The Winter Dress That French Girls Have Loved Forever

Isabel Mundigo-Moore
·4-min read

It wasn't until I bought a Nanushka jumper dress last year that I realised how incredibly chic they were. I don't know what was putting me off. Maybe I was just buying ones that were too thin or didn't fit my body type. I was hesitant about trying what, in my mind, was a form-fitting garment. But lo and behold, my mind has changed, especially when I realised that jumper dresses are the chic winter dress that French women love to wear.

Jane Birkin in a knitted mini dress, 1968.

Last year, French designer Jacquemus released a super-fine knit dress with a dramatic, leg-flashing slash in the skirt that the Parisian style set loved and wore on repeat. It was only then that I did a little digging and discovered that French women have been wearing knitted dresses of all styles for quite some time. So it's no wonder then that French designers have been pretty good at supplying them over the years. The late Sonia Rykiel was often referenced as the "Queen of Knits," with her striped sweaters being, perhaps, some of the most recognisable of all. Icons like Françoise Hardy, Charlotte Rampling, and Jane Birkin leaned on slinky knitted dresses through the 1970s, and whatever they chose to wear during this era is still considered to be classic today.

French It girl Jeanne Damas wearing the famous thigh-split Jacquemus dress.

Jumper dresses are effortless (a very French quality), as they are basically a one-step outfit, and not to sound obvious here, they keep you warm. They work for day or night, and they come in many shapes and styles. They're very easy to toss on and run out the door in, so really, what's not to love?

Keep scrolling to see how women all over Europe are wearing knitted dresses now and shop my edit of the best ones to invest in and wear season after season, whether you're stepping anywhere near The Louvre or not.

How Chic Women Are Wearing Jumper Dresses

Style Notes: Jacquemus made thin knit maxi dresses for his collection a few seasons ago, and the French girls loved them. They need little else—maybe a cute bag, a gold pendant necklace, and kitten mules.

Style Notes: We love the styling trend of wearing midi dresses that meet a knee-high boot. This translates so well into winter dressing with the swapping in of a jumper dress. We love the monochrome look, too.

Style Notes: Sweetheart necklines are a very 2020 addition to this kind of form-fitting silhouette.

Style Notes: I love when people choose bright colours in the winter months because it feels far more challenging. This bright green is very 2020.

Style Notes: There's nothing quite as classically french as a Breton stripe. Here, Camille Charriere updates a timeless dress with the addition of a shearling coat.

Style Notes: Statement sleeves are the perfect companion to a body-fitting sweater dress.

Style Notes: There's so much to copy here. The mini jumper dress with sheer tights and over-the-knee boots is genius alone, but adding the blazer is just brilliant.

Style Notes: Karina's lightweight Zara dress is great for those days where the weather isn't that brutal.

Style Notes: I love how Sabina opts for a cable-knit version in a more 1940s-style cut. It's perfect for a day-to-night look.

Shop the Best Jumper Dresses

Khaite Beth Ribbed-Knit Midi Dress (£1170)

Arket Knot-Detail Knitted Wool Dress (£138)

COS Long Sleeve Knitted Dress (£99)

Anna Quan Mara Ribbed Cotton Maxi Dress (£360)

Bottega Veneta Cutout Ribbed Silk-Blend Chenille Mini Dress (£2275)

& Other Stories Relaxed Belted Mini Dress (£55)

Jonathan Simkhai Penelope Open-Back Tasseled Ribbed-Knit Midi Dress (£675)

Monki Oversized Long Knit Dress (£40)

Zara Long Knit Dress (£30)

H&M Rib-Knit Dress (£30)

Ralph Lauren Striped Crochet Dress (£555)

Nanushka Canaan Navy Ribbed-Knit Midi Dress (£305)

Mango Ribbed Jersey Dress (£50)

Joseph Viviane O'Size Knit Dress (£395)

Uniqlo Marimekko Merino Wool Blend A-Line Dress (€40)

Free People Rachel Cardigan Mini Dress (£140)

Up Next: The Affordable Christmas Gift Guide.

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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