9 French Women Just Showed Me How to Style Shorts

how french women wear shorts

(Image credit: @annelauremais)

French women have a knack for elevating whatever they wear with their classic style principles—even a piece as polarising as shorts. Shorts are generally considered to be one of the more divisive items in fashion—I admittedly used to avoid wearing them, telling myself they wouldn’t "flatter” my petite-and-curvy stature.

Thankfully, I’ve worked through this issue, and this summer, I’ve actually really enjoyed wearing shorts. Still, though, years spent avoiding them means I’m basically starting my shorts-styling journey from scratch. I decided I’d turn to some French women whom I regularly rely on for outfit inspiration to see how they style their shorts.

What I found out was that shorts, in many guises, are an integral part of the French aesthetic. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—there is something quite effortless about them that loans them to the I-didn’t-try-too-hard vibe Gallic types have largely perfected. So how do French women style shorts? Scroll on to find out.

1. Blazer + Longline Denim


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

Style Notes: French women love to wear denim, so denim shorts feature heavily in their summer outfit rotation. Although shorter pairs have been prevalent for the last few years (more on those later), we're partial to Sylvie’s trending longline pair, that she styled with a blazer and T-shirt to create a chic all-black outfit.

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2. Bright Shirt + Safari


(Image credit: @juliesfi)

Style Notes: Safari shorts—cotton styles with large pockets—already look chic. Paired with a bold shirt and tan sliders, however? They look even more sophisticated. Take it from Julie Sergent Ferreri.

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3. Sweatshirt + Boxers


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

Style Notes: For off-duty errands, I’ll be copying and pasting this look from Anne-Laure. Who knew laidback boxer-style shorts and a sweatshirt could look this effortlessly cool?

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4. Oversized Shirt + Cycling


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Style Notes: French women know their way around wardrobe basics like the classic white shirt. I love how Ellie has given hers a high-low styling approach with cycling shorts and a basket bag.

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5. Cardigan + Floral


(Image credit: @lenafarl)

Style Notes: Not everything in the French woman’s wardrobe is minimal—most pieces, however, are classic. Take this outfit from Léna—although it features a yellow cardigan and floral shorts, the choice of a muted butter hue and a versatile ditsy floral makes it utterly timeless.

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6. Trench Coat + Leather


(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

Style Notes: French women know how to carry their favourite items with them from season to season; here, Camille proves shorts have a lifespan longer than the summer by pairing her leather pair with a trench coat and knee-high boots for chillier days.

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7. Matching Set + Earrings


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Style Notes: Franny knows that if there’s a matching top to your shorts, investing in it will make for an easy but wholly chic outfit solution. I’ll be following her lead with this Nobody's Child set.

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8. Breton Stripe + Loafers


(Image credit: @salome.mory)

Style Notes: That’s right—French women really do wear Breton stripes on the regular. Don’t they look especially good with black denim shorts?

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9. White Blouse + Denim Cut-Offs


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

Style Notes: While we’re on the subject of denim shorts, let’s take a moment to appreciate the simplicity of Sabina’s white-blouse-and-denim-shorts combination—a look that’s ideal for beach days and city nights alike.

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Next Up: 47 of the Coolest French Fashion Brands Everyone Should Know

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.