8 Basics You'll Find in Every French Women's Classic Capsule Wardrobe

French women have a knack for seeing potential in even the simplest pieces. What others might dismiss as "boring” could, in the eyes of a Parisian, be the foundation of an Instagram-ready look.

It’s worth taking a leaf out of their fashion handbook, because every wardrobe could benefit from a base of versatile, fuss-free items. From there, you can add more interesting and on-trend elements into the mix, and ultimately, create a rotation of outfits that feel both timeless and current. Easy peasy.

When stocking up for staples, prioritise pieces you know will work through the seasons, whether by layering them up or styling them with different shoes and accessories. Before you head straight to Marks and Spencer’s basics section, take a peek at the eight essentials I’ve pin-pointed as cornerstones in French closets. I looked to a selection of Gallic influencers to figure out exactly which buys I could carry with me from winter to spring, spring to summer, and so on—because let’s be honest, there’s no better source of sartorial intel. Et voilà…

1. Classic Jeans


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

Style Notes: Blue denim is a ride-or-die staple in French women's wardrobes, particularly classic, straight-leg pairs. The streets of Paris are brimming with effortless jeans-based outfits.

Shop jeans:

2. Plain T-Shirt


(Image credit: @leasy_inparis)

Style Notes: A white tee might sound boring, but dress it up like Leasy has, and you'll be glad you invested in this building block piece.

Shop T-shirts:

3. Little Black Dress


(Image credit: @ariadibari)

Style Notes: For brunch dates, dinner dates and everything in between, an understated black dress will always deliver.

Shop black dresses:

4. Blue Button-Down


(Image credit: @saraloura)

Style Notes: While Parisians love their monochrome outfits, they won't say no to a clean-cut blue shirt. Pair yours with whites for fresh springtime look.

Shop blue shirts:

5. Cashmere Cardigan


(Image credit: @ruerodier)

Style Notes: French women won't sacrifice practicality for aesthetics, which is why they rely on chic cashmere knitwear to keep them warm in winter.

Shop cardigans:

6. Silk Cami


(Image credit: @pia_mbd)

Style Notes: Layered under a blazer or on its own in summer, a silk-satin camisole is a quick route to elegance. Just add jeans to make it everyday-appropriate.

Shop camisoles:

7. Double-Breasted Blazer


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Style Notes: Next time you invest in a new blazer, opt for a double-breasted design in a menswear-inspired cut, ideally in a neutral hue to maximise its wearability.

Shop blazers:

8. Comfortable Flats


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Style Notes: You won't spot Gallic girls tottering along in too-high heels; instead, they make a habit of getting from place to place comfortably in simple flats.

Shop flats:

Next Up: I've Just Assembled the Perfect French Capsule Wardrobe With 9 Simple Pieces

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.