To us, New Yorkers are experts at curating dark, minimalist, and polished wardrobes. They have the best LBDs and work attire. Angelenos, on the other hand, are unafraid of colorful, casual clothes. They can put together an outfit that takes them right from brunch to dinner in a blink of an eye. Then there are the French who perhaps have the most renowned fashion of anyone, anywhere. What makes them so intriguing? Maybe it's their emphasis on classic pieces like high-waisted denim and silk camisoles. Maybe it's the overall effortlessness with which they style themselves. Either way, the world still looks to the French for the best fashion inspo.
It begs the question: Can we Americans French-ify our wardrobes without actually shopping in France? How would French women shop if they went to a standard American mall? What brands and items would they buy? What stores would they stop at first? Luckily, we have the low-down. Keep scrolling to see the five items three French women would buy from an American mall (because we think that's something worth knowing).
1. Knit Cardigan
If there's one basic piece of clothing that French women love, it's a classic cardigan. They wear them in every material, color, and print, buttoning them up to wear them alone or leaving them open to reveal a silk camisole or a plain T-shirt underneath. Luckily for us, camisoles are just as prevalent in American malls as they are in high-end clothing boutiques in France.
A pointelle knit cardigan in a soft neutral shade—like this soft rose—will never go out of style.
2. Heeled Black Boots
Whether mid-heel or high-heel, tall or short, or shiny or matte, French women love heeled black boots. Not only do black boots go with almost everything, but they're also universally flattering, understated, and elegant, which is exactly how we'd describe French style in the first place.
The heel on this ankle boots isn't too high, so you can slip them on and walk anywhere.
Style these stiletto booties with wide-leg jeans and a fluffy cardigan for a French-girl look.
3. High-Waisted Denim
High-waisted jeans are particularly flattering because they cinch you in at the waist. Plus, if you get the right fit, they're surprisingly comfortable. Wear them with the aforementioned black boots and a chunky sweater you can tuck in at the front (yes, we're talking about a French tuck).
These high-waisted jeans are less than a night out with dinner and cocktails.
We appreciate the cropped length and raw-hem detail on this pair of high-waisted jeans.
Blazers are the easiest way to make an outfit look elevated (and as we know, the key to French fashion is an aura of effortlessness). Wearing a silky slip dress? Throw a blazer over it for a more work-appropriate look. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt? Throw a blazer on for extra polish.
Double-breasted blazers are great—especially when they're crisp white with gold detailing.
Every closet needs a checked blazer. We have a particular love for this Veronica Beard one.
6. Chunky Sweater
If effortlessness is the first key to French fashion, then layering has to be the second. Whether it's a cardigan or a blazer or a jacket, French women are always layering their clothes (it's functional as well as fashionable). One thing they always have handy is a chunky sweater or two. Choose a neutral shade or a bold print. As long as it's thick and fuzzy and warm, the sky's the limit.
Polka dots are an easy way for people who are print-averse to play with color and shape.
If you're more of a neutrals person, stick to a camel color, which will match everything.