I Swear These 26 Pieces Feel Absolutely French


Call it cliché, but there’s no fashion person I know who isn’t also a secret Francophile—it comes with the territory. After all, we are constantly following the biggest trends to come out of couture ateliers, the street style scene, and the newest brands. It is only natural that anyone who loves fashion would equally grow to love French aesthetics. And if I’m being truly honest, no one has quite mastered the art of dressing like the French fashion set (blame that je ne sais quoi), especially in the summertime. There’s nothing chicer than a woman donning a satin slip dress by the seine or someone shopping for brie cheese in a Peter Pan–collar poplin blouse. It’s a vibe, to say the least. And while we might not all be able to be French or even visit Paris this summer, we can channel the energy through a few key pieces. In that vein, I did some digging on Instagram to identify the 10 key pieces that feel French and then shopped them out with our very own Who What Wear Collection. Consider this your guidebook to being chic all summer, sans effort.

Key Summer Staple #1: Poplin Top


(Image credit: @melodiebance)

Picture the scene: It’s a warm summer day, and you’re walking in Paris—what are you wearing? If you imagined you’re donning denim with a crisp poplin top, you may be secretly French. Seriously though, there’s no more quintessential French-feeling staple than this piece. Even if you don’t have a trip to Paris booked soon, investing in this style is a safe bet every time.

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Key Summer Staple #2: Pleated Shorts


(Image credit: @thevisuelofgrace)

Another staple the French fashion set loves and wears all summer long? Pleated shorts. They’re far more polished than denim shorts, and with styles ranging from crisp white linen shorts to caramel cargo shorts, they’re the most versatile staple for the summer.

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Key Summer Staple #3: Cute Cardigan


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

I have yet to find one French influencer who isn’t a fan of a good cardigan—it’s the year-round staple. The key to this piece is opting for iterations with special details to give it that French flair (e.g., vibrant hues, cropped hemlines, and fun buttons).

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Key Summer Staple #4: Two-Piece Set


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Another staple I’ve spotted the French fashion set whipping out time and again is the beloved two-piece set. My hunch is that the Parisians know this is the easiest way to look polished no matter what. Whether you choose a knitted skirt set, a cotton poplin set, or a sultry silk set, you can’t go wrong with this crucial buy.

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Key Summer Staple #5: Cutout Dress


(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

One thing you can’t deny about the French fashion set is that they’re not afraid to get risqué with the outfits. Any sultry trend—whether it be micro miniskirts or low-rise pants—was like donned by them before anyone else. So it only makes sense that at least one spicy summer staple would be in the mix, like a cutout dress. Whether it’s a full-length maxi worn to the beach or a simple dress worn on the daily, this style is peak French energy.

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Key Summer Staple #6: Button-Down Shirt


(Image credit: @leasy_inparis)

In addition to the poplin top, the button-down shirt has its own special place in the wardrobes of the French fashion set. Whether paired with jeans and ballet flats or tied over a little slip dress, this chic staple is an essential part of any wardrobe (French or otherwise).

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Key Summer Staple #7: Slip Skirt


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Remember those few years when everyone in New York was wearing the same cheetah-print slip skirt? Well, it was an import from the French fashion brand Réalisation. And while that skirt may have had its moment, the slip style itself is still a quintessential staple among the French set—and really in any summer wardrobe. Simply opt for the piece in a more trend-forward print or hue to give it a 2022 update.

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Key Summer Staple #8: Light Blazer


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Given that some of the most iconic French houses made suiting an essential part of every woman’s closet, it’s no surprise that a blazer would be a mainstay in every Parisian’s wardrobe, even in the summer. The secret to making this staple ready for warm weather is by opting for iterations in lighter fabrics (linen and cotton) and with fun details like interesting tailoring and vibrant hues.

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Key Summer Staple #9: Relaxed Trousers


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

The key to embodying that effortlessly polished look is by having an arsenal of great staples—enter, relaxed trousers. Not only is this a beloved trend among the Parisian set, but people around the world have also rallied around this trend because of how easy it is to inject into your wardrobe and wear year-round.

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Key Summer Staple #10: The Perfect Little Sundress


(Image credit: @basicstouch)

Last but certainly not least, you can’t really survive summer in Paris (or anywhere for that matter) without a perfect little sundress. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any dress, but should you want to go full French with it, opt for almost Versailles-inspired details (think: puff sleeves, corset boning, ruching, and bows) for a truly stylish summer.

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Next: Turns Out These Sneaky Pieces Are Sitting in Every French Girl's Summer Wardrobe

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.