French Fashion Essentials You Need in Your Wardrobe

French Fashion Essentials You Need in Your Wardrobe

French fashion is known for its elegance, sophistication, and effortless chic. It’s a style that’s both timeless and modern, making it perfect for any occasion. If you’re looking to add some French flair to your wardrobe, read on for the essential pieces you need.

Breton Stripe Tops

The Breton stripe top is a classic French wardrobe staple. This simple, yet stylish top can be dressed up or down, making it perfect for any occasion.


The Breton stripe shirt has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Originally worn by French navy sailors from the Brittany region of France, the shirt features distinctive horizontal blue stripes on a white background.

The stripes were thought to make it easier to spot sailors who had fallen overboard. Over time, the Breton stripe shirt moved from strictly utilitarian naval gear to a fashion staple adopted by civilians as well.Man sailing at sunset

Wearing Breton Stripes

  • Casual Looks – Pair a Breton stripe tee with jeans, shorts or a skirt for an effortless weekend look. Add white sneakers or ballet flats to keep it casual.
  • Smart Casual Style – Tuck a fitted Breton tee into a midi skirt with heels or wedges for chic smart casual style. Add a blazer for the office.
  • Evening Wear – For date night or cocktails, wear a Breton stripe tee with leather leggings, heels and statement jewelry. Add a moto jacket or blazer on top.

Little Black Dresses

A little black dress is a must-have for any woman’s wardrobe. It’s a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down, making it perfect for any occasion.


The little black dress dates back to the 1920s, when French designer Coco Chanel created an iconic calf-length black dress. At the time, black was reserved for periods of mourning and wasn’t considered fashionable.

Chanel broke with tradition and launched the little black dress into the fashion lexicon, where it remains today as a versatile wardrobe essential. Her innovative design is still the standard for the modern LBD.Romantic young woman with naturally beautiful healthy skin holding bouquet of flowers in lavender field. Beautiful girl wearing a black dress and bow in her hair.

Styling Tips

  • Daytime Chic – For daytime looks, pair an LBD with a cropped blazer or jean jacket. Add ballet flats or loafers to keep it casual. Statement jewelry polishes the look.
  • Cocktail Attire – Come evening, an LBD transitions seamlessly to cocktails. Pair with heels, a clutch and bold lip for effortless French girl style.
  • Black Tie – An LBD also does double duty for black tie events. Choose a sleek silhouette with added skirt volume. The right jewelry and hair style dresses this look to impress.

Trench Coats

A trench coat is a timeless outerwear piece that every woman should have in her closet. It’s practical, yet incredibly stylish. Trench coats work for any season and go with anything.


Trench coats trace their origins back to the trenches of World War I, where they were worn as all-weather outerwear by British and French soldiers. After the war, civilians adopted the functional coat for rainy weather and dresswear.

Over the decades, the trench coat has cemented its place in fashion. Designers create new takes each season, but the classic double-breasted style remains iconic.Portrait of young multiracial man taking care of plants in modern greenhouse.

Wearing Trenches

  • Fall & Spring – Trench coats shine as transitional weather outerwear. Toss one on over jeans, dresses, trousers or skirts. Belt it to define the waist.
  • Winter Layering – Come winter, layer trenches over chunky sweaters, leggings and boots. Choose one that’s slightly oversized to accommodate layers underneath.
  • Rainy Days – Don’t reserve your trench for fair weather days. These water-resistant coats are perfect for rainy days. Just add an umbrella and rain boots.

Ballet Flats

Ballet flats are a classic French shoe style that’s comfortable, versatile and chic. These feminine flats go with virtually everything making them a wardrobe workhorse.


Ballet flats originated in the early 20th century amongst ballet dancers who wore soft leather flats as practice shoes. In the 1950s, French fashion icon Brigitte Bardot made them popular off stage by donning flats as everyday wear.

Soon ballet flats became a sensation across France and abroad. Today they remain a staple in every French woman’s shoe collection.Ballerina standing on toes

Style Tips

  • Weekend Wear – Nothing beats ballet flats for weekend style paired with jeans, leggings or casual dresses. Toss them on for brunch, farmers markets and casual weekends.
  • Work Attire – While stilettos may reign in U.S. offices, French women often choose ballet flats for an elegant, yet comfortable work shoe. They effortlessly transition an outfit from desk to dinner.
  • Travel Essential – Any woman who’s dashed across an airport terminal in heels understands why ballet flats make perfect travel companions. Toss them in your carry-on for cozy flights and city strolling.

Silk Scarves

A silk scarf serves as a versatile accessory that injects color, femininity and Parisian flair into any outfit. Both stylish and functional, scarves finish looks with an element of French chic.


Silk scarves have a long history intertwined with French fashion dating back to the 17th century. At the time, they symbolized luxury and were worn by aristocratic women when posing for portraits.

In the 20th century, French designers elevated the silk scarf from functional to fashionable. Iconic brands like Hermès and Chanel turned scarves into coveted wardrobe accessories.Portrait of two handsome young men with clear blue sky as background

Wearing Scarves

  • Hair Styling – Embrace effortless French chic by tying a silk scarf in your hair. Knot it under your hair like a bandana or twist it into a headband. This works with ponytails too.
  • Neck Accessory – An evergreen way to wear a scarf is draped around your neck over a coat or blazer. Try different knots like a Parisian knot or loosely draped for French girl style.
  • Belt It – Get creative with your silk scarves by using one as stylish belt over dresses, tunics and cardigans. Tie it any way you wish for a modern twist.


Building a chic French wardrobe is easier than ever thanks to these six essentials: Breton stripe tops, little black dresses, trench coats, ballet flats, silk scarves and confidence. Master these French fashion basics and you’ll exude Parisian style no matter where you go.