The One Bag French Girls Will Never Buy

We often discuss French-girl style: Simple wardrobe basics and mussed-up hair are at the centre of that Parisian effortlessness. But how does it translate to handbags—one of the essential wardrobe accessories?

We tapped four French girls to weigh in on the bags we would never find in their closets and the ones they wear on repeat. It turns out that according to them French girls aren't fans of oversized bags. When it comes to size, mini bags win out over larger styles. Those oversized shopper bags send the wrong message—French girls like to appear low-maintenance. On top of that, we also learned a few key rules. Stick to classic colours like navy or ones that can be found in nature, such as terra-cotta and rust. Hues that are too bright are a no-no. The main message is to keep it simple. Anything that looks overdone, with too many embellishments also doesn't make the cut.

Don't Wear Anything Too Fussy


(Image credit: Getty)

"To be honest, I would never get caught wearing something super fussy with lots of embellishment and crystals or a fuzzy face or something. Yes, Dolce, I may or may not be looking at you. Whereas a simple tote in a gorgeous rich hue (navy, terra-cotta, rust) will always be a handy piece to complete any getup. I love Loewe Hammocks which are a twist on the classic shape." — Camille Charrière, blogger, Camille Over the Rainbow

Shop Classic Bags:

Always Carry Your Basket Bags Almost Empty

"I don't like huge and/or 'manly' bags. I think the sexier thing you can do, when it comes to bags, is showing that you don't need to carry your whole house (or bathroom…) with you to be ready at all times. That's why I'm a huge fan of mini bags. There's the basket exception of course, even though they're big, they give this relaxed, laid-back sort of attitude. Insider tip: My baskets are almost always empty, and I actually just carry my mini bag with my things in them!" — Sabina Socol, social editor, L'Officiel Paris

Avoid Big Bags


(Image credit: Adenorah)

"I don't like big bags. The only big bags I wear are my baskets to go to the beach or to the market. I am not a huge fan of It bags anymore. I prefer vintage ones for example. Obviously, as you can imagine, you will always see small bags in my closet. I love vintage ones with beautiful leather. This is my dream bag!" —Anne-Laure Mais, blogger, Adenorah 

Shop Mini Bags:

Go for Crossbody Bags Over Backpacks


(Image credit: Sarah Nait)

"Backpacks are everywhere at the moment but not in my closet. I guess for me it will stay a practical bag not an accessory I will buy to elevate my outfits. I love small and medium bags with classic shapes and colors that I can wear as a crossbody, a shoulder bag, or a purse. My Tiny Box by Little Liffner is the perfect example—it's timeless and versatile." — Sarah Nait, blogger, Sarah Nait

Shop Crossbody Bags:

Next, what je ne sais quoi really means.

This story was originally published on Who What Wear U.S. and has since been updated.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.