The Exact Pieces You'll Find in a French Girl's Lingerie Drawer


(Image credit: @sabinasocol)

If you want to tap into just what makes French girls, well, French, look no further than their lingerie drawers. Inside, you’ll find evidence of their easy attitude and effortlessness—that undeniable je ne sais quoi that makes them so cool. Interested to find out more about their unique take on lingerie, we chatted with four real French girls about the pieces they buy and how they wear them.

For Parisian girls, lingerie isn’t an afterthought. It lays the foundation for a look and is as essential to their outfits as the right pair of shoes. Pieces aren’t overtly sexy. Instead, they have a subtle hint of sensuality. Subtlety is really the key here. You won’t find push-up bras or padded pieces that are sexy in an obvious way. Instead, Parisians focus on finding bras and underwear in flattering silhouettes that look good underneath their clothes or even as part of the outfit. A blazer or men’s shirt might be intentionally unbuttoned to show a small glimpse of a lace bra underneath—a balance of masculin et féminin that French girls often strike with their looks.

What it really comes down to, though, is banking on the attitude of being ready for wherever the day might take you and feeling your best. As French model Clémentine Desseaux puts it, “We love to be comfortable but always cute, in case someone ends up seeing our undies, and also, really, just to feel sexy and confident.”

Go on to see the three pieces every Parisian has in her lingerie drawer, and then shop the different pieces and brands many French girls wear.

Matching Sets

One rule for mastering French-girl lingerie style is to buy everything in matching sets and wear them together. The trick is to get a few pairs of underwear for every bra you buy.

Tanga Panties

Tanga panties have a European silhouette, which is halfway between bikini briefs and a thong style. You’ll find them in every French girl’s lingerie drawer.

Something Lace

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French girls love pieces that are dainty with a nod to sensuality but aren’t overtly “sexy.” Pretty lace pieces strike the perfect balance of romantic and subtle.

Go on to find out the lingerie real French girls wear.


"Lingerie is extremely important for French girls—it reveals your femininity and sensuality. For me it has to be subtly provocative, never too obvious or just ‘sexy.’” —Marta Cygan, blogger, Life of Boheme

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"When it comes to lingerie, my rule is simple: What would you like to be wearing if you ended up at the hospital and everyone could see your panties? Haha. It might seem weird, but it’s just a metaphor to say that you should just never be ashamed of your hosiery (don’t be afraid to throw it out!). A lot of French girls are all about the petite culotte, which is simply a cotton panty—they usually buy them from Petit Bateau. I like them too, but I also enjoy sexier numbers such as tanga-shaped briefs. Oh also, the undies should always be invisible under your clothes. I also love a lace bodysuit to wear under a very deep V-neck blouse or even under a man’s jacket. Very sexy!" —Sabina Socol, journalist


"In terms of lingerie, I love basics, and I buy them in 100 copies. I don’t know if we really can say that French girls have rules, but for me, the most important is the comfort. I usually do not wear a bra, but if it’s necessary, I don’t want to feel it. I like nude and black. For bottoms, I only wear cotton tanga." —Anne-Laure Mais, blogger, Adenorah


"French women really do think lingerie is the base of an outfit and take that very seriously. We always buy sets or at least pieces that go together. We don’t wear undies with holes in them. Buying your first undies set with mum is a big deal. It means you’re a woman and you have to be conscious of the way you carry yourself, starting with what’s underneath. I know my U.S. girls are not as into underwear. We don’t play with that underlayer. Here are some good basics you’ll see in pretty much any French girl’s drawers." —Clémentine Desseaux, entrepreneur and model 

Next up, see the most stylish French women.

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.