Looking to start up a French girl wardrobe? These 10 ethical essentials are a must!
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.
All About Accessories
Looking for the secret to French dressing? Then you need to focus on 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.
Even your own clothes can be ‘accessories’ in a way. How so? By layering, my friend. Just take a look at the photo, below, to see what we mean.
And let’s not forget the power of shoes. For example? A pencil skirt + white shirt + heels = work. But pencil skirt + boyfriend jumper + ballet flats = weekend.
Image below: Mango
More French Dressing Tips
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. French women know that it’s worth their while to spend money on quality clothes.
After all, 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 ethical French Girl Wardrobe essentials.
Basics For A French Girl Wardrobe
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! We think the weave should be a tiny bit sheer, making it all the sexier….
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: This tee by Sunwashed is just perfect. It’s made of organic cotton and features the quintessential French-girl rounded neckline.
A simple and stylish trench coat is essential for a classic look. Take your time to find a timeless piece you’ll wear over and over again for many years, like a black or charcoal grey one in a loose shape to compliment whatever you wear underneath.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: This organic cotton number by Sezane is naturally waterproof – and has a classic storm flap and epaulettes. Wear yours over neutral tailoring to enhance the beautiful cut of the sleeves.
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.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: The Daria dress, below, is simply stunning! It’s made ethically in Europe from recycled materials. We love the puffed sleeves and just-below-the-knee length. C’est top!
A button-down white blouse is the perfect foundation for just about any outfit. In fact, this a must for true French dressing. For both men and women, in fact!
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: The fact that this shirt below is made out of GOTS certified organic cotton adds to its sustainability cred. Wear it dressed up with a skirt and heels, or dressed down with ripped jeans.
It’s definitely worth taking the time to find some really well-fitting, flattering black trousers. Depending on how you wear them, basic black pants are great for the office with pumps, out for dinner with a pair of heels, or on a lazy Sunday with your favourite sneakers.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: This pair below are made from organic cotton, are vegan friendly, fit just about any shape beautifully. They also look great with a white shirt, of course.
Channel your inner Coco Chanel with a relaxed jumper. Coco was known to wear her lovers’ jumpers. Namely, the Duke of Westminster and the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII. And why not? An oversized jumper pairs beautifully with black trousers (as above) or jeans. Plus, it’s always super comfy!
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: The organic cotton Jill sweater couldn’t be more French! That’s thanks to its boat neck collar and maritime stripes in classic navy.
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 ‘mom’ jeans, you and I both know this will pass. Instead, go for black or darker blue denim, as they tend to be more slimming. A straight leg design is easier to dress both up or down.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: The Cynthia jean, below, is ethically made from a TENCEL/cotton blend. It’s fitted through the hip and butt with a more relaxed leg. It has a slightly longer hemline to give your legs a more elongated look.
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.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: We just love any blazer that Stella McCartney makes! She’s truly the Queen of Tailoring. And it shows, in this ethically made cotton/viscose jacket, below.
While the white shirt, above, is practical, you need one elegant blouse in your closet, too. This item will instantly dress up even the oldest pair of jeans, sure. But it’s also going to make a gorgeous statement at work, too. The key here is to look for details: ruffles, embroidery, puffed sleeves, you get the idea.
Our pick for a French girl wardrobe: Sezane makes all kinds of breathtaking blouses from organic and recycled materials. Our fave? This delicate, organic cotton one, below.
Price: Around $100
Visit Paris, and you’ll see loads of 2.55 Chanel flap bags of all kinds.
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?
Price: From around $2,500
Image credit below: GIORGIA TORDINI in Citizen Couture.
For more great times on how to get a sustainable French girl wardrobe, check out Les Sublimes – the main pic for this article is courtesy of this excellent and truly French brand!