I'm a Brit Living In Paris—5 Workwear Looks I Always Spot French Women Wearing

Call it the back-to-school effect or the change of seasons, but September comes with the desire to refresh and streamline our clothing—pulling long-forgotten pieces from storage and thinking up ingenious methods to squeeze the most out of our summer wardrobes, particularly within office settings. Although French women's style isn’t directly associated with workwear, the "je ne sais quoi” we’re all keen to embody encompasses an aesthetic that’s easily transferable to the workplace—making French women's style an apt reference for workwear. It’s no secret that workwear of the past has felt a little lacklustre (and akin to the prickly trousers we had no choice but to wear in school *shudders*) but now there are a plethora of examples of how to elevate office looks, many of which you can find most in a typical French capsule.

Between the tailoring, 90s-inspired elements and refined silhouettes, you’re bound to discover inspired workwear outfits when observing French women. Whilst living here, I’ve noticed that during their morning commutes, French women are clad in pieces that you’ll likely see them wear for off-duty days but of course, dress codes differ depending on an individual's line of work and journeys there. Women situated in Paris frequently cycle to work and boast relaxed apparel to match.

You’ll witness many a power suit with a modern lilt (read; slouched blazers, as opposed to form-fitting single-breasted styles) wide-leg tailored trousers and puddle pants, trainers, free-flowing dresses and on occasion, straight-fit jeans and long-sleeved Breton tops. The magic is also in the juxtaposition of textures, lengths and styles.

I strongly believe French women have struck the ultimate balance between formal and relaxed apparel for work. They are the masters of nonchalant dressing, after all. From tailored skirting paired with detailed blouses to Bermuda short suits, I’ve pulled some inspirational workwear outfits from some of our favourite French Sartorialists. Keep scrolling for workwear outfits you’ll feel comfortable and stylish enough in, which will no doubt enable you to put your best foot forward!

1. Belted Blazer + White Maxi Dress


(Image credit: @ruerudier)

Style Notes: Gallic woman are renowned for their staple styles but they've inherited some subtle trends over the last few years. Que the full-skirted dress. Pair it with a streamlined blazer and swap the sandals for slip-on shoes. There's still time to wear this style of shoe!

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2. Victoriana Blouse + Tailored Skirt + Pointed Mules


(Image credit: @vikilefevre)

Style Notes: Autumn is time to amp up the gothic vibe and who's to say you have to save these looks for non-working days? Instead, incorporate elements of Victoriana into your workwear capsule with this season's tailored skirt, pointed mules and a detailed blouse. The more pronounced the collar, the better.

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3. Blue Poplin Shirt + Tailored Trousers


(Image credit: @leasyinparis)

Style Notes: You can't go wrong with the shirt and tailored trousers formula. It may be pared-back but it wins every time. As per most French women's wardrobes, it's also timeless.

4. Boxy Blazer + Jeans + Woven Bag


(Image credit: @frannyfyne)

Style Notes: If you're lucky enough to have a relaxed office dress code why not don a blazer, shirt and jeans combination? It bears both relaxed and tailored elements. This look also comprises the basket bag, which you can cleverly integrate into autumnal looks. Many of the Dragon Diffusion styles feature an under-arm nook, which is roomy for laptops and such.

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5. Bermuda Shorts + Cropped Blazer


(Image credit: @aidabadji_)

Style Notes: A Bermuda-shorts-and-blazer combination is an alternative workwear look that French women appreciate. Size up for a slouchier fit and pair the suit with tights and a coat when the weather gets chillier.

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Coming Up: My 7 Favourite Street Style Trends From New York Fashion Week

Freelance Fashion Editor

Avalon Afriyie is a freelance writer and storyteller based in London. She specialises in sustainable fashion, health and the narratives of marginalised communities. She has a background in fashion show production and styling, having previously worked on The Clothes Show and with the Lyst Group. Since graduating in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in English and contemporary media, she’s worked as a feature writer for an independent publication and a contributor for Quill’s creator network. She now marries her passion for words and style, writing for some of the most esteemed fashion and lifestyle publications, Who What Wear UK and Stylist. Avalon also provides copywriting services, creative consultancy, and visual media for independent businesses, including travel guides, interviews, press releases and blog posts. Her work has been featured on Lush, Contiki, Youswim and Ohne. She spends her days writing to her heart’s content for business and pleasure, shooting on film and dreaming of residing a stone’s throw away from the ocean with her love and a pup (clad in a sweeping frock, of course). She’s currently penning ideas for a book of personal essays and free verse poetry on love, life and the stages in between.