Before you read anything, I think you need to know that what we imagine to be French summer style is a bit of a cliché, and you know what? I'm okay with that. There is a lot that I love about French fashion. It's elegant, classic, and a little bit sassy, but it's not known for being experimental. And who says that you need to be completely out-there when it comes to your summer wardrobe? If it ain't broke, and all that. When it comes to dressing for the warmer months, I always see the same key pieces cropping up on Parisian women. I've analysed the style of several of my favourite French influencers and worked out that there are nine items that are pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance during the warmer months.
From the perfect white T-shirt to a slinky slip dress, there are plenty of items that you probably already own. Nothing here is complicated. While I can't guarantee that the current climate is going to change into glorious sunshine the moment you wear any of these items, I can guarantee you might feel a little more French. So go forth, and take a look at the following items to plan your summer wardrobe accordingly tout suite!
1. A Summer Dress
Style Notes: Yes, this is an obvious one, but a summer dress is essential to nailing your French look. Ideally, this needs to cut with décolletage in mind but can come in any length and tends to be more on the fitted side.
Mango Seam Cotton Dress (£50)
Nasty Gal Floral Smock Midi Dress (£25)
Anna Mason Lily Bow-Detailed Cold-Shoulder Gingham Cotton Midi Dress (£765)
2. Cropped Cardigan
Style Notes: The cropped cardi is a year-round kind of item for our Gallic friends, but it really comes into its own in the summer. It's your coat replacement when the weather is a little chilly, and it looks great slung over a slip dress or just with blue jeans.
& Other Stories Cropped Cable Knit Cardigan (£85)
Ganni Cropped V-Neck Wool-Blend Cardigan (£245)
Rouje Nono Cardigan (£160)
3. Basket Bag
Style Notes: Whatever happens, French women will never let go of their basket bags. Get one, and use it forever.
Loewe x Paula's Ibiza Small Leather-Trimmed Woven Raffia Tote (£450)
Wicker Wings Lu Rattan & Leather Bucket Bag (£251)
4. Summer Shoes
Style Notes: It wouldn't be right for me to nail down a particular shoe style that French women wear in the summer, but know this: I've seen a few wearing clogs this season (no surprise when Hermès offered such chic versions). However, I also know that espadrilles and classic black sandals remain ever popular. Take your pick.
Fitflop Pilar Mule Platforms (£120)
Castañer Chiara 80 Metallic Canvas Wedge Espadrilles (£85)
M&S Collection Leather Flatform Flip Flops (£35)
5. "Naked" Top
Style Notes: No other nation does subtle sassiness like the French. The "naked" top is a case in point. Whether it's an open-back shirt or a top that laces up at the front, there are myriad ways to wear this kind of look.
Faithfull the Brand Idrissy Tie-Front Linen Top (£149)
& Other Stories Cropped Criss Cross Tie Blouse (£65)
Reformation Biscotti Open-Back Linen Wrap Top (£160)
6. Slip Dress
Style Notes: This underwear-as-outerwear trend has been going for several years now, and it looks like it won't be slowing down soon. Make like the French and pair it with your cropped cardi.
French Connection Dola Drape Lace Trim Slip Dress (£80)
Bernadette Jeanine Silk-Satin Slip Dress (£350)
Mango Strap Flowy Dress (£36)
7. Basic Tank
Style Notes: The French know the power of a great basic, and a great-fitting vest top is just one item they love. Whether it's beige, black or white, it will work with everything in your wardrobe.
COS Slim-Fit Knitted Vest (£35)
H&M Ribbed Vest Top (£6)
Totême Espera Ribbed Stretch-Organic Cotton Jersey Tank (£85)
8. A Perfect White Tee
Style Notes: Another basic, but it will last you so long. Take a tip from Ellie Delphine of Slip Into Style, and wear it with a bold skirt.
Arket Heavy-Weight T-Shirt (£35)
The Row Chiara Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt ($320)
A.P.C. Elsie Ribbed T-Shirt (£85)
9. A Pair of Classic Sunnies
Style Notes:The pièce de résistance has to be a really great pair of sunglasses. Not too over-the-top or trend-led but still super cool. To be worn at all times.
Weekday Cruise Squared Sunglasses (£18)
Le Specs Recovery Rectangular Recycled Sunglasses ($79)
Isabel Marant Octagon-Frame Acetate Sunglasses (£175)
Next up, 10 French fashion essentials to know.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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