Why we still love French style

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Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick of interest in French style. From newspaper and magazine articles to current collections, it seems that effortless French style is back on the radar. Perhaps it’s due to the latest Paris Fashion Week, or perhaps we’re all ready for a bit of a visual palate-cleanse and reset. Either way, I’m here for it!

This is the latest post in my Effortless Style Series. You can read the entire series HERE.

The (enduring) appeal of effortless French style

First, let’s get one thing out of the way: when I talk about French style, I’m referring to a particular aesthetic, rather than trying to categorize how all French women dress. Style has become much more global and diverse, and you’ll see that diversity reflected on the streets of Paris or Beaune or Aix-en-Provence.

Probably the most succinct definition of French style I’ve read comes from Louis Vuitton’s women’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière. He describes it as a “blend of sophistication and nonchalance…”

But even if you think French style is over-hyped (and yes, it sometimes is), I think there are some valid reasons why it still appeals to many of us.

French style, translated

These days, I’m all about functional style, and looking put-together without a lot of fuss. Even if you don’t wear blazers, Breton stripes, or black, there are attributes of French style that can be adapted to most wardrobes and help you to do more with less.

It’s always lovely to have a chance to shop in Paris. But I’ve found it’s also possible to find many items that align with the French aesthetic from US, UK, and other brands available online here. French style has also been influenced by American style, and jeans remain a staple.

(Yes, many of these pieces I’ve used as examples here are from J.Crew. They seem to be popular in Paris too; during our last few visits there was a huge J.Crew section in the iconic Le Bon Marché department store.)

Timeless and ageless

While cuts and details may vary, there’s a certain timelessness to French-inspired style. And the look isn’t age specific…with a few tweaks the same pieces can work whether you’re 20 or 80.

French-inspired style can look both classic and modern…it’s all in the cuts and details, and how it’s put together.

Comfortable and practical

For the most part, there’s nothing fiddly or constraining. It’s a style intended for going on about your daily life.

Clothing may be quietly stylish, but it’s also practical…the pieces work together and are functional. Shoes are walkable. You’ll rarely see anyone teetering around in stiletto heels during the day.

Simple, but put-together

French style doesn’t rely on a lot of flashy, attention-grabbing, or demanding clothing. A French-inspired wardrobe consists of pieces that can be remixed, and dressed up or down as needed. But it can look deceptively simple; often there are subtle details that add interest and pull the look together.

While some oversized or more relaxed fit pieces have made their way into French wardrobes, they’re often paired with more structured or fitted garments, so the overall look is never sloppy. (And yoga pants, sweats, or other “athleisure” items are worn only for exercising.)

Accessories are key to personalizing and finishing the look. A belt can be an excellent “finisher.”


The wardrobe basics that comprise the core of effortless French style are usually available in a wide range of sizes and prices. (Though I’ll always encourage you to buy the best quality you can afford, especially in your basics.)

And visit my SHOP for more French-inspired styles!

Are there aspects of French style that you’ve incorporated into your wardrobe?

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Celebrating our best lives at fifty and beyond! 50ismorefun brings you motivational news and stories centered around life, fitness, fashion, money, travel and health for active folks enjoying the second half of lives.