white button down and jeans outfit

How to Dress Like a French Girl on a Budget

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By now we know that French style means shopping slow, thinking more about investment pieces, and not batting an eye when it comes to spending a lot of money, as long as it’s something you’ll wear again and again. So what if you get that, but your wallet doesn’t? In this post, I’m going to show you super affordable outfits already put together for you so you can dress like a French girl on a budget!

How to Dress Like a French Girl on a Budget

Tip #1

The first step to dressing French is to avoid overshopping and getting caught up in the trends. The everyday wardrobes of many Americans are packed to the brim. However, you’ll never catch Parisian women with a closet full of fast fashion or trend pieces that can only be worn a few times before they’re tossed out. And there’s a good reason for this! Having tons and tons of clothes often has the exact opposite effect of what you might think – it makes getting dressed overwhelming and finding a good outfit much more difficult. It could even hinder your personal style. To develop a good foundation for your wardrobe, stick to the basic French look by going for versatile basic pieces (which this post covers). Resist the urge to “add to cart”. You really don’t need that much and you’ll save money! Related: How to Resist the Urge to Splurge

Tip #2

Similar to #1, always shop with a game plan in mind. If you don’t know what you need then you’ll spend money on the wrong things! French wardrobes are often well-curated and almost only contain the essentials. Do you already have a few great pairs of skinny jeans? A versatile pair of high heels? Then there’s probably no need to buy any more, even if it’s tempting. Study your wardrobe, your personal style, and your body type to learn what you like, what looks good on your, and what you’re in need of.

Tip #3

This next tip is a bit of a French girl secret. Another important tip on how to dress like a French girl on a budget would be to shop second-hand for higher-quality clothes and wait for sales.

French girl style is often all about combining versatile basic items, but the Parisian woman also loves to add a cool thrifted statement piece to her look. You may even find the perfect piece to finish your signature look! After all, creating your own unique style is what fashion is all about! In fact, it’s not unusual for a French girl to brag to her friends about what a great deal she got on her unique new piece – and one that no one else has! I go over the topic of thrifting way more in-depth in my post on how to look cute on a budget. So you’re probably going to want to check that out!

Tip #4

Shop at places that offer the look for less. If there are any fashion trends you’re absolutely dying to try, but you don’t want to waste money on, shopping at more affordable retailers is your best bet. ZaraMangoTopshop, and H&M all carry some nice Parisian style pieces and they allow you to try out different styles and silhouettes without committing to shelling out hundreds. However, try and keep your purchases from fast fashion retailers to a minimum. Many basic items, such as a white tee or plain jeans, can be found at decent prices elsewhere, but with much better quality. Everlane and Madewell are always safe bets in terms of quality and price. Also, keep an eye on fabric composition!

Tip #5

So, what if you can only afford a few pieces? The answer is to shop for the styles and pieces that French girls are known to wear. Look for neutrals, minimal prints, classic pieces, and “telltale” French items such as a silk scarf, Breton stripe shirt, or basket bag. Also never overlook the most classic piece – great denim. It could be straight leg, flared, high waisted, or wide leg, but always look for great quality and fit. Also, while American women love a good ripped knee or other distressing, it’s best to steer clear of it when it comes to pulling off a French style in your own wardrobe. More often than not, French women wear clothes that are neat, well-made, and refined. Related: How to Wear Jeans Like a French Girl

So, what next?

While many of the great French style icons and brands (Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior) are household names, not just anybody can afford those insanely high price tags. Those of us living in the rest of the world often look at Parisian street style photos and think that we could never afford to dress like that. But there is certainly more than one way to achieve great style and there are plenty of stylish women to be found in all income brackets! By following these tips, you’ll be looking like a chic French woman in no time.

To make things easier, I’ve compiled plenty of great and affordable French style staples below. These items are all similar to what you see in the image and many of them are below $50. All you have to do is add them to your cart and rock your look! Let’s take a look:

dress like a french girl on a budget

white wide leg crop jeans | black ballet flats | gold necklace | black cardigan | sunglasses | watch

dress like a french girl on a budget

white jeans | black top | cap toe ballet flats | straw bag

french girl outfit

boxy white t-shirt | black belt | black slingbacks | fringe bag | jeans

french girl outfits

black coat | jeans | white top | gold hoops | white heels | white clutch

french girl on a budget oufits

trench coat | blue sweater | ankle boots | jeans | belt | necklace

dress like a french girl

black blazer | striped shirt | jeans | heels | watch

Voilà! Now that you have everything ready for your French look, use that extra money to buy yourself a plane ticket. Feel free to take me with you!

If you liked this post then you’ll probably like these amazingly easy ways to nail Parisian Chic style!

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French girl style on a budget

Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.