If you want to tap into just what makes French girls, well, French, look no further than their lingerie drawers. Inside, you’ll find evidence of their easy attitude and effortlessness—that undeniable je ne sais quoi that makes them so cool. Interested to find out more about their unique take on lingerie, we chatted with four real French girls about the pieces they buy and how they wear them.
For Parisian girls, lingerie isn’t an afterthought. It lays the foundation of a look and is as essential to their outfits as the right pair of shoes. Pieces aren’t overtly "sexy." Instead, they have a subtle hint of sensuality. Subtlety is really the key here. You won’t find push-up bras or padded pieces. Instead, Parisians focus on finding bras and underwear in flattering silhouettes that look good underneath their clothes or even as part of the outfit. A blazer or button-down shirt might be intentionally unbuttoned to show a small glimpse of a lace bra underneath.
What it really comes down to, though, is banking on the attitude of being ready for wherever the day might take you and feeling your best. As French model Clémentine Desseaux puts it, “We love to be comfortable but always cute, in case someone ends up seeing our undies, and also, really, just to feel sexy and confident.”
Go on to see the three pieces every Parisian has in her lingerie drawer, and then shop the items real French girls wear.
One rule for mastering French-girl lingerie style is to buy everything in matching sets and wear them together. The trick is to get a few pairs of underwear for every bra you buy.
This bra along with the Lumiere Monica Stretch-Jersey Briefs ($125) are the perfect pieces to avoid visible panty lines.
French brand Chantelle has been designing lingerie for over 100 years, and it shows in quality pieces like the Allure Bra and Merci Tanga Bottoms ($24).
A European silhouette, tanga bottoms are halfway between bikini briefs and a thong style. You'll find them in every French girl's lingerie drawer.
Have you tried the silhouette all French girls own?
Upgrade your everyday lingerie.
French girls love designs with a nod to sensuality but that aren't overtly "sexy." Pretty lace pieces strike the perfect balance of romantic and subtle.
Layer this lace bralette under a semi-sheer shirt to show it off.
Go on to find out the lingerie real French girls wear.
"When it comes to lingerie, my rule is simple: What would you like to be wearing if you ended up at the hospital and everyone could see your panties? Haha. It might seem weird, but it's just a metaphor to say that you should just never be ashamed of your hosiery (don't be afraid to throw it out!). A lot of French girls are all about the petite culotte, which is simply a cotton panty. They usually buy them from Petit Bateau. I like them too, but I also enjoy sexier numbers such as tanga-shaped briefs. Oh also, the undies should always be invisible under your clothes. I also love a lace bodysuit to wear under a very deep V-neck blouse or even under a man's jacket. Very sexy!" — Sabina Socol, social editor, L'Officiel
The open lace makes this pair very elegant.
A bodysuit is the answer to no-fuss lingerie.
These look like a guaranteed comfortable style.
Wear this bodysuit with high-waisted denim and black heels, and you're set for a night out.
"Lingerie is extremely important for French girls. It reveals your femininity and sensuality. For me, it has to be subtly provocative, never too obvious or just 'sexy.'" — Marta Cygan, blogger, Life of Boheme
Style this bra with its matching bottoms for the full effect.
The lace detail adds a feminine touch.
"French women really do think lingerie is the base of an outfit and take that very seriously. We always buy sets or at least pieces that go together. We don't wear undies with holes in them. Buying your first undies set with mum is a big deal. It means you're a woman and you have to be conscious of the way you carry yourself, starting with what's underneath. I know my U.S. girls are not as into underwear. We don't play with that under-layer. Here are some good basics you'll see in pretty much any French girl's drawers." — Clémentine Desseaux, entrepreneur and model
French girls tend to buy matching sets, like this demi bra and the Charlotte Seamless String Cheeky Bottoms ($39).
The silk-and-lace combination on this set makes a nice contrast.
"In terms of lingerie, I love basics, and I buy them in 100 copies. I don't know if we really can say that French girls have rules, but for me, the most important is the comfort. I usually do not wear a bra, but if it's necessary, I don't want to feel it. I like nude and black. For bottoms, I only wear cotton tanga." — Anne-Laure Mais, blogger, Adenorah
A simple bralette can be comfortable and pretty.
A pair of seamless underwear is a must-have piece.
This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated.