You're probably aware that Americans have a very specific perception of "French-girl style." A gamine, Amélie-esque girl probably comes to mind, right? As adorable as she is, not all French women are out to emulate the character that Audrey Tautou made famous, so we decided to go straight to the source to find out which stereotypical "French-girl trends" make cool French girls cringe.
Among our panel of cool French girls are Parisian journalist Sabina Socol, jeweler and photographer Adeline Rapon, style blogger Sarah Nait, and illustrator and blogger Tokyobanhbao. We presented each of them with the same question: Which of the common French-girl style stereotypes are wrong? As we suspected, they had some thoughts. Among the themes, two stood out: berets and ballet flats (plus more than one mention of baguettes…).
Read on to find out what four cool French girls have to say about the most ubiquitous "French-girl trends" and shop pieces that cool French girls would actually wear.
"There's one thing that first comes to my mind when I have to think about "French girl" trends that we don't actually wear, and that is the beret! I'm thinking of it because I know it's kind of making a revival these days, but it's so cliché. I don't think any Parisian girl who's not working in Fashion would wear it unironically. Even worse, paired with a 'marinière' (striped shirt) and carrying a baguette." — Sabina Socol
"It's safe to say that the French style fantasy created a lot of clichés. I don't think that some pieces are particularly stereotypical, but some styling choices are. I've never seen a French girl wearing a beret with a marinière and a rain coat while carrying a baguette. Same for the polka-dot dress, the basket bag, and the espadrilles—it's not every day that you see a French girl dressed like Brigitte Bardot." — Sarah Nait
"I guess I wear a lot of stereotypical things like berets, stripes shirts, tuxedo, little blacks dresses, leather jackets, trench coats, all black of course. Sometimes the 'French' uniform is something I like to play with because I like to be something else than a 'Gainsbourg'-esque girl but not any less French. But there's a Facebook group that raises every year for a day against ballet flats because actually a lot of people think they look ugly and that they, well, smell!
"[As for] Chanel bags, I think it is more about bourgeoise girls who have a family who could afford one or that they can afford one. I think the most common bag would be the Longchamp Pliage, Lancel [bags], and Gerard Darel if you're looking for an expensive classic bag. Otherwise mostly girls have large bags—[usually] black ones or simple ones." — Adeline Rapon
"Everyone thinks French girls wear berets (holding a baguette in their hand), but I actually still don't wear them (but I hold baguettes in my hands). It's not that I don't like it, but it's hard for me finding a good shape and size of beret (I have a big head)." — Tokyobanhbao
Shop Authentic French-Girl Pieces
Women around the world would agree that you can never have too many cute tops.
For when cutoff denim shorts are a little too chill.
French fashion girls will probably order this directional trench immediately.
Try wearing this the French-girl way: with a leather jacket and block-heel ankle boots.
French girls oftentimes forgo swimwear trends in favor of classic bikinis.
Just check Instagram and you'll see that a coin pendant necklace is the go-to French-girl accessory.
Don't forget the basics.
Vintage (or vintage-inspired) Levi's are the French-girl denim style of choice.
Layer this under a denim or leather jacket for an easy night-out look.
These on-sale boots are far too good to pass up.
You may have noticed that French girls are trading striped tees for graphic tees as of late.
The perfect foundation for a chic all-black outfit.
French girls love a good classic belt.
We adore this chic, well-priced leather jacket.
As Adeline Rapon said, French girls love this classic bag brand.