Because we always want to know …
Main image: Instagram @leiasfez.
The internet is rife with talk of ‘French girl style’ but what does that mean in reality? With soaring temperatures, even in September, maintaining a semblance of style and battling the heat is no easy task. So what are French women actually wearing on the streets right now? “There’s an abundance of white shirts, as well as lots of denim and linen,” says John Redmond of online fashion and lifestyle store Ecru Studios, a fellow Francophile who has just returned from a buying trip to the capital. “It’s all about the white shirt but it’s loose and the sleeves are pushed up and the collar is turned up at the back,” he says. Even though it’s summery outside, a key colour is still navy. So far, so classic. What about makeup? “Hair is in a ponytail, makeup is very discreet – it’s glossy and beautiful,” he says.
What about the brands French women wear? I had begun to wonder if the mid-range brands we’ve come to associate with the much-coveted Parisian style, are simply marketing Breton tees for wannabes and tourists, rather than something real French women actually lean into. However, I was soon corrected. “French women are really loyal to brands like Maje, Sandro and Isabel Marant,” a very chic and tuxedoed French man I sat next to at a fashion dinner shared recently. “They’re classics for a reason,” he explained.
While Instagram accounts like @parisiensinparis have become a favourite as they showcase an unvarnished account of what French women wear – pictures are posted anonymously and are candid shots, taken guerilla-style, on the street of the city – there are some other ways to get your fix if, like me, you desire to tap into the French zeitgeist. In an effort to capture “what French women really wear, eat and think” journalist, podcaster and fashion influencer Monica Ainely’s new substack Your Woman In Paris is essential reading. Ainley, a Canadian who has been living in Paris for the last seven years, became so inundated with requests from her followers on these topics that she found the most efficient solution would be to document them all in a newsletter which will act as a guide to the places that her and her friends “actually shop, drink wine, drink coffee, eat and hang around with our kids at”.
Meanwhile, my current obsession is American mom in Paris, TikToker Isabelle Bertolami– an account which, was just recently tipped by The New Yorker, explains the differences between American and French parenting styles, as well as offering insights about French skincare, restaurant recommendations and local highlights. Bertolami, a registered dietician, is perhaps at her most interesting in her post about what French primary school children eat for lunch. (Spoiler: there is a cheese course and a lot of organic faire.) Watch it – it’s fascinating.
This outfit works so well because the oversized mannish shirt and XL bag contrast nicely with the skinny jean silhouette and neat two-tone flats. (The fact that the divine quilted bag is Chanel doesn’t hurt, either.)
Simple but elegant, we love this look. The shirt is a collaboration between Sporty & Rich and Lacoste, and the shoes are by Jonak.
Sailing through the streets of the city wearing Chanel isn’t the norm for most Paris dwellers (contrary to what Instagram would have you believe), but in this case Leia Sfez was en route to the Chanel haute couture show – and we need to take a minute for this sublime two-piece.
Chunky sandals are a must-have. In the words of one Instagram account dedicated to Parisian style, ‘Are you even French if you don’t own Birkenstocks?’
Basics like shirting, denim and white T-shirts are livened up with splashes of lipstick red and leopard print.
A preppy shirt and shorts is off-set by patent Mary-Janes, as seen on Anne-Laure Mais, creative director of Musier Paris.