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

French summer capsule, poplin top



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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The floral-vine print on this poplin top screams “French vineyard.”

Everything about this piece is so chic—the ruching, the flared sleeves, the collarbone neckline. 

Key Summer Staple #2: Pleated Shorts

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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You’ll live in these shorts all summer—I promise. 

Pair these with a matching blazer and you’ll look so chic.

Key Summer Staple #3: Cute Cardigan

French summer capsule, cardigan



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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Imagine this styled with a slip skirt. Perfection, right?

A cardigan that’s as magical as walking in a French garden.

Key Summer Staple #4: Two-Piece Set

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.

Key Summer Staple #5: Cutout Dress

French summer capsule, cutout dress



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.

Key Summer Staple #6: Button-Down Shirt

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).

Just when you thought a button-down couldn’t get chicer, this plissé one exists.

Key Summer Staple #7: Slip Skirt

French summer capsule, slip skirt



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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Don’t say I didn’t warn you: This will be the only thing you want to wear all summer.  

Key Summer Staple #8: Light Blazer

French summer capsule, blazer



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

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.

Key Summer Staple #10: The Perfect Little Sundress

French summer capsule sundress



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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Pair this with a raffia bag and you’ll basically be French.

This will become a perennial favorite in your closet.