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8 Things French Women Don’t Wear (And What They Wear Instead)

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Stylish women know it only takes emulating a French woman’s fashion aesthetic to transform their signature look from basic to chic. But what makes French women such fashion icons? Simply put, they know the right classic things to wear and steer clear of the items that could downgrade their look. Wondering what they are? Keep reading for the things French women don’t wear and what they wear instead!

France has long been considered one of the world’s fashion capitals, due to the country’s persistent influence on the fashion industry since the 17th century. As a result, many French fashion brands and styles have become the standard for those who take looking good seriously. Of course, France is also known for coining the colloquialism “faux pas,” to discourage certain missteps one might take with one’s outfits. As we move into a new chapter of fashion history with the new year, the fashion standards (even in France) have begun shifting. Fortunately, some do’s and don’t’s of fashion remain static despite the progress we have made. So, if you want your 2024 fashion to be on point, read on to see how French women handle their fashion statements.

French Wardrobe Philosophy

First, French women know that looking fashionable isn’t always about following the latest trends. They don’t obsess over short-lived styles for too long, and instead, they stick to tried-and-true classics while picking only from a few trends to try out and add to their wardrobe.

Tailored blazers, good-fitting jeans, ballet flats, and cashmere sweaters are styles French women will not abandon for fleeting trends.

Even though Paris is the epicenter of the best designer fashion houses, French women are not obsessive about wearing flashy designer clothes like their American counterparts. Most French women are not fans of adding excessive extras to their looks.

And when it comes to styling tricks? They do not overcomplicate it! Whether a simple tousle or a tucking in of the shirt, the French girl follows a quality-over-quantity approach to putting together a look and doesn’t try too hard.

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Related: 12 Ways To Nail a Classic French Style Clothing Look

As the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” This philosophy of simple yet chic is one that most French women apply to every look.

All these French-style philosophies make us so obsessed with the French style and why many women want to nail this effortless French girl style. Still look great while keeping it simple? Sign me up!

Mastering the French girl style comes with trial and error. But the quickest way a beginner can learn is to know what French women don’t wear. By being aware of this, you will avoid wasting your money and time on clothes and styles that a Parisian chic girl would never* wear.

*Speaking in general terms here- every woman is different!

Things French Women Don’t Wear

1. Tons of logos

One quick scroll through Instagram or a fast flip through a fashion magazine, and you have most likely seen a lot of “it girls” donning head-to-toe logo monogram outfits.

This “logomania” craze does not seem to slow down anytime soon as designers keep splashing their signature monograms on coats, bags, heels, and more.

French women, on the other hand, avoid this logomania trend. They are incredibly subtle about their looks. However, that’s not to say that you will never see a French woman wearing anything with a designer logo.

What they wear instead:

Instead, they tastefully wear a few designer logos. A YSL, Christian Dior, or Chanel bag or belt is used to accessorize their classic outfit, but they will not add so many logos that can make their outfit look flashy.

We can all agree that this silent luxury is way more elegant than the “Hey, look at how expensive my outfit is!” styling.

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2. Fake designer pieces

French women don’t attempt to wear fake designer pieces to look stylish. The French philosophy is that having nothing is better than a fake one!

The pressure of owning something designer sure doesn’t help with the surge in the “rich woman” aesthetic on Instagram, showing your followers you have a luxury fashion lifestyle, whether you do or not.

French women, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. Former French model Ine de La Fressange told the Guardian in an interview, “You should dress to feel good, not to show off.”

It can take a lifetime to learn that.

What they wear instead:

French women do not feel pressured to wear fake designer pieces because they are too focused on spending their money on classic wardrobe staples! They favor timeless clothes that do not shout for attention and instead complement their overall appearance, instead of being drowned in it.

3. Cheap fabrics

One of the things French women don’t wear is cheap fabrics. They obsess over the quality of clothing rather than the logos or names on bags, dresses, and footwear.

What they wear instead:

Natural fabrics are the name of the game for French women. The clothes in their wardrobe are made from organic cotton, cashmere, linen, and leather, to name a few. They try to avoid cheap fabrics like polyester and acrylic.

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4. Sweatpants and Leggings

These cozy clothes are fine to wear to the gym, conference calls, and on lazy weekends, but usually not outside of the house to look chic.

Sweatpants and leggings, though popular with the athleisure trend, are generally not thought of as sophisticated and chic, and this is why they are just some of the things French women don’t wear.

What they wear instead:

When it comes down to it, French style is all about looking polished. Even when they are wearing casual outfits, French women will put an effort into how they look. This includes wearing fitted jeans, white sneakers, and a simple yet elegant top.

5. Ugg boots

Ugg boots may be cozy, but they can be more difficult to dress up. Though this style of shoe looks comfortable, they don’t exactly look chic!

Related: 7 Ways to Elevate Your Style (And What You May Be Doing Wrong)

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What they wear instead:

Instead of reaching for ugg boots when heading outside, French women wear ballet flats, ankle boots, sneakers, or loafers. These options are chicer and can still be comfortable. These types of elegant footwear make an outfit look put together immediately!

6. Blingy jeans

Y2K fashion has been making waves in the fashion world again. However, as you already know, French women do not make following fashion trends their lifestyle.

French model Julia Roitfeld told Vogue, “Please do not ask me about trends. I am only into buying clothes that make me feel pretty and flatter me. I have never cared about having the latest things.”

What they wear instead:

French women tend to stick to jeans that do not have busy designs, bedazzling, or have lots of rips. They also prefer jeans that have straight-leg silhouettes and a high waist. The most common washes they opt for are neutral or blue. Usually, they never wear bright-colored jeans!

Related: How to Wear Jeans Like a French Girl

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7. Rainbow colors

A French girl will usually never be seen wearing Crayola-hued clothing head to toe. They tend to avoid bright colors because they are harder to mix and match and don’t usually come across as classic. However, that’s not to say a French woman never wears color.

What they wear instead:

An outfit color palette that they tend to follow is neutral. Colors such as black, white, beige, grey, and navy are what you will typically find in a French girl’s wardrobe. These colors can be easily mixed and matched with other minimal shades.

When a French woman does wear color, she tends to add a pop of color to her outfit instead of wearing Crayola colors head to toe.

8. Ill-fitting clothes

French women avoid wearing clothes that do not flatter their bodies. This means it is too tight or too big. Though an oversized fit is typically okay, they rarely get dressed up in skin-tight and revealing clothing.

What they wear instead:

French fashion is discreet because they carefully consider how their outfits fit. For instance, if they wear a dress to a special event, it will usually not have a bodycon fit and, instead, be tastefully elegant.

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Mastering the French woman’s style is not something you can learn overnight. It takes practice, and most importantly, you must be aware of things French women don’t wear to achieve their effortless looks.

Besides knowing what French women don’t wear, it is also important to have the right classic pieces in your capsule wardrobe. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Up next: 17 Items You Need for Your Classic French Capsule Wardrobe

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Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.