Clothes Fashion

10 Eco Essentials for a French Girl Wardrobe


By Zara Williams

French women are smart. They know makeup secrets that give them that ‘just woke up this way’ natural beauty. They manage to eat cheese, bread and macarons without gaining an ounce. And they look stylish all the time, whether they’re torn between lovers in a 60s French film or taking a selfie at a cafe in St Germain.

Here’s what they know: the key to a stylish and sustainable wardrobe is having a selection of carefully chosen, mindfully made essentials; a classic capsule wardrobe allows you to mix and match timeless pieces that never go out of fashion. The secret to keeping this eternal wardrobe fresh is accessories: while the French may prefer demure earrings and tiny bracelets, you can use jewellery and scarves to punctuate each look with a serious statement. And let’s not forget the power of shoes: pencil skirt + white shirt + heels = work, but pencil skirt + boyfriend jumper + ballet flats = weekend.

The French wardrobe palette is neutral, but consider this to be a backdrop for colour popping accessories, patterned scarves or a slash of red lipstick. Keep the look young and carefree with tousled hair, or polish it with a chignon.

Following French style is  a very wise investment, too: if you stop splurging on poorly made garments that look tired after one season and instead spend a bit of more beautifully made, well fitting items, not only will you look more polished overall, but you’ll probably have some cash left to spend on a relaxing massage or the perfect haircut!

Wondering exactly what you need for that timelessly chic look? Here are our top ten closet classics, with examples from ethical and environmentally conscious brands, to ensure you have the perfect French Girl Wardrobe.


 The Plain White Tee

It’s the essential of essentials! A simple white tee can be worn with boyfriend jeans, skinny trousers, under a jacket at work, or even as pyjamas! Da Londra makes a fabulous one from a sustainable bamboo/organic cotton blend that features a twisted neckline. We love that it’s just a tiny bit sheer due to its fine weave, making it all the sexier….

Get one here.


The Classic Coat

A simple and stylish coat is essential for a classic winter look. Take your time to find a timeless piece you’ll wear over and over again for many years to come, like a black or charcoal grey one in a loose shape to compliment whatever you wear underneath. This Eileen Fisher kimono cut coat is ethically made from thick, warm boiled wool, and is naturally dyed. We can’t imagine this ever going out of style, can you?

Get yours here.


A Little Black Dress

A little black dress is a definite must-have. Whether you like yours long and flowing or short and sassy, find a versatile style you can wear for a variety of different occasions, like the Penny dress by Reformation. The wrap front is subtly sexy, and the tie waist helps create an hourglass silhouette. The Penny dress uses 74 gallons less water to make, emitting 11 lbs less carbon dioxide than the industry standard.

Get one here


The Classic White Shirt

A simple and chic white shirt is the perfect foundation for just about any outfit. Do the buttons to the top for a pretty and preppy look, or leave a few undone for a more relaxed, but still sophisticated, style. To be fair, the classically cut shirt actually suits small busted women best; if you’re a C or D cup, you may want to look for a more feminine cut, like the twist-neck model below. But if you’re sticking with the button down style, try to find one you can tucked into a skirt that also sits well over trousers. Jigsaw London carries  100% silk basics including a collection of beautiful shirts and blouses, sold in their shops but also at John Lewis, where each employee owns a tiny share of the company, too!

Get one here.




Tailored Black Trousers

It’s definitely worth taking the time to find some really well-fitting, flattering black trousers. Tailored black pants are great for the office with pointed pumps, out for dinner with a pair of heels, or on a lazy Sunday with your favourite sneakers. Our faves are once again by Stella – the Velez trousers are vegan friendly, fit just about any shape beautifully and look great with a white shirt, of course.

Get yours here – but hurry, they’re going fast!


The Boyfriend Jumper

An oversized crew neck jumper is the ideal layering piece for a minimalist and timeless look that keeps you warm throughout the winter. Make sure yours is in a sustainable wool–in general, sheep’s wool is less sustainable than cashmere, as sheep take up more land for grazing, and alpaca is even more sustainable than cashmere because the alpaca grazes less than the mountain goat. Great alpaca sweaters of all kinds, handcrafted by Bolivian artisans, can be found here, but we wouldn’t say no to this perfectly cut slouchy cashmere number by Vince.

Get yours here.


The Pencil Skirt

A plain pencil skirt is another super versatile item great for a capsule wardrobe. You can dress it up with a tight top and heels, make it smart by tucking in a shirt or blouse, or keep it casual with a plain tee. This People Tree Petra pencil skirt goes with just about anything, won’t break the bank, and is made of 95% organic certified cotton as certified by the Soil Association’s organic textile standard.

Get yours here.



Denim to Die For

A good pair of jeans should enhance your assets and flatten and firm any wobbly bits. Try on every pair you can until you find ones that make you look and feel great – these are meant to be some of the most comfortable trousers in your wardrobe and should last a decade. While it’s trendy now to wear ripped jeans, you and I both know this will pass. Instead, go for black or darker blue as they tend to be more slimming and are easier to dress both up or down. Although producing denim can be a water and energy intensive process, and indigo dyes are amongst the most toxic, Joe’s Jeans are committed to improving the environmental impact of their jeans. They have a method of production that uses way less water and energy than most jeans brands. We also love their flattering cuts, like these cropped jeans, below.

Get yours here.


The Perfect Blazer

An elegant, tailored black blazer instantly smartens an outfit. It can make you look and feel more professional and chic, without needing to wear anything too fancy underneath. Opt for a slim cut and classic design that you’ll never grow tired of. Stella McCartney’s black Iris blazer is made of 100% wool with a fitted waist and one button fastening. Stella McCartney is a vegetarian company committed to operating a responsible, honest, and modern business.

Get yours here.


The Perfect Handbag

Yep, I know what you’re thinking: Chanel? As if we can all afford that! And as if it’s eco friendly! Well, it kind of is if you buy the bag as a vintage piece. This has loads of benefits: one, the bag has a story. Did you pick it up at a second hand store in Paris? Was it your chic grandmother’s? Or did you buy it online, where it could have been the former favourite of a celebrity? In any case, it may cost more than the average, but an excellent bag like the Chanel 2.55 will never, ever, ever go out of style unlike trendier bags like the Chloe Paddington or Celine Trapeze, it won’t look ‘so 5 years ago’ in 5 years, right?

Hunt for a vintage one here. Make sure it’s not a fake by following these tips!



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