14 items every chic Parisienne woman has in their wardrobe

Parisienne style is easy if you follow this one simple rule: banish ‘occasion dressing’. The quintessential French outfit can take you from brunch to work, school drop-off to birthday drinks, all in one effortless look. It’s a capsule wardrobe suitable for any time, place, or occasion, made up of timeless classics – a good-quality blazer, navy cashmere, smart shoes and minimal jewellery. Never seasonal or logoed, just smart, polished and, of course, oh so chic.

Smart jeans

French women know good jeans – look for straight-leg, in classic denim blue. To be paired with smart blazers or casual knits, flats or heels. Denim should be one colour, not faded, and with no fraying or rips.

Mango straight mid rise jeans

Citizens of Humanity Sabine high rise straight leg jeans


If New York women are known for carrying trainers in their handbags, French women are known for never needing a shoe change – footwear is always appropriate, and can last the whole day. Choose a classic and comfortable walking shoe – something comfy yet formal in forever-chic black.

G.H. Bass Black Easy Weejuns Penny loafers

Reiss chain hardware loafers

A silk scarf

​​Never underestimate the power of the silk scarf. Worn as a necktie, head covering, hair bow, or even wrapped around the handle of a bag, the silk scarf is a one-stop accessory for a grown-up punch of colour. Look to designer brands for the most luxurious versions that will never date.

Le scarf striped silk-twill scarf

Hermes La Patisserie Francaise scarf 45

A classic trench

Outerwear is always the giveaway – French women know how to look good at every stage of an outfit, so your coat must be seen as the finishing touch, never an afterthought. You can’t go wrong with a classic trench, suitable for any weather conditions and always chic on-the-go. Lookout for classic details and neutral tones whether you opt for a fitted style or an oversized look.

Arket linen cotton trenchcoat

The Frankie Shop Eugene oversized cotton trench coat

Hair slides

Hair accessories require just as much consideration as the rest of your wardrobe. Always perfectly un-done, Parisienne hair is never seen just bunched into a scrunchie or snagged on hair ties – styles are poised and clipped into place.

The Uniform at Liberty faux pearl barrette hair clip

Louis Vuitton Baby Louise clips set

A cross body bag

Handbags can be tricky. Top-handles are too formal, totes too casual, buckets too trendy. Enter the cross-body bag – big enough for the essentials without being too cumbersome, and perfectly shaped to sit in the basket of a Vélib’ for zipping around the city. For the ultimate Parisienne look, choose one that’s leather and fuss and logo free. You never want your bag to scream ‘I’m designer!’, although it’s sure to be.

A.P.C Grace smooth leather cross-body bag

Loewe Goya leather shoulder bag

The silk camisole

Parisienne dressing is all about elevated basics. Banish white T-shirts in exchange for a silk camisole. The simple style is perfect for layering under thin knits or with a slick blazer and jeans for off-duty dressing.

COS crinkled cream silk cami

Joseph Clea v-neck silk satin top

A fine knit cardigan

French women have a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to knitwear. While Brits love a cable knit, the Parisienne way is a more feminine approach. Juliette Binoche’s character in Chocolat is your style inspiration here – fine-knit cardigans pulled over vintage camisoles, the scent of freshly baked pastries in the air.

Sezane Ambroise cream cardigan

Me and Em fine knit cardigan with faux pearl details

The brooch

Here’s a trick: instead of layering on jewellery, opt for one simple brooch to upgrade your outfit. A statement brooch adds a touch of class to any look – pin on your lapel for preppy style credentials, or fasten on the knot of your neck scarf to add a touch of sparkle.

Saint Laurent Opyum monogram brass brooch

The belt

Every French woman knows that an outfit is not complete without a belt. Jeans must be upgraded by adding good-quality leather in black or brown, with a simple buckle (never a logo).

& Other Stories Croco leather belt

Ted Baker Rumona leather slim belt

A sharp blazer

The finishing touch to any outfit is the blazer. Instantly elevating, simply throw it over any casual top and jeans and – voila! – polished perfection. A few rules: it should be tailored but not tight at the waist; single breasted; and the hem should fall to the top of your thumb. For an all-purpose number choose classic black, and in terms of material, velvet or satin is not out of the question.

Maje Valilou fitted recycled polyester-blend jacket

Theory Etiennette wool-blend grain de poudre blazer

A navy cashmere knit

A cashmere jumper will never go out of style. Navy has a softer look than harsh black, making it more wearable for everyday, plus it has a touch of Riviera charm that’s less obvious than a Breton stripe. Look for boxy Dad styles or opt for a size larger for a casual look.

John Lewis navy cashmere crew neck jumper

Loro Piana navy cashmere jumper

The boots

When in doubt, go for an ankle boot. Endlessly versatile, they can be worn with jeans or skirts, and even dresses or tuxedos for the evening. Heels should be kitten or block – sturdy enough to last the day – and toes pointed or squared off (round toes are only for ballet flats).

Boden suede round heel chelsea boots

Sandro Suede Amelya ankle boot

The watch

The finishing touch to any look is a smart watch. For daytime, bracelets should be leather, ideally in black or tan, and delicate without being feminine. A beautifully made watch will last a lifetime and beyond so is worth the investment.

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