Tips to dress as stylish as French women

Two Red Dots
Two Red Dots /

The first thing you might notice is French girls do not wear yoga pants as real pants. According to Guinut, a stylist for the Local, wearing your comfy leggings out and about is a surefire sign you’re not a local.

Wearing “running sneakers, but actual ones, not trendy ones” is another sign you’re a foreigner in France said Guinut. Apparently, French women not wearing sports clothes for anything, but the sport is “firstly as a sign of respect for themselves and secondly as a sign of respect to those around them,” fellow French personal stylist Anélle Coetzee told The Local.

Stylist Alois Guinut

Advice to ignore: “Always wear heels”

“I have heard that some think the French ladies wear heels every day. Well we do wear a lot of flats too!” said Guinut. “Especially those who need to walk a lot, like Parisians for instance.” So, you can breathe a sigh of relief for your poor feet and pack some black ballet flats, which former model and godmother of laid-back French style Ines de la Fressange recommend as one of the five items every woman needs to own.

The Classic Look

Advice to keep: “Forget the trends”

France may have Zara’s and H&Ms selling fast fashion at every corner too, but the cornerstone of French style still rests in the classics. “I have French clients too and they never ask me about the current trends or what the colors of the moment are. However, I get those questions a lot from foreigners, especially Americans,” said Guinut.

“French women do not fashion slaves but rather style followers. They will carefully review the new season’s trends and select one or two items to update their look, giving solid basics a new twist,” Anélle Coetzee explained to The Local.

The Full French Look

Some magazines suggest going all out on the French look, with Breton stripes, oversized sunglasses, ballet pumps, red lipstick. Everything short of actually wearing a beret and string of onions. Going overboard on the clichéd items brings to mind “fancy dress Eurovision party” more than authentic Gallic glamour.