become part of the framework for what constitutes French style. Whilst denim is unassuming and fits into the casual category, there are many ways to dress up the humble jean.

Typically, French women wear vintage wash styles and off-white iterations but now and again they dabble in washed denim and black. They do, however, celebrate the many styles that are available now, some of which are current trends. Take puddle pants, or low-rise denim, for example. You're likely to see them sported by your favourite French sartorialists. French style is nuanced, classic and daring and I've noticed that French women dip in and out of trends more than you'd expect, whilst continuing to wear vintage-inspired styles.

Among the wardrobes of French women, you'll find '70s style double pocketed designs, kick flares, straight leg and cropped jeans. Whether you're looking for some inspired looks for reference, or a new pair of jeans, keep on reading for five chic jeans ensembles to have in your back pocket for winter 2024, and beyond.

1. White Jeans + White Shirt + A Pop of Red

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(Image credit: @saraloura)

Style Notes: We'd be mistaken for thinking that light denim is meant for summer. Instead, French women embrace bright tones in the autumn and winter. Pair it with a white shirt for a monochromatic look and when it's gets chilly add a leather jacket, or a thick knit.

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2. Slouchy Cardigan + Vintage Wash Jeans + Slip-on Mules

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(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

Style Notes: Khaite breathed life into the cardigan and now it's one of the most fashion forward items for autumn. My favourite way to wear cardigan is minus layers underneath. Add lengthened jeans and heeled mules and there you'll have an easy-to-wear evening look that's both chic and cosy.

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3. Trench Coat + Straight-leg Jeans + Ankle Boots

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(Image credit: @leasy_inparis)

Style Notes: I firmly believe trenches can be worn all year round with smart layering, so dip into all seasons by juxtaposing light outerwear, hardened boots and eyewear for a complete transitional ensemble.

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4. Wide Leg Jeans + Blue Polo Shirt 

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(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: I adore what Anne-Victoire's deemed her "back to school look". It boats monochromatic elements but with a pop of colour due to the contrasting accessories. Tie the look together with a bohemian-inspired choker. The fun-time heart on a chain has been trending but I like the mature element of the tiger eye stone and its beautiful properties.

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5. Blue Kick-Flare Jeans + Leopard Print Coat 

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(Image credit: @lenafarl)

Style Notes: As winter rolls around it's time to start thinking about outerwear. If there's one style French women revert to each year it's leopard print. Make like Lena and team a loud print with a pared-back look.

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

Next Up: The Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Trends That Really Matter

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.